Newberry Elementary finalist for Palmetto’s Finest
by Natalie Netzel Staff Writer
NEWBERRY — Newberry Elementary School is one of six schools in the state in the Palmetto’s Finest award process. The school will receive its initial visit Nov. 15 with a couple of members of the Palmetto’s Finest committee.
Principal Reggie Wicker said he wanted to apply and pulled eight teachers and staff members for a Palmetto’s Finest working team.
“We looked at the success of the building and realized there are so many great things that the students and parents are doing and wanted to showcase it. It was time to step out and reach for the award,” said Wicker.
The team consists of Wicker, assistant administrator Kathryn White, guidance counselor Amanda Glasgow, first grade teacher Amanda Huffstetler, fifth grade teacher Lynn Mohler, literacy coach Angelia Lown, secretary Christie Knight, ESOL teacher Carol Dukes and special education teacher Leese Iseman.
“We met on different occasions to pull information for the application,” said Wicker. “It’s a great accomplishment. Just because you apply doesn’t mean you accomplish the milestone of receiving a visit. That makes us feel really good.”
Even if the school is not chosen, the school is still a winner because of how the application process has grown them.
“Preparing for the visit has allowed us to look at the quality of education and it’s also caused us to go through a deeper phase of professional growth all the way from the custodians and cafeteria workers to the teachers,” said Wicker.
The 20-page application included student demographics, general information, student achievement supported by data, instructional programs, school culture and professional learning community sections, Wicker pointed out.
“We actually provided more than what they asked for, going back to 2009,” said Wicker.
When the committee members from Palmetto’s Finest come on Nov. 15, they will spend the entire school day at the school visiting classrooms and talking with faculty, students and even parents, Wicker said.
“While here, they will reserve intake of the car and bus rides, observe transition between classes and classroom instruction, discuss with students, parents and teaches and also talk with White and myself,” said Wicker. “They’ll also look at instructional programs, use of technology, innovative programs, school culture and professional learning communities.
“After this initial visit, the committee goes back and meets with the Palmetto’s Finest staff and selects a second round of visits as they continue to find schools,” said Wicker.
The second visit is the final visit and then two elementary schools, two middle schools and one high school will be chosen as the winners. The Palmetto’s Finest award is awarded by the S.C. Association of School Administrators.
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