Academic Care: Reflections by Director Chris Barnes

October 2, 2022

We all know what it means to be “sent to the principal's office.” 

But what does it mean to be “sent to the Director of Academic Care’s office?” 

First and most importantly, it means someone cares. That someone is likely to be a teacher, advisor, coach, or parent who sees that some assistance may be needed and that something will require time, energy, and knowledge of the student. 

The reason for this might come from low grades or lower grades than expected given a student’s ability and normal work ethic. 

The reason might be a feeling that a student is not quite at their best this week and needs a check-in. 

The reason could be a cross-faculty discussion, where two teachers notice that a single student might be excelling in one subject, but struggling in the other and neither teacher may understand why. 

The reason might be that grades are good, expectations are high — and so is the student's spirit, so this is the perfect time and space for extension, enrichment, and exploration. 

This is what makes my job and Franklin’s Academic Care Program so enjoyable and necessary. 

If your child is sent to my office, please do not be concerned; be reassured. Be reassured that your child will be provided with the time, energy, and knowledge to remedy what needs to be remedied; challenge themselves when challenge is needed; and take guidance when only a nudge is needed. Above all else, they will be heard.  

I will work alongside your child and make suggestions that we know may not work 100% of the time, but even when they don’t, will bring us closer to what will work. In a school dedicated to Academic Care, “failure” is not a shameful or forbidden word. Rather, it’s a key to future success. 

One final note: Even if your child is not “sent to my office,” they will all be challenged, strengthened, and supported through Academic Care sessions that occur throughout the week. 

It is a four-year program, but students will not receive a grade. The measure of success will be determined when they arrive at college and feel miles ahead of their peers; or on their first day of work, when they are confident that every challenge can be met.