Three Upstate schools are Palmetto finest

Ed Jenson
March 21, 2017 - 4:49 pm

Five schools, including three in the Upstate, were named today the 2017 Palmetto’s Finest Schools.

The schools were honored by the South Carolina Association of School Administrators for exceptional student achivement, instructional programs, professional learning communities, and school culture.

Monarch Elementary was one of two elementary schools winning the honor...Principal Vaughan Overman called it a great honor for the school

Other schools winning the Palmetto award included Seneca High School, Campobello Gramling School, Round Top Elementary in Blythewood and Dutch Fork Middle in Irmo.


Monarch Elementary (Greenville, Principal Vaughan Overman) serves 878 students in Pre-K through 5th grade.  Using a project-based learning approach aligned with a rigorous standards-based curriculum, a Health Science focus, and innovative technology, students excel as learners.  Students benefit from an early exposure to a range of careers and challenges through a partnership with a local hospital system and other business partners.  The philosophy behind the school’s tagline, Celebrating Inquiry, Innovation and Creativity, reflects the culture of the school campus.  Monarch has been a recipient of Palmetto Gold Awards for high academic standing and is recognized as a TransformSC school for meeting the Gold Standards for project-based learning. 


Round Top Elementary (Blythewood, Principal Jeaneen Tucker) serves 565 students in Pre-K through 5th grade and is a National School of Character. The first elementary school in the district to become an Arts in the Basic Curriculum site, Round Top provides many interactive and enriched learning experiences through a unique related arts integration program. As a Leader in Me school, students understand the value of lifelong learning and responsible citizenship and are empowered to practice leadership within the school, community, and beyond. A Palmetto Gold Award recipient for the past five years, Round Top Elementary educates the “whole child,” teaching critical thinking, problem solving, and decision-making skills through collaborative learning experiences. 


Dutch Fork Middle (Irmo, Principal Gerald Gary) enrolls 1,034 7th and 8th grade students and consistently receives top state and federal ratings. Dutch Fork Middle has an overall “A” grade and top ranking by for academics and student programs. Among its many initiatives, Dutch Fork Middle School’s Hate Won’t Win campaign, which encourages diversity and tolerance, continues to gain state and national attention for bringing schools and communities closer together.  Dutch Fork Middle School’s distinction as one of only three middle schools in the state to hold Project Lead the Way Certification serves as a reminder that they are committed to providing courses, programs, and opportunities for their students. 


Seneca High (Seneca, Principal T. Cliff Roberts) serves 970 students in 9th through 12th grade.  Seneca High offers meaningful programs ranging from Graduation and Transition Services through a 21st Century grant program for their most at-risk population to offering 20 Advanced Placement courses to challenge their most ambitious students.  The development of a Hybrid Program, Advisement Period, and implementation of BOBCATS Central help equip students with the skills needed to excel after graduation.  These programs have caused a rise in standardized test scores and an increase in the graduation rate over the past five years.  Seneca High has received the Palmetto Gold Award the past two years and was named a 2016 Top 20 Public High School in South Carolina by US News and World Report. 


Campobello Gramling School (Campobello, Principal John Hodge) serves 730 students in Pre-K through 8th grade.  As a South Carolina Exemplary Reading School, Schools to Watch School, and Palmetto Gold Recipient, Campobello Gramling School provides many different services to students to foster growth and development of the whole child.  Programs such as Wildcat Club, Backpacks for Hope, STEAM Lab, Cards for Veterans, Terrific Kids, Reading Recovery, and award-winning sports and fine arts programs prepare students to become academically successful as well as community-minded citizens. Campobello Gramling School understands that collaboration among stakeholders, dedication to students, and incorporation of technology will prepare its students to be 21st century learners.  

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