FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) - Royall Elementary School is ranked at the top of its class after receiving the National Blue Ribbon award this year.
"To have that commitment recognized nationally by an award that there is none higher for an elementary school is kind of a nice pat on the back for our hard work," Royall Elementary School Principal Julie Smith said.
It's one of only five schools in South Carolina to receive the honor this year.
Royall Elementary School had to submit a 40 page application in the spring showing standardized test scores, academic programs, school community, parental support, staffing levels and demographics of the student population.
It qualified for both the high achieving and closing the gap categories, meaning students who are expected to score below the 25th percentile on standardized tests actually scored proficient.
"A lot of it has to do with high expectations," Smith said. "It's not one program. It's not something that you can go duplicate. It has to do with believing that every single child can be successful here at Royall."
A focus on reading and giving individualized attention to students who are struggling are major components of the school's success as well as the students.
"Try to understand why a child might not be successful in reading or in a certain subject then we put our heads together and figure out what would help that child the most," said Susan Jenkins, the school's media specialist.
A representative from Royall Elementary went to Washington D.C. to accept the award at a ceremony with the secretary of education.