Letters in Support of FernLeaf
Below are some examples of the many thoughtful, intelligent, and insightful letters we have received in support of FernLeaf! We love the FernLeaf community!!!
...our community is calling for an educational resource like this: a community-supported, publicly funded school that focuses on raising, in the words of Fernleaf's mission, "thoughtful, compassionate, and engaged" citizens. Even more than traditional public schools, a charter like Fernleaf has the ability to make a hugely positive difference in the lives of children and families because its creation has been supported by them. Charter schools empower the communities in which they exist, and Fernleaf has the opportunity to catalyze families in the region around a common goal of connected, whole-child education...
Laura - Brevard, NC
...Dismayed by what I see in the current traditional educational model, I want my child to have the opportunity to attend a school that provides exciting, open, and experiential learning that reaches across subjects, grades, and traditional schedules. I see traditional teaching methods snuffing the fire of curiosity and individuality in young minds and school becoming a "chore." I want a school that ignites the pleasure of learning and encourages an intelligent thought process that endures for life. School should be more than schedules, piles of homework, and red tape. It needs to be a living, breathing organism that contributes to the child and community at large. I see FernLeaf filling a role that is so desperately needed in our community.
Sherida - Hendersonville, NC
...in our local community, there is a great need for a second charter school. Henderson Country has ONE! By contrast, neighboring Buncombe has 10 alternative schooling options! TEN! 5 Charter schools: ArtSpace Charter,Evergreen Community Charter, Francine Delany New School for Children, INVEST COLLEGIATE (Buncombe), & The Franklin School of Innovation. And 5 Magnet schools: Claxton Elementary, Hall Fletcher, Ira B Jones, Isaac Dickson, & Vance. And per the census in 2010 Buncombe County has about 2x our child population. To have comparable options, Henderson County SHOULD have 5 alternatives to regular public school, not one. No wonder so many Henderson County parents (including myself) think about moving to Buncombe County. I have a nephew in Hall Fletcher and so have first hand appreciation for the opportunities that smaller schools afford children. Incidentally, this child lives in Henderson County but his parents commute 30+ mins each way to Buncombe County for his schooling.
I have a five year old and a four year old. I am currently homeschooling them, as I am not satisfied with the options available in our area. At the park and library I have met no fewer than ten Moms in similar situations. (We would like to have a small charter school to send our kids to... But since there is no option we are "stuck" homeschooling).
Another reason I support FernLeaf in particular is the specialized educational approach. They are going to use an Experiential and Project Based Learning Model utilizing the Common Core and NC Essential Standards. I had a project based learning curriculum in medical school and thought it was a great approach to academics.
For me and my children, FernLeaf can not open quickly enough. The demand for this school is in my opinion... VERY high. If this school does not open we will seriously consider driving 45 min up to INVEST for the next ten years. Or moving. The demand will only increase, as you may have seen from the papers. Several large companies: Sierra Nevada, Linamar, New Belgium, and others are adding jobs this year and will attract many newcomers with young families to the Mills River/Fletcher area. So FernLeaf will be particularly well located to serve these children.
Jennifer - Hendersonville, NC
I currently have a 4 year old son and have been searching for a school that will offer him an education based in nature, love, respect, and compassion while offering exceptional academics. We currently live in Etowah and he attends a Montessori co-op that utilizes these principles. the school only goes through age 7. After reading "Last Child in the Woods" by Richard Louv I knew my son needed this type of education. The book mentions a charter school in Asheville that is exceptional and teaches based on these principles. Evergreen is the school. It is in Oteen. That will be an hour drive for us one way. I work in Hendersonville. The children are chosen by lottery. I have said if he can get in I would be happy to make the drive for him to be able to attend that school until I could sell my home and move closer. Today, I was at Mills River town hall and saw a flyer for this school, Fernleaf. I was so overwhelmed with emotion I actually started to cry. We need this type of education here. Our children need it. I want to be a part of it. Thank you!
Stacey - Etowah, NC
I have 34 years teaching experience and I have seen the evolution of the high stakes testing take a huge toll on the love of learning and teaching. I have been through many trainings utilizing experiential learning and feel that this model of teaching is what is best for children. I participated in the TTEC (Trails to Every Classroom) sponsored by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. The program helped to facilitate planning of place based service learning. If we want to train up stewards of the Earth then I think we need to rethink our priorities and look at what learning really is.
Mountain Girl - Asheville, NC
As an educator and parent I believe providing children with the opportunity to learn in a small, student-focused school is key. I have worked for Henderson County Public Schools for ten years and although I applaud them for providing students with an adequate educational foundation I am disappointed in the lack of focus on teacher-student relationships, the social and emotional needs of students, and out of classroom learning experiences. FernLeaf Community Charter School has outlined a plan for educating students within a positive school community and in formats and environments that respect their interests and developmental needs. Henderson County has only one existing charter school and the location of this school and of other neighboring county charter schools are all 30-45 minutes from my home. FernLeaf would open great educational doors for my children and countless others in Henderson County.
