Franklin Northwest Supervisory Union, Vermont

First-time 100 Best winner Franklin & Grand Isle Counties utilizes partnerships to provide a wide array of community-based services such as regional partnerships, regional planning commissions, local hospitals, natural resource interest groups, libraries and indigenous organizations.

Budgets include exceptional youth services such as Early Childhood Programs, which provides screening services for children before entering school, as well as quality preschool experiences in a community setting. FNWSU succeeded in implementing an award winning after- school program district wide and maintained these efforts for six years. Individuals, businesses, non-profit organizations have contributed to FNWSU’s focus on youth by supporting the publication of Red Flags and Resources Northwestern Vermont Edition, which explains to parents and caregivers "how to spot red flags of risky behavior and find the support you need in Franklin County." Further, the Youth in Transition, Youth Voices, and Parent Child Center initiatives at Northwestern Counseling and Support Services specify funds to support these and other youth related efforts. These programs ensure that families and children from birth receive mental health services into adulthood. It has been said that "budget is policy" and FNWSU elevates their youth in both.

FNWSU's strong collaborations in after- school programs assure key partners that provide advice, funding and programs. Examples are: Abenaki Circle of Courage, Vermont National Guard, Swanton Police, U.S. Border Patrol Canine Unit, Franklin County Airport, University of Vermont Extension, the Vermont Chapter of the American Red Cross, etc. The national award winning Bookmobile, also brings about a host of community partners, including Franklin County Libraries, AmeriCorps, Carroll Concrete, Children’s Trust Foundation, Building Bright Futures, Vermont Start with the Arts, and numerous others. The region was awarded the Communities Can! Award by the Federal Maternal and Child Health Bureau and the American Academy of Pediatrics in recognition of the substantial progress toward building systems of care for children with special needs.

FNWSU embraces the local Native American Abenaki culture, supporting their Circle of Courage program. This program feels that it is the community’s responsibility to teach children to become responsible decision makers, using traditional dance and customs to involve youth. The Indian Education Act specifically addresses at-risk Abenaki youth and promotes active parent participation through the Parent Advisory Committee that oversees all program activities. The Crossroads after-school program provides youth with access to a variety of engaged adults, from teachers to AmeriCorps members.

The Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) is a program that assists low-income families and youth in learning the knowledge, skills necessary for nutritionally sound diets. FNWSU partners such as Swanton Fit & Healthy, and the University of Vermont Extension strive to increase physical activity and healthy eating among children. Building Bright Futures (BBF) organizes play groups at different locations around the community giving children time to interact and play as well as providing access to WIC, healthcare information and social and emotional support to parents.