Good morning Franklin community,
It’s been a summer of transformation! We are so excited to launch our 10th anniversary year in our wonderful new facility. Our theme for the year is Joy, Optimism, and Ambition as we look back to what we have accomplished and ahead to our next big goals. Thank you for joining us on this journey and helping us become a school where every student belongs and thrives.
There are lots of details in this email to help us get off to a good start to the year. If you attended or watched one of our Orientation sessions, you already received some of this information. Skip through the newsletter to get what you need! Please take time to review our drop off and pick up procedures – this will help ensure everyone gets to school safely and on time!
Before we start with logistical information, I want to address recent legislation that has an impact on our school and our community. The NC Senate and House have failed to pass a budget for this year. This means that all schools are operating under what is called a “Continuation Budget”. Schools will not receive any increase in funding for critical things like teacher and staff raises, the increased costs of providing benefits to our staff, or to offset new costs associated with new requirements passed by the legislature. In June, our Board of Directors supported my request to move ahead with salary increases for all our staff along with year-end bonuses. This was the right thing to do for our staff. Fortunately, our school is financially strong enough to survive the failure of our elected officials to do their jobs, but our elected officials lack of support for schools is alarming. Strong funding for public schools is essential to the ongoing health of our communities! We are hopeful that a budget will be passed with essential funding for all public schools in the next few weeks.
Although the House and Senate have not met their obligation to pass a budget, they have passed new legislation including Senate Bill 49, or the “Parent Bill of Rights” act. This act establishes a number of new procedures for schools. The Department of Public Instruction will develop guidance for many of the new requirements. We are reviewing the new law carefully and waiting for official guidance. In June, our Board of Directors unanimously approved a statement opposing the Parent Bill of Rights. As a school, we strongly believe in and support parent rights and we work hard to partner with parents to support students. Many of the requirements in the new law are already in place or will only require minor adjustments. However, the Parent Bill of Rights law also contains provisions that will have a negative impact on students and families who identify as LGBTQIA+. We are committed to creating a school environment that is safe and welcoming for all students. Although the new law may require changes to school procedures, it will not change our love and support for our students and families. Please reach out to me, a principal, or a school counselor if you or your student has questions or concerns.
If you are new to FSI this year, this newsletter is one of our primary sources of information. All parents and guardians should receive the newsletter weekly, generally on Sunday mornings. In addition, you will receive regular updates from your grade level teachers. This newsletter is posted to our website every week, where it can be easily translated into several languages. If you know someone who is not receiving the newsletter, feel free to share this or direct them to the website and encourage them to let us know!
You can also follow us on social media. Find us on Facebook and Instagram:
Our Community Calendar is another great way to keep up with school events. Find it on our website under “Parents” tab, Academic Calendar page.
Whether you are new to FSI or returning – there are many, many changes this year. We’re moving into a new facility and gym, expanding our school nutrition program, adding another bus route, and rolling out MySchoolBucks, the new online payment platform. There will be a new process for school drop-off and pick-up – pretty much everything is undergoing some form of change. While all this change is exciting, it also means a lot of work! We appreciate your patience as we work through the inevitable challenges that each of these changes brings. We’ll be adapting and improving as we go.
Tuesday, August 22: First Day of School! Note that Wednesday, August 23 is a FULL day. We will begin early release Wednesdays the following week.
Thurs, Aug 24, 5 – 7:30 pm: Interagency Working Group for New Americans
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for Immigrants and Refugees (New Americans)
Community Listening Session. We are pleased to host this Listening Session for New Americans and representatives of groups providing service. This event will be held in our Community Room. Registration:A State View of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion for Immigrants & Refugees Tickets, Thu, Aug 24, 2023 at 5:00 PM | Eventbrite
September 7 – 10: Chow Chow Food & Culture Festival in downtown Asheville – this festival celebrates the creative food and culture of Asheville and Southern Appalachia. You don’t want to miss this one! Learn more and get your tickets here: https://chowchowasheville.com/about/
Sunday, Sept. 24th 2-5pm – The 7th annual Filthy Franklin Mud Run is back! What better way to break in all of the new space than to make a new and improved super muddy obstacle course to crawl, run and jump through? Get your tickets before Sept. 8th to receive a free signature event t-shirt! Tickets can be purchased here, join the event on facebook here
Keep up with all our events!
Parent Crew News
Thank you to everyone who contributed to the Parent Crew fundraiser for staff lunch! We are big fans of 67 Biltmore and a catered lunch after a long week of learning and preparing was a great way to start the year. Watch for updates from The Parent Crew here each week!
