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'It’s really eye-opening': Parents, students and teachers survey results compiled to earn Sumter school national Points of Light award

This is the first time an elementary school in Sumter School District has received the national award, according to Principal Shawn Hagerty.

SUMTER, S.C. — Crosswell Drive Elementary School has been recognized as a Points of Light recipient as part of the national Blue Ribbon assessment. 

"We are super excited. It’s been just a long time coming. We’ve been really working hard with our teachers and our students on our academic success and just overall just making sure that we’re giving the students what they need. So this is just icing on the cake for us," Assistant Principal Tonyetta Thomas said. "It really makes you feel like the work that you’re doing, it’s meaningful and we’re making a difference, and the sweat and sometimes the tears and frustrations, we’re able to see the fruits of that."

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The process to get this award lasted over three months, according to Principal Shawn Hagerty. 

"This is a comprehensive system that allows an outside agency to come in and review everything in the school as far as parents, teachers and every staff member here," Hagerty shared.

Students, parents, teachers and staff took surveys with over 103 questions. The responses were compiled, validated and reviewed by outside national consultants. 

"It’s really neat because we were able to look at the perspectives of our stakeholders, so our parents, the community, our teachers, and really see how they view Crosswell Drive Elementary," Thomas explained. "It’s really eye-opening because it’s like wow, sometimes you’re in this tunnel and you’re working, working, working, and you never know what everyone else is seeing."

Now, the school has access to the exit report, which shows areas it did well in and areas for improvement. 

"They gave us a comprehensive exit report, they gave us a PowerPoint, they gave us numerous points of triangulated data that showed what areas to work on and some strategies and suggestions to work on them and then how to go about letting them know that these are pieces that we have implemented with fidelity and success so that we can move to the next level," Hagerty explained.

Hagerty says the school will use this to work toward the two higher-level blue ribbon awards.

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"We know that if we strive to be better and we work with the consultants through blue ribbon that we’re able and they’re able to guide us to be a high achieving school," Hagerty detailed.

The next level is becoming a beacon school and then eventually a lighthouse school. For now, 5th grade teacher Erica Butler is celebrating the accomplishment. 

"A lot of times, teachers and principals, we do a lot of good things, right, and we don’t always get that recognition," Butler said. "So to be able to be recognized for the things that we’re doing right is a good feeling." 

Hagerty tells News 19 the top priority moving forward is making sure 80% of students meet the state standards set by the South Carolina Ready assessment. 

"We have to make sure that everything that we’re doing sets the kids up for a high student achievement level so that we can advance as quickly as possible," Hagerty said. "So that’s the number one priority."

This new blue ribbon status will help the school achieve this through networking opportunities with other recognized schools across the nation, according to Hagerty.

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