Dear Franklin families,
Are you greeting the new year with renewed optimism? 2020 challenged us all in ways we have never experienced before. With vaccines on the horizon and the darkest days of winter already passed, it’s a good time to reflect on the strengths that helped us get through a hard year. I have been continually renewed and restored this past year as I witnessed our students, staff, and whole community come together, extend grace and empathy toward one another, and find ways to lift one another up. We can do hard things when we do them together! I am choosing to greet 2021 with a renewed commitment to that belief.
I hope that everyone took time during our 2-week break to truly get away from their screens and to find ways to connect with family and friends near and far. As we ease back into school and routines, I’m sure we are all a little foggy on the details of how school will work for the next few weeks! Read on for a refresher!
This week is a fully remote learning week. We will not have students on campus, and staff may work from home to reduce the risk of transmission following holiday gatherings and travel.
Monday is one of five extra, state-mandated Remote Instruction Days. Monday is also an important teacher work day, and there are NO online classes, Crew, or office hours on Monday. Regular Plan C online classes, Crew, and office hours will begin again on Tuesday.
High school students will complete this reflection on Monday. High school will also follow a modified schedule this week so that students have the opportunity to attend electives before Thursday. Tuesday, Jan 5, will follow a Monday (A -day) schedule, and electives will meet.. On Wednesday, Jan 6, classes will follow the shortened Tuesday (B-Day) schedule. There are no small group sessions this week.
Middle school students will complete this reflection on Monday as well. Their schedule will follow a normal Plan C schedule for the remainder of the week.
We are currently evaluating whether we will have any students on campus next week. We are monitoring the rate of COVID in our community and will make a determination early this week.
Plan B Update
As a reminder, on December 15, the Board of Directors met and approved the school’s plan for a transition to Plan B hybrid model of instruction, with a tentative date for transition of February 1st. Prior to transitioning to Plan B, Buncombe County must reach a 14-day rolling average positive test rate of 5% or below. As of Dec 31, Buncombe County’s rate was 10.4% (one-day), reflecting a continued upward trend and a real post-holiday spike. You can monitor our trends on North Carolina’s COVID dashboard. Let’s all do our parts! Wearing masks, keeping our social circles to our immediate family, and staying 6 feet or more apart when we are around others are the easy steps we all can take to slow the spread in our community. Our children are counting on us.
Plan B is a hybrid model. Students who choose the hybrid model will attend school in person two days a week, with remote instruction the remaining days. Students will be assigned to attend school in person either Monday/Thursday, or Tuesday/Friday. Students may also choose to continue fully remote instruction.
In an effort to reduce exposure, the first phase of Plan B is a half-day model. This allows us to keep students in smaller groups, with few transitions and less mixing between groups. As students will be released before lunch, this model also reduces the higher risk related to eating indoors. We will strictly follow guidelines for social distancing and masks will be required indoors at all times. During their time on campus, students will attend their core classes – English, Math, Social Studies, and Science. Electives and enrichments will continue to be taught through remote instruction. Our intent is to move to a full-day model at a later stage, when conditions improve.
Over the next few weeks, we will reach out to families again to determine your intent to participate in the hybrid model. We will share more details on Plan B, including schedules for hybrid and fully remote instruction models. Under Plan B, we will provide transportation and will offer some extended day opportunities for students who travel a long distance to and from school. We know that this plan is a compromise that seeks to return students to school as safely as possible.
Until conditions allow for a transition to Plan B, we will continue the Plan C schedule put in place during the 2nd quarter.
New Online Safety Tool – Gaggle
For several weeks prior to break, we launched a trial of Gaggle, a new internet safety tool recommended for schools by the State of North Carolina. The program screens material on school platforms, such as school email, google docs, and hangout, for content that might indicate risks for harm to students — either to themselves or to others. This tool has been successfully used by over a thousand schools across the country to help identify and intervene with students at risk of harm.
While we found some small issues with Gaggle, overall we feel that the increased safety outweighs the problems. We will use Gaggle as an added layer of security. Students and families should be aware that Gaggle is routinely monitoring school email, google docs, and google chats, and that some communication is being flagged and forwarded to school administrators for review and action. Additionally, some content may be blocked and not shared with the intended recipient.
Open Enrollment & Re-Enrollment for 2021-2022 School Year
It’s that time of the year! Open Enrollment began January 1 and continues through March 31st. Every year – parents are confused about Open Enrollment and Re-Enrollment. We get it – it is a little different! Here’s what you need to know.
I want to re-enroll my current FSI student: Re-enrollment will take place in February. Students who plan to return to FSI next year must complete re-enrollment to keep your spot. We’ll make sure you don’t miss the re-enrollment information! If you are a student this year – you are guaranteed a spot for next year.
I want to enroll my student’s brother or sister: Submit an application through Open Enrollment for the brother or sister & complete re-enrollment for your current FSI student. There is a place to let us know this is a sibling application! Siblings receive priority for enrollment.
My friend/neighbor/cousin/co-worker wants to enroll their student next year: Share the link to our website and tell them to enroll today! Email Drew Fowler (firstname.lastname@example.org) and he’ll invite them to a virtual Info Session, schedule a tour, and help answer their questions.
Franklin has been created through the love and commitment of great families. Help us continue our growth by recruiting more great families! We welcome all students.