Five South Carolina schools nominated for National Blue Ribbon School Awards

December 5, 2008

COLUMBIA, SC – December 4, 2008 – The South Carolina Department of Education has nominated five South Carolina schools to compete in the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program, State Superintendent of Education Jim Rex announced today.

The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program, run by the U.S. Department of Education, honors public and private K-12 schools that are either academically superior or that demonstrate dramatic gains in student achievement.

“I couldn’t be more proud of these five wonderful schools,” Rex said.  “Their mission is for each and every student to succeed, and they are led by outstanding principals, creative teachers and dedicated staff.”

The nominees are Chukker Creek Elementary in the Aiken County School District, Carolina Elementary in Hartsville (Darlington County School District), Midland Elementary in Galivants Ferry (Horry County School District), Ninety Six High School in Greenwood County District 52 and Chapin High in School District Five of Lexington and Richland counties.

The U.S. Department of Education says that schools chosen as National Blue Ribbon recipients are models of excellence that other schools can emulate.
The program was modified in 2001 so that the selection criteria would be consistent with the goals of the federal No Child Left Behind Act.  In the new system, the USDE determines how many nominees each state can submit.  The federal agency allows South Carolina to nominate five schools, and those nominees must meet one of two criteria:

  • Schools that have at least 40 percent of their students from disadvantaged backgrounds and that show dramatic improvement in test scores to high levels in English Language Arts and mathematics.
  • Schools, regardless of their demographics, that achieve in the top 10 percent of schools in the state.

Chukker Creek, Carolina Elementary and Ninety Six High School achieved in the top 10 percent, with at least 40 percent disadvantaged students.  Midland Elementary was in the top 10 percent – with at least 40 percent disadvantaged students – and also had dramatic improvement.  Chapin High made the top 10 percent and has less than 40 percent disadvantaged students.

All five nominated South Carolina schools not only met the basic criteria, but also scored higher against those criteria than other South Carolina schools.  All nominees had to have made Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) under NCLB for the 2006-07 and 2007-08 school years, and also will have to make AYP for the 2008-09 school year to be eligible for recognition as National Blue Ribbon schools. 

In past years, any school could apply to compete in the National Blue Ribbon program.  Under the program’s new rules, however, state departments of education use the USDE’s criteria to nominate schools that are then invited to complete applications. A panel of assessment specialists is invited by the USDE to review the nominated schools’ applications in the summer of 2009.  The 2009 winners will be announced in Washington next fall, and the recognition ceremony will be held in Washington next November.