The Fulton County School System proposed allowing high schools to introduce courses in Black and women’s studies intended to address diversity and inclusion. 

The classes, named “Introduction to African-American/Black Studies” and “Introduction to U.S Women’s Studies,” were discussed in a Jan. 12 Fulton Board of Education work session. Per policy, the proposal must be considered for a month. The courses will return to the board’s work session agenda on Feb. 9, Brian Noyes, FCS spokesperson said. If no changes or other issues arise, the board will put the proposal on its regular meeting on Feb. 18 for a vote.

Alpharetta High School asked to add both social studies courses to its curriculum. But any high school that is interested can offer the courses if they are approved by the Fulton County Board of Education, Chief Academic Officer Cliff Jones said during the first reading of the proposal.

The courses would explore culture, history, art and accomplishments of Black people and women in America, Jones said. They also would address a march towards societal and political equity and equality.

“I just want to say thank you,” said board member Franchesca Warren about the African American/Black Studies course. “This is a course that I want to take as an adult.” 

She asked if any guidance was available to schools on the textbook or type of text students will read for the course.

If the course is approved, teachers would be brought together to make a recommended text to the board, Jones said. Any school wanting to offer a new course has to present registration materials. They must make sure a certified teacher is on staff who can teach the course.

“Enough students have to select the course for it to make it in the schedule in the fall. That’s how that process works,” Jones said.

Board member Kimberly Dove said the district’s communities want to offer the courses to students. 

“And it’s going to present a challenge to our educators and schedulers. But definitely, it’s something we’re looking forward to implementing,” she said.

Students taking either course would receive a half-credit.

The Georgia Department of Education approved both courses in August 2020. They are eligible for full-time equivalent (FTE) funding from the state, which is based on student population.  

Bob Pepalis covers Sandy Springs for Rough Draft Atlanta and Reporter Newspapers.