ALLENDALE COUNTY, S.C. (WJBF) – Allendale County School District is moving education forward in the area following news of improvements across the district.

“You know it’s a good feeling to go from the bottom and moving forward,” Dr. Margaret Gilmore told NewsChannel 6’s Shawn Cabbagestalk when asked about the achievement.

“Moving the academic needle forward” it’s less of a catchphrase but more of a way of life in Allendale County Schools. “They’ve worked so hard this first semester,” Dr. Gilmore recalled.

Dr. Gilmore created a three-year strategic plan she said will prepare students for the future. “We’ve done is we’ve put a strong instructional process in place for our students to ensure that our students are college and career ready,” Dr. Gilmore added.

The plan, with four points, includes:

  • increase student achievement
  • develop partnerships with local businesses, industries, and churches
  • creating a positive and trusting culture and climate
  • recruit and retain highly effective teachers and leaders

“I said to them at the beginning of the school year that we are going to put systems in place so we’ll go from the bottom to the top and you know what, we’re headed in that direction. We’re changing the headlines in this district and we are going to get it done,” Dr. Gilmore said.

That hard work has paid off with two schools being removed from the list of schools performing at or below the 10th percentile among all schools in the state of South Carolina. 

“Now Allendale Elementary School they were below average but they are off the priority list they’ve gone from unsatisfactory to below average but that’s an improvement for them and we are super excited about that,” Dr. Gilmore said.

“I felt like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz all I needed to do was click my heels to get where we needed to get because what we needed, we had within us,” Sheila Leath principal of Allendale Elementary said.

Improvements were made across the district. “Without the students taking the initiative wanting to learn and focus on teaching and learning. We would not have done what we did,” Darlene Hall principal of Allendale-Fairfax High said.

Allendale-Fairfax Middle even scored two points away from an excellent rating. 

When school returns for the Spring semester in January, Dr. Gilmore says it will be business as usual. 

“We are re-doubling our efforts, that’s what we’re doing. To ensure our kids get everything they need in order to be successful,” Dr. Gilmore added.

Dr. Gilmore says the district is not only getting support from parents but also from industries in the area.

She added that she’s excited because it takes a village to ensure Allendale students are ready to tackle the world.