Schools operate on a unified calendar, which begins August 25 and is scheduled to end on June 9.
Elementary students are generally taught in self-contained classes. In most schools, the average class size is 21 in kindergarten through third grade, and 26 in grades 4 and 5. Primary reading teachers, guidance counselors, media coordinators, curriculum coordinators and specialists in art, music and physical education add to regular instruction.
Middle schools provide a gradual transition to departmentalized teaching. In addition to continuing to build basic skills, students explore special interests in music, art, languages, life skills, technology and computers. The average class size is 27 to 29 students.
All high schools offer a comprehensive curriculum at regular, honors and Advanced Placement levels. Average class size is 28 to 31 students. The Career Center offers about 30 vocational programs and more than 30 Advanced Placement (college-level) courses. Advanced Placement and college-level courses also are offered at high schools and through dual enrollment with Forsyth Technical Community College and other local colleges. Parkland High School offers the International Baccalaureate Programme, a worldwide curriculum that students can use to earn college credit.
Schools provide programs for academically gifted students. Students identified as highly academically gifted can attend Brunson Elementary and Hanes Middle.
The school system provides programs and services for students with special needs. Identified exceptional children are served through resource teachers or specially designed classes in their regular schools, or at several locations throughout the school system. Services are available for students identified as intellectually disabled, physically disabled, visually impaired, hearing impaired/deaf, emotionally disabled, speech/language impaired, autistic, homebound/hospitalized, learning disabled, multihandicapped, severely/profoundly disabled, other health-impaired, and traumatic brain-injured. Younger children with special needs may also receive preschool services.
WS/FCS employs about 7,600 people, including about 4,000 classroom and part-time teachers. Students are also served by about 420 bus drivers, 575 food-service workers, 300 housekeepers, and a network of administrators, principals, guidance counselors, psychologists, social workers and other staff.
In 2011-12, the school system’s total budget was $575.3 million, including capital projects and child nutrition. Of the total, $196.5 million came from Forsyth County; that includes money for capital projects approved in a 2006 bond referendum. Typically, about 60 percent of the budget comes from the state; about 25 percent from Forsyth County; and the rest from federal and other sources.
- WS/FCS met 88 percent of its federal testing goals in 2012. More than 60 percent of schools met or exceeded their state growth goals. Across the district, 68 percent of students in grades 3-8 were proficient in reading; 82 percent were proficient in math; and 74 percent were proficient in science. In high school, 77 percent of students were proficient in state-tested courses.
- The 2011-12 graduation rate increased 2.1 percentage points to 80.9 percent, the highest percentage since the state began calculating the rate in 2006. Generous support from the United Way of Forsyth County, the Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce, Graduate. It Pays., Big Brothers Big Sisters, and Communities in Schools has helped the school system increase the rate.
- Thirteen schools were named Honor Schools of Excellence, the highest level of state recognition: Clemmons Elementary; The Downtown School; Jefferson Elementary; Lewisville Elementary; Meadowlark Elementary; Sherwood Forest Elementary; Vienna Elementary; Whitaker Elementary; Jefferson Middle; Meadowlark Middle; Early College; Reagan High; and West Forsyth High.
- Eleven schools were named Schools of Distinction: Brunson Elementary; Caleb’s Creek Elementary; Cash Elementary; Moore Magnet Elementary; Morgan Elementary; Old Richmond Elementary; Piney Grove Elementary; Southwest Elementary; Hanes Magnet; Atkins High; and Mount Tabor High.
- The average SAT score for seniors in math and reading was 1006, and 1479 with writing included.
- About 3,100 students graduated in 2012.
- 18 students were named National Merit Semifinalists.
- Raisa Chowdhury of Mount Tabor High School and Jacob Feldman of Reynolds High School were named the 2011 AP Scholars for North Carolina. The award goes to the female and male students with the top scores on AP exams. Both students also took classes at the Career Center.
- High schools won three state team athletic championships and one gold medal at the state Special Olympics. Students also won 16 individual state championships.
- Teacher of the Year: Kim Abrams, a math-and-science teacher at Jefferson Middle School.
- Principal of the Year: Richard Watts, Winston-Salem Preparatory Academy.
- Forest Park Elementary School and Philo Magnet Academy were named Signature Schools by the Piedmont Triad Education Consortium.
- Henry Pankey of Parkland High School was named N.C. Assistant Principal of the Year by the N.C. Association of Educators.
- Marty Stanley of Glenn High School was given the Lifetime Achievement Award by the N.C. Association for Athletic Education.