Palmetto Gold Royall Elementary School

Erin Bullock's first grade class at Royall Elementary works on a coloring activity in class. Royall Elementary was named a Palmetto Gold school this year by the South Carolina Department of Education.

FLORENCE, S.C. — The principal of Royall Elementary School says its Palmetto Gold award is an indication of the school’s success.

The award was announced this week by the South Carolina Department of Education.

The school also performed in the top two percent of schools in the state, said Principal Julie Smith.

“It’s an honor just to be a part of this school every single day,” Smith said.

Smith said the school has received several Palmetto Gold and Silver awards in the past and was named a National Blue Ribbon School in 2014 by the U.S. Department of Education.

In addition to the 2018-19 gold award, the South Carolina Department of Education also recently announced that Royall received the Palmetto Silver award for the 2017-18 school year.

“One of the strengths of our program at Royall is the dedication of our teachers and our teaching staff,” Smith said. “They’re very hardworking and very dedicated and loyal to the goals of our school. We have great, supportive parents who understand that we want what’s best for their children, and we have hardworking students. It’s a winning combination obviously.”

Smith said one of the things she thinks contributes to the school’s long-term success has been its consistent focus on reading because reading translates to all other subject areas.

“I think the secret to our success has consistently been high expectations for all children,” Smith said. “We expect children to read. We expect children to do their homework. We expect children to do their best.”

Leah Barley, literacy coach at Royall Elementary, said the school is an incredible place to be.

Palmetto Gold Royall Elementary School

Carsen Penny, a kindergarten student in Bridgett Kennedy's class, practices the alphabet with a dance activity.

“I’ve been here for 15 years and watched Royall succeed in many different ways, but this is the first time I’ve been here and been recognized as part of a gold team,” Barley said. “I’m always proud of our teachers, I’m always proud of the success that our children have. They work very hard for it and earn it.”

Barley said the school’s success has been a continuous effort from all staff members to maintain high expectations.

“Everybody here believes that all children are able to contribute and do their very best,” Barley said. “That high expectation is set from every person in the school.”

For elementary and middle schools to receive a Palmetto Gold designation, the school must have a school report card rating of excellent academic achievement and excellent student progress, excellent academic achievement and good student progress or good academic achievement and excellent student progress.

Royall Elementary received a rating of excellent on both academic achievement and student progress.

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