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School awards reflect teamwork

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Administrators, teachers and students at three county high schools have every reason to be proud these days.
The S.C. Department of Education recently awarded Palmetto Awards to a trio of Lancaster County high schools.
The awards, which have been presented for 10 years, honor schools that attain high levels on their report card’s absolute performance and growth ratings and substantial progress in closing the achievement gap between groups of students.
Buford High and Indian Land High schools each won the Palmetto Gold awards for closing the achievement gap, while Andrew Jackson High School earned a Palmetto Silver Award for the same achievement.
Indian Land also was presented a Palmetto Gold Award for general performance, giving ILHS, located in the county Panhandle, the honor of being one of only 30 high schools statewide to achieve the Palmetto Gold Award for general excellence.
IL Principal Kathy Faris said the honors are the result of several factors.
“We just expect our teachers to teach well,” Faris said. “We expect our kids to do well. We have a great staff, great kids and high expectations for all of them.”
Buford High Principal Jonathan Phipps said he is proud of the accomplishment at BHS, noting the hard work and determination behind the effort with a focus on writing.
“One of the things I think contributed greatly to our success is our ‘Writing Across the Curriculum’ program,” Phipps said. “In every academic area, students write every week … even in math. The idea is that these are basic skills and if we sharpen those, it’s going to help them in all their classes.
“It’s really worked for them so far,” Phipps said.
Andrew Jackson Principal Mary Barry said the school’s faculty has a “very proactive interventionist stance.”
AJHS enlists many individuals and groups to assist students with tutoring and mentoring.
Parents are also involved with the process, providing a big helping hand.
“We are attempting to foster a school culture that places emphasis on effective support and encouragement from a variety of sources, all of which promote academic success for all students,” Barry said.
All said, these outstanding achievements are a result of hard work and commitment to a cause at the school and in the community.
We share in the pride and encourage these schools and their communities to continue to work and strive for more academic success.
We’re  pleased to say it again – “We’re proud of you.”