As the professional world becomes more competitive, it’s important for young adults to have the ability to adapt to a rapidly evolving professional and cultural landscape. Franklin Road Academy (FRA), an esteemed Nashville private school, strives to develop well-rounded students by equipping them with dynamic and diverse tools and principles. Founded in 1971, FRA serves pre-kindergarten through 12th grade by weaving strong core principles with Christian values. This powerful combination equips students with the characteristics necessary for a successful future as strong leaders.
FRA’s philosophies of critical thinking, resilience, effective communication, collaboration, and global perspective gives the school the unique opportunity to shape passionate students who will carry a love of learning with them far beyond the classroom, explains Prentice Stabler, Associate Head of School at FRA. “We are cultivating a love of learning in our students where they’re encouraged to discover their passions and learn to lead while they are supported, encouraged, and nurtured along the way.”
One distinct way FRA is able to offer such dynamic academics is by offering smaller class sizes. The more personalized classroom experience allows students to be more engaged, “allowing them to think critically, communicate effectively, and ask challenging questions,” says Prentice. Senior Kaila Scott says the classroom atmosphere allowed her to truly listen to and learn about different opinions. “This lesson is something that will help me in the future as our culture becomes more and more decisive,” Kaila explains. “I’m glad FRA has given me the opportunity to explore my own opinions and given us a space where we can share safely and respectfully.”
The smaller class sizes also foster important connections between students and teachers. Teachers are able to offer personalized feedback and individually challenge each student to think critically and creatively. For example, in the upper school, an average class size is between 13 and 18 students, which Prentice says creates “an environment where students feel known, supported, and loved.” And that support extends outside of the classroom. FRA staff are often looked at as mentors and friends, which allows students to “feel safe and take risks,” according to Prentice. Kaila agrees, explaining she is not afraid to tackle her high ambitions. “This community has taught me that I can do anything I desire to do, and that I am enough.”
The focus on a well-rounded education starts in the lower school and extends all the way to graduation. From the start, students at FRA are encouraged to explore and develop different passions in physical education, visual and performing arts, STEM lab, library, Spanish, and guidance. Exposing students to an array of classes enables FRA to cultivate students who love to learn. “FRA provides meaningful opportunities for students to grow into young men and women of character,” explains Prentice.
In addition to academia, FRA integrates Christian principles throughout the school day with daily devotionals and weekly chapel. Prentice says this approach enables “a whole child approach to learning.” As a senior and about to embark on life outside of FRA, Kaila says her faith is keeping her grounded and preventing her from getting distracted and straying away from her main focus. “My faith is so much stronger because of FRA, and I know this will benefit me throughout the rest of my life,” she shares.
Once a student enters middle school, the teachings start to become more streamlined to every student’s needs. This includes continued diverse class offerings as well as learning opportunities outside of the classroom. FRA’s goal is for each student leaving middle school to have strong characteristics in responsibility, organization, self-advocacy, and resilience. These fundamental attributes lay the groundwork for students to develop into productive and confident adults.
In the upper school, preparation for graduation starts almost immediately. FRA has a dedicated college counseling team that specifically works with students starting freshman year. Prentice believes this allows FRA students to “feel coached and supported to go to a college that fits them best – one where they are able to thrive.” And thriving beyond FRA is a main focus. Upper school students are pushed academically in areas of critical thinking and problem-solving. All classes are designed to build on a student’s abilities and expand their skill sets. Kaila believes this approach made her more competitive and encourages future students to take advantage of this unique opportunity. “FRA has such a wide variety of things to participate in, and it is important for student to try new things and go out of their comfort zones,” she says.
As students in the upper school prepare to graduate and enter the competitive world outside of FRA, academia comes full circle. Upper school students are encouraged to visit and mentor lower school students. This experience is one of Kaila’s fondest memories at FRA. “I love being able to set a good example for these kids and joining them on their journeys through life at FRA.”
Whether a student is at FRA for their entire academic career, or just for a few years, one thing is clear: FRA is a community aimed at challenging and supporting students so they can competitively flourish in their adult lives. This rigorous academic approach, combined with the school’s Christian values, shapes strong future leaders who will not only be successful but will make a difference. Prentice’s hope for all students: “Our mission is to provide a challenging educational experience in an inclusive Christian community with an unwavering commitment to develop leaders of integrity and purpose.”
To learn more about Franklin Road Academy or to schedule a campus tour, visit franklinroadacademy.com.
This article is sponsored by Franklin Road Academy. All photography provided by FRA.