On The Move
South Carolina Schools Earn National Blue Ribbon School Distinction
Sep 7, 2012
COLUMBIA, SC September 7, 2012 - Five South Carolina schools won 2012 National Blue Ribbon Schools Awards, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced today. The U.S. Department of Education (USED) says that schools chosen as National Blue Ribbon recipients are models of excellence that other schools can emulate. Winners are either academically superior or demonstrate dramatic gains in student achievement.
The 2012 recipients include:
- Hammond Hill Elementary School, Aiken County School District
- Marrington Middle School of the Arts, Berkeley County School District
- Forestbrook Elementary School, Horry County School District
- Oak Grove Elementary School, Lexington School District One
- South Kilbourne Elementary School, Richland School District One
“The South Carolina Department of Education commends these schools for earning this prestigious distinction,” said Dr. Mick Zais, South Carolina State Superintendent of Education. “The students, parents, teachers, and administrators at these schools deserve all the credit for their success.”
Official award ceremonies will take place in Washington D.C. on Nov. 12-13, 2012, where the approximately 300 national winners will receive Blue Ribbon School flags and engraved plaques as symbols of their success. The National Blue Ribbon program was modified in 2001. In the new system, the USED determines how many nominees each state can submit. The winning schools have to meet one of the criteria listed below:
- Schools that have at least 40 percent of their students from disadvantaged backgrounds and that show dramatic improvement in test scores to high levels in English language arts and mathematics.
- Schools, regardless of their demographics, that achieve in the top 10 percent of schools in the state.
All five of South Carolina’s National Blue Ribbon Schools Award winners met the first criterion, with more than 50 percent of their students from disadvantaged backgrounds. All five schools received a letter grade of “A” on their 2012 federal accountability report cards.
Hammond Hill Elementary School (Aiken County School District)
Aiken County School District Contact: Tammie Newman, 803-641-2639
Situated in the city of North Augusta, Hammond Hill Elementary serves approximately 830 students in grades PK-5. Hammond Hill Elementary has successfully carried out its mission to prepare students to function successfully both personally and academically in a nurturing environment. Student achievement is consistently high in all subject areas. For the past three years, the school has been awarded the Palmetto Gold Award for high academic performance and the Gold Award for Closing the Achievement Gap.
Academic decisions are based on a thorough analysis of data from a variety of sources. Shared decision-making through collaboration is the norm, not the exception. Innovative programs such as the Math Lab and Computer Writing Lab captivate student interest in learning and motivate students to succeed. Students have abundant opportunities for creativity, leadership, and involvement, resulting in a sense of pride and ownership.
Marrington Middle School of the Arts (Berkeley County School District)
Berkeley County School District Contact: Susan Haire, 843-899-8611
Marrington Middle School of the Arts serves 400 students in grades 6-8. In addition to having a neighborhood attendance zone, the school offers additional seats to other Berkeley County School District students interested in the arts‐infused curriculum. A key to the school’s success is the shared philosophical conviction that all students can learn. At the school, on-site staff development has focused on authentic literacy, effective classroom strategies, and the inclusion of informal assessment techniques to inform the instructional process.
The school’s culture reflects data-driven decision-making and high expectations held by all staff members. Teachers are integral in retrieving and analyzing their students’ data. Through the use of data, teachers are able to identify when students begin to struggle and can quickly intervene by enriching the curriculum, equipping students with consistent practice and assistance until they can demonstrate mastery of the standards.
In 2006, the school began to infuse the arts into the academic curriculum, and this ongoing focus on the arts has greatly contributed to the school’s achievements. A highly-talented group of teaching professionals has joined forces to produce diverse lesson plans that combine students’ artistic passions with the academic standards. By emphasizing dynamic creative instruction and building on active partnerships within its community, Marrington Middle School of the Arts provides countless opportunities for each student to build a legacy of success.
Forestbrook Elementary School (Horry County School District)
Horry County School District Contact: Teal Britton, 843-488-6777
Forestbrook Elementary educates a diverse student body of 900 students in grades K-5. The school’s success can be attributed to the steadfast leadership and devoted faculty and staff who passionately believe that every child can learn at high levels and the importance of effective professional development which fosters and builds the school’s capacity for excellence in teaching and learning. Forestbrook Elementary is committed to creating and supporting a safe, caring learning environment and a positive school culture in which all children and adults feel welcomed and nurtured. Forestbrook has been recognized with the Palmetto Gold Award for General Performance as well as for Closing Achievement Gaps for historically underachieving groups for the past ten years.
Oak Grove Elementary School (Lexington One School District)
Lexington One School District Contact: Mary Beth Cahill, 803-821-1152
Oak Grove Elementary School serves a diverse student with approximately 700 students in grades PK-5. It is a true community school with high levels of parental involvement that span several generations of students and parents. Starting with a one room cabin built in the early 1900s, Oak Grove Elementary has a rich heritage and a culture for continuous improvement and education excellence. The school has received an excellent absolute rating and an excellent growth rating for the last three years on its state report card. Oak Grove Elementary was recognized with the Palmetto Gold Award for a high level of student performance and for making substantial progress in closing achievement gaps for the past three consecutive years. The school has a healthy and positive culture which is achieved partially through the infusion of the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey in their daily practice. Collaborative planning sessions and using data from on-going formative assessments help determine instructional strengths and weaknesses to ensure effective instruction is delivered in all classrooms.
South Kilbourne Elementary (Richland School District One)
Richland School District One Contact: Karen York, 803-231-7504
South Kilbourne Elementary serves 249 students in grades PK-5. With 98 percent of students eligible for the free and reduced school lunch program, South Kilbourne Elementary is a school of educational excellence and high achievement. South Kilbourne has been recognized with Palmetto Gold Awards, the South Carolina Exemplary Writing Award, and the Governor’s School of Writing Award.
The success of the school has to do with a strong and committed leadership and the dedication of the faculty and staff. Over the year, the school has been in relentless pursuit of continuous improvement in curriculum and instruction so that effective teaching and learning take place in every classroom every day. They implemented many literacy and arts-based programs and initiatives such as Books and Breakfast, book fairs, class performances, fitness assessments, art club, and other music-related events. Everyone at South Kilbourne recognizes the importance of building relationships as well as the active engagement of parents and the community. South Kilbourne Elementary maintains a strong school/community relationship and a collaborative and positive school culture.