Beech Hill Elementary School named Palmetto's Finest

From Dorchester County Schools PIO

SUMMERVILLE, S.C. -- More than 250 parents, school staff, students, school board members, and district staff were on hand at the Koger Center in Columbia on Tuesday evening as Beech Hill Elementary School in Dorchester School District Two earned the prestigious title of 2012 Palmetto's Finest School.

As Principal Rene Harris accepted the award as one of the two top elementary schools in the state, scores of Beech Hill Elementary students joined her on stage as supporters cheered. From among nine finalists, four schools received this coveted award as being among the best schools in the state. Awards were presented to one high school, one middle school and two elementary schools during the enthusiastic celebration of public schools.

The Palmetto's Finest Award is celebrating its 36th year and is one of the most coveted and respected awards among educators.

Beech Hill Elementary School in Dorchester School District Two was named one of four elementary school finalists for top elementary school in South Carolina in January. One of the fastest growing schools in the district with 1,160 students, Beech Hill Elementary is a 4K-5 school that opened in 1992. This award-winning school has some of the highest test scores in the state and received an Excellent absolute rating and an Excellent growth rating on the 2011 State Report Card. The school has met Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) under No Child Left Behind for the past three years. Just last week, Beech Hill Elementary received the Palmetto Gold Award for outstanding student achievement and the Palmetto Gold Award for Closing the Achievement Gap from the state Education Oversight Committee and the State Department of Education. The school has been named a South Carolina Red Carpet School for its family-friendly environment and has received a Ribbon Award from the State Department of Education for implementing the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports program (PBIS) with fidelity and quality. Under the leadership of Principal Rene Harris, Beech Hill Elementary has been a leader in offering single gender classes that has earned recognition from the State Department of Education.

Dorchester School District Two is home to seven previous Palmetto's Finest winners: Flowertown Elementary School (1987-88), Newington Elementary School (2003-04), Oakbrook Elementary School (1992-93), Spann Elementary School (1995-96), Summerville Elementary School (1993-94), Rollings Middle School of the Arts (2006-07), and William M. Reeves, Jr. Elementary School (2010-2011)

Each spring since 1978, South Carolina Association of School Administrators has recognized a few select schools that offer excellent instruction and outstanding leaders, augmented by strong family and community involvement and a supportive business community. The selection process for this extraordinary recognition is extremely competitive. It includes a comprehensive review of a school's program through a rigorous application process that is followed by school visitations by a team of administrators from across the state.