Schools awarded Palmetto Gold/Silver

  • Monday, April 14, 2014

Six schools within the Williamsburg County School District are recipients of the Palmetto Gold and Silver awards. The South Carolina Department of Education recognized 592 schools and career centers for general performance, closing the achievement gap, or qualifying in both categories.

The Palmetto Gold and Silver Awards program, founded in 1998, recognizes schools for general performance and closing the achievement gap. Within those two categories, a school may be awarded either the gold or silver designation. This is the sixth year that closing the achievement gap has been included as part of the program.

C. E. Murray High School and Hemingway High School qualified for Palmetto Gold in both categories. Hemingway Elementary and Kenneth Gardner Elementary received a Gold in general performance and Silver in closing the achievement gap. Hemingway AVC received a Gold for general performance and Kingstree Senior High School was awarded Silver for closing the achievement gap.

Of the award recipients, only 65 schools were awarded the Gold designation for both general performance and closing the achievement gap. State Superintendent of Education Dr. Mick Zais announced the Palmetto Gold and Silver Award recipients for the 2013-14 school year in an April 9, press release. "These top five percent truly are our superstars," said Zais. Approximately 19 percent of this year's recipient schools are also classified as high poverty, meaning that over 90 percent of their students receive Medicaid and/or Free or Reduced Meals.

Williamsburg County School District Superintendent Yvonne Jefferson-Barnes expressed her delight of the news. "We are extremely elated and excited for the Williamsburg County School District and the schools being named as Gold and Silver recipients. There is special excitement in this system regarding the number of "Gold" recognitions for overall achievement, along with the number of "Gold" and "Silver" recognitions for bridging the Achievement Gap. Our folks are working to make a positive difference for all of our students and the results are beginning to surface."

Information available from 2010 to 2014 shows Williamsburg County School District has received a total 13 Gold and eight Silver Awards.

The awards program was created by the Education Accountability Act of 1998. The Education Oversight Committee (EOC) is charged within the law to determine the criteria.

This year, 592 individual elementary, middle and high schools as well as career centers and special schools are recognized, down from 677 in the prior year.

The Education Oversight Committee changed the criteria for the award last year after the criteria for determining Growth ratings was revised. David Whittemore, Chairman of the EOC congratulated the schools that received awards. "The state accountability system rewards schools who not only perform at a high level overall, but those who show improvement moving individual student performance up from the previous year," said Whittemore in a press release. "I encourage the leaders of local communities to visit these schools and show their appreciation to the teachers, students, staff, and parents who are making progress."

For information about the Palmetto Gold and Silver Program, visit www.ed.sc.gov

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