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2016 Governor’s Awards for Excellence in Early Foundations

Award categories

3 Organizational Awards
Organizations may self-nominate for these 3 awards.

  • Community Excellence - This award will be given to a community leadership organization that engages a broad range of partners to help their community meet the indicators of a Ready Community, listed in the Tennessee School Readiness Model.  The strongest nominations will demonstrate an impact on multiple indicators across multiple categories in the Ready Communities section of the Model.
  • School Excellence - This award will be given to a school system or individual school that engages a broad range of partners to help their school/district meet the indicators of a Ready School, listed in the Tennessee School Readiness Model. The strongest nominations will demonstrate an impact on multiple indicators across multiple categories in the Ready Schools section of the Model.
  • Excellence in Supporting Children and Families - This award will be given to an organization that engages a broad range of partners to help families and children meet the indicators of Ready Families and Ready Children, listed in the Tennessee School Readiness Model. The strongest nominations will demonstrate an impact on multiple indicators across multiple categories in the Ready Families and Ready Children sections of the Model.

6 Individual Innovator Awards
Individual Innovator Award nominations must be submitted by an organization.  These awards will be given to volunteer individuals who have used strong collaborations to advance Tennessee School Readiness Model indicators that have been selected by each department in the Governor’s Children’s Cabinet.

  • Excellence in Promoting Physical Activity - This award will be given to an individual or small group who engages and partners to create physical activity opportunities targeted and accessible to pre-K to 6th grade children, regardless of family circumstances or athletic ability.  The opportunities should promote physical activity as a lifetime habit for pre-K to 6th graders, by helping them learn to enjoy and regularly participate in walking, running, swimming, physical training or other physical activities that can be engaged in on an individual basis. (TDH)
  • Excellence in Building Resiliency – This award will be given to an individual who engages a broad range of partners to help families of preschool aged children build a network of natural supports that promote resiliency and protection against abuse and neglect.  (DMHSAS)
  • Excellence in Promoting Early Literacy - This award will be given to an individual who engages a broad range of partners to help preschool aged children develop literacy skills, by helping families make reading a part of their daily routine. (DOE)
  • Excellence in Keeping Kids Safe, Healthy, & On Track - This award will be given to an individual who engages a broad range of partners to empower families with preschool aged children to take an active role in following and advocating for their child’s progress, health, education, and safety. (DCS)
  • Excellence in Promoting High Quality Early Care and Education Programs - This award will be given to an individual who engages a broad range of partners to raise the expectations for and delivery of high quality performance in early care and education programs across their community. (DHS)
  • Excellence in Promoting Wellness - This award will be given to an individual who engages a broad range of partners to make their community spaces more child health friendly, by providing smoke-free environments, healthy food choices, and supporting healthy family activities. (TennCare)
  • School Readiness Model


INSTRUCTIONS

All nominations must include the nomination form, a project description, and supporting documents.  To be considered, nominations must be submitted no later than 5:00p.m. CST,  January 15, 2016.

  • Nominees must comply with the rules below to be eligible for a Governor’s Award for Excellence in Early Foundations:
  • Nominees must be located or residing in Tennessee.
  • Nominated projects and initiatives must have been operating for at least two years.
  • Nominees may not be state employees or programs/divisions within state government, although they may be engaged as state contractors or grantees.
  • Nominations must be submitted in the required electronic format.
  • Nominees must agree to allow application materials and/or summaries to be published.

Judging Criteria

The judges will consider the following elements in evaluating the description and supporting documents.

Addressing School Readiness Issues - How does this project address school readiness issues and promote the specific indicators attached to that award?

Results - What significant impacts have resulted from the project or initiative? Please include and document any quantifiable results.

Collaboration - Does this project or initiative involve a collaborative effort between multiple stakeholders and partners across a diverse range of systems that serve preschool aged children and their families (city/state government, providers, businesses, civic groups, schools, associations)?  Were partnerships created or strengthened by the project?  Please explain.

Family Involvement - Does the project or initiative use family voice to guide its design and implementation?  Please explain.

Innovation - Did the project or initiative utilize or contribute to any new approaches in accomplishing goals and promoting school readiness? What creative or innovative elements were included in the project?

Leadership - How does the project or initiative encourage other community leaders to promote early foundations and school readiness?

Education and Outreach - What education and/or outreach activities did the project involve?  Does the project promote public awareness regarding the importance of early foundations and school readiness?

Exceptional Commitment - How does the project demonstrate an exceptional commitment from those involved in the project or initiative?

