More Beaufort County schools than ever have received state awards for student academic achievement.
The S.C. Department of Education announced Monday that 27 of the county school district's 32 schools received Palmetto Gold and Palmetto Silver awardsfor overall school performance and for progress in closing achievement gaps during the 2010-11 school year.
The total broke a district record set last year, when 15 schools won awards. In all, district schools won 34 awards for 2010-11.
Only six other state districts earned more awards this year, according to a district news release.
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Awards for general performance are based on elementary and middle schools' PASS scores. High schools are judged on students' performance on exit exams, end-of-course tests and graduation rates.
Gold award-winners in that category were Coosa Elementary, Hilton Head Island Elementary, Hilton Head Island High, Michael C. Riley Elementary, Okatie Elementary and the Beaufort-Jasper Academy for Career Excellence.
Silver award-winners were Beaufort Elementary; Beaufort Middle, a first-time winner; Bluffton Elementary; Bluffton Middle; Broad River Elementary; H.E. McCracken Middle; Hilton Head Island School for the Creative Arts; Hilton Head Island Middle; and Joseph S. Shanklin Elementary.
Also winning were Lady's Island Middle, a first-time winner; Lady's Island Elementary; Mossy Oaks Elementary; Port Royal Elementary; Pritchardville Elementary, a first-time winner; Red Cedar Elementary; Riverview Charter, a first-time winner; Robert Smalls Middle; Shell Point Elementary; and Whale Branch Middle.
Awards for closing achievement gaps are given based on academic gains made by students in four categories: African-American students, Hispanic students, students on free or reduced price lunch, and students with non-speech disabilities.
Bluffton Elementary won a gold for closing achievement gaps.
Silver-award winners in that category were Battery Creek High, Beaufort High, Coosa Elementary, Hilton Head Island Elementary, Hilton Head Island High, Michael C. Riley Elementary, Okatie Elementary and Red Cedar Elementary.
Follow reporter Rachel Heaton at twitter.com/HomeroomBft.