Bachelor's degree in English. Middle school language arts teacher with over 20 years experience with a specialty in reading.
The first thing that strikes you as you approach a school is how large a Franklin Academy campus is and with an excess of open areas and state of the art facilities it's nothing short of welcoming.
Once inside you begin to understand why these are some of the premiers in the public charter schools system. Their facilities are always well kept and impeccably in their organization and cleanliness. Every aspect is handled with great care to detail.
Then you begin to notice how well stocked their offices, classrooms and lunch areas are. It is seldom that you see a fully staffed lunch room for the students where their meals are cooked and prepared on site. Everything from all the major food groups is available and the staff makes certain to include a well balanced meal that is accessible to every student and staff.
Next you see how everything flows with ease with a routine that follows a well established plan. The students carry themselves with pride and this applies to their uniforms, transitions from class to class, arrivals and dismissals. Having worked for other charter schools in the past , I can honestly say that this is one of the best run programs that I have ever had the pleasure of being involved with.
Students are well mannered, a friendly and supportive community, team based approach, and plenty of opportunities to be creative make working at Franklin a pleasure and rewarding experience. It does not stop there. Franklin students receive some of the best education that a school can provide.
How do Franklin students compare to their peers in other public schools across the State of Florida?
- English 80%
- State avg: 54%
- Math 78%
- State avg: 56%
- Algebra I 100%
- State avg: 60%
- Geometry 100%
- State avg: 53%
- Civics 92%
- State avg: 69%
These achievements have led Franklin Academy Pembroke Pines to be graded as an A school by the Florida Department of Education for the past three years.
Upon closer inspection you realize that all staff at Franklin Academy is well versed on their institution and everyone can answer any question pertaining to their program and facilities. From the janitorial to the administration staff and the principal of each school , all know everything there is to know about where they work and what their organization stands for. Franklin Academies, like all charter schools in Florida, are public schools and all follow the directions of their local school districts,and teach the same subjects with rigor like a regular public school. But here is where the difference is most notable.
Franklin Academy follows the International Baccalaureate Program.
The IB offers an education for students from age 3 to 19, comprising of four programmes that focus on teaching students to think critically and independently, and how to inquire with care and logic. The IB prepares students to succeed in a world where facts and fiction merge in the news, and where asking the right questions is a crucial skill that will allow them to flourish long after they’ve left our programmes. We are supported by IB teachers and coordinators who develop and promote the IB’s curriculums in almost 5,000 schools globally every day, in over 150 countries around the world.
What is the I.B system you may ask?
Well to put it simply, it is an educational model that among other things means to instill in students the knowledge that they need in order to forge ahead in an ever changing world at the international level. All lessons incorporate an aspect of the I.B program which in turn lead students to understand that they are part of a much larger world and not isolated or contained by frontiers or borders.
For example while teaching a lesson about Olympic Archery the students learned that all distances and all measurements in this Olympic discipline are done using the metric system and becoming familiar with it gives them the advantage of being able to recognize distances without the need of having to ask for a conversion table.
A bit more about Franklin Academies and the International Baccalaureate Program
Upon graduation seniors can end up with total cumulative college equivalent credits that are sufficient to meet the requirements for an Associates Degree in most U.S colleges. This is rarely seen in any other public, charter or private school and this by itself makes coming to Franklin a worth while experience.
Another key distinction between Franklin Academies and other charter schools, in fact most any public school, is that each classroom adopts a country.
Each teacher sets up a board featuring many of the most important facts of the country and teachers go all the way,in fact compete with each other in ensuring that their visuals go hand in hand with the concept. Lessons aim to connect a topic or theme for example to an element that is international in scope.
Lets say that we are reading the short story To Kill a Mocking Bird by Harper Lee, 1960, a novel about injustices and racism in the 1930's in a fictional town in the state of Alabama. While exploring the reading students learned and researched that injustices based on racism are not particular to any one state, country or part of the world. Using the class' adopted country of South Africa as a model, students learned that South Africa went through their own period in history where racism was an everyday occurrence known as Apartheid.
