FORT MILL TOWNSHIP — All local schools were named Palmetto Gold Award recipients for overall performance by the S.C. Department of Education last week.
Several local schools in Fort Mill and Indian Land – nearly half – also received Gold or Silver Awards for closing achievement gaps between subgroups of students or qualifying in both categories.
Across the state, 592 schools and career centers were recognized April 9.
Statewide, just 65 schools were given a “Gold” designation for both general performance and closing the achievement gap. Of those 65 schools, eight are located in York, Chester and Lancaster counties, including four in Fort Mill Township.
“That’s exciting,” said Marty McGinn, assistant superintendent in charge of curriculum and human resources for the Fort Mill School District.
“We’re certainly pleased. How can you not be? Closing the achievement gap is something all schools strive for.”
McGinn said all the credit has to go to teachers and administrators at each of the schools. She also said initiatives, such as a new data room at Banks Trail Middle School – a Gold winner for overall performance and a Silver winner for closing the gap – that tracks progress and helps identity students in need of extra help, demonstrates the “level of commitment” it takes to succeed.
“We have just an amazing group of teachers and administrators, assistant principals that no one knows how much they do that most people don’t see, and it’s good to see them all recognized for the all the hard work they’re doing,” McGinn said.
“That just shows the level of commitment that’s there. We have a lot of gifted students, but we also have students who need help and this shows that our teachers and administrators are not satisfied until every student is achieving at grade level or higher.”
Dr. Gene Moore, superintendent of the Lancaster County School District, which includes Indian Land’s three schools, also said he’s proud of the awards.
“Our schools are working extremely hard to see that every child succeeds, and these awards recognize the hard work our students, parents, teachers and administrators are doing to meet this goal,” he said.
“These top 5 percent (of schools) truly are our superstars,” S.C. Superintendent Mick Zais said in a release.
Rachel Southmayd • 803-329-4072