The building we know today as 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 School 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, multi-purpose room, kindergarten (now the wellness wing), 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 1980’s with the addition of the kindergarten, music and art rooms. During the summer of 2018 - 2020, Franklin has benefited from renovations to the classrooms, offices, library, multi-purpose room and playground.
Benjamin Franklin School serves approximately 240 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 all children. Currently there are two sections at each grade level, with class sizes averaging 18 students.
Franklin Elementary School is 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 Franklin 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 on the SAU 29 curriculums as aligned with Common Core State Standards. 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, Spanish, music, physical education, library and media/technology. Third through fifth graders may participate in our strings program. Fourth and fifth graders may participate in instrumental music instruction as well as 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 may receive services as needed from the school counselor, reading specialist, behavior interventionist, Title I staff and special education staff. Keene elementary schools’ partner with the Harris Center to provide high quality field-based experiences in science.
Franklin School houses two highly specialized programs in the district. The English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) program is supported by two teachers, and provides a rich cultural diversity that our school celebrates in many ways.
In addition to the general Special Education services, Franklin also houses the Collaborative Learning Center. This collaborative program serves children who are significantly below grade level in both academics and adaptive skills. These students require a more intensive program and receive highly specialized instruction in the following areas: academics, daily living skills, communication skills, adaptive behavior, and social skills. Students in the collaborative are included in the regular classroom setting to the greatest extent possible.
Franklin students participate in a variety of activities throughout the school year. Most notable are activities that foster contributions to the larger school community, such as Student Council, Safety Patrol, NHDI residency, and a variety of Artist in Residence programs. Franklin students also get to explore and develop their unique talents through a variety of extracurricular activities such as Opera Club, Running Club, Rock Climbing Club, and enrichment academic clubs.