About Us

Washington and Franklin Schools c. 1907

History

The building we know today as the Benjamin Franklin Elementary School was originally a four-room school constructed in 1907 at the corner of Greenlawn and Page Streets, immediately behind the still relatively new Washington Street School which was opened in 1896.  Franklin was initially an elementary school but was converted to a seventh and eighth grade junior high school in 1923 to relieve congestion at Central Junior High School (formerly the old Keene High School on Winter Street).  Two rooms were added to Franklin at the corner of Greenlawn and Page Streets sometime between 1928 and 1956.  Eight classrooms were added to Franklin along Greenlawn Street in 1956 to relieve overcrowding.  The school was renovated and expanded again in 1968 with the addition of the kitchen, all purpose room, kindergarten (now the staff room), and front office.  As part of the project, Franklin School was closed for two days on January 8 and 9, 1968 in order for the old Washington Street School to be demolished.  Franklin was expanded again in the 1980s with the addition of the kindergartens and music and art rooms.  Franklin is presently a K-5 elementary school and is home to the district's Collaborative Learning Center (CLC), a program for students with developmental delays, mental retardation and other severe learning needs.

Students

Benjamin Franklin School serves approximately 250 children in kindergarten through grade five. The school serves an attendance area loosely defined as the northeast quadrant of the city.  Franklin is a comprehensive elementary school, meaning it offers comprehensive services to meet the needs of most children.  Currently, Franklin has two divisions of kindergarten through grade five, and two divisions of the CLC (Lower and Upper) serving students with developmental delays, mental retardation and/or other severe language impairments.  Franklin also houses the district's elementary English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) program. Including all of the above, class size has averaged 18.7 students per class this year.

Academics

Benjamin Franklin Elementary School - a community dedicated to working together to encourage positive learning experiences, self-worth and respect for others, through a vibrant and caring environment, thus promoting responsible citizens for the future.
 
The academic program at Benjamin Franklin Elementary School, as in all Keene elementary schools, is designed to meet the comprehensive needs of all children.  We strive to plan and involve children in developmentally appropriate lessons and activities in kindergarten through grade five.  The academic program builds upon itself based upon SAU 29 curriculum as aligned with New Hampshire's grade level expectations.  In all grades, instruction in reading, language arts, mathematics, science and social studies form the core of the academic program.  Students are also provided rich experiences in art, music, physical education and media/technology.  Third through fifth graders may participate in instrumental music or strings instruction.  Fourth and fifth graders may sing in the Franklin School Chorus.  Franklin also implements a social curriculum to provide the foundation upon which the "vibrant and caring environment" called for in our mission statement is built.  Franklin holds monthly all-school assemblies and younger and older classes support each other through the "Buddy Class" and "Read Aloud" programs.  We use a variety of data sources to help us assess our programs and plan for improvements.
 
Supporting the academic program, Franklin students receive services as needed from the school counselor, reading specialist, Title I staff, and resource room staff.  All Keene elementary schools partner with the Harris Center to provide high quality field-based experiences in science.

Collaborative Learning Center

The collaborative program serves children who have severe adaptive behavior deficits, as well as cognitive deficits.  Typically students enrolled in the collaborative have a dual identification, with the majority having a speech and language disability.  In the primary collaborative, a majority have an identification of developmental delay. We find as the students move into the intermediate collaborative their identification often change from developmental delay to mental retardation. Students are provided specialized instruction in the following areas: academics, daily living skills, communication and social skills.

Activities

Franklin students participate in a variety of activities throughout the school year.  Most notable are activities that foster contributions to the larger school community, Student Council, Peer Mediation and Safety Patrol.  Franklin students also get to explore and develop their unique talents and gifts through our SHINE  (Students Having Individual Needs for Enrichment) program.  Examples of SHINE activities are opera club, basketball, climbing wall, math club, and more.