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Harbison West Elementary School selected as finalist for 2017 Riley Award for SIC Excellence

IRMO, SC - Harbison West Elementary School’s School Improvement Council (SIC) has been selected as one of five finalists statewide for the annual state 2017 Riley Award for SIC Excellence. The SC School Improvement Council’s annual Dick and Tunky Riley Award for School Improvement Council Excellence was created in 2002 to recognize the significant contributions made to public education by the nearly 14,000 local SIC members who volunteer in the state’s 1,200-plus K-12 public schools.

“We congratulate these School Improvement Councils on the outstanding work they have done for their schools and students,” said SC-SIC Board of Trustees Chair Amelia B. McKie. “When parents, educators, students and community members come together to share their ideas and efforts for our schools, we all benefit – especially our children.”

Harbison West’s SIC is led by Bunnie Ward who was ecstatic to receive the news. “Harbison West is a unique school community due to the diversity of our students and their needs,” Ward said. “To ensure our children are healthy and excited about learning, Harbison West’s SIC has partnered with our PTO and prioritized summer reading and healthy behaviors. Over the past seven years, we have developed deep relationships with parents, community leaders and local funders, including the District 5 Foundation, the All State Foundation, United Way of the Midlands, Modern Woodmen Fraternal Financial, Palmetto Health, Richland Library and Seven Oaks Park. Our partners’ commitment to Harbison West students is vital to their success in school and in life.”

The winner of this year’s Riley Award will be selected by an independent panel of reviewers and announced during the 2017 SC-SIC Annual Meeting,Saturday, March 18, at the South Carolina State Museum in Columbia. The SC-SIC Riley Award for SIC Excellence is named in honor of former SC Governor and U.S. Education Secretary Richard Riley and his late wife, Tunky, and recognizes the couple’s longstanding commitment to quality public education.

As part of its literacy initiative, Harbison West is in its fourth year of hosting their Midlands Reading Consortium. Volunteers tutor approximately 20 students weekly for shared reading and writing. Their partnership with Richland Library continues in Summer Stride where plans are in place to offer reading in the subsidized apartment complex adjacent to the school. The school’s Reading Heroes Project offers students 1,800 books plus ancillary materials to enhance literacy in the home and prevent summer slide. This year, Harbison West is expanding to over 3,000 books to their students.

Harbison West’s health initiative continues to blossom as the school will unveil a state-of-the-art rock climbing wall later this month. A three-year plan of saving contributed to this initiative. As part of the wall, auxiliary attachments will allow the school’s youngest students as well as those with special needs to participate. In addition, Harbison West has teamed up with Palmetto Health Baptist Parkridge to participate in District Five’s Dance Marathon to raise funds for Children’s Miracle Network and the Children’s Hospital.

“We are excited and proud to represent District Five as a finalist for the 2017 Riley Award,” said Harbison West Elementary School principal Ed Davis. “Our SIC under the leadership of Mrs. Bunnie Ward, and the entire Harbison West Elementary School family made this possible. This honor affirms the high level of service and commitment of all of our stakeholders!”

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