Ten Kershaw County schools were among 592 schools statewide recognized by the State Department of Education for academic achievement and closing achievement gaps in 2013.
"The Palmetto Gold and Silver awards honor the top performing schools in our state," said Kershaw County School District Superintendent Dr. Frank Morgan. "The standards for this year are actually higher than they have been in the past so I am pleased to see that we had schools in the double digits for this recognition. I am extremely proud of our continued success and say a big ‘thank you and congratulations’ to the staff, students and families that have worked together to achieve these results."
The state awards program recognizes schools with high levels of absolute performance, high rates of growth and substantial progress in closing achievement gaps between groups of students.
The program includes two parts -- recognition for general school performance as well as progress in closing achievement gaps between groups of students.
Schools received general awards for overall performance based on both the absolute and growth ratings and the growth index found on school report cards.
These ratings are determined by PASS scores for elementary and middle schools. For high schools, the ratings are based on exit exam results, graduation rate and percentage of students passing end-of-course tests.
Six schools -- Bethune Elementary, Camden Elementary, Lugoff Elementary, Lugoff-Elgin High, North Central High and Wateree Elementary -- received Gold Awards in the general performance category. Silver Award winners for general performance were Leslie M. Stover Middle and North Central Middle schools.
For the second award category, schools received recognition for closing the achievement gap based on academic gains made by students who fall into four subgroups -- African-American students, Hispanic students, students participating in federal free or reduced-price lunch programs and students with non-speech disabilities.
North Central High School (NCHS) received a Gold Award for closing the achievement gap. NCHS is one of only 65 schools in the state to receive the gold designation for both categories, earning the title of a "superstar," according to State Superintendent of Education Mick Zais.
Baron DeKalb Elementary, Camden Elementary, Camden High and North Central Middle received Silver Awards for closing the achievement gap. In addition to NCHS, Camden Elementary and North Central Middle earned honors in both award categories.
The state’s Education Oversight Committee establishes criteria for the awards, and the Department of Education applies those criteria to determine which schools are honored.
"This good news is another indication of why Kershaw County School District earned an ‘Excellent’ for its Absolute and Growth ratings on the state report card," Morgan said. "I am extremely pleased to see our academic performance continue to increase."