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Franklin County Schools reaches out to charter school parents, moves forward with strategic plan

The excitement of a new year is driven by our hope to overcome challenges and in 2016, Franklin County Schools is doing something different. We have an updated strategic plan and are inviting parents with students attending charter schools to take a closer look at what FCS has to offer.

Dr. Pascal Mubenga took the job as Superintendent of Franklin County Schools less than six months ago. In this short time, he has worked to build a foundation focused on practical exercises that will have a direct impact on students.

“When I started the interview process here, I knew we had a lot to offer,” he says. “I told our board, ‘we have a good district, but we can make it great.’”

With that in mind, he wanted to connect with students who have left Franklin County Schools in pursuit of the charter experience. However, many parents have been frustrated by the transition to charters because they lack some of the established programs found in traditional public education.

“Public schools in North Carolina have a lot to offer,” says Mubenga. “In Franklin County, we have programs that many charters can’t afford to offer.”

The school district prides itself on the opportunities available to students in areas such as Career and Technical (CTE) trade programs, middle and high school sports, a diverse campus that gives students a true sense of community, and opportunities for college and Advanced Placement coursework.

However, this school year (2015-2016) over 900 students from Franklin County attend charter schools. That means the district is losing over $1 million in local funding each year, making growth difficult.

“We know we have to be competitive,” he says. “We’re not the only option for students anymore and that means we have to show them why our schools are better.”

Throughout the district, school leaders are feeling the pressure as competition grows and state mandates increase, often without corresponding funding. But a recently-approved and updated strategic plan highlights the target areas district and school officials will use to guide their work over the next five years. The updated plan, entitled Our Blueprint, 2015-2020, has been revised and re-branded to capture Mubenga’s vision, without reinventing the wheel. He is confident that with this plan in place, his team will have the direction they need to make Franklin County Schools competitive.

“Our work hinges on improving student achievement and we have a great team in place to make that happen,” he said.

According to Mubenga, the district’s vision, mission, and beliefs remain the same, but thanks to the input of school board members, parents, students, and business leaders, the goals and benchmarks of Our Blueprint have been honed and are now more realistic. The district is looking to unveil the updated strategic plan to faculty and staff in the coming months and will be hosting community forums throughout the county to encourage parents to learn more about how the district plans to move forward.

With strategies in mind, Mubenga remains optimistic about the future and looks forward to bringing his district together to support education in Franklin County. “It’s an exciting time for us and we are looking to our community for continued support,” he concluded.

Patrick Glace

Patrick Glace is the director of communications for Franklin County Schools.