Published on March 25th, 2019 | by Millennium Magazine Staff


School District Five school receives Palmetto’s Finest award, both finalists recognized for excellence

Photo Left to Right; Brandon Doty, Brea Amick, Dr. Michael Lofton, Dr. Jina Blount

IRMO – Two schools in Lexington-Richland School District Five were recognized by The South Carolina Association of School Administrators (SCASA) recently.

Spring Hill High School Career Pathways Magnet has been named the 2019 Special Schools Palmetto’s Finest award winner and River Springs Elementary was a finalist for the award in the elementary school category.

“I’d like to congratulate River Springs Elementary School and Spring Hill High School,” said Dr. Christina Melton, School District Five superintendent.  “They were our only two applicants and they represented our district so well and for both of them to be finalists for 2019 is so celebratory, and for Spring Hill to be named the winner is a testament of the commitment and hard work they have put in over the past six years.”

Spring Hill High School serves 1,069 students in grades 9th-12th. The Career Pathways Magnet, offers five academies to students: Engineering, Entertainment, Entrepreneurial, Environmental Studies, and Exercise

Science. Students take classes in one or more of these academies to engage in highly technological, real world application in core subjects, enhancing college and career readiness.  The academies ignite imagination and make student learning relevant by using themed, standards-based curriculum. With open enrollment, non-criteria-based admissions, Spring Hill has a 96 percent graduation rate and exceeds state and national averages in EOC passage

rate and AP, ACT, and SAT scores. Spring Hill was awarded a Magnet Schools of America Merit Award-School of Distinction for three consecutive years and is ranked in the top 100 schools in the nation by

“I am very proud of this school,” said Spring Hill High School principal Dr. Michael Lofton.  “All of our students, teachers, parents, custodians, cafeteria staff, and support staff all work very hard every day and it’s just an honor to be recognized for all their hard work.  It is well deserved.”

“I am so proud of us,” said River Springs Elementary School principal Melanie Cohen.  “Palmetto’s Finest is certainly an honor and it is amazing to be a finalist.  What it shows us it that we are doing our best every single day for kids in our community.”

“The Palmetto’s Finest award winners are models of innovation throughout our state,” said Beth Phibbs, South Carolina Association of School Administrators (SCASA) executive director. “They set the standard of excellence by creating an outstanding school culture which includes setting high expectations and providing opportunities for personalized learning.”

District Five School Board Chairman Robert Gantt said both Spring Hill and River Springs represented School District Five and the community very well.  “It’s a day of pride for this district and the entire community.  Hold your heads high and know that you are all winners, every student and every faculty member.”

Presenting the awards to the three winners were Brenda Byrd (Chairman, Palmetto’s Finest Committee), Penny Atkinson (President, SC Association of School Administrators), The Honorable Molly Spearman (SC Superintendent of Education), and Judi Gatson (Emcee and Anchor, WIS-TV).

SCASA is the professional organization for school leaders in South Carolina, with a membership of more than 4,400. From professional development opportunities and research, to publications and legislative advocacy, SCASA’s focus is to support school leaders in providing the best possible education for South Carolina’s young people. As a state affiliate of three national associations for school leaders, SCASA also works on the national level.

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