Cell Phones in School
Our school policy has always been that cell phones must be put away and silent during instructional time. However, we are the first to admit this has not been well-enforced, especially since COVID disruptions. The research showing that cell phones have a negative impact on student learning and well-being just gets stronger every year. In the interest of student growth, we are enforcing the cell phone policy diligently this year. Students will generally be expected to place their cell phones in storage pouches or keep their cell phones silent and stored out of sight during all classes. Parents should not text or call students during class time. Students will have access to their phones during lunch and transitions. You can also call our front desk if you have an urgent need to get in touch with your student. Thank you for supporting our efforts to create a safe and effective learning environment for all students!
Missed Orientation? Watch It Today!
If you missed our Orientation sessions, you can still get all the information you need! Find the recording and the slideshow on our website: https://www.franklinschoolofinnovation.org/2023-24-parent-and-student-orientation/
Drop Off & Pick Up Procedures – Updated for 2023-2024
Drop off and pick up procedures have been updated for our new campus. Information is included in the Orientation materials, in our Student Handbook, and also updated on our website. Click here to access the updates on our website. It is important for everyone to review the changes before the first day of school!
The most important change is that all traffic will use one road for drop off and pick up. Form two lines at the entrance to our school (next to AAA Storage) and continue all the way behind our new building. Students will be dropped off and picked up by the main entrance.
Before the Bell begins at 7:15 am. Regular drop-off begins at 7:45 am. Students should report to the Community Room if they arrive early. Late arrivals must check in to the main office to receive a pass.
All traffic leaves campus through the exit. Turn RIGHT onto Sardis Road. All traffic is one-way between 7:30 and 9 am and between 2:45 and 4:15 pm. The bus road is closed to all car traffic at all times. Let’s keep our students and staff safe and our traffic moving!
MySchoolBucks – New Online Payment Platform for BtB, Lunches, & More
We are pleased to offer a streamlined online system to pay for school-related items, including Beyond the Bell services, meal program, athletics fees, consumable fee, and more! If you haven’t registered with MySchoolBucks yet – please take time to do this right away. Grab your device and let’s go
- Register: Go to myschoolbucks.com and click on “Register for a Free Account.” Enter your email address – choose an email that you use regularly. This email will become your username. You’ll enter your name, cell phone number, and create a password. That’s all it takes to create your account.
- Log in with your new username (your email) and password. Click the blue button that says “Get Started”.
- Select North Carolina and then The Franklin School of Innovation. You will be prompted to answer several security questions.
- Add Student(s): The system will next prompt you to add your student(s). You can search by their name and birthdate or their school ID. If your student has been enrolled in a North Carolina public school (including FSI) previously – they likely know their school ID. But if you don’t have it, just use their name and birthdate. Follow the prompts to add your student(s) to your account.
- Explore Features: Once your account is set up, you can start exploring the platform’s features, making payments, and registering for programs.
If you encounter any issues during the registration process or have any questions about using MySchoolBucks, please don’t hesitate to reach out to email@example.com or Tammey Harper at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Athletic Shoes Required for PE Classes
We are so excited to welcome students to our beautiful new gymnasium! With our new gym, students are required to wear athletic shoes (sneakers/tennis shoes) with soft soles for all PE classes. We have some shoes to share – but remind your student to wear or bring gym shoes on PE days.
Students will not be required to dress out for PE other than shoes. If they prefer to change, they may bring PE clothes and change in the gym restrooms.
Bus Rider & Carpool Information
Looking for a carpool? Join the Carpool Facebook Group! Franklin Carpool Facebook Page
Our transportation team has been working overtime to fit everyone on our buses. We have added a new bus route. You should have received information from Deeana Bennett last week regarding your student’s placement on the bus.
Students must ride their assigned bus. Our buses are extremely full – we cannot accommodate friends or non-registered riders. If you have not yet signed up for the bus, you can register today and you will be added to our waitlist. Click HERE to fill out the Bus Rider Form.
School Meal Options
We are excited to expand our school nutrition program this year! In addition to serving students who qualify for free or reduced lunch, we will offer a paid meal program. The paid meal program is modeled after our existing program, with an emphasis on student choice of meal items from an a la carte menu. We anticipate that the average price per lunch (including one main, one side, and one drink) will be $4. Breakfast and lunch will be available. (Pizza sales will continue on Fridays as a fundraiser for our athletics program
Use the MySchoolBucks online payment system to add money to your student’s account. Students can then use the account to purchase breakfast, lunch, and snack items. We’re sure we will run into some glitches as we roll this out – it is an ambitious program! We’ll keep working to get it running smoothly.
