Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Euphoric is the word Marrington Middle School Principal Jim Spencer uses to sum up the feeling of receiving the Palmetto’s Finest Award.
On March 11 the joyous announcement was broadcast on SCETV as several staff members and students watched in the media center.
“It was a lot of fun,” Spencer said. “It’s one of those things where a lot of people worked really hard to have a celebration where it comes to fruition like that and makes it all worthwhile.”
Spencer said the application process is extensive and being selected is mostly based on student achievement. The school was visited by three experienced educational leaders for evaluation.
“They selected two or three schools in each category for a second visit. The second visit was about a week before the announcement.”
Spencer attributes the school’s success to the staff.
“We have an amazing staff, it’s highly talented, extremely dedicated and hard working. It’s everybody on this campus, your job is student learning, student achievement. If you work in cafeteria, custodian, teacher, principal, librarian, your job is to increase student achievement. We do that as a team.
“We work our students extremely hard. We challenge our students. They’re getting used to that. They’re rising to the level of our expectations. We push them toward that and it works out.”
Spencer said the school receives tremendous support from the district office and that Superintendent Rodney Thompson allows for student achievement to be the district’s number one goal.
“It was amazing to earn the National Blue Ribbon and Palmetto’s Finest in the same year,” Spencer said.
Marrington received the National Blue Ribbon Award in November.
The SCETV broadcast described it as follows: “Marrington Middle School of the Arts sits on a tranquil site canopied by towering pine trees. Visitors witness our students singing, dancing, composing, sharing ideas, and problem solving as they move through their studies of fine arts and academic classes. Their diverse talents in the fine arts allow students to give back to their community. Their annual Night of Giving features students’ artistic talents as do the annual musicals they produce.
“Students are involved in many extra-curricular activities including Mock Trial, First Lego League, QUEST academic bowl, Munching Mentors, and the Junior Student-to-Student welcoming committee. Students make their voices heard through ‘Coffee with the Principal.’
“We have achieved Palmetto Gold Awards in both Performance and Closing the Achievement Gap, earned a numerical score of 100 on the Federal Accountability System, and ranked above the national norm in ALL subject areas on the Explore test four years consecutively.”