Monarch Elementary named Palmetto’s Finest winner, A.J. Whittenberg is a finalist

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Monarch Elementary students and faculty learn they won one of five Palmetto's Finest Schools Awards. Photo provided by Greenville County Schools

Monarch Elementary was named one of five Palmetto’s Finest Schools Tuesday. A.J. Whittenberg Elementary was a finalist for the award, considered by many as the top state award South Carolina schools can win.

Monarch, which has a health science focus, opened in 2012. It does not have separate classes for math, English language arts, science and social studies. Instead, subjects are imbedded into a health science-based curriculum taught through inquiry-based projects.

“We all worked so hard to achieve this amazing goal,” Principal Vaughan Overman said shortly after the school found out it won.

The Palmetto’s Finest application process includes elements on student achievement, instructional programs, professional learning communities, and school culture, according to the South Carolina Association of School Administrators. Finalists also receive visits from and are evaluated by former Palmetto’s Finest winners.

A.J. Whittenberg is located next door to the Kroc Center near downtown Greenville. The school has an engineering emphasis.

Other Palmetto’s Finest winners were Round Top Elementary, Richland District 2; Dutch Fork Middle, Lexington-Richland District 5; Seneca High, Oconee County Schools; and Campobello Gramling School, Spartanburg District 1.

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