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2010 Massachusetts Milken Award Winner

Milken Family Foundation Mission Statement

The purpose of the Milken Family Foundation is to discover and advance inventive and effective ways of helping people help themselves and those around them lead productive and satisfying lives. The Foundation advances this mission primarily through its work in education and medical research.

In Education, the Foundation is committed to:

  • Strengthening the profession by recognizing and rewarding outstanding educators, and by expanding their professional leadership and policy influence.
  • Attracting, developing, motivating and retaining the best talent to the teaching profession by means of a comprehensive, whole school reform.
  • Stimulating creativity and productivity among young people and adults through programs that encourage learning as a lifelong process.
  • Building vibrant communities by involving people of all ages in programs that contribute to the revitalization of their community and to the wellbeing of its residents.

In Medical Research, the Foundation is committed to:

  • Advancing and supporting basic and applied medical research - especially in the areas of prostate cancer and epilepsy - and recognizing and rewarding outstanding scientists in these areas.
  • Supporting basic health care programs to assure the well-being of community members of all ages.

A wealth of human potential is represented by individual people of all ages whose vision and purpose make them dynamic forces for change. The Foundation's mission is to help realize this potential by giving the support that enables people to create and carry out effective, lasting solutions to the challenges facing our communities

Roni Gold
Elementary - 5th Grade
Rebecca Johnson School
Springfield, Massachusetts

Harvard educated with a master's in education, Roni Gold is a dynamic fifth-grade teacher at Rebecca M. Johnson Elementary, a high-needs urban school in Springfield that has seen marked improvements since he joined the staff. Boasting an impressive ability to spark students' interest in learning, Gold is extolled for his ability to transform all his students into active thinkers, learners and doers.

Working with some of the school's most challenging, Gold's prowess is evident in his high class attendance, increasing student performance and decreasing behavioral issues. In his class, students write, illustrate and publish books and work with Smith College as pen pals. His use of technology in the classroom, such as palm pilots and SMART boards, has inspired colleagues to weave innovation into their lessons as well. Parents speak highly of Mr. Gold, and his students are genuinely excited to attend school. Gold even learns the same dance moves as his students to help encourage them in the ballroom dancing program.

From 2008 to 2009, fifth-grade math improved 14 percent, and language arts increased 4 percent. Also, 100 percent of his students passed the English language arts portion of the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS). That Rebecca Johnson is a very diverse school with a 94 percent minority population and almost 90 percent qualifying for free and reduces-priced lunch makes the progress all the more impressive.

Last Updated: August 18, 2011
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