Carter presents Enrichment Day Program

Published 8:48 pm Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Franklin City Public Schools has launched a program designed to close the learning loss achievement gap present in the school system.

FCPS Interim Superintendent Dr. Carlton Carter gave a presentation on the Enrichment Day Program during a joint meeting of the Franklin City Council and Franklin City School Board in December at S.P. Morton Elementary School.

HOW THE PROGRAM WORKS

The program works in conjunction with the four-day school week schedule that the school board adopted in May 2022 for the 2022-23 school year.

This school week schedule features slightly longer school days Monday-Thursday. Every other Friday is a whole day off for students and staff, and every other Friday in between the off days is a half day for students and work/professional development day for teachers.

During the Dec. 8 joint meeting, Carter thanked the school board for “approving this opportunity where, on the whole-day Wellness Fridays, we will now put in play the Enrichment Program.”

The program offers tutoring and learning opportunities to FCPS students from pre-K through 12th grade, and it is voluntary for both teachers and students.

“The teachers will be able (to) — if they want to — come in, work with the kids,” Carter said.

The program began for Franklin High School students on Friday, Jan. 6. 

FCPSVA.org notes that registration is not required for high school students. It is required for S.P. Morton Elementary School and J.P. King Jr. Middle School students, and registration has been extended to Tuesday, Jan. 31.

Enrichment Fridays will begin for Franklin’s middle and elementary school students in February.

Including the high school Enrichment Days, the Fridays impacted by the program are as follows: Jan. 6 and 20, Feb. 10 and 24, March 10 and 24, April 21, May 5 and 19, and June 2 and 16.

Carter noted that at the high school and middle school levels, Enrichment Fridays feature four hours of student instructional time — from 8:45 a.m.-12:45 p.m. — and five hours of teacher/staff time — 8:15 a.m.-1:15 p.m.

For the elementary school, there will be five hours of student instructional time — 9:15 a.m.-2:15 p.m. — and six hours of teacher/staff time — 8:45 a.m.-2:45 p.m.

The school system website states that transportation and meals will be provided on Enrichment Fridays.

SUMMARIZING THE BENEFIT OF THE PROGRAM

“This will help address the learning loss that we are facing, but yet also keep the promise that the teachers, on the Wellness Fridays, if they want to be off, they still can be off,” Carter said. “But yet parents in the community have somewhere to send their kids.”

He noted that he had presented the program to the elementary school the day prior to the joint city council-school board meeting, and it was well received.

“So I believe we’re going to get a lot of participation from this program,” he said. “A lot of teachers were interested, and I believe a lot of parents will be interested in these Enrichment Fridays. So, it’s a win-win situation.”

There are also outside stakeholders that have decided they would like to participate in the program, he explained, including one offering science, technology, engineering and math resources.

“They would come and work with our science teachers from grades three, four and five, and they would also have field trips for the kids on the Enrichment Fridays,” Carter said. “But we will be focusing primarily on SOL.

“So we’ll be also cutting into the learning gap, also providing the community with some relief on those off Fridays,” he added.

REACTIONS FROM THE DEC. 8 MEETING

Ward 2 School Board Member Arwen Councill shared her excitement for the program.

“I just have to say that I absolutely love this program,” she said. “The idea that we can have all of our minutes in the seat on Monday-Thursday and then have an extra tutoring day built into our week, I think it’s just phenomenal. And then the Fridays are volunteer, so you’ve got teachers that want to be there and you’ve got kids that want to be there. I think it’s a great idea.”

Franklin Mayor Frank M. Rabil asked if participation in the Enrichment Fridays impacts absenteeism.

FCPS Director of Assessments and Accountability Meta Stratton said it does not, affirming that the Enrichment Days are bonus days.

“It’s a bonus day because we meet the requirement for seat hours,” Carter said. “We extended the school day the four days, Monday-Thursday, so we meet the 990 seat hours, so this is an extra day, but it also, like I said, provides families with relief, and it also provides the school system an opportunity to address the learning loss, which you see, because we have not recovered like the other districts.”

He indicated that the program will allow FCPS to specifically help students who are struggling and also offer opportunities to those who are not.

“For those students who are doing very well, then we can do more enrichment activities for those kids,” he said.

The school division website states that confirmation of students’ participation will be sent in mid-January.