Franklin School of Innovation in Asheville wins $194,000 government grant

Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

  • 1

franklin_school_of_innovation_2014Press release here:

The Franklin School of Innovation, Asheville’s new Expeditionary Learning Middle & High School is one of 16 national winners of a Charter School Education Grant. Franklin was awarded $194,000 from the U.S. Department of Education and is the only recipient in the state of North Carolina. The school was chosen for its efforts in a number of areas, including the promotion of student diversity, professional learning activities, and community support.

Michelle Vruwink, Franklin’s primary founder and Executive Director was the lead author on the grant. “I’m thrilled at the news of financial support for our vision,” Vruwink said. “For a start up school in the current school budget climate, this grant gives us resources that we couldn’t otherwise afford. This allows us to focus on developing the Expeditionary Learning model, supporting teacher’s professional growth, and improving instruction in our classrooms.”

Congressman Mark Meadows’ office called the school with the news and sent a letter of congratulations, applauding Franklin’s efforts to seek a student body diversified by socioeconomic status, ethnicity and learning differences. Meadows is scheduled to visit the school on Thursday.

“The competition is fierce, “ noted Joel Medley, Director of the NC Office of Charter Schools, “It speaks a great deal to Franklin’s effort, commitment, and strategy to have received the Charter School Program funds.”

Board Chair, Danielle Moser says the ongoing support of the Glass Foundation contributed to the school winning the large federal grant. The Foundation purchased 13+ acres in Enka which is under construction as the school’s permanent site.

Facts about the Franklin School of Innovation

The Franklin School of Innovation, which will soon move to its permanent location on 13+ acres at 265 Sardis Road, is a free public charter school serving students in grades 6-12 in the Asheville and Buncombe County region. The school is open to any student eligible for enrollment in North Carolina public schools.

The school is still accepting applications for 2014/15 school year for grades 6-9; limited slots are available.

Franklin opened in August 2014 with grades 6-9, and will a grade each year. By year four, FSI will have capacity to serve 288 students in middle school and 448 students in high school.

Curriculum follows the Expeditionary Learning model developed by Outward Bound and the Harvard School of Education, which emphasizes hands-on project-based learning, a spirit of inquiry and critical thinking, and strong character development.

The Expeditionary Learning model also incorporates meaningful family engagement, with student-led conferences and passage portfolios in which students present their learning and achievements.

Teachers at FSI participate in an integrated program of professional learning, with frequent collaboration and shared planning, observation, and feedback. Teachers develop multi-disciplinary “Learning Expeditions” which engage students in long-term, real-world learning opportunities across the disciplines. Civic engagement and service learning will be incorporated in the Expeditions.

The Franklin School of Innovation is not-for-profit organization organized under the laws of North Carolina, with 501(c)3 status pending, filed in October 2013. All work done to organize the school to date has been accomplished by unpaid volunteers.

Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

  • 1

You Might also Like


  1. Matt October 11, 2014

    Good for them! But I’m surprised a start up school got this money. Educational grants are extremely competitive and this school has no track record of functionality. Maybe it’s their all star board. Or a ‘who you know’ situation.

    In my opinion the money would be better spent on a school that has it’s feet on the ground and direction and methodology clearly honed after a few years of real experience. But whatever, I’m sure it will be put to good use.

    1. Nate October 11, 2014

      Actually, it’s a grant program specifically targeted towards new charter schools to support planning, program design and implementation in states where there’s no equivalent state-level grant program. It couldn’t have gone to a more established school, because a more established school wouldn’t even have been eligible to apply.

      1. Matt October 12, 2014

        Ah, that makes sense.

  2. Sean October 8, 2014

    Very cool.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Related Stories