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Future School of Fort Smith now welcoming 9th grade students

It's the only public charter school in Arkansas that provides students personalized advising, professional internships and tuition-free college experience.

FORT SMITH, Ark. — Big changes are coming to the Future School of Fort Smith right in time for the first school day.

Students returned to class Wednesday (Aug. 18) and those in the 9th grade are getting the opportunity to enroll.

When the Future School of Fort Smith originally began, it was targeted for 10th through 12th grade. Freshmen now have the chance to start and finish their high school careers at the Future School.

It's the only public charter school in Arkansas that provides students personalized advising, professional internships and tuition-free college experience.

To help accommodate the growing number of students, the school recently built a new structure. They broke ground on the expansion last year and construction recently wrapped up.

“Having that 9th-grade year allows us to do a lot of that front-loading of information and front-loading of experience, so they’re really ready when they hit 10th grade to hit the ground running," said Superintendent Boyd Logan.

Logan says they have about 250 students enrolled this year, but the campus can hold up to 400.

"It’s really nice big hallways where people aren’t cramped together huge pieces no modules anymore," Logan said. "Having this new state-of-the-art facility is giving us a new confidence to keep a safe environment."

The school will be taking many COVID-19 safety precautions. Multiple vaccine clinics will be held for those who want it. Last week, the school board approved a mask mandate at an emergency board meeting. Students and staff will also be practicing social distancing.

The Future School’s curriculum is very hands-on learning based with students working in groups and at internships. Because of this, Logan says as of now, they will not be offering virtual classes for students.

"Our model is such that we feel like kids are really missing out if they’re virtual and we’re doing everything we can to make the school a safe place to be, and so we’re doing everything we can to get those kids back on campus and also back on those internship sites because the virtual experience for our model is not in line with what we want to do,” Logan said.

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