1. What are your school hours? Does your school go year round?
Our school day is from 8:20 am to 3:10 pm. We follow the nine month academic calendar, which typically starts in late August/early September and ends in early June. We offer Franklin Enrichment Activity Days for non-school days (for example winter break) and we have multiple offerings through Camp Franklin from the second week of June through the second week of August.
2. What curriculum do you use in lower, middle and high school?
Franklin Academy’s curriculum is modeled after a number of state standards, including: Common Core State Standards for math and English Language Arts, Minnesota K-12 Academic Standards for social studies, and Minnesota benchmarks for physical education. We use national standards to shape our curriculum in the following areas: Art Education (National Visual Art Standards);Science (Next Generation Science Standards);Health (National Health Education Standards); and Spanish (National Standards for Foreign Language Education).
Franklin Academy is accredited through the Minnesota Non-Public Schools Accrediting Association (MNSAA) and AdvancED and through the National Federation of Nonpublic School State Accrediting Associations (NFNSSAA).
You can find more information here.
3. What criteria would make my child a good fit for Franklin Academy?
We serve a wide range of students, with the goal of meeting each student where they are so they can reach their fullest potential. Given our small class sizes, we work to make sure that the students can benefit from each other, as well as from the teaching staff. We look for students who:
- Are capable of learning.
- Are able to effectively communicate with staff and classmates verbally or through a device
- Are independently mobile.
- Function independently in the classroom.
- Perform their own personal care.
- Behave in a way that permits both their learning and that of their peers to progress.
- Have primary diagnoses that preclude a mental or behavioral disorder.
We ask for a current independent neuro-psych or School Comprehensive Evaluation prior to admission, but if you don’t have one, please reach out to us. We accept other types of evaluations as well.
You can find out more at our Admissions page.
4. Are there opportunities for before and after school programming?
Yes! We have Owls’ Nest for before and after-school care. The hours before school are 7:00-8:00 am and after school are 3:10-5:00 pm. We also offer a number of activities through Franklin Enrichment, from service-learning to clubs and athletics. All programs are open to any student, whether enrolled at Franklin Academy or another school.
5. How can I get involved or volunteer if my child attends Franklin Academy?
At the start of each school year, you’ll have the opportunity to let us know how you would like to volunteer. Then staff will reach out to you as opportunities come up throughout the year that fit your interests. We have multiple ways to get involved, from event planning and prep to clubs and helping students check out books.
6. When are your admissions deadlines? Do you offer rolling admissions?
There are two application deadlines each year. This year those are Friday, Feb. 24, 2023, and Friday, April 21, 2023. If we do not fill classroom openings after the second admissions period, we will move into rolling admissions beginning June 19, 2023, to fill them. For more information, please see our Admissions page.
7. What is the student diversity within your school?
You can see a few different types of diversity here, such as identified gender, ethnicity, and location. Our student body is roughly 70% white, 11% African American, 7% Asian, 6% Native American and 2% each Hispanic and Middle Eastern. We have roughly 2/3 male students and 1/3 female, and 2/3 of our students are autistic while the other 1/3 have other neurodiversities.
8. How many years does a child typically attend Franklin Academy?
We see a wide range, with many students staying until they graduate, and some only staying for 2-3 years. Our ultimate goal is to teach students the skills they need to succeed. If a student reaches the point where they have the skills to successfully return to a public or private general education environment, that’s a win for everyone. Many families choose to continue sending their child to Franklin Academy because of the continual progress and safe, welcoming environment their child experiences each day. We also welcome high school students, who may only have 3-4 years until they graduate. It’s never too late to reach your potential.
9. Does your school develop an IEP?
We do not develop or use IEPs, although if your child has one prior to enrolling at Franklin Academy, we review it and use that as an additional data source. For each student, in collaboration between teachers, behavioral therapists, and (of course!) caregivers, we create an individual development plan.
10. Is your school a charter school?
Franklin Academy is an independent, tuition-based private school, which allows us to be flexible and adaptable in meeting each child’s needs.
11. Can I use county waivers to pay for the K-12 programming?
County waivers cannot be used for Franklin Academy, but you can use them for Franklin Capstone, our adult programming for 18-28 year-olds, and for some of the Camp Franklin offerings.
12. What is the student diversity within your school?
You can see a few different types of diversity here, such as identified gender, ethnicity, and location. Our student body is roughly 70% white, 11% African American, 7% Asian, 6% Native American and 2% each Hispanic and Middle Eastern. We have roughly 2/3 male students and 1/3 female, and 2/3 of our students are autistic while the other 1/3 have other neurodiversities
13. How much is your tuition and how much tuition assistance will I receive?
Currently tuition is $36,050. We understand and appreciate the financial commitment families make in deciding to send their children to a private school. Our admissions process is need-blind, and we offer acceptance without consideration of the family’s financial status. If needed, assistance is awarded based on the family’s financial needs and is funded through our fundraising efforts and sponsorships.
