The philosophy of Benjamin Franklin School is to emphasize the teaching of basic skills and information.
The Franklin Schools strive to:
- train the intellect
- teach skills
- instill a sense if pride in and respect for self, others, and country
- equip students with the necessary skills to become decision makers and problem solvers
- prepare students for the world outside by challenging them to compete for achievement of standards in the classroom
- develop an atmosphere of tolerance and acceptance of all students regardless of physical appearance and culture
- coordinate home and school effort in providing a solid education foundation for students
Benjamin Franklin Elementary is Mesa’s basic magnet school open to all students on a first come, first serve basis. It opened its doors at 236 S Sirrine to approximately 400 students August 28, 1978, more than two years after discussion began to establish such a school. The concept of the school was suggested by a citizen’s group caller People for Basic Education. Starting in January of 1978, parents and school staff worked together to develop proposals for all aspects of Benjamin Franklin School.
The original facility was built in 1949 as Webster Elementary. It also served for a time as the social studies/science building for the old Mesa High School. It was also a holding school for various elementary schools under construction until 1975 when it became a neighborhood school. The name Benjamin Franklin was assigned to the building after the razing of the original Franklin School near Mesa Drive and Main Street. The original location for Mesa’s basic alternative school was to be the current Irving School site. The school board decided to shift the location to the Franklin site on Sirrine to avoid concern from parents in the area who did not wish to send their children to an alternative program.
In April 1982, the Mesa Governing Board voted to expand the Benjamin Franklin School. Additional classes at grades kindergarten through sixth were added in response to parental interest. This brought the school’s enrollment to 520 students for the 1982-83 school year. Further expansion of the school occurred in May of 1983, paving the way for more than 800 students to attend beginning the 1983-84 school year.
The Mesa Governing Board voted in June of 1991, to move Franklin School to 1753 E 8th Avenue. Twelve new classrooms were constructed and fourteen more were renovated on the Parkway campus. Parkway School had been a separate special education school since 1977. Desiring to accommodate the students on the waiting list, the school board voted to reopen the original Sirrine site, creating the West Campus. In August 1992, another 500 students began experiencing the Franklin program.
In April of 1994, the program expanded to offer 7th grade with an enrollment of 100 additional students. This expansion was a result of a proposal presented to the board under the district's "New Initiatives Program" by a parental group called Parents Unified for Traditional Education. The following year an 8th grade was added and the 7th/8th grade classes were housed on a smaller campus on S. Lewis near the Franklin West campus.
The Mesa Governing Board voted in February 1997, to add the Northeast campus (K-7th with subsequent addition of 8th grade) on Adobe and Power Roads in East Mesa. The 7th and 8th grade on Lewis were moved back to Franklin West campus on Sirrine and it became a K-8th campus. The bussing of students to the three Franklin campuses began in August 1997.
During the 1998-99 school year, the school board decided to open the Franklin South campus located at 5005 E. Southern, to an additional 400 students starting in August of 1999. During the 1999- 2000 school year, the school board decided to phase out the 7th and 8th grade programs. However, in the fall of 2009, a new Franklin Junior High was opened in a facility adjacent to Franklin Northeast. The Franklin Junior High has continued to grow and now educates both 7th and 8th grade students. The fifth Franklin Elementary, Franklin at Alma, opened in the 2010-2011 school year and continues to grow and promote the spirit of excellence.
In the spring of 2012 the MPS Governing Board decided to combine the Franklin South and Franklin Northeast campuses at the former Brimhall Junior High site. The Franklin Junior High will also be relocated to the Brimhall campus. The Franklin at Brimhall campus will hold more than 900 elementary students and almost 200 junior high students. This new campus will offer great amenities for all Franklin students.