Nearly 700 SC schools recognized for achievement

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - The state Department of Education is recognizing 662 of South Carolina's public schools for student achievement.

The agency on Monday announced the recipients of this year's Palmetto Gold and Palmetto Silver awards. The winners are based on students' scores on standardized tests last spring.

The Legislature created the program in 1998 accountability law. Schools are rewarded for high scores, improvement and for closing achievement gaps.

Nearly 70% of the recognized schools have high poverty ratings. That means at least 60% of their students qualify for free- or reduced-price meals.

The gold and silver designations used to come with cash. Amounts ranged from $1,000 to 25,500 depending on performance and population. Schools last received a monetary reward in the program in 2009.

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