Enrichment Fridays off to rousing start
Published 5:00 pm Tuesday, February 7, 2023
Franklin City Public Schools recently launched the Enrichment Day Program designed to close the learning loss achievement gap present in the school system, and Franklin High School Principal Travis Felts recently reported impressive participation numbers for the program’s first day.
In the division’s four-day school week schedule, every other Friday is a full day off for students and staff. Through the new program, those days are now known as Enrichment Fridays in which tutoring and learning opportunities are offered to FCPS students from pre-K through 12th grade. The program is voluntary for both teachers and students.
The program will start at the elementary and middle schools in February, but it started at Franklin High School on Jan. 6, as the school simply adapted its Saturday model of what it called SOL and CTE Academy to an Enrichment Friday.
THE REPORT OF THE FIRST DAY
Felts shared how Jan. 6 went with the Franklin City School Board during a Jan. 12 board work session.
“We had 115 students there, and we have 390 on our books,” Felts said, announcing participation of 29.5% of the school’s student body. “It was a pretty good showing for the first Enrichment Friday. They were very engaged, the teachers were excited to receive the students. There were lots of hands-on activities going on.”
Twenty-seven high school staff members participated, including teachers.
Enrichment Friday at FHS runs from 8:45 a.m.-12:45 p.m., and Felts noted that students could stay with one teacher for all four hours, or they could switch at the midpoint when there was a break.
He emphasized the variety of different activities taking place.
He said some students had two Standards of Learning tests they were preparing for, others had one, and some were preparing for a Career and Technical Education industry certification test.
“The kids enjoyed it,” he said. “Some kids were making up work, others were prepping for assessments, we were also getting ready for the WorkKeys Business Writing Test, which is a substitute test that some of our students took to substitute for the writing test.”
He said that Lead Guidance Counselor Ale Massenburg had a guidance session going on with some students that were in need of some focus on conflict resolution.
He noted that she was also organizing a tour of the Franklin Business Center on Jan. 13 for a group of students that had expressed some interest in being entrepreneurs and starting their own businesses.
“And they’re going to do the second round of the tour on the 20th,” he said, alluding to the high school’s second Enrichment Friday of January. “So it’s not just SOL prep and CTE industry certification prep. We’re also going to use (Enrichment Fridays) for robotics, we’ve got lots of different ideas for this, so I think it’s a great thing.”
Ward 1 Board Member and Board Chair Robert Holt said, “I think that participation is phenomenal for the first time, and I think that’ll grow too, don’t you?”
Felts said that it will, and he gave one noteworthy reason why — everyone who stayed the whole time received a free cheeseburger from Dairy Queen.
“That may sound crazy, but you’d be surprised how many people on Monday morning that missed Friday wanted to know could they get one of those coupons,” Felts said. “I was like, ‘Come on the 20th.’”
Ward 2 Board Member Arwen Councill asked how the student attendance compared to the high school’s SOL and CTE Academy Saturdays, and Felts said those tended to draw 80 to 90 students at their height.
Speaking of the 115-student Jan. 6 attendance, Felts said, “I’m not saying that’s a record-setting day, because we’ve been doing (SOL and CTE Academy) for about 10 years, but I think it’s probably in the top five.”
“That’s great,” Councill said.
At-Large Board Member and Vice Chair Carrie Johnson said, “I will tell you that my children never expressed an interest to go — I’m sorry — to SOL Academy on Saturday, and they were both up early and ready to go for this, and they had friends that aren’t even taking SOLs that went because they knew they could go, and they needed to finish up some work, and they needed to get some help from their teachers. So there is something about it being on a Friday, they didn’t have to give up their Saturday to do it. And it worked.”
Felts praised other departments that made the day possible.
“Thank you to the transportation department, because without them we wouldn’t have got all 115 there,” he said. “And food services provided snacks, breakfast and lunch, so we fed them three times actually within four hours.”
FCPS Interim Superintendent Dr. Carlton Carter said that as he walked around at the school on Jan. 6, “some of the teachers pulled me to the side and said, ‘I really enjoy this because it’s all for the students that want to be here.’ So it’s made learning easier because they wanted to be there.”
He said one suggested the school system keep the program going.
“I said, ‘Well, we’ll see,’” Carter said. “But yeah, it was a good start.”
THE REPORT OF THE SECOND DAY
At the Jan. 12 meeting, Felts said he expected attendance to be a little bit smaller on Jan. 20 only because the school would be focusing on the expedited retakers for testing.
In a Saturday, Jan. 28, interview, Felts reported that 77 students attended.
“Most of the students who attended were students who took an SOL test for the first time or as an expedited retaker this past week,” he said. “They attended to get tutoring to give them that extra push to pass the test. We also had students making up work and preparing for CTE industry certification teachers.”
Registration is not required for Enrichment Fridays at the high school, but it was required for the elementary and middle schools, running through Tuesday, Jan. 31.
The first Enrichment Friday at Samuel P. Morton Elementary School and Joseph P. King Jr. Middle School will be Feb. 10.
The day will run from 9:15 a.m.-2:15 p.m. at SPM, and it will run from 8:45 a.m.-12:45 p.m. at JPK.