Judging Criteria

Programs will be judged using a scoring rubric, based on descriptors for each program category. In order to receive a Golden Bell Award, applicants must demonstrate that the program:

Is data driven
Data driven decision making is an important feature for the creation, implementation and sustainability of award winning programs. School boards and site level practitioners can use data to pinpoint issues of importance to the district and school site. Golden Bell Award winners will display how they used data to come to conclusions about student needs, program creation, implementation and sustainability.

Has made a difference for students
Examples include: student evaluations or feedback demonstrating student satisfaction; surveys of parents, staff or community; degree of participation in program; all students who can benefit from the program are empowered to participate; data demonstrating program has undergone a rigorous evaluation and shows evidence of statistically significant improvements in student achievement, school environment or other desired outcomes; significant improvements for participants, including clearly articulated program goals, identification of measurable outcomes and evidence that demonstrates the program has generated cost savings that have released resources to provide greater services to students; and effective outreach to students who can benefit from the program.

Is innovative or exemplary
Examples include: exemplary implementation of a program; uniqueness throughout the state; creative approach to solving a problem or presenting a curriculum; use of new methods or technology to teach a needed skill or enhance the student experience; creative funding; etc. If a program has been replicated from another program, examples of how the program has been implemented in a unique or innovative manner.

Shows evidence of Board support and leadership & is connected to the Board’s vision
Examples include: demonstrating that the school board helped create the conditions for success to support programming; board members fulfill the five major responsibilities of their role (setting direction, establishing structure, providing support, ensuring accountability, acting as a community leader) in the service of supporting this program; linkage between the program and the district's or county office's LCAP, evidence of program presentation and discussion at board meetings, evidence of board member program visitation and evidence of consideration during budget hearings.

Is sustainable over time
Examples include: length of time in operation; stable source of funding; high participation from students; sufficient staff knowledge and commitment to maintain the program; strong support from students, parents, educators, the community and the board; a broad base of support and a strong structure in place to support the program; flexibility to meet changing needs; and expansion to serve more students or school sites.

Concepts can be replicated
Examples include: evidence that the program has already been or could be replicated; written goals and procedures; availability of staff to discuss the program and demonstrate effective strategies; evidence that the district and county office actively reaches out to other districts and county offices of education to assist them in replicating the program; appropriateness for a different population of students or staff; and reasonable costs for initial implementation, including facilities, equipment and/or training.

All eligible entries will be reviewed and evaluated by 3 Judges. The decision of the judges is final, there are no appeals. In cases where none of the eligible programs in a given program category meets or exceeds the total score set by CSBA, no award will be given. While many valuable programs may meet basic scoring criteria, the total score needed for an award is intentionally set high to select the most innovative or exemplary programs.

Time line for judging