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Harbison West Elementary School’s SIC recognized statewide

IRMO, SC - Harbison West Elementary School was awarded an Honorable Mention for its School Improvement Council (SIC) at the 2017 South Carolina School Improvement Council (SC-SIC) Annual Meeting at the South Carolina State Museum in Columbia on March 18. Harbison West was one of five finalists for the 2017 Dick and Tunky Riley Award for School Improvement Council Excellence.

“We are so honored that Harbison West was among the five finalists for the 2017 Dick and Tunky Riley Award for School Improvement Council Excellence,” said Harbison West SIC Chair Bunnie Ward. “We succeed by embracing our diversity. Our school educates young children with various needs and strengths from preschool through fifth grade. Through our SIC and PTO, educators and community members have found common ground and developed common goals to improve student support. It is a great day for Harbison West’s SIC to be recognized statewide with an Honorable Mention!”

Harbison West’s SIC has sustained impressive growth over the past several years as it has focused on two key priorities: health and wellness, and literacy. To address health and wellness, Harbison West worked with key school and community partnerships to support activities aimed at increasing student activity levels and improved health measures for teachers and staff such as the “Biggest Loser” challenge for teachers and staff, an activity log challenge for students, and the SIC/PTO’s “Hero’s Hustle Fun(d) Run” that gets students running to raise funds for the school. The SIC also connected its school with a USC College of Education program that, since 2014, has provided the school with professional development on how to increase physical activity in class and during recess. In addition, the SIC spearheaded formation of a “School Wellness Committee” to coordinate nutrition and fitness initiatives undertaken by different parts of the school.

With respect to its literacy goal, beginning in 2014-15, the SIC created the “Reading Heroes Project” which gave each of the school’s 600 students three free books to take home and start a summer reading library. It also connected the school with programs like the Midlands Reading Consortium which provides struggling readers with volunteer tutors from the community. In addition, the SIC partnered with its school and Richland Library to establish “Summer Stride,” a program to mitigate summer reading loss, and “Here Comes Kindergarten” which meets twice monthly in a nearby public housing development to help prepare young children for the transition to kindergarten.

“Harbison West is fortunate to have a School Improvement Council that operates in the spirit of excellence,” said Harbison West Elementary School Principal Ed Davis. “Under the leadership of our SIC Chair Bunnie Ward, our SIC has become a model for SIC’s throughout the state. This honor serves as a testament to the high level of service and commitment of all of our stakeholders!”

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