Molly - Mills River, NC
The need for FernLeaf Community Charter School is very evident and substantial... There is a strong demand for educational choice in the Henderson county area. There are very large wait lists at the few existing charter schools in the area which also are geographically situated to serve Buncombe county residents, not Henderson. Also, per capita, there are fewer charter schools in the Hendersonville area than there are in most other metropolitan areas in NC. With strong economic and population growth in our area, we have already reached a point where the demand for quality charter schools is greater than their availability. FernLeaf is needed to fill this supply/demand gap and to provide a quality educational choice for the residents of the Henderson county area.
Rob - Fairview, NC
We find the need for Fern Leaf because we believe children learn best through hands-on, community based learning incorporating both traditional school subjects such as math and history, but so also incorporating things such as sustainable living. I am very hopeful that both of my children will be able to attend this school in 2016 and I'm so excited to see this concept come to fruition. I don't want my children confined to a classroom for 6-8 hours... If they are learning about colors, let's go outside and see what colors are found in everyday life! If we are learning about trees and flowers, let's go outside and actually see what we are talking about! This type of learning is essential so much more applicable to life than reading about it in a book.
Brandi - Arden, NC
As a long time educator in Henderson County, I have witnessed first hand the large, overcrowded schools that are bursting at the seams. I have seen the effect this has had on children of all ages. I have also witnessed a very real need on the part of students, parents, and teachers for a different educational approach than the one size fits all approach found in the traditional public schools in the area. FernLeaf brings a new option, for those who are seeking a more active, engaging, and relevant approach to learning. FernLeaf also serves to fill a geographic hole for charter schools in the area that leaves many families without the option of choosing a school that best meets their needs.
Michael - Mills River, NC
Many families are looking for an alternative to traditional schools for their child that embrace different learning styles and are not driven by test scores. FernLeaf would provide this alternative. Project based learning is wonderful for all students but essential for many who learn best this way. I support FernLeaf and their endeavors to establish this type of school in our community.
Linda - Hendersonville, NC
I wanted to take this time to write about why I feel there is a need for FernLeaf Community Charter School in our area. I am currently a teacher in our public school system. While I enjoy teaching my students, and I work in a great school, I know that we need more to reach those students who do not learn in a traditional school setting. While teachers such as myself would LOVE to provide hands-on, project-based instruction on a daily basis for every single lesson, unfortunately, this cannot happen to the fullest extent that it needs to be. Classes are too large, teachers have little assistance, resources are lacking, and time is limited. Fortunately, many students are able to adjust to this, and still learn. However, there are those students who need more individualized, hands-on, project-based learning. These students may be those who have different learning styles than what is needed to survive in a traditional school setting, or may be beyond what the traditional school setting can provide, and need the added challenge of solving and creating on a daily basis. In our area, there is no educational environment that does indeed provide this type of teaching/learning style on a consistent basis. FernLeaf is dedicated to providing this type of education to those students who would thrive in this type of environment. While there is another charter school in close proximity to our community, it does not provide the project-based, hands-on learning that FernLeaf will provide to its student population. The school will provide students with learning opportunities they may not have had in traditional public schools, will allow students to make real-life connections, and will meet the needs of each and every student in its population. FernLeaf would be an asset to the community, to the children in our community, and to education as a whole.
Samantha - Hendersonville, NC
I am writing to express my strong support of the opening of FernLeaf Community Charter School. I am personally excited to help this school's development and, as an expecting mother, am comforted to know that I could potentially send my children to FernLeaf in the future. Their model of project-based experiential learning has proven to develop the kinds of skills necessary for our youth to become critically-thinking, active citizens and future community leaders. It is also a model that I believe needs more presence in Henderson County. With the team of dedicated individuals behind this effort, I have no doubt that FernLeaf would have a wonderfully positive impact on our local community.
Megan - Swannanoa, NC
I believe that our area is growing and evolving and is currently having trouble meeting the needs of the families here with regard to educational opportunities for our children. We have one charter school here but competition is fierce. There is also a lack of private schools. Public schools are becoming more crowded, less funded, and less able to accommodate individuals in a creative and encouraging way. I would love to see FernLeaf succeed and am excited about having the opportunity to send my children there so they can learn in a community-oriented manner.
Nicole - Hendersonville, NC
As a parent with a 7 year old currently enrolled in a traditional public school, I feel my child needs a different learning environment. A school such as FernLeaf would be an asset to this community and will allow children like mine to experiment, work together with peers and learn on a different level. My child is involved in the AIG program at her current school, but still feels she is tied to a desk, not able to express herself in her work and over tested. A new charter school will allow her be challenged, yet reach her greatest potential without the confines of the traditional learning model.
