SOCASTEE, SC (WMBF) - Socastee Elementary is being recognized nationally for its academic excellence and achievement. It's been designated a National Blue Ribbon Award winner after making outstanding strides with their overall academic performance, while closing the achievement gap for students from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Principal Diane Thompson says, "To be a Title One school and still receive that high performing designation...that's an affirmation in both ways."
Traci Whitaker, Socastee Elementary teacher explains, "it's overwhelming, it's a great accomplishment to not only the students, but to the staff and the community."
Wednesday, students and staff wore Socastee Elementary School shirts to show their pride.
"As a school, we decided that we needed to have our students know that they are a part of our lives and they always will be," says Laura Smith, Socastee Elementary teacher.
Socastee educators live by the saying, 'Because you believe in us, we believe in us.'
It means they couldn't do their work without the confidence of the school community. More than 90 percent of Socastee Elementary students come from a disadvantage background. Also, about 34 percent of students have a language barrier. To guide those students on a path to success, the school focuses on making the classroom an extension of home.
Thompson explains, "We create a safe and welcoming environment for our students to learn and work in; we invite our families to be a part of the school environment; we take children where they are when they come in to us and we take them to the next level. We create a challenging, welcoming and positive environment for all students."
The community also plays a large role in creating a learning environment. Donations of bottled water, food, school supplies and emotional support contribute to the schools building blocks of high academic performance.
"What we're doing in school every day is to help them grow for the rest of their lives to help them be a better person," says Smith.
Principal Thompson says the elementary school holds bright futures with a new school to be built within the next few years, more parent involvement opportunity and new extracurricular activities.