You can learn more about tuition assistance here.
14. What opportunities will my child have to improve their social skills and make friends?
One of the hallmarks of Franklin Academy is the emphasis on building relationships. Our small class sizes, with a student to staff ratio of 4:1 in lower grades and 8:1 in upper grades, allows our teachers and therapists to work closely with your child to help them feel at ease and develop social skills throughout the day. Additionally, our after-school clubs and summer camp provide opportunities for your child to make new friends and develop social skills outside of the traditional classroom setting. Because this is a community, you’ll meet other parents who understand your situation, and your child will have plenty of opportunities to go to parties and social events. When you ask students what they like about school, one of the first things they say is “friends!”
15. What additional services can my child receive at Franklin Center?
Depending on your child’s needs, we have mental health, behavioral health, physical, speech, and occupational therapy at Franklin Therapy, which is located in the same building as Franklin Academy. Franklin Therapy and Franklin Academy staff partner on each student’s development plan to offer holistic, cohesive support. Because of our size and our collaborative approach, we work together to share progress updates and brainstorm solutions.
16. Do you offer transportation?
Due to our small overall enrollment, we do not offer transportation. Many of our parents carpool with one another, and we’re happy to help you connect with others who live nearby.
17. Do you offer a hot lunch program?
We do not offer hot lunch, but we do have a cafeteria and amenities for students to heat their lunch or store it in the refrigerator. We are also vigilant about allergens.
18. Do you have assistants in the classroom?
Our holistic approach includes tailoring our support to each student’s individual needs and pace of learning. In grades K-8, each classroom is staffed by a teacher and a behavior therapist. In the higher grades, the behavior specialist may work with multiple classrooms, but we maintain a low student-to-staff ratio that ranges between 4:1 and 8:1. We do this to make sure each student gets the support and attention they need to thrive in the classroom.
19. I love the focused approach, but I worry about how my child will cope after graduation. They won’t get all this individual attention and accommodations. How do you prepare them for that?
We believe that strengthening students’ skills and self-advocacy by being in a safe, supportive environment, does prepare them for life after graduation. With our emphasis on social/emotional skills, self-regulation, and learning how to learn, we set our students on a path to success, whatever they choose to do after high school.
We also offer specific classes around life skills, beyond the daily emphasis. We have a life skills class in middle school that’s focused on initial thinking around life after school, and what they’re interested in. We have a future guidance class in high school. We also have Career Technical Exploration (CTE) courses in the high school where students can explore possible careers in areas such as culinary science or animal care, for example. We model a limited release approach, expecting more autonomy from our high school students, for example, than we do from our middle school students.
For students who need more support after high school, we have the option of enrolling at Franklin Capstone to learn life skills as well as participate in vocational training. If college is in your student’s future, but they need some support, Franklin Capstone’s programming can be done while enrolled at college, or even after college.
20. Do you have sports teams?
We do! You can read more on our Academics & Athletics page. We offer basketball, flag football, bowling, poly-hockey and more in partnership with Breck School and the Special Olympics. We also offer after-school activities like yoga and karate through Franklin Enrichment.
21. I have to take my student to a variety of therapy appointments throughout the day. How does the school handle that?
We’re flexible to the needs of each student and family, and will work with you to make the school schedule and your family schedule work together.
We also offer mental and behavioral health through Franklin Therapy, which is co-located with us (no need for pick ups and drop offs!). You can contact them to do a formal intake to see if they can meet your needs. Through Franklin Therapy, we have a partnership with Capernaum Pediatric Therapy for speech, occupational, and physical therapy.
22. How do you encourage children who have limited verbal skills or who are shy to begin interacting?
We do require students to be verbal or able to effectively communicate using a device. Understanding that communication can take many forms, we accommodate nonverbal communication styles as students work toward verbal communication. We use a variety of approaches such as word cards, sign language, or allowing time for slow processors to formulate their thoughts. Our goal is to create a safe and supportive environment where children feel comfortable and empowered to communicate in their own way.
We work closely with students who require a device for communication, taking into account their motivations and capabilities to facilitate their communication skills. We find that with our personalized approach, all of our students have been able to develop their communication skills and make progress in their social interactions.
23. What if my child doesn’t have a diagnosis or an IEP? Do we have to have one?
You don’t need a formal diagnosis or an IEP, but we do ask for background information such as teacher reviews. Official testing has to be performed by a psychologist, but Franklin Therapy can use those results to give a diagnosis.