Explanation of Gold Medallion as reported in the 2002 Town Report
“Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much” -Helen Keller
In May of 2002, the Vermont Business Roundtable chose Franklin Central School as the top elementary school in the state based on academic achievement and overall school quality. The Roundtable is a non-profit organization of 110 chief executive officers, representing geographic diversity and all major sectors of the Vermont economy. Each year, the Roundtable identifies one school from each category (elementary grades, middle grades, and high school grades) to receive the special Gold Medallion Award. This is the tenth year that the Roundtable has recognized outstanding schools. Franklin was a finalist in 1999 but did not receive the Gold Medallion.
Nineteen schools were originally chosen in March as Medallion Schools for exemplary elementary school performance based on statewide assessment results. Out of those nineteen schools, Franklin was selected as a finalist. The Gold Medallion Winner selection would be based on a review of each school’s “School Report” Information, completion of the Medallion Competition Form questions, and a site visit.
The “School Report” included data on statewide tests such as the Developmental Reading Assessment (DRA) given to all the state’s 2nd graders and the New Standards Reference Exams that measure student performance on the VT Framework of Standards for Math and Language Arts given to all 4th graders. The “School Report” showed the impressive performance achieved by Franklin Central School. One example, was that on the DRA 90% to 100% of 2nd graders achieved the standard or achieved the standard with honors the last four years (as compared to the state average for those four years of 76%). The school staff also had to prepare written responses to questions such as “to what do you attribute the high results in the statewide assessment achieved by the students in your school?”
Once the “School Report” and Competition Form were submitted, the site visit needed to be planned. The decision was made to focus the 1 and 1/2 hour visit on how the school works with the community to make learning meaningful for students and how much the community gives the school. The theme for the visit was based on the book The Magic School Bus where Ms. Frizzle makes learning come alive for her students. A “school bus” was created to carry the judges to each of their stops on a “tour” of Franklin School.
The site visit began with various community members, each representing a different group, meeting with the judges (community members “dressed” for the occasion ranging from Mother Hubbard to the Statue of Liberty!). The community members and judges were treated to a student power point presentation about the school and a speech from the Civic Oration contest. Next, judges went on the “bus” to see book buddies with 1st and 5th grades and to view the K-2 concert dress rehearsal. After the musical interlude, judges left their bus to go to Ellis Island to become part of an on-going class unit on immigration. The finale -‘ for the visit was a whole school assembly in the gym. Every student in every class held up a sign with the reason he or she thought Franklin was a gold medallion school and the whole school sang, “A Better You…A Better Me (We’ll be the best that we can be!).
The judges repeatedly commented on how amazed they were at what such a small school in a small town was doing. One judge called Franklin Central “the essence of a community school”. The day after the visit, the school was notified that Franklin Central School was the 2002 Gold Medallion winner!
Congratulations to the community of Franklin for living the expression “it takes a village to raise a child”!
K-5 schools who scored in the top 15% on 3 of 4 standard tests given.
Finalists for Gold Medallion schools that perform in the top 15% on all standard tests given in each grade level category.