Franklin gets $20,000 grant for dual enrollment program

The Franklin Area School District’s dual enrollment program will run at no cost to students for the 2023-2024 school year thanks to a recently-awarded grant, district director of curriculum and instruction Christina Cohlhepp told the Franklin school board at its work session Monday.

Cohlhepp said that the district had received a $20,000 grant from the McElhattan Foundation for the program.

“Our students who participate in our CHS (College in High School) classes through Pitt at Bradford, as well as any other dual enrollment program such as PennWest-Clarion, Slippery Rock or anywhere else that our students may want to participate, will be fully paid for,” she explained. “There will be no charge to students and their families.”

She noted that there are no income requirements, and the program is open to any student that chooses to enroll in postsecondary dual enrollment programs as a Franklin junior or senior in the 2023-2024 school year.

“Their only question to us when we met with them was, ‘Are you sure you asked for enough money?’” she said of the McElhattan Foundation. “If we need more we’ll go back and ask for it, but we feel confident that we can fund a year’s worth. We’ve very excited to be able to offer that to our families.”

In another matter, Denise Phipps, director of student support services, updated the board on the expansion of the district’s summer Boot Camp Program, which is still taking registrations.

The program, a summer enrichment program that has run for the past two years for grades 3-6 and is funded by COVID-19 ESSER funds, will be expanded this year to include kindergarten through second grade as well, she said.

“We’ve had a large number of teachers telling us that some of our younger children weren’t where they should be, so we’ve expanded Boot Camp,” she said. “We’re trying to make sure all of our kids are at benchmark before reaching the next grade level.”

She said the camp will run in two three-week sessions, from June 12 through June 27 and July 12 through July 27, with a break the week of July 4.

This year’s theme is Mardi Gras and will “revolve around that part of the country and how it was settled,” she said, adding that some activities will include French lessons, swimming lessons, art and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) material, as well as some field trips.

“This year’s going to be pretty fun, I think,” she said.

Franklin superintendent Eugene Thomas thanked both Cohlhepp and Phipps for their efforts with the two programs.

In other business Monday, high school art teacher Darrellyn Freeman brought five of her senior art students to unveil the district’s first two artworks for the new high school in-house art collection.

The two pieces, a colored pencil drawing by Amy Ivell and a photograph by Holly Lynn Gibbons, both local artists, have been installed in the hallway just outside the high school library.

Freeman presented the idea of a student-selected in-house art collection to the school board last June. The collection, which will be the property of the Franklin Area School District, will act as a sort of “art time capsule” as the senior students add to the collection each year, and is meant to inspire students and strengthen community bonds, she said.

The students held their first fundraiser for the collection last December, where they raised over $1,000 to go toward the purchase of the artwork.

At next week’s formal business meeting, the panel will also vote on the tentative 2023-2024 budget. The budget will be up for final approval in June.