Beyond the Bell Before and After School Program
Before and after school care and activities will be provided through our Beyond the Bell program. Ron Scott is returning as Director of Afterschool Services and James Love is returning as Afterschool Coordinator. Beyond the Bell will be offered from 7:15 – 7:45 am and after school until 6 pm daily, Monday through Friday. Before and after school care is available beginning the first day of school. Pre-register through the MySchoolBucks payment program today!
We distributed Yearbooks at Meet the Teacher on Thursday. Remaining yearbooks will be distributed by teachers during the 1st week of school. After that, we will hold yearbooks at the office for pick up any time. Thank you for your patience! We are very happy to have a high school elective class taking over the responsibility of producing the yearbook – with more student involvement we know they will have it ready on time this year. Thanks to the tiny Crew who produced the yearbook this year!
Fall Sports Information – Get Your Physicals Now!
Coach Burke recently shared information about our Fall sports program. I was definitely always that parent rushing out to get physicals for my kids – save yourself the stress and schedule them now! Physicals and the concussion forms are required before your student attends practices.
If you read about fall sports previously, note that we have added information about our Mountain Bike team and club.
Mountain Bike Team & Club – all ages
Hold the dates!
- September 14th meet and greet at FSI,
- September 22nd Kolo ride day
- October 12th Berm park
- November 2nd Old Fort trails
Visit their website for more information: https://sites.google.com/thefsi.us/fsimtb/home
Middle School Cross Country (Boys and Girls)
Head Coach: Kara Lacey
Information: Optional practices will begin on July 31st on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6:30pm.
On Tuesdays, the team will meet at the White Duck Taco parking lot on Riverside Drive to run on the Greenway.
On Thursdays, the team will meet at the Hard Times parking lot at Bent Creek.
Practice will end by 7:30pm.
Regular season official mandatory practice will begin on August 22nd after dismissal.
High School Cross Country (Boys and Girls)
Head Coach: Mackenzie Arnold
Information: Optional practices will begin on August 7th (Monday through Friday) at 7:30am. Meet at the front field at FSI.
Regular season official mandatory practice will begin on August 22nd at 4:15pm. Practices will be held on campus on the first week and then other locations will be determined.
Middle School Volleyball (Girls)
Coaches: Jessica Bragdon and Tammy Leahy
Information: An interest meeting will be held during the first week of school.
Regular season official mandatory practice will begin on August 28th.
High School Volleyball (Girls)
Coaches: Tess Barnes-Dunn, Heather Kabat, Liz Baron
Information: Regular season official mandatory practice will begin on August 22nd after school.
Middle School Flag Football (Boys and Girls)
Coaches: Tony Freeman, Kim Burke, Annie Gillis
Information: An interest meeting will be held the week of August 28th. Stay tuned for the exact date and time. Official practice will begin after Labor Day. Typically practices are held on Mondays after school on the front field.
High School Soccer (Boys)
Head Coach: Teshale Byan
Information: An interest meeting will be held on August 23rd at 12:30pm in Coach Byan’s room.
Regular season official mandatory practice will begin on August 28th after school.
Study Abroad or Host a Student!
The Rotary Youth Exchange is looking for families and students in their Study Abroad program.
Students ages 15 – 18.5 can apply for a scholarship to study abroad. Ideal applicants are strong students who have demonstrated leadership in their community. Selected applicants will spend an academic year studying abroad and living with 2 or 3 different host families. There are over 25 different countries to choose from!
Families can apply to host students who are living and studying in the US. Students will live with your family for 3 – 6 months during their year-long stay.
Interested? Learn more:
Who do I go to when….
Whether you are new or returning to Franklin, we know you will have questions, and we want to help you find the best person to answer them, quickly and efficiently. We hope this little guide will help you navigate!
I have a question about my child’s grade, an assignment, or something specific to one class: Start with your child – what do they know? Then, the classroom teacher
I’m worried about my child’s overall progress, or progress in multiple classes: Your child’s Crew advisor can help coordinate a team response or meeting
My child will miss school: For short-term absences (illness, doctor’s appointments, etc), send an email to email@example.com, or bring a written note to the front office. Notes must be received within 48 hours of student’s return to school. Longer-term or frequent absences (5 days/quarter) require documentation from a medical care provider.
