Fort Mill school honored

Fort Mill's Gold Hill Elementary School got the equivalent of a a gold star last week from the U.S. Department of Education. The school was one of only four in the state to be designated a National Blue Ribbon School, one of the highest honors a school can receive.

Gold Hill was cited for both its high academic achievement and for yearly progress in achievement by minority groups as required by the No Child Left Behind Law. Gold Hill maintained an overall "Excellent" rating on its school report card from 2001 to 2006 and has been a state Palmetto Gold Award winner with the highest level of student achievement and the fastest rate of improvement for five consecutive years.

The Department of Education's citation singled out Gold Hill's Mini-Sessions for commendation. During these sessions, teachers share research, successful practices and new ideas.

Also cited was the school's close collaboration with parents and the community. Tangible evidence of that is the school's new $28,000 track, which was built with donations from parents after they decided students shouldn't have to walk around the school parking lot during required exercise periods.

School officials will travel to Washington, D.C., in November to accept the award at a special ceremony. The school will hold a community-wide celebration on Nov. 15 to recognize American Education Week and all the people who helped make Gold Hill a success.

Fort Mill High also is a previous recipient of the National Blue Ribbon award, so this is another feather in the cap of a district that already has been recognized as one of the best, not only in the state, but also the nation. Congratulations to all involved in winning this award for Gold Hill.