photo licensed by Creative Commons: Glasses on newspaper (cropped)  by Jojo Bombardo

North Fork School offers local public school students an edge for life

story by Tomi Grote for The Star News in McCall, Idaho

Marie Furnary of North Fork School in McCall puts a capital "D" on
the word "dedication," because she knows what it can do.

Dedication turns shy students into the self-assured. It coaxes
garden-variety intellects into robust flowers. Each year, Furnary's
students look back to where they started and can't believe what they
have accomplished.

Furnary believes the power of dedication is so great that it doesn't
take a private school and a pile of money to gain entrance to the
most prestigious schools in the land.

It may take a pile of money to stay there once they get in, but she
can't do anything about the burgeoning cost of higher education. So
she sticks to what she is good at -- teaching students not to be
intimidated by anything, especially by their own ambitions.

North Fork School is open to all students in grades 6-12. "Success is
a product of hard work, not of economic privilege nor of native
intelligence," she said. "English is a craft, not a gift."

Prospective students and their parents are invited to see a vivid
presentation of the school's programs at an open house set for
Tuesday, May 27, 2014 at the Alpine Playhouse starting at 6:30 p.m.

After an introduction to the school's values, structure, and pricing,
current high school students will answer questions about their
experiences and perceived growth as NFS students. Afterwards, younger
students will present a program that is meant to entertain but also
highlights their skills development.

Six Teachers

Six certified teachers and Furnary currently "coach, not tutor" 20 to
30 enrollees in several core subjects encompassing math, science, and
the humanities. All are taught to the "advanced placement standard,"
a program of college-level curricula and examinations.

American colleges and universities often grant placement and course
credit to students who obtain high scores on these AP examinations.

North Fork students may sign up for one or more courses, which are
priced on a graduated scale based on the number of courses the
student takes.

Most students are not off the public school campus for more than an
hour or two a day. The cost per lesson for the popular Writing
Workshop is about $27.

"When parents look at the whole cost of providing a well-rounded
education for their children, the cost of our coaching begins to
dwarf compared to the proven competitive and personal advantages it
gives to our students," Furnary said.

"We've worked hard to price it so that anyone whose child wants to do
the work can fit this in their budgets," she said. "We'll make
whatever reasonable arrangement necessary when faced with a case of
economic hardship. We've haven't yet had to turn anybody away for
financial reasons."

Parents need not worry that school funding, which is based in part on
the number of full-time enrollees in a school district, is lost when
a student enrolls in North Fork School. That is because North Fork
supplants only selected classes in students' public education. North
Fork students are fully involved in public education academically,
socially and athletically.

Early Enrollment

The earlier a student enrolls in the program, the greater the
benefit. Unlike at public schools, the same North Fork instructors
teach a class of students from year to year. Students can pick up
exactly where they left off the previous year without losing time
adjusting to new teachers or processes.

Also, each year's curriculum builds on the previous one, so the
longer the student is enrolled, the more students build a coherent,
cohesive body of knowledge, and the less strenuous their learning
curve.

Furnary points out that although the lessons themselves can be
priced, there is no way to measure the value of the time investment
North Fork's instructors put into their students. "We're on top of
their homework, we're in touch with their parents, we are with them
the whole way."

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