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CHS finalist for Palmetto’s Finest Schools Award

Posted: January 9, 2014 5:08 p.m.
Updated: January 10, 2014 5:00 a.m.

Camden High School (CHS) is a finalist for the 2014 Palmetto’s Finest Schools Awards. After extensive evaluations by fellow educators and previous Palmetto’s Finest winners, CHS is among nine schools competing for the honor. The application process includes elements on student achievement, instructional programs, professional learning communities and school culture.

Last fall, 17 South Carolina schools submitted 20-page applications and participated in onsite examinations by a review committee. The nine finalists are now undergoing a second onsite evaluation. CHS principal Dan Matthews described the application process as “rigorous.”

“We worked on the application during the summer and the early part of the school year,” Matthews said. “We were so excited to find out we qualified after the first visit.”

Kershaw County School District Superintendent Dr. Frank Morgan shared Matthews’ excitement about the nomination.

“(CHS is) a school that is extremely worthy of Palmetto’s Finest Schools Award,” Morgan said, adding that CHS prepares its students with “21st century skills.”

Morgan also noted that CHS maintains a strong connection with the surrounding community and champions a strong spirit of “volunteerism and giving back.”

Matthews agreed that CHS has a unique connection to the community and is “dynamically supported” by it.

“We want to respond in kind for all the support we receive,” he said.

Kershaw County Board of School Trustees Chair Mara Jones commented that CHS’ “faculty, staff and leadership are exceptional and they continually excel for nothing but the best for our students.”

The finalist schools will gather in their schools on Monday, March 26, to learn which have won the top honors. SC ETV will stream the announcement live to each of the finalist schools.

The only other Palmetto’s Finest finalist from the Midlands is Fairfield Magnet School for Math and Science in Fairfield County. Other finalists are:

• Midland Elementary School, Horry County;

• Okatie Elementary School, Beaufort County;

• Boiling Springs Middle School, Spartanburg District 2;

• Forestbrook Middle School, Horry County;

• Landrum Middle School, Spartanburg District 1;

• Clover High School, York District 2; and

• Howe Hall Arts Infused Magnet School, Berkeley County.

The S.C. Association of School Administrators (SCASA) presents the awards each year to schools which offer the best in innovative, effective educational programs. The Palmetto’s Finest Award is celebrating its 36th year and is one of the most coveted and respected awards among educators.

Morgan said he sees CHS being a strong contender for the award.

“Matthews is a wonderful leader and he has a really great team. You walk in the school and you can feel the focus, excitement and the genuine care his team has for the kids,” Morgan said.

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