Okatie Elementary council named state's best

sbowman@beaufortgazette.comMarch 24, 2014 

FILE: Students from Okatie Elementary School celebrate after superintendent Jeffrey Moss announces that they were one of the five South Carolina schools being awarded a 2013 National Blue Ribbon Schools award during an assembly at the school in Sept. 2013. The school's School Improvement Council was honored March 24, 2014, with the Dick and Tunky Riley Award for School Improvement Council Excellence.

DELAYNA EARLEY — Staff photo Buy Photo

  • Honorable mentions

    Four school improvement councils earned honorable mention for the 2014 Dick and Tunky Riley Award for School Improvement Council Excellence:

    • Ridge View High School, Richland County
    • Port Royal Elementary School, Beaufort County
    • Buena Vista Elementary School, Greenville County
    • Irmo High School, Lexington and Richland counties

A school is much more than its teachers and students. Parents and volunteers are an equally important part of the mix, according to Okatie Elementary School principal Jamie Pinckney.

She said Okatie's School Improvement Council proved that over the weekend, when it was named the winner of the 2014 Dick and Tunky Riley Award for School Improvement Council Excellence.

The annual award was created more than 10 years ago to recognize the significant contributions made to public education by the nearly 15,000 school improvement council members across the state.

Another Beaufort County school was a finalist for the award. Port Royal Elementary's SIC was one of four to earn honorable mention.

"It was tremendous for our district to be home to two of South Carolina's five state finalists for the 2014 Riley Award," Beaufort County School District superintendent Jeff Moss said in a release. "So many parents and community members work to support our schools."

The award is presnted by the S.C. SIC Board of Trustees.

Okatie's SIC was recognized in part for a project to strengthen keep parents informed of issues about rezoning and school choice, and for creating a food donation program for needy families. The SIC also improved student drop-off and pickup safety procedures, and established a mentor program for students.

The SIC's work has helped the school earn other distinctions, according to Pinckney. Okatie Elementary was a Palmetto's Finest finalist and a National Blue Ribbon School.

"The Riley Award is a reflection of the unified effort among our school's staff, our parents and our community, with everybody focused on doing the best we can for our kids," Pinckney said.

Follow reporter Sarah Bowman at twitter.com/IPBG_Sarah.

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