Controversial ‘Freshman Focus’ Program Approved by Board of Education

District attorney advised that the program needed board approval

Schools Superintendent Edward Seto

Schools Superintendent Edward Seto

A modified version of a controversial program designed to ease Franklin High School’s freshmen into the high school life was approved by the Board of Education at its Oct. 17 meeting.

The program, known as “Freshman Focus,” was the subject of controversy and much comment at the last two school board meetings.

Detractors say it’s nothing more than a study hall cheating students of the opportunity to earn more credits toward graduation, while supporters say it will help reduce the school’s dropout rate.

Some board members were rankled because the program was instituted at the school without the board’s approval.

The board at its Sept. 19 meeting directed schools Superintendent Edward Seto to seek a legal opinion as to whether that approval was necessary. Seto had an answer at the Oct. 17 meeting.

Seto said that board attorney David Carroll said the board should have approved the program.

Seto said that “while I do not agree with that opinion,” he’d asked that a modified version of the program be placed on the Oct. 17 agenda for board action.

The revamped program runs for a single marking period, Seto said, but students have the option to take a second quarter and earn up to 2.5 credits after completing a service learning project.

Students have the ability to opt-out of the program and take an elective, he said. He said about 30 of the 604 freshman have chosen to do so.

When asked why the board questioned the program, board president Julia Presley said it’s teh board’s responsibility to ensure that all laws and policies are followed.

“Whether we agree with it or not,” the board has to make sure proposed programs follow the proper process, she said.

The board later unanimously approved the program, with no comment.


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