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KCSD schools earn Palmetto Gold and Silver

Posted: August 15, 2013 2:46 p.m.
Updated: August 16, 2013 5:00 a.m.

Thirteen Kershaw County School District (KCSD) schools earned Palmetto Gold and Silver Awards this year.

For general performance in the West Wateree area, Lugoff Elementary and Lugoff-Elgin High schools received gold awards; Blaney Elementary School and Leslie M. Stover and Lugoff-Elgin middle schools received a silver award. In Camden, the Applied Technology Education Campus and Camden Elementary School for the Creative Arts both received gold awards in general performance; and Camden Middle and Pine Tree Hill Elementary schools earned silver awards. North Central area’s Bethune Elementary and North Central Middle schools were honored with a silver award for general performance.

Baron DeKalb, Doby’s Mill, and Pine Tree Hill elementary schools received silver awards for closing the achievement gap category.

Pine Tree Hill Elementary was the only school in the district to be recognized in both categories and one of 15 statewide to get silver awards for both general performance and closing the achievement gap.

All criteria for Palmetto Gold and Silver Awards are set by the state’s Education Oversight Committee (EOC). KCSD Superintendent Dr. Frank Morgan said only 18 of the district’s schools are eligible for the Palmetto Gold and Silver Awards. Seventy percent of the eligible schools received awards this year.

"It’s a noteworthy accomplishment. I’m proud and the community should be, too," Morgan said.

In addition, he said, the EOC requirements were more rigorous this year. According to the S.C. Department of Education’s (SCDOE) website, the EOC revised its criteria for general performance this year, "reducing the number of eligible schools" overall.

General school performance is determined by growth ratings and the growth index found on school report cards. Awards for closing achievement gaps are based on PASS scores grades for elementary and middle schools. On the high school level, "on-time" graduation rates are also considered. In 2008, the EOC set a goal of an 88.3 percent graduation rate by 2014.

The Palmetto Gold and Silver Awards program was created by the Education Accountability Act of 1988. In 2008, the act began honoring schools for closing achievement gaps. The award recognizes and honors schools for "attaining high levels of absolute performance, for attaining high rates of growth, and for making substantial progress in closing the achievement gap between disaggregated groups," according to the SCDOE’s website. Previously, ratings were based on exit exam scores, graduation rates and the percentage of students that pass their end of course exams on the high school level.

Silver achievement gap awards are given to schools for making academic progress with students in one of the following subgroups: African-American students, Hispanic students, students participating in federal free or reduced-price lunch programs and students with non-speech disabilities.

Six hundred and seventy-one schools were honored with awards this year, according to the SCDOE: 445 for general performance, 39 for closing the achievement gap, and 192 in both categories. Sixty-eight percent of this year’s recipients had a poverty rate of 60 percent or higher.

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