The past few years at North Springs, starting in 2013 with the arrival of Dr. Eddie Ruiz, have seen constant change of administrators, teachers, and staff, and has continued to this day with a new administration under Mr. Michael Scott Hanson.. This has sparked uncertainty and concern amongst the students and instructors who have experienced the changes.
Chemistry teacher and Science Department Chair Tonya Davis attributes the quick turnover to a lack of consistency and appreciation for educators’ hard work. Many teachers are “leery about new leadership” due to the short tenure of the previous administration.
Travis Day, Economics and World History teacher, cited the fact that North Springs currently has the highest teacher attrition rates in Fulton County. A higher percentage of teachers leave North Springs and more new teachers are hired at North Springs every year than any other school in the county.
Many think that the problem at North Springs lies with scheduling. Ten years ago, Fulton County schools followed a block schedule of four classes, a schedule that some schools, including Riverwood, use today. The following year, when North Springs adopted its first charter, the school switched to a multiperiod day of seven classes that has been the norm ever since. Five years ago, most North Springs teachers taught five out of seven class periods with two planning periods throughout the day. However, this was not the case for all teachers, and in recent years, most have returned to teaching six out of seven.
Kelly Olson, AP Human Geography teacher, says that when North Springs first switched to seven class periods, she was optimistic. “I was promised smaller class sizes,” she stated. However, when the new plan was implemented, class sizes remained large. “I had the same class sizes as before — I [now] teach 180 kids a day,” she said.
This year, North Springs welcomed Mr. Michael Scott Hanson as its new principal. Hanson is an educator with many years of success as a teacher and as a principal in Orlando, Florida. He was the fourth principal in 35 years at his previous school, and he hopes to see that longevity continue in the future at North Springs.
While this type of transition takes time, Hanson already has ideas to resolve the root issue of large class sizes.
Hanson recognizes that the master schedule and subsequent overcrowding of classrooms is an issue that needs to be resolved. He said that the school will maintain the six out of seven class periods this year, but he will develop a whole new master schedule for next fall, 2017. Hanson is confident that this will improve class sizes and therefore enhance
the quality of individual classes for teachers and students alike.
As far as change in administration goes, Hanson isn’t going anywhere. “I’m here to stay,” he says.