Posted: Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Monarch Elementary School earned one of South Carolina’s highest achievements today with the receipt of the 2017 Palmetto’s Finest Schools Award. A. J. Whittenberg Elementary was named a Finalist in the competition.

GCS Superintendent Dr. Burke Royster was on hand for the announcement. “Thank you for all your hard work and congratulations on a job well done. I want to tell you how proud we are of the teachers, staff, parents, community, and Mrs. Overman for her leadership,” he said.

Principal Vaughan Overman said, “We all worked so hard to achieve this amazing goal. Teachers, I don’t have enough words to say ‘thank you’ for your hard work and dedication every day for our students.”

Brenda Byrd, Assistant Superintendent for Elementary Education and a member of the Palmetto’s Finest Selection Committee, commended the school staff for their accomplishments in just five years. “It takes students, staff and community all working closely together to have a great school, and you definitely have that. You have a wonderful PTA and we appreciate everything they do to support your school.”

The Palmetto’s Finest application process includes elements on student achievement, instructional programs, professional learning communities, and school culture, as well as extensive evaluations by fellow educators and previous Palmetto’s Finest winners.

The South Carolina Association of School Administrators (SCASA) presents the awards each year to schools which offer the best in innovative, effective educational programs. The Palmetto’s Finest Awards Program is celebrating its 39th year and is one of the most coveted and respected awards among educators.

Also named 2017 Palmetto’s Finest schools are Round Top Elementary, Richland District Two, Dutch Fork Middle, Lexington-Richland District Five, Seneca High, Oconee County Schools, and Campobello Gramling School, Spartanburg District One.

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Monarch Elementary

Opening in August 2012, Monarch Elementary serves 878 students in pre-kindergarten through fifth grade.  The philosophy behind the school’s tagline, Celebrating Inquiry, Innovation and Creativity, is a reflection of the school’s culture. Monarch has been a recipient of Palmetto Gold Awards for high academic standing and is recognized as a TransformSC school for meeting the Gold Standards for project-based learning (PBL).

“Using a PBL approach aligned with a rigorous standards-based curriculum, a Health Science focus, and innovative technology, our students excel as learners,” said Principal Vaughan Overman. “Students benefit from an early exposure to a range of careers through a partnership with a local hospital system as well as other business partners that offer authentic experiences and real-world connections.”

Citizens and business partners have supported Monarch Elementary by leading engineering activities on S.T.E.A.M. Day, fielding questions for fifth grade inventions, and sharing their time and expertise.  

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