From a press release:
The Board of Directors of FernLeaf Community Charter School is pleased to announce it has submitted an application to the NC Department of Public Instruction Office of Charter Schools to operate a new public charter school in Henderson County. FernLeaf is a different kind of public school created by local educators, parents, and community members.
FernLeaf’s Mission is to foster a rich learning environment that embodies the essence of community, understanding, and the human spirit. Grounded in humble respect for our surroundings, the individual, and the world as a whole, we seek to engage the unique passions and aptitudes of our school community so that in addition to achieving academic fluency, students become thoughtful, compassionate, and engaged.
The needs of all students are met by providing…
• a small K-8 learning environment built upon kindness, respect and trust.
• a robust project based experiential learning model.
• kind and caring teachers.
• small collaborative learning environments, personalized learning plans and a comprehensive assessment strategy designed to meet the academic, intellectual, social and personal needs of students.
Enrollment will begin in Early 2016 for students in Kindergarten through 3rd grade with an additional grade level added each year. While the exact location has yet to be determined, FernLeaf is currently evaluating sites in the northern section of Henderson County with reasonable proximity to the I26 corridor. This location facilitates easy access for students from both Henderson and Buncombe counties. FernLeaf will provide families with a variety of transportation options (see website for details).
FernLeaf’s approach utilizes the Common Core and NC Essential Standards as a foundation for educating the whole child. Our holistic approach revolves around four main areas:
The instructional approach moves beyond traditional classroom based instruction by employing a rich and varied project based experiential learning model that brings the curriculum to life and allows learning to become meaningful, relevant, and engaging. FernLeaf students not only acquire knowledge and content but are able to apply it in real world situations through project work.
FernLeaf’s academic focus balances traditional core academic subjects with socialemotional learning, arts, service learning and stewardship, environmental education/awareness, sustainable living, outdoor education, entrepreneurship, cultural awareness, foreign language, and comprehensive health and wellness. FernLeaf’s small size and project based experiential learning model permits effective integration of these varied disciplines allowing students to make connections between all of their learning.
Small size allows a personalization of school and sense of community that is not possible in larger schools. FernLeaf offers a middle school program that is nearly 80% smaller than the average middle school in the area and an elementary school program that is nearly 50% smaller. This allows FernLeaf to foster a healthy culture and strong sense of community within the school while reaching out to be a part of the broader community.
FernLeaf also takes a different approach to student growth through its assessment practices. A comprehensive assessment strategy is utilized to meet the academic, intellectual, social, and personal needs of students. This strategy incorporates not just quantitative measures, but a wide variety of ongoing qualitative measures designed to help students and teachers form a complete picture of student growth and development. While FernLeaf offers a distinct educational approach, parents can rest assured that their children will be measured against the same set of standards as students throughout the rest of the state.