As we begin a new chapter at the Franklin County School, I would like to take this time to convey how committed the faculty and staff is to broadening the student’s learning opportunities beyond traditional classroom walls, and to preparing our students for post-secondary education and beyond. We are professionals and our goal is to provide first-rate educational experiences for the students, their families, and our community.

From pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade, our curriculum is integrated, inquiry-based, and at times expeditionary. Our students are embarking on a rigorous and relevant learning journey to discover themselves and their interconnections to our world.

Our Kindergarten though eighth-grade precollege prep academic program, beginning in the 2017-18 school year, will include an Honors Academy starting in sixth grade and continuing through grade 12. The Honors Academy will promote competency in cognitive and soft skills that are increasingly necessary to live and thrive in the 21st century - commitment, critical thinking, creative problem solving, flexibility, manners, and effective communication. From academics, athletics, and the arts, our faculty, staff, and coaches will guide our students to discover and develop their own strengths and passions. The FCS school as a whole will in turn support their efforts in creating and sustaining a student-centered and professional environment.

The naturally beautiful environment that surrounds our school provides us with a unique platform for our students to discover amazing careers that relate to sustainability and associated technologies. During the 2017-18 school year we will begin our new focus on science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM), a wide range of college and career readiness opportunities including Project Lead the Way’s (PLTW) K-5 STEM “Launch” curriculum, PLTW’s 6-8 STEM “Gateway” curriculum, and PLTW’s 9-12 STEM “Biomedical Science” and “Engineering” programs.

In addition, we will reinstate several College Board AP course options into the existing curriculum. Our expanding partnerships with both local and regional organizations will not only enhance the exchange of ideas and bring real issues to life, but will also encourage our students to be participants in the greater Franklin County community and beyond. The Franklin County School is a community school; it will indeed take the village to raise a child!

I would also like to take this time to reiterate that all decisions made at Franklin County School are focused on one thing - our children’s best interest. The faculty and staff are both fully aware of their expectations, which include conducting themselves professionally and providing an unwavering commitment to customer service for our students and their parent/guardians.

The faculty and staff take the notion of customer service very seriously. One of their many responsibilities is the legal obligation to report to the authorities any child suspected of using drugs, possessing, and/or any child suspected or being under the influence of drugs. This obligation extends to the suspicion of child abuse, neglect, or undue suffering. While it is an unfortunate fact that many children lack outside support, guidance, and discipline, it is also a fact that educators must take advantage of all possible resources to fill these gaps. Our children deserve better. Our children should never be the victims.

Additionally, any adult working, in any capacity, with the students knows they are to be positive role-models who exhibit character, integrity, manners, respect, and a commitment to the personal growth of our children. The old adage, “do as I say, not as I do,” does not apply at Franklin County School. Children watch adults carefully. If adults are rude, disrespectful, curse, and lose their tempers, the children take note.

In addition to our own faculty and staff we appreciate the adults in our school community and we love when positive posts are said on social media. We ask that responsible social media etiquette be the norm as to limit uninformed opinions related to school matters and encourage our community to contact us when they have questions or concerns about Franklin County School. We would love the opportunity to clear up confusion and demonstrate how every decision we make is in the best interest of our students.

Each day during morning announcements, I remind our school family that we must “be better today than we were yesterday.” We are only on this amazing planet of ours for a limited amount of time. What positive impact will we make while we are here? I eagerly look forward to seeing how our Franklin County students will make us all proud. The opportunities at the Franklin County School are limitless and it is an honor to serve as the school’s principal.

Chip Clatto is the principal of Franklin County School.