Importance of community highlighted at joint meeting

Published 4:35 pm Thursday, December 21, 2023

Franklin City Public Schools leadership gave a report on the school division’s status and future plans during a joint meeting of the Franklin City Council and Franklin City School Board on Thursday, Dec. 14, drawing praise from multiple council members.

The meeting, which was held in the library at S.P. Morton Elementary School, featured a report delivered by FCPS Superintendent Dr. Carlton Carter’s staff. The report included a strategic plan update; a quality of schools report; parent, community, attendance and Career and Technical Education updates; updates on capital improvement needs and the balanced calendar plan; and a staffing update.

The CTE update included details on the school division’s recently announced proposal to reorganize J.P. King Jr. Middle School into a CTE Center. This proposal involves moving seventh grade to join the eighth grade at Franklin High School and moving sixth grade to SPM to allow room for the center at JPK.

The slideshow presentation from FCPS Director of Gifted and Pupil Personnel Dr. Tanieka Ricks noted that part of the proposed JPK reorganization plan, which the School Board is considering, would involve hiring a principal and career counselor for the JPK Career & Technical Center and would also involve designating an additional administrator at SPM.

Discussion during the Dec. 7 School Board meeting additionally included mention of an administrator being placed at the high school to oversee the seventh and eighth grades.

At the conclusion of the school division’s presentation Dec. 14, Carter said, “One of the key elements that we learned in our three-day strategic plan is that community is essential in order to uplift Franklin City Public Schools, and one of the things that we discussed was generational poverty and how do we address that.

“So we’re looking at the CTE Center and we’re looking at the balanced calendar, which is year-round schools, to begin to address that,” he added. “And so we believe those are key levers, but we cannot do it without the City Council’s support. So I just want to thank you for what you’ve done so far and what you will continue to do.”

Franklin Mayor Robert “Bobby” Cutchins replied, “We want to thank you as well and all of you for what you’re doing. The positive trends that we’re seeing forward, they’re just awesome. The CTE program, there’s so many exciting opportunities for the students going forward in the future, it just opens so many doors, so just looking at what all is happening is just like an early gift tonight. So it’s great, and we thank you all.”

Ward 4 Councilman Dr. Linwood Johnson expressed excitement for the benefit that the city’s students will experience from the anticipated expansion of hands-on learning and training opportunities.

“I think the CTE Center is going to be a blessing for the city,” he said. 

He also echoed Carter’s emphasis when he underscored what will make the JPK reorganization plan possible.

“It’s going to take the whole community working together,” Johnson said.