Ami - Fletcher, NC
I am writing in support of FernLeaf Community Charter School. Henderson County needs a school like FernLeaf as an alternative for families looking for more out of the classroom learning experiences. As a strong believer in Richard Louv's "no child left inside" philosophy, I believe that children learn best when they have the chance to spend time outdoors and connect with nature. I also think that when children are given time to learn experientially, the learning is more authentic. As many schools spend more and more time focusing on test scores, I look forward to FernLeaf leading the way to show that academics do not need to be sacrificed in order to address individual students' unique needs and inspire lifelong learners.
Leslie - Hendersonville, NC
As a mother of a four year old, I need FernLeaf for my daughter. My daughter is passionate about outdoors and eager to learn about the world around her. I do not want that pushed aside. The experiential learning program that FernLeaf will provide will enable her to learn while encouraging her natural curiosity. Henderson County needs FernLeaf Community Charter School to provide an opportunity for our children to succeed. There is not another project based experiential learning program in our area. FernLeaf will bring our community together in an effort to provide the best for our children while teaching our children how to become a part of the world around them. Henderson County is the perfect area for community project based learning. It is a growing agricultural, environmetal and historical location.
Sheena - Hendersonville, NC
In my opinion, Henderson County currently offers no good alternative for my elementary schoolkids to engage in hands-on, practical, and student focused learning, similar to what I had experienced in my native Germany. Also the importance to learn foreign languages at an early age seems to be a rather low priority in today's NC education. I therefore strongly support all goals and efforts by the Fern Leaf school.
Cornel - Hendersonville, NC
This is a letter of support for Fern Leaf Charter School. As a parent of two small children, I support the autonomy, freedom and choice that is afforded to Charter Schools. The spirit, creativity and passion for learning has been taken out of our public schools to focus on meeting the requirements for standardized testing... There are long waiting lists for the charter schools that currently exist. In researching school performance, it is clear that the charter schools are simply outperforming the public schools. I would love the opportunity to have my children attend Fern Leaf Charter School and believe that the opening of Fern Leaf Charter School would be a gift.
Melissa - Fletcher, NC
A school like FernLeaf is much needed in our community. Henderson County has very little options when it comes to choosing a non traditional school. Not all children can thrive in the data driven public schools. Some children need to move more and need to have as much real life hands on experience with what they are learning in order to learn and retain that information. This is what FernLeaf is offering and what is needed. We are so very lucky to have amazing public schools filled with beyond amazing teachers in our area, however I want to have a choice for my son who is quirky, wiggly and a hands on learner. I am a supporter of our public schools, but I am also a supporter of choice in learning environments. My son will be entering 1st grade in 2016 and I plan on applying to FernLeaf as soon as it is possible to do so.
Sarah - Arden, NC
Henderson County Schools, like all other large LEAs in NC, cannot meet the needs of all Henderson County students. While a large number of students fit into the current mold of NC education, many students require more. I am a teacher in a NC public school and every day I see students that need another option. Students that learn through hands-on learning experiences do not get that opportunity in today's general public education classroom. The curriculum requires teachers to teach at a pace that allows many students to fall through the cracks. Many LEAs dictate exactly what lessons teachers are to teach each grading period. When teachers recognize that they have a student that needs to be taught by a different method, they are not allowed to veer from the methods approved by their county. Classroom teacher autonomy is extinct in our current public school systems. FernLeaf Community School plans to use essential, experiential learning projects to teach all areas of the curriculum. Project-based learning is research-based, proven to be effective. All LEAs in North Carolina would benefit from having a variety of educational opportunities for students. Please consider FernLeaf Community Charter School as a door to improve Henderson County's student's futures.
Cindy - Rutherfordton, NC
I believe that there is a need for Fernleaf Community Charter School in our community because there is currently no school with a project-based learning model in our area. As a parent, I have seen firsthand the benefits of learning while doing, and I think that this educational approach will creative imaginative thinkers who will be a real asset to our community.
Jennifer - Hendersonville, NC
We are interested in FernLeaf Community Charter school as a great option for our daughter who will start kindergarten fall 2016. We are thrilled with the ideas and principles the school is rooted upon, as an option for public school... We like every aspect of FernLeaf, the creativity, rigor, diversity, all of these attributes make us feel like FernLeaf is the right place for us... We hope this and other letters of support help FernLeaf become a reality, for our child and the children of our community, as we cultivate future leaders. We need to raise children with the respect and guidance that will be offered at FernLeaf.
Victoria - Hendersonville, NC
As educators, we think that the diversification of the education is a very important requirement to improve the whole system. Because when you can choose between different options for your children, there are more opportunities to enrich our society, we then grow together as different individuals.
Camilo - Fletcher, NC
As a parent of a child that will enter kindergarten in the fall of 2015 I would love to know that she would be receiving a well rounded education. An education that not only teaches the standards and the common core but the whole child. I feel as though she would receive such education at FernLeaf. FernLeaf would not only educate my child but would offer her so many wonderful life experiences that she would not have in her education at another school in our area.
Nicole - Hendersonville, NC
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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.