The National Institute for Excellence in Teaching (NIET) gave them a "School of Promise" award along with $5,000.
"That makes me feel really good," Principal Elrica Glover said. "Because, you know, we work very hard and so it makes me feel that our work is not in vain, and it means we're doing something right."
Mellichamp started working with NIET a couple years ago to improve teaching practices and school culture. They're currently 100 percent virtual because of the pandemic.
"We are a school of promise, which means we are on track to succeed," Glover said. "We’re not perfect, we’ve not arrived, but it means they’ve recognized our collective efforts to improve the social, emotional and academics of our children."
Based on the South Carolina report card, Mellichamp has an average rating. Glover said they're goal is to move up to good this year.
NIET said in a press release that Mellichamp has the highest poverty rate in Orangeburg County at 91.5 percent. Glover said they also had a high turnover rate of teachers in recent years, but despite adversity they’ve found new ways to grow.
"We are a team," she says. "I'm very proud of how we operate at Mellichamp. We are a team, our culture has now become that, it wasn’t always like that."
Glover says she plans to put the money toward celebrating teachers and buying them school supplies.