DARLINGTON, S.C. — Mayo High School for Math, Science and Technology earned the Palmetto Gold award, the state’s top honor in academic excellence for the 2018-19 school year.

Spaulding Middle School, earned Palmetto Silver recognition.

The two Darlington County School District schools, along with Hartsville Middle School, also won those awards for the 2017-18 school year.

S.C. Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman announced the awards recently based on the schools’ performance during the 2018-19 and 2017-18 years.

The awards were not given last year while the selection process was being updated.

“The Palmetto Gold and Silver awards demonstrate a school’s commitment to excellence and ensure every student meets the Profile of the South Carolina Graduate,” Spearman said. “This achievement is a testament to the hard work of the students, teachers and principals in each school community.”

The Education Accountability Act of 1998 established the Palmetto Gold and Silver awards program “to recognize and reward schools for academic achievement and for closing the achievement gap.” The State Board of Education, working with the S.C. Department of Education and S.C. Education Oversight Committee (EOC), set the revised criteria for the awards program in May.

The criteria, which identify the general performance of schools, were based upon an analysis of the 2018 annual school report cards and upon feedback from a task force of principals, coordinated by the EOC in 2019. Additional criteria will be added in the future to recognize schools that have closed the achievement gap.

For elementary and middle schools, the criteria focus on two report card indicators: Academic achievement and student progress. To be eligible to receive a Palmetto Gold or Silver designation, an elementary or middle school must receive a rating for the indicators of academic achievement and student progress.

For high schools, the Palmetto Gold and Silver awards program focuses on four report card indicators: academic achievement, preparing for success, graduation rate and college/career readiness.

High schools that have an Excellent rating on three of the four indicators and a minimum of Good on the fourth indicator are eligible for the Palmetto Gold Award. A high school must also have an overall report card rating of Excellent or Good to earn a Palmetto Gold.

High schools that have a minimum rating of Good on three of the four indicators and no rating lower than Average on the fourth indicator are eligible for a Palmetto Silver Award. A high school must also have an overall report card rating of Average or above to meet the criteria.

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