Academic Philosophy

Academics at The Franciscan School encourages student participation in religious, intellectual, cultural, physical, social, and civic activities, inside and outside the classroom.

Faculty and staff strive to create a value-centered, holistic environment that’s rooted in faith and consistent with Catholic teaching, Franciscan tradition, and academic excellence.

The academic curriculum aligns with the North Carolina Standard Course of Study, National Standards, and Diocesan objectives and values.

Copies of the curricular scope and sequence from Kindergarten through Grade 8 can be found here.


Technology is seamlessly integrated throughout the academics at The Franciscan School. Every subject area in grades K-8 utilizes technology to connect learning points and challenge students. 


Students in grades K-2 have access to iPads.

Portable Laptops

Students in grades 3-4 have access to portable laptops.

Google Chromebooks

Students in grades 5-8 receive Chromebooks as a part of our 1:1 Program

SMART Boards

SMART Boards are in every classroom, both core, and elective courses.

While there are no formal computer classes in K-5th grades, the computer lab is often reserved by those grades for projects when needed. In the Middle School, there are several computer electives, including Computer Programming, STEM, STAMP (Student Technology Ambassador and Mentor Program), and others. 

Students also have access to school computers through the technology lab, the Media Center, mobile computer labs, computers in classrooms. Therefore, all students (grades K-8) must complete the Digital Citizenship and Online Safety curriculum.

Academic Support Program


The school has a contract with a licensed  speech and language therapist for students who may need these services. Arrangements to include payment for these services follow a consultation with the parents and professionals. 


TFS has two certified Learning Specialists on staff to serve students with diagnosed learning needs in grades K-8. The role of Learning Specialists include:

  • Pull-out students up to 2 times per week
  • Provide remediation and curriculum assistance in a one-on-one or small group setting.
  • Assist with testing accommodations.
  • Assist teachers in the classroom.
  • Collaborate with classroom teachers, therapists, and tutors to maximize efforts.
  • Read & interpret psychoeducational evaluations / reports.

Please note that for students with diagnosed learning needs to remain eligible for accommodations and Academic Support, the psychoeducational evaluation must be current (within 3 years). Services for academic support are covered within the tuition cost for a student.

Literacy Program

The Franciscan School has a comprehensive literacy program that meets the individual needs of each student while setting high standards of achievement for all.  

Foundational Skills

Fundations is a multi-sensory and systematic phonics, spelling, and handwriting program for our K-3 classrooms.


We utilize The Daily 5 structure during our literacy block to provide consistency and equality in classroom practices. This structure consists of 5 tasks: Read to Self, Work on Writing, Read to Someone, Word Work, and Listen to Reading.

Differentiated Instruction

We assess our students throughout the year using the Developmental Reading Assessment (DRA). This practice ensures we are meeting each child’s needs in his/her reading journey. Our Leveled Library also provides teachers with books that help students develop skills to read independently, silently, and fluently.


The Diocese of Raleigh teaches writing through the 6 + 1 Traits of Writing . The Traits instruction provides a common language and shared vocabulary that builds confident writers.

Our Classrooms

Many classrooms utilize flexible seating to give students a choice in a preferred learning space while promoting collaboration, communication, and critical thinking.

Media Center

The book and periodical collection is available to students throughout the school day, and audio-visual materials and equipment are available for classroom use. The following established policies are as follows for the different grade levels:

the Franciscan school media center
  • K-1: 1 book for 1 week
  • Grades 2-3: 2 books for 2 weeks
  • Grades 4-5: 3 books for 2 weeks
  • Grades 6-8: 3 books for 3 weeks
  • Grades 6-8: 3 books for 3 weeks
  • Student cannot check out materials if they have overdue, damaged, or missing items.
  • Students cannot check out reference materials from the Media Center.
  • Reminders for overdue materials are sent home periodically. At the end of each trimester, students who have materials unaccounted for will be asked to return them or pay a fee at the end of the trimester
  • Report cards are withheld until materials are returned or fines paid.
  • Replacement cost plus $1.00/item for processing will be charged for lost or damaged items.
  • Fees are refunded for materials that are found within the school year.

Please make every effort to locate lost and overdue materials before paying library fines. The school may withdraw checkout privileges for students who repeatedly have late or lost books.

Faculty & Staff

Administration Team

Msgr Clay 2021-22
Msgr. Michael Clay, Pastor

The Catholic University of America
D.Min., M.Div., M.L.M.
Appointed:  2020

Mike Watson 2021-22
Michael Watson, Principal

Licensure: Middle School Science (6-9) and Principal (K-12)
BS, Molecular Biology, Florida Institute of Technology
Masters School Admin, NC State University
Appointed: 2007

Dawn Smith 2021-22
Dawn Smith, Assistant Principal Grades K-5

BS, Early Secondary Education, SUNY – Cortland
M.Ed., Middle School Education, UNC – Chapel Hill
Elementary Education Pre-K-6th
Mathematics & Social Studies 6th-9th
Appointed: 2020

Colette Dziadul 2021-22
Colette Dziadul, Assistant Principal Grades 6-8

Licensure: Provisional Principal (K-12)
BA, English, Albertus Magnus College
MS, Counseling, Connecticut State University
Appointed: 2016

Laureen Wacenske 2021-22
Laureen Wacenske, School Counselor

Licensure: K-12 School Counseling and
Secondary Social Studies
BA, Lenoir-Rhyne College
MS, Counseling, North Carolina State University
Appointed: 2000

Victoria Lyles-SavageVictoria 2021-22
Victoria Lyles-Savage, Bridges Coordinator

Appointed: 2021

Alex Rommel 2021-22
Alex Rommel, Administrative Assistant, Records, Before School Care

Appointed: 2018

Lisa Cardello-Price 2021-22
Lisa Cardello-Price, Bookkeeper

Appointed: 2021

Joanne Sullivan 2021-22
Joanne Sullivan, School Nurse

BSN and RN, Catholic University of America
Appointed: 2000