Serving Bright Students with Unique Learning Styles, Franklin Academy Is More Than Just A School
Have you ever wondered what it would feel like to be in a safe and welcoming school community where you can be yourself, where making friends is easy, and where teachers understand you?
Offering a unique and model program created by innovative and talented educators for students who may find it hard to thrive in the social setting of traditional schools, we provide hope.
In the right learning environment our students are able to realize their potential, go on to higher education, enjoy self-sufficient lives filled with meaningful relationships, and make their mark on the world.
Here is what you will find on our homepage:
Transforming Lives Is What We Do Best
“Finding your school has been a blessing for our whole family.”
If one’s rationale for being a teacher is to make a positive difference in the life of students, there is no better opportunity to affect lives than right here, right now at Franklin Academy. This is what our parents tell us.
- You truly do save kids, families and lives.
- For the first time in John’s life he might be in the right place at the right time.
- We can’t believe how lucky we – and Ryan – are!
- Thank you for giving our daughter Emmeline an education and a life.
- As we left the school he said “Mom, I finally feel there is hope.”
“She has shown us all how brightly she can shine!”
Our students are smart, interesting, and passionate young people who have dreams and aspirations. They are curious about a lot of things, and they are exceptionally talented in different areas. They are kind and respectful and enjoy helping others. They want to have friends.
While our students share similar traits and characteristics, each is unique. Some may be identified with Autism Spectrum Disorder – Level 1 (formerly Asperger’s Syndrome), a Nonverbal Learning Disability, a Social Pragmatic Communication Disorder, Anxiety, or ADHD. But, in the right school environment with the right educators, all of them can succeed – graduating from high school, advancing to a wide-range of post-secondary opportunities, living an enriching adult life, and making their mark on the world.
“Once the heart is held safe, their academic minds have no limits!”
The foundation of Franklin Academy is a safe and welcoming environment in which every student feels secure, connected, and understood. This is the bedrock of our school, forged by thoughtful and deliberate educators who share an inspiring vision and a common set of values. Our teenagers find support and individual acceptance, as well as the challenge and reward of higher-level relationships. This allows them to develop their identities to become strong, healthy, productive adults who enjoy life and meaningful relationships with others.
Living Where You Learn
We believe that a boarding school community is the desired setting for enhancing social interactions – a crucial component in our students’ comprehensive curriculum. What is taught in the classroom about relationships is practiced across campus – during meals in the dining hall, in the commons room of the dormitory, at community meeting, and while participating in clubs, activities, or off-campus excursions. With one educator for every two students on campus, there are many opportunities to seize that “teachable moment,” whatever the venue. In fact, the lessons learned outside the classroom, might be just as important as the lessons learned inside the classroom.
The Power of Friendships
In our community students enjoy the solidarity of belonging to a natural peer group that shares similar strengths, common interests, and comparable challenges. Friendships blossom. The positive impact of this transformative experience should not be underestimated. Simply stated, having friends helps to build self-esteem, and feeling good about oneself becomes a key to unlocking the potential of every student. What educational goal could be more important?
“The social/emotional/executive function component is without a doubt the area that I value most about Franklin Academy.”
The Core of Our Curriculum
We educate the whole student. These ten competencies are the foundation of our holistic program.
- Emotional Intelligence
- Social Cognition
- Executive Functioning
- Self-Care and Advocacy
- Reading Comprehension
- Critical Thinking
- Research and Problem Solving
- Mathematics and Data Analysis
- Study Skills
Our teachers are Franklin Academy’s greatest strength. The school seeks veteran educators and young professionals who share a passion for serving students who learn differently. We value creativity and collaboration, abundant energy and high professional standards, compassion and commitment, flexibility, initiative, and, of course, a great sense of humor!
“Ross’ acceptance to Binghamton University is a dream come true.”
The College Search
To help students and parents identify an appropriate range of post-secondary options, Franklin Academy employs a full-time college counselor who has significant expertise in placing our graduates at schools where they can be successful. In addition to all of the typical services offered by our college counselor, including frequent seminars for parents and lunch-time meetings for our students and representatives of various colleges, the school sponsors an annual fall college tour through New England and the mid-Atlantic states for one week every October.
Preparation through Practice
To give our seniors and postgraduates the best chance for collegiate success, we have created the Franklin Academy Learning Institute, or FLI as the program is known on campus. With the motto of “preparation through practice,” FLI replicates the structure and experience of the college freshman year. However, there is this difference – we have a safety net in place that supports our students as they embrace new challenges and learn new lessons. Does FLI work? Our alumni report they are significantly ahead of their neurotypical classmates in addressing the realities of college!
A Continuum of Support
Franklin Academy’s College Transitional Support (FACTS) program is designed to assist students and parents making the shift from high school to college. The student works in collaboration with a FACTS counselor who becomes immersed in the student’s college life, providing guidance to help plan and prioritize academic tasks, understand and advocate for support services, evaluate performance on a regular basis, and problem-solve. Video conferencing, phone conversations, emails, and campus visits allow counselor and student to connect, communicate, and ascertain if additional interventions are necessary. Ultimately, the larger goal is to help the student realize personal growth while gaining confidence in the ability to navigate successfully a collegiate environment.
“The creativity of Franklin Academy’s educators is the magic that distinguishes its program.”
Franklin Academy has been a center of educational innovation since its founding. Our talented teachers, working in teams to implement a competency-based curriculum, are encouraged to respond quickly to student needs. We design lessons and activities for small groups of students, assessing results and applying best practices, shared experiences, and perceptive insights in a continuing quest to improve and strengthen every aspect of our work. Consequently, we are able to move intentionally and carefully to support individual growth and sustain the health of our close-knit community. This innovation takes place every day and in every class at Franklin Academy. Other initiatives over time become school-wide traditions. Click on any of the special events below to learn more about the richness of our holistic curriculum.
We expect our students to become independent young adults who are able to take responsibility for their lives, self-advocate, and engage successfully in the larger world beyond Franklin Academy.
“How do you measure success?”
At Franklin Academy our goal is so much more than just getting students across the finish line of high school with a diploma in hand. Graduating seniors and postgraduates leave campus with plans to pursue their interests and passions. Our alumni know their strengths. They can identify helpful resources. They can self-advocate. Most will attend college. Some may choose a less traditional path. All are determined, however, to realize fulfilling lives, matching potential with accomplishment.
College Destinations for Franklin Academy Graduates
College is all about the right fit on the basis of personal aspirations, academic achievements, available programs (including accommodations and support), location, and size of the institution. Here is a sample of recent matriculations.
What Are Alumni Doing Now?
We help our students identify their passions and encourage them to develop their interests because we believe that what is learned about oneself becomes the foundation for leading a fulfilling and independent adult life. Consequently, our graduates embrace a wide-range of career opportunities that defy stereotype, and they are actively working in the following professions.
“The first thing that really excited me about Franklin Academy was that it is ultimately a college preparatory school.”
Franklin Academy creates a community-focused boarding and day school where students with unique learning styles develop and strengthen academic and social competencies vital to the pursuit of college goals, professional aspirations, and fulfilling lives.
To fulfill this mission:
Students belong to a school community where they feel safe, connected, understood, and supported.
Students grow into independent, responsible young adults ready to pursue their interests and passions.
Alumni succeed because they understand their own strengths and challenges, are able to self-advocate, and have the skills necessary to move ahead as life-long learners.
Franklin Academy is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. Accreditation means that our school meets the criteria for those standards of excellence by which the “educational community assures the high quality of each member school.” NEASC commends Franklin Academy for creating an academic program and residential community that completely matches its mission. Additionally, Franklin Academy is a member of the National Association of Independent Schools, comprising the best private independent schools in the country.
Registration for FLI Students 8:30 am
Registration for Team B, C, and D Students 10:00 am
All-School Barbecue at the Gelston House 5:30 pm
During the first term of this new school year, we spend a lot of time getting to know one another. Much of the work occurs at the team level, but we come together every day in Community Meeting to acknowledge and celebrate our shared life in this boarding school. We also employ specific strategies and embrace long-standing traditions to facilitate the development of close friendships across the school.