Addressing Disparities - Does the project demonstrate a commitment to lessening disparities in early foundations and school readiness, by focusing on low-income communities, minority communities, and/or preschool aged children with disabilities or in foster care?  Please explain.

Transferability - Describe how the project lends itself to replication by other organizations, individuals, or communities. Are any project activities or results being shared with others? Or is the project unique to a school readiness issue in the local community? Please explain.


Project Description

Please provide a comprehensive, narrative description of the project or initiative in a separate document. In other words, use this section to “tell the story” of the nominated project in your own words, and include as much detail as possible. This narrative should be no longer than four pages, one-sided, with one-inch margins, and a minimum of 12pt font.

IMPORTANT: Please refer to the judging criteria outlined above and be sure that the project narrative has a section for each of these criteria.


Supporting Documents

Applicants are requested to submit between 2 and 6 pages of supporting documents that may strengthen their nomination. Examples may include photographs, news clippings, press releases, publications, testimonials, data sets, and other materials that can give the judges a more comprehensive view of the project or initiative.

Note: When submitting pictures, please describe what is taking place in the pictures (ex: who, what, where, when and why). This can be done in a PowerPoint presentation.

Because judges cannot visit nominees or view all projects first-hand, applicants are encouraged to submit supporting materials that convey the powerful and inspiring story of their project or initiative.

Once your application has been received, a confirmation email will be sent to the nominator.

Please make sure that the following are completed/attached when submitting the application:

  • Nomination Form;
  • A narrative/project description that tells the story of the project or initiative being nominated;
  • Between 2 and 6 pages of supporting documents.

Questions may be posted to this site with the form below.  Answers will be posted at that location as well.

NOTE: All entries are public information and summaries of winning applications will be published. Neither applications nor supporting materials can be returned and judges reserve the right to inspect the applicant's project or program.

 

Fill out the Nomination Form

 

Have a Question? Ask it here.

FAQs

Question: I am unable to submit. I get an error message that an attachment or attachments are too large.

Answer: Thank you for submitting your question.  I’m sorry that you are having trouble.  As you can see below, there are some size limits for submissions.  The total size permitted for a full nomination submission is 25MBs.  Please note that this is your total size for the full submission, not per file.   If you upload one file, it can be approximately 24MBs, but if you attach multiple files, then the total size of all files cannot exceed that limit.  Do you know if your files exceed that size limit?  What types of files are you trying to upload?  Video? Power Point?

 

Question: I am submitting a nomination for an 'Individual Innovator' award in honor of a volunteer in our organization. Do I need to incorporate all ten elements of the 'judging criteria' in the individual innovator nomination--or are those ten elements for organizational awards only? I am nominating the volunteer in the "Excellence in Keeping Kids Safe, Healthy and On Track". Thanks much.

Answer: The judging criteria apply to all award categories, organizational and individual.  If some elements of the judging criteria do not apply to a particular individual or program, they do not have to be included in the nomination, but it is best to provide information about as many of the judging criteria as are relevant to the nominee.

 

Question: Is there a financial award for the Community Excellence or Excellence in Supporting Children and Families recognition?

Answer: There is not a financial award attached to any of the Governor's Awards for Excellence in Early Foundations recognition categories.

 

Question: I would like to nominate a school for their ZERO tolerance bullying policy....it has changed lives. Does this qualify?

Answer: The award category for School Excellence will honor a school system or individual school that supports the indicators of a Ready School from the Tennessee School Readiness Model.  Those indicators focus on the kindergarten experience, addressing the diverse and individual needs of students, and engaging families as partners in their child's development and education.  If you think a school meets those criteria, please nominate them.

 

Question: I would like to nominate a program that is implemented in a school system. Would they quality? They are grant funded through Great Schools Partnership.

Answer:  Yes.  That program would be eligible for nomination.

 

Question: What is the file size limit on uploading supporting documents?
We have a power point and a video to upload, and are considering embedding the video.

Answer:  The total size permitted for a full nomination submission is 25MBs.  Please note that this is your total size for the full submission, not per file.   If you upload one file, it can be approximately 24MBs, but if you attach multiple files, then the total size of all files cannot exceed that limit.

 

Question: I would like to nominate someone who is a faculty member at Cleveland State Community College. Would this be allowed? Thanks.

Answer: A faculty member is eligible to be nominated so long as that person did the project as a volunteer, not as part of their job at Cleveland State.

 

Question: For the Excellence in Promoting Early Literacy, does work done as an employee qualify as "the project"?

Answer: A person would not be eligible for an Individual Innovator Award for activities done as an employee.  The Individual Innovator Awards are for volunteer individuals who have used strong collaborations to advance Tennessee School Readiness Model indicators.