I’ve contacted a teacher, but the problem isn’t resolved: Your child’s Principal
I think my child may need special education services or accommodations: Paula Dowd, Director of Exceptional Services
My child requires medication during the school day, has a special health need, or has tested positive for COVID: Contact our school nurse, Courtney Kozloski
I have a question about enrollment, student records or I need a copy of my student’s report card or transcript: Erinn Otten, Director of Student Services
My student needs a chromebook, hotspot, or help with technology: Matt Mikulski, Technology Director
My child has an IEP, and I have questions about the services provided: Your child’s Exceptional Children teacher is your first contact:
- Grade 5: Brittany Davenport
- Grade 6: Tammy Leahy
- Grade 7: Meagan Barnhard
- Grade 8: Donnie Stahlke
- MS Resource Room: Meaghann Denkenberger
- Grade 9: Molly Wagner
- Grade 10: Greg Wingard
- Grade 11: Paul Szumski
- Grade 12: Gretchen Kehrberg
- HS Occupational Course of Study: Kelsey Reid
My child is a multilingual learner (or English Language Learner): Kelli Miller, Reading Intervention & ELL Coordinator
I have questions about sports: Kim Burke, Athletic Director
I want to know more about after or before-school services: Ronald Scott, Director of After School Programs
I want to know more about your music program: Sandi Wilson, Director of Instrumental and Vocal Ensembles
I have questions about your school bus or student parking: Deeana Bennett, Director of Operations
I am interested in carpooling/ride-sharing: Check out our carpool facebook group (you need to request to join): FSI Carpool Group
I want to know more about college planning, including advanced courses like AP and Dual Enrollment, financial aid, or the college application process: JaneAnne Tager, College & Career Counselor
I have high level concerns or questions about the school, such as a problem that hasn’t been resolved through my principal, an immediate school safety concern, or more general questions about the school’s philosophy, approach, or plans for the future: Michelle Vruwink, Executive Director
Our Teaching Teams for 2023-2024!
Autumn Nussbaum, ELA: firstname.lastname@example.org
Kyle Guzinski, Math: email@example.com
Jennifer Ryan, Science:: firstname.lastname@example.org
Chris Pauley, Social Studies: email@example.com
Jeffrey Root, ELA: firstname.lastname@example.org
Charlie Keller, Math: email@example.com
Samuel “Latt” Berry Foster:, Science: firstname.lastname@example.org
Emily Carter, Social Studies: email@example.com
Ashley O’Dell, ELA: firstname.lastname@example.org
Zoe Wallce, Math: email@example.com
Sarah Lydon, Science: firstname.lastname@example.org
Grace Nyanga, Social Studies: email@example.com
Brandie Dallara, ELA: firstname.lastname@example.org
Kevin McManus, Math: email@example.com
Rhneea Riddle, Math Specialist: firstname.lastname@example.org
Kyle Wilson, Social Studies:: email@example.com
Makesha Gordon, Science: firstname.lastname@example.org
Lora Hawkins, English I: email@example.com
Clark Wilson, Math 1 & Freshman Seminar: Cwilson@thefsi.us
Jerry Lubos, World History: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jessica Bragdon, Earth Science/ AP Earth: email@example.com
Justina Powell, English 2: firstname.lastname@example.org
Liz Baron: Math 2: email@example.com
Sonya Laws, Civics: firstname.lastname@example.org
Julia Adams, Biology: email@example.com
Bryan Head, English III/AP Lang: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tess Barnes Dunn, American History, AP Research: email@example.com
Teshale Byan, Math 3 & AP Calculus: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mary Smith, Chemistry, Forensics: email@example.com
Alex Humphrey, English IV & AP Lit:: firstname.lastname@example.org
Matt Reynolds, Personal Finance & Economics: email@example.com
Teshale Byan, AP Calculus: firstname.lastname@example.org
Elizabeth Joslin, NC Wildlife (Science) & EcoWarriors: email@example.com
Jessica Fine: Pre Calc, Math 4: firstname.lastname@example.org
MS PE: Anne Gillis: email@example.com
HS PE & Athletic Director: Kimberly Burke, firstname.lastname@example.org
MS Art: Jennifer Lipsey Edwards: email@example.com
HS Art: Kati Robbins, firstname.lastname@example.org
MS Tech & Computer Science: James Abbott, email@example.com
MS Counselor: Jennifer-Raé Negron, firstname.lastname@example.org
HS Theatre, Art of Argument: Julia Wharton, email@example.com
MS Theatre: Elizabeth (“Beth”) Lexa, firstname.lastname@example.org
MS/HS Music and Orchestra: Sandi Wilson, email@example.com,
French 1: Mackenzie Arnold: firstname.lastname@example.org
French2 & 3 and HS, PE: Chad Gerber, email@example.com
HS Spanish: Hanna Walden, firstname.lastname@example.org
MS & HS Spanish: Heather Kabat, email@example.com
Adventure Ed: Jessica Potter-Bowers, firstname.lastname@example.org