FLORENCE COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — Two elementary schools in the Florence 1 Schools district have been chosen as 2021 Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence (BRSE), Lighthouse Schools, according to a news release.

Lucy T. Davis Elementary School and Briggs Elementary School met the required criteria in the nine performance areas for high-performing schools.

This is based on the BRSE national validation assessment process, according to the news release. The BRSE conducted stakeholder surveys, interviews, and onsite school visits in addition to the review process.

The nine performance areas are:

  • Student Focus and Support
  • School Organization and Culture
  • Challenging Standard and Curriculum
  • Active Teaching and Learning
  • Technology and Integration
  • Professional Community
  • Leadership and Education Vitality
  • School, Family, and Community Partnerships
  • Indicators of Success

The schools received surprise visits from BRSE staff Monday afternoon to share the news of becoming Lighthouse Schools.

“We are ecstatic to be recognized as a Blue Ribbon Lighthouse School,” Lucy T. Davis Principal Sonya Graves said. “This is a tremendous acknowledgement of the incredible work of Lucy T. Davis [Elementary] students, staff, parents and community. I am bursting with pride seeing the gains our students have made and all of their hard work! Florence 1 Schools is a progressive district that provides the resources and opportunities needed to ensure a high-quality educational experience and we are grateful to be a part of that.” 

According to the release, Briggs Elementary School staff have been “anxiously waiting” for the news, and Principal Tara Newton was ecstatic.

“First of all, thank you to our students, our staff, our parents and our community for always supporting Briggs,” Newton said. “They are the reason we are a Lighthouse School with Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence. This is an amazing honor. We are proud to be among the best schools in the nation with this award. We are truly an amazing school and this highest honor recognizes the hard work and dedication of our community! We look forward to taking this honor and allowing it to guide us to many more honors and recognitions for our bulldogs.”

Awards will be presented in Orlando, Florida at the BRSE conference on Dec. 3. For more information you can visit the BRSE website.