Franklin Elementary Celebrates!
On Friday, October 6, at 9:00 a.m., local state leaders will present the school with a legislative proclamation honoring the pre-kindergarten through fourth-grade school for its Blue Ribbon status. State Representatives Charles Sargent (R-Franklin) and Glen Casada (R-Franklin), and State Senator (and gubernatorial candidate) Jim Bryson (R-Franklin) will be on hand on Friday to personally congratulate the students and faculty as well as to present the proclamation to Franklin Elementary Principal Mark Tornow.
The entire process began for Franklin Elementary last fall, when the school was notified that it had been nominated by the Tennessee Department of Education for recognition as a National NCLB Blue Ribbon School. It was one of only six Tennessee schools to receive the honor of a nomination, and the only elementary school in the group.
The NCLB Blue Ribbon Schools Program honors public and private K-12 schools that are either academically superior in their states or that demonstrate dramatic gains in student achievement. Schools must meet either of two assessment criteria: have at least 40 percent economically disadvantaged students and show dramatic improvement in their test scores over three years; or score in the top 10 percent on state assessments in both reading (language arts or English) and mathematics, regardless of their demographics. Franklin Elementary did both.
Assistant Principal Marcella Crenshaw attributes much of the school’s academic success to the relationships that the teachers make with the students and their families. “There is a strong bond at this school between teacher and student,” she said. “That bond gives children a safe and caring environment, which helps to develop self-esteem and it shows in school performance.” Crenshaw believes that it makes a difference when teachers know if a family is struggling to pay electric bills, or does not have money for after school care and children are staying home alone. “Our teachers do what it takes, from chipping in for after school care to delivering food to families when they are ill. It all makes a difference.”
In addition to the emotional support the school provides its families, Franklin Elementary has made some major changes in designing and delivering its curriculum. “About four years ago, we studied best practices in delivering curriculum and we had teachers who were willing to make some changes, to make that paradigm shift,” she said. “We really study our data before grouping children, and the focus on designing all of our lessons to meet each ability level (differentiating instruction) in every classroom has made a big difference.”
The school will be officially recognized Nov. 9-10 in Washington D.C. Tornow will travel to the recognition ceremonies along with one teacher from the building.