CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Lowcountry schools virtually swept the state's top education awards today.
Four area schools were named Palmetto's Finest School Awards winners. Those schools are Fort Dorchester Elementary and Ashley Ridge High in the Dorchester District 2 School District, and Hanahan Middle and Marrington Middle School of the Arts in the Berkeley County School District.
Each school submitted a 20-page application and hosted the South Carolina Association of School Administrators Palmetto's Finest Awards Committee. The criteria included student achievement, instructional programs, professional learning communities, and school culture. In its 35th year, the awards are known as the most respected and coveted accolades among educators across the state.
The schools learned of their respective wins during a live announcement broadcast on SC ETV this afternoon. All are first-time winners.
Hannah Pittman of the South Carolina Association of School Administrators said she believed this year's awards marked the highest concentration of awarded schools within an area.
"For both of these schools, this honor reflects the hard work of students, outstanding school leadership, and ongoing collaboration among staff, parents and community leaders," Berkeley County School District Superintendent Rodney Thompson, Ph.D, said.
Fort Dorchester Elementary School was a previous finalist in the awards. Dorchester District 2 Assistant Superintendent Linda Huffman said the district has been "blessed" to win two titles this year.
"We have wonderful leadership, wonderful students, teachers and parents," she said. "Everybody just pitches together and we are a family with whom we are extremely proud today."
Hammond Hill Elementary in Aiken County was the fifth winner.