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Ferndale’s Parent Partnership Program Supports Home-Based Learning

Ferndale Family Partnership (FFP) is just that -- a program aimed at creating strong partnerships between the school district and individual families who choose to homeschool their children in grades K-8. In January of this year, we reinstated the Ferndale Family Partnership program in response to a growing number of requests from families. Our program falls under a state-supported educational model called an Alternative Learning Environment (often referred to as ALE). 

According to FFP teacher, Amy Neverdahl, who is headquartered in a portable classroom on the Central Elementary School campus, families choose the home-based learning path for a variety of reasons. “Some of them want a program that allows their children to spend more time pursuing particular passions. Some experience reduced anxiety outside the brick and mortar environment of traditional school. Still others find more success with hands-on activities and applied learning. And some appreciate the flexibility the program allows. In short, the motivations for selecting the Ferndale Family Partnership are as diverse as the students we serve. Our district recognizes the need for providing different environments to meet the needs of individual children and their families.” 

Currently, we have 18 students enrolled in the Ferndale Family Partnership program. For them, learning takes place primarily in their homes, facilitated by parents or family members who have the freedom to structure their home-based learning school day and activities in the way that best suits their schedules and needs.

Fourth grade FFP student, Holden Tramonto, describes one of his home-based learning activities. “I made a flashlight out of a PVC pipe. I got the idea when I was out walking around in the dark, thinking I needed a flashlight to light my way. I didn’t really want to get an expensive one and waste my money. I have a hobby of taking things apart and building new things, so I decided to try to make a flashlight. I wired it with an LED at the end of the pipe. Then I used a hot glue gun to connect a switch that attached to wires that were attached to a battery pack. On my first test, one of my wires came loose, so I had to replace it. My first LED burned out quickly, so I added a capacitor to help even out the electricity and keep it from shorting. Now it works great!”

The Ferndale School District provides FFP students and their families with curriculum, materials, and academic support from a certificated teacher as needed. We also help them make sure their home-based learning is keeping children abreast of state standards for their age and/or grade level. Requirements for participating in the program include completing a weekly contact writing prompt and a collaborating on a monthly progress report based on the state standards.  

For the 2021 school year, the Ferndale Family Partnership is operating as a fully remote program. However, our future plans include in-person academic support and enrichment classes aligned with student and family interest.  

If the Ferndale Family Partnership sounds like an alternative that might work better for your family, or if you would just like more information, we invite you to fill out the Google interest form that can be accessed at this link: