Superintendent of Schools Kevin Smith announced on Thursday, June 27, the Wilton Public Schools has been recognized with the National School Public Relations Association’s 2019 Golden Achievement Award for the Wilton Reads program.

“As far as I can tell, we were the only Connecticut school district to receive this recognition,” Smith said in an email announcing the award.

According to NSPRA website, the Golden Achievement Award “recognizes exemplary work in school public relations efforts.” It is “a major recognition program for great activities.”

The school district worked with the Wilton Library Association in presenting this year’s Wilton Reads program that focused on the Holocaust. The centerpiece was the reading of the book, The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris, who then visited Wilton in April. She spoke during the day to students and then in the evening to a standing-room-only crowd at Wilton Library.

Leading up to Morris’ appearance were several weeks of ancillary programming including book discussions, a Holocaust survivor talk, Holocaust-inspired art, a poetry seminar, documentary films, viewing of survivor accounts and a concert.

The program —which in the past was a community-based event — was extended this year to the public schools where students at all grade levels read books on the subject appropriate to their ages. Students in the high school read The Tattoist of Auschwitz. This was supplemented by book displays in the libraries, book discussions with parents and children, collaborations between the library and video production students, and more.

"At Wilton Library, we knew that the Holocaust was an important topic for our community," Wilton Library Executive Director Elaine Tai-Lauria said. "It was just as important for us to bring the Wilton Public Schools into the discussions, the planning, the implementation and the communication. We are losing the generation that lived through it, and so it is essential to keep memories alive in the future generations.  We were so pleased with Wilton Public Schools’ interest in partnering with Wilton Library and we are delighted to be part of the Golden Achievement Award.”

Wilton’s entry for the Golden Achievement Award was judged on:

Research — Evidence of careful analysis of the need for the program, campaign or activity and stated program or activity goals.

Analysis/Planning — Evidence of thoughtful planning to address the need for the program, campaign or activity.

Communication/Implementation — Evidence that activities, including communication, were carried out as planned.

Evaluation — Evidence that an evaluation component was included in plan development and carried out. Evaluation must include ways to measure success and evidence of objective evaluation in communication techniques used.