They were at first surprised that this system had been in place from about 1946 to as recent as 1990 but they also learned that for the most part South Africa had been able to overcome this racially divisive system and has forged ahead to make Apartheid a thing of the past.
As a side note they also learned about Nelson Mandela and the political reform that the country underwent under his leadership. This is yet one more positive result of instituting the I.B program at Franklin Academies. At most other schools the lesson would have ended with the conclusion of the story, yet Franklin students went on to read and research further, mostly on their own. In other words they took ownership of their learning.
Besides using a standard benchmark based curriculum approach Franklin also uses several diagnostic assessment tools to help teachers identify weaknesses and strengths. One such program is i-Ready which measures how well a student is doing and likely to do in state assessments:
The rich data from i-Ready Assessments empowers teachers with a deeper knowledge of their students’ needs. Based on industry leading research into assessment design and backed by extensive validity evidence, sophisticated data is transformed into meaningful, actionable insights that make differentiating instruction a reality for teachers. A suite of intuitive reports provide a common language through which both teachers and administrators can work towards the shared goal of student achievement. The i-Ready Assessments suite:
- Pinpoints students’ strengths and knowledge gaps at the sub-skill level
- Delivers personalized learning paths in i-Ready Instruction
- Saves time by automatically grouping students and offering targeted instructional recommendations
- Helps educators spot trends across student groups
- Predicts performance on specific standards by school/class. i-Ready is used by teachers to monitor their student's progress and with relevant data in hand , the instruction can be adapted.
Here are some highlights of how teachers and their students can benefit from the i-Ready Program:
Focusing on Six Key Teacher Actions
From our work with thousands of teachers, we have learned that focusing on the following key actions helps unlock i‑Ready’s full potential to help teachers meet each student’s unique needs.
- Prepare for and actively monitor each Diagnostic, preparing students, encouraging focus, and closely monitoring rushing and completion.
- Establish schedules that allow for Online Instruction, striving to give students access to 45 minutes of instruction per subject per week.
- Review reports after each Diagnostic, focusing on Diagnostic Results, Instructional Groupings, and Diagnostic Growth. Review data from interim assessments to prioritize and adjust instruction.
- Monitor student progress and respond by checking usage, percent of lessons passed, and alerts weekly to adjust schedules and your instruction when students struggle and domains are shut off.
- Deliver differentiated small group instruction weekly, grouping students based on their i‑Ready data and using recommended resources to guide instruction and deepen their understanding.
- Set clear goals for students and celebrate growth and progress, making sure goals are visible in classrooms, and regularly taking time to track progress and have data chats with students.
Another useful tool is Franklin Writes which is meant to asses how well a student is progressing in his or her writing and on which areas the teaching may be adapted to fit the student's needs.
So why should parents consider Franklin Academy ?
When you take into consideration and weight all the other particulars such as full size tracks, weight and exercise rooms, an assortment of extracurricular activities and a plethora of sports and clubs associated with the school, they above average in state scores, plus the rigor of their curriculum it's no wonder that attending Franklin is an easy decision which is bound to positively impact your children's education.
As of this date there are currently six Franklin Academy campuses in the State of Florida with plans to expand.
7882 S. Military Trail, Boynton Beach, FL 33463 in the Boynton Beach area
6301 S. Flamingo Road, Cooper City, FL 33330
5651 Hood Road, Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33418
5000 SW 207th Terrace, Pembroke Pines, FL 33332
18800 Pines Blvd., Pembroke Pines, FL 33029.
4500 NW 103 Ave., Sunrise, FL 33351
If you would like to learn more about this top of the line educational enterprise, perhaps want to look for a better alternative to your child's educational needs or want to give them a head start you can stop looking now and visit one of their schools.
Their motto "Building Better People Every Day" brings it all into perspective and at Franklin Academy this it's not just a catchy phrase, here they mean it!
Just click on the link and see what Franklin Academy can do for your child's future.
© 2018 Luis E Gonzalez