Columbia, SC - COLUMBIA, SC (WMBF) - A half-dozen area schools have been named among the Palmetto State's 124 "Red Carpet" schools by State Superintendent Jim Rex.
Red Carpet awards recognize schools for creating family-friendly school environments and providing excellent customer service.
Winning schools receive red carpets with the state seal to display in their lobbies, and they maintain their recognition status for a three-year period.
The following schools in the Grand Strand and Pee Dee were named to this year's list:
- Chesterfield-Ruby Middle, Chesterfield
- Pate Elementary, Darlington
- Southside Middle, Florence 1
- Johnsonville High, Florence 5
- Ocean Bay Middle, Horry
- Kingstree Elementary, Williamsburg
Red Carpet coordinator Frank White says Greenville County led the awards with 15 winners. Greenville County is the state's largest district. Richland District 2 and Spartanburg District 6 each had six winners. Berkeley, Kershaw, Lexington 1, Oconee and Richland 1 each had five.
A total of 262 schools began the Red Carpet award application process in fall 2009. Applicants provided written details about their family-friendly philosophies and environments, along with the methods used to promote and self-evaluate those efforts. They also were required to include copies of their school's communication plan.
Schools that passed the written application phase were screened by independent judges who rated how telephone callers and visitors were treated. Judges did not identify themselves during telephone calls or site visits, and site visits were not announced in advance.
This year's recipients, the largest number since the program began in 2001, included four child development centers, six primary schools, 74 elementary schools, 22 middle schools, 14 high schools, one technical school, and three special schools.
The Red Carpet Schools initiative was one of only two programs in the nation to receive a Distinguished Single Project Award from the National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA) in 2003. The program has also been featured in NSPRA's monthly newsletter as well as the monthly newsletter of the National Elementary Principals Association.
Schools are judged on a variety of factors, including the exterior and interior appearance of the campus, the way people were treated in person and over the telephone, and the information and programs available for families and visitors.