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A toast to South Middle School’s recent success is in order. The toast would likely go something like this, “Here’s looking at you, SMS.”
South has earned the coveted honor of a School to Watch.
The honor puts SMS in elite company as less than 350 schools nationwide have earned the honor, and only 13 in the Palmetto State.
One of those lucky 13 is Indian Land Middle School in the county’s Panhandle, which was recently redesignated a School to Watch after garnering the title in 2010.
The School to Watch designation is an initiative of the National Forum to Accelerate Middle Grades Reform, signifying the school’s success in pursuing academic excellence.
Lancaster County Superintendent Dr. Gene Moore saluted the school at a recent assembly, noting the work to reach the lofty status.
“It is a rigorous process and the hard work you students and staff have done paid off,” Moore said. “We are very proud of you.”
The award means South met the forum’s criteria for high performance by being academically excellent, developmentally responsive to the developmental challenges of adolescence and socially equitable by providing every student with high-quality teachers, resources and support.
SMS must also have set “norms, structures and organizational arrangements” to support and sustain its progress toward excellence.
South Principal Joyce Crimminger said teamwork was vital in South’s award.
“Being recognized speaks volumes about what we’re doing and reconfirms that what we’re doing is good for middle school students,” Crimminger said.
South will have the School to Watch designation for three years.
After that, it can apply for redesignation.
The honor also gives South the chance to represent Lancaster County at a state Middle School Association conference in March and a National Forum conference in Washington, D.C., in June.
South is most deserving of the honor. The middle school faced a major challenge and South rose to the occasion. We share in their pride.