The Fletcher School provides students a future of success
Between 5 and 7 percent of the population has some sort of learning challenge. These may go unrecognized or undiagnosed, but when you apply that statistic to the whole population, it’s a pretty huge number.
“As a society, we can’t afford to turn away from the potential that that number of people represent, and, also why would you?” said Brent Betit, head of school at The Fletcher School. “People matter.”
The Fletcher School is a private, K-12 school that serves students with specific learning disabilities and/or attention deficit disorders.
Betit is in his first six months at the school. He recognizes how vital a school like Fletcher is to the community.
The Matthews resident has devoted his career to educating “kids who learn differently,” including a member of the founding staff at Landmark College, the first institution for student with ADHD, in Vermont.
He has a personal connection to ADHD, as both his sons have the disorder, and has spent his career finding ways to help students reach their potential. But what he realized at Landmark was students were receiving the proper help too late in their educational careers, so he wanted to help reach students earlier on.
Betit said The Fletcher School provided that opportunity.
Fletcher provides a 6-to-1 student-to-teacher ratio in its classrooms to provide students with individualized learning programs.
The traditional child finds the traditional educational environment supportive, but “neuro-diverse” can have difficulties, even if they have high academic aptitude, Betit added.
“For these kids, the transformation that happens is extraordinary and they end up contributing to society and become leaders in many different areas because they got the right kind of education,” Betit said. “They found an environment that put them at the center; tried to figure them out, how they learned and then supported them in that way; and gave them the right scaffolding so they can be successful. Then, we take the scaffolding away when they don’t need it anymore and then they can be successful in a traditional learning environment because they figured it out.”
Betit added students outperform the state average in the majority of ACT benchmarks, except in mathematics.
Alumni have returned to Fletcher to discuss ways they’ve succeeded since attending the school.
“It’s important to model success for our students and for them to know that success is possible,” Betit said.
Fletcher is at the point where its nearly it’s peak enrollment and has begun to investigate how it could expand its population, if desired. The school’s current capacity is 275 students.
Before Betit arrived, he recognized the school began to look at how it would continue to growth and how the infrastructure would occur in a land-locked area.
“There are definitely more kids out there than we can serve, so certainty, the potential to grow is there,” Betit said.
The current school building was made possible through donations and gifts, and Betit suspects new infrastructure would require community gifts. But he wants to ensure any growth doesn’t take away from the individualized aspect of the program.
Betit said the school is about to start developing a new strategic plan.
“I think there is a vision in this community. There is a knowledge about what we need to do and where we need to go,” Betit said.
What’s most important to Betit is raising awareness of the potential of students served at Fletcher. He hopes to help communities understand the supports needed for these students and how they can go on to live successful lives.
Betit has already made connection with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Superintendent Ann Clark with ways to support students in the public school system and hopes to build connections with her staff.
He also hopes The Rankin Institute, the community outreach and professional development of Fletcher, can also provide educational programs and resources for the community.
“Kids who come to a place like this become societal leaders,” he said. “They help change the world, but only if they get the right education.”
The Fletcher School
8500 Sardis Road, Charlotte
Tuition: $22,550 to $23,780