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Five schools have been named the 2018 Palmetto’s Finest Schools. They are Batesburg-Leesville Elementary in Batesburg-Leesville, Lexington District Three (Midlands), Chapin Middle in Chapin, Lexington-Richland District Five (Midlands), Joseph R. Pye Elementary in Ladson, Dorchester District Two, Chapman High in Inman, Spartanburg District On and Mayo High School for Math, Science and Technology in Darlington, Darlington County Schools.

About 1,000 excited teachers, school supporters and education leaders gathered in their respective schools on Tuesday, March 20, to learn which schools would take the top honors.  The schools had progressed through an intensive application process requiring self-evaluation, peer review and two on-site examinations.  The application and visits verified evidence of exceptional student achievement, instructional programs, professional learning communities, and school culture.

Batesburg-Leesville Elementary (Jaime Hembree, principal) serves 496 students in third through fifth grade.  Using the Profile of the South Carolina Graduate as their blueprint, students at Batesburg-Leesville Elementary have many opportunities to be innovators. The school is proud to offer the School of Journalism, honors choir, school safety squad, Girls on the Run, Panther Prowl boys running club, Zumba team, MakerSpaces, coding and a community garden.  A recently named TransformSC school, Batesburg-Leesville Elementary is implementing personalized learning for all students through rigorous, engaging and individualized instruction.


Chapin Middle (Anna Miller, principal) serves 849 seventh and eighth graders, and their mission is to ensure that all students are prepared to succeed by providing a challenging curriculum that develops intellectual, social, and emotional growth within a safe, supportive learning environment.  Chapin Middle School has achieved excellent ratings, Palmetto Gold and Silver awards, and recently received national designation as a School to Watch. The faculty and staff ensure that all students are safe, happy, and learning by cultivating 21st century skills and educating the whole child through academies such as photography, Yoga, and Zumba.

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