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#9 David McDonald and Indian Land Middle School

Indian Land Middle School Principal David McDonald saw a lot of hard work pay off this year as the school accepted award after award for excellence.

In 2010 the school was chosen as a South Carolina School of Character, an award presented by the South Carolina Department of Education. The award was bestowed on the school for its efforts in developing students’ character through multiple character education programs at the school.

One of the school’s programs that caught the attention of judges was Warrior Time, a new program implemented at the school for all middle school students. Warrior Time is a twice-monthly, hour-long program that focuses on developing students’ character as well as their commitment to their community and school.

Judges for the national School to Watch honor were also impressed by Warrior Time and awarded the school the title of National School to Watch. As part of the award, McDonald and staff members spent some time in Washington, D.C., this summer at a conference. They led a presentation about Indian Land Middle School and the programs and initiatives that helped earn the award.

The staffers also took home new ideas from the other schools present, McDonald said, including tips on assigning students to classes, grading techniques and a new program for recognizing good character in students. The team also learned about lobbying legislators and becoming an advocate for their schools and students’ needs.

But the honors for McDonald’s school didn’t end there. The school’s School Improvement Council was one of 11 schools in the state named to the South Carolina School Improvement Council’s 2010 Honor Roll. In addition, Indian Land Middle School is a Red Carpet School, a Palmetto Silver Award winner and a Promising Practices Character Award winner.