Today at the longer Wednesday Community Meeting, we will experience the Franklin Academy version of Speed Friending. Teachers will brief students regarding tips for starting conversations. They will discuss the importance of facial expressions, eye contact, and body language to communicate a positive rapport. Then, everyone will be mixed and matched across teams and divided into four equal groups, each assigned to a large classroom in the Humanities Building. Sitting in two facing rows, participants will engage in two-minute speeding friending conversations before rotating to the next desk.
By the end of the session, everyone will have talked with ten or twelve different people. Perhaps some were already friends and classmates, and others were less well-known. Regardless, students and teachers will walk away from Speed Friending, knowing each other a little better.
As a way of saying thank you to Franklin Academy for its loyal business over the past decade, the Gelston House hosts an autumn barbecue for faculty and students. The event goes on rain or shine. Usually, we are on the back patio looking out over the Connecticut River. The view is spectacular. There is always plenty of food, which is a good thing. Our students devour countless hamburgers and hotdogs, mountains of fries, and bowls of salad. Because this is a great venue, there are more Franklin Academy events at the Gelston House during the school year. These include a special dinner for parents and grandparents in October. The all-school prom and our alumni reunion dinner are held there in May. Finally, at the end of the year we return to celebrate the accomplishments of our seniors and postgraduates in the company of their families.
We have successfully launched a new school year, and the days are passing quickly. Before we know it, Fall Parents’ and Grandparents’ Days will be here. The dates are October 10 and 11.
Here are some of the coming attractions. First, all parents have the opportunity to meet with their advisor or team contact. Of course, these conversations focus on student progress through the initial five weeks of the school year. There will also be a class visitation schedule. We are planning a mini college fair for Thursday afternoon. Mitchell, Landmark, Beacon, Dean, Mansfield Hall, and the College Internship Program (CIP) Berkshire have already agreed to participate.
There will be a seminar specifically for our new parents. Next, Becky Bronson, a Franklin Academy mother, will share her story. Becky’s son, Andy Penfield, graduated from Franklin Academy in 2011 and went on to earn his undergraduate degree from Keene State College in 2015. Andy is now finishing a second year serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Liberia. Becky believes that much of Andy’s success during the past few years is due to what he learned at Franklin Academy.
Finally, we are inviting all parents, grandparents, teachers, and trustees to a reception and dinner at the Gelston House. This hospitality is our way of saying thank you to everyone for joining the Franklin family.
Franklin Academy’s seventh annual weeklong Fall College Tour begins today. First, we will travel into Massachusetts and north to Maine. Then, we will drive across New Hampshire to Vermont and south into New York. Because we want to open the eyes of our students to many possibilities, the itinerary includes a wide range of schools. We are visiting Western New England University, Clark University, Bates College, and Bowdoin for the first time. Dean, Champlain College, the University of Vermont, Mansfield Hall, Middlebury, Union, Bennington, and Landmark are popular choices that we are visiting again. Along the way, we are staying in very comfortable hotels. Typically, we will have lunch on college campuses, and dinners will be special treats in carefully selected restaurants. Of course, there will be many opportunities to rendezvous with Franklin Academy alumni who attend these schools. Finally, we return to campus on Saturday, October 19.
The Greater Franklin Open, an annual autumn event highly anticipated by the entire school community, is one of the highlights of our second term. Each year we schedule the GFO for the last Friday in October. We suspend classes for the day, allowing everyone to build holes for our mini-golf course in the morning. Then, foursomes of teachers and students tee off in the early afternoon in pursuit of the coveted GFO jackets. Only the green jackets of Augusta are more prestigious. In addition to the low score winners, students win awards for building the most creative hole, as well as the most playable hole. The most enthusiastic team or foursome wins an award. Finally, we recognize those players whose dress and panache personify sartorial splendor.