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Bookman Road Elementary School has been named a 2021 National Blue Ribbon Lighthouse School by the Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence non-profit organization.

Bookman Road, located at 1245 Bookman Road in Elgin, is one of three schools in South Carolina to receive the award this year, and one of about 1,000 schools across the nation to receive the award since it began in 2001.

Dr. Kendra Hill is principal of Bookman Road Elementary School. “This is a very special recognition that is coming just at the right time for our faculty, staff, students, and families who stayed the course and refused to do less than their best as we persevered through the pandemic,” said Dr. Hill. “We work tirelessly to honor our vision statement- to "develop Beacons who 'Light the Way' in personal character, academics, and community service and this recognition serves as needed affirmation that we are doing what’s best for students and families.”

Typically, the evaluation process to qualify as a Lighthouse School, the program’s highest honor, takes about a year. Schools apply for the Lighthouse award and are evaluated in nine categories: Student focus and support; School organization and culture; Challenging standards and curriculum; Active teaching and learning; Technology and integration; Professional community; Leadership and education vitality; School, family and community partnerships; and Indicators of success. The program then conducts school visits, which were held virtually this year, classroom observations, stakeholder surveys, and focus group interviews.

Richland Two Superintendent Dr. Baron Davis praised the Bookman Road team for their achievement noting that it was all the more impressive given challenges posed by the global pandemic. 

“I know for a fact that you are better today at what you do than you were last year,” Dr. Davis told the team during a meeting to announce the award. “You should be proud of yourselves. You’ve accomplished a lot. I stand before you humbled.”

Bookman Road will receive its award Dec. 3 at the Blue Ribbon Schools Conference in Orlando, Florida. The Lighthouse School designation lasts for five years, during which time the school will host other Blue Ribbon hopefuls and participate in discussions with other Blue Ribbon Schools. Bookman Road is the first school in the Midlands to receive this distinction.