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District announces Palmetto Gold and Silver winners

  • Monday, April 28, 2014

Williamsburg County School District is proud to announce that the SC Department of Education has recognized all district high schools, the district career center and two elementary schools as 2013-14 Palmetto Gold and Silver Award winners.

C.E. Murray High School, Hemingway High School, Hemingway Elementary School and Kenneth Gardner Elementary School received a Palmetto Gold for “General Performance.” C.E. Murray High School, Hemingway High School, and Hemingway Career Center received a Palmetto Gold for “Closing the Achievement Gap.” Hemingway Elementary School, Kenneth Gardner Elementary School and Kingstree Senior High School received a Palmetto Silver for “Closing the Achievement Gap.”

Beyond the fact that all district high schools were honored in this distinguished program, C.E. Murray High School and Hemingway High School are top performing SC schools due to their listing among only 65 public schools across the state receiving a gold designation for both the general performance and closing the achievement gap categories. “These top five percent truly are our superstars,” said Dr. Zais, State Superintendent of Education. 

Dr. Jennifer Gardner, principal of Kenneth Gardner Elementary School, attributes this honor to everyone working as a team to assist students in performing at their best. She thanks her entire staff for their dedication. “We are proud to achieve a Palmetto Gold for general performance and a Palmetto Silver for closing the achievement gap,” Gardner added.

Principal of C.E. Murray High School, Dr. Janice Gamble, said, “I commend the staff, students and parents of C.E. Murray High School for their efforts. It truly takes a team effort in order for a school to be successful.  ?

Cynthia Brown is also proud of her faculty, staff and students for working hard to accomplish this academic achievement. As a Palmetto Gold and Silver winner, Brown, who is the principal of Hemingway Elementary School, said, “We will continue to work hard, here, at HES and we will continue to grow. Everyone did an awesome job, and we are excited and motivated.”

Kingstree Senior High School received a silver designation for closing the achievement gap in this program. Willie Frazier, principal of KSH, is pleased with the accomplishment of KSH in the Palmetto Gold and Silver Program.

He said, “It has been some challenges to reach the level that we are currently at but with the encouragement of students, faculty, and staff we knew that we were capable of reaching higher heights. “

The Hemingway Career and Technology Center under the direction of Torrance Wilson has received a Palmetto Gold for closing the achievement gap. Regarding this award, Wilson said, “It is a bright and shining star for the community and the stakeholders and it pays tribute to the hard work of the students faculty and staff of HCTC.”

Principal of Hemingway High School, Levi Keith, shared that the success in academics at HHS is the result of all stakeholders understanding that students must know that you care about them before learning can occur.  Keith’s philosophy lines up with author and education consultant, Ruby Paine, who believes that no meaningful learning occurs or takes place until a child knows or recognizes that you care. Keith said, “When I arrived at HHS, I immediately started to involve all stakeholders in the educational process and as our relationship strengthened the academics of the school increased. We are here today, recognized among few by the SC Department of Education as outstanding in academics because we worked together to make HHS one of the best in the state. 

“Williamsburg County Public Schools received 10 award acknowledgments, seven of which were Gold and three of them were Silver. This is the largest number of school performance and achievement recognitions received by this district since the beginning of this program. In fact, media sources have reported that in the Pee Dee Area, Williamsburg tied with Florence School District One for second place, with the number of identified schools and recognition awards,” said Dr. Yvonne Barnes. “Congratulations to our schools and supporting personnel for the work being accomplished, in moving our school district forward,” Barnes added.

The State Board of Education, working with the division and the Department of Education, established the Palmetto Gold and Silver Awards Program to recognize and reward schools for academic achievement and for closing the achievement gap.

Schools attaining high levels of absolute performance, attaining high rates of growth, and making substantial progress in closing the achievement gap between disaggregated groups are awarded. The award program base impro

ved performance on longitudinally matched student data and may include such additional criteria as: (1) student attendance; (2) teacher attendance; (3) graduation rates; and (4) other factors promoting or maintaining high levels of achievement and performance. Schools are rewarded according to specific criteria established by the division. In defining eligibility for a reward for high levels of performance, student performance should exceed expected levels of improvement.

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