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Two Florence 1 Elementary Schools Selected for National Honor

On November 8th, Lucy T. Davis Elementary School and Briggs Elementary School staff received the news that they had been chosen as 2021 Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence, Lighthouse Schools.

Based on the Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence (BRSE) national validated assessment process, both schools have met the required criteria in the nine performance areas of high performing schools required for this prestigious award. Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence focuses on these nine performance areas when designating schools of excellence:

  • Student Focus and Support
  • School Organization and Culture
  • Challenging Standard and Curriculum 
  • Active Teaching and Learning
  • Technology and Integration
  • Professional Community
  • Leadership and Education Vitality
  • School, Family, and Community Partnerships
  • Indicators of Success

In addition to the comprehensive review process for the nine performance areas, stakeholder surveys, interviews, and onsite school visits were also completed. 

Both schools received a surprise visit from district administration and Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence staff Monday afternoon to announce their Lighthouse School status.

“We are ecstatic to be recognized as a Blue Ribbon Lighthouse School,” said Lucy T. Davis Principal Sonya Graves. “This is a tremendous acknowledgment of the incredible work of Lucy T. Davis Elementary's students, staff, parents and community. I am bursting with pride seeing the gains our students have made and all of their hard work! Florence 1 Schools is a progressive district that provides the resources and opportunities needed to ensure a high-quality educational experience and we are grateful to be a part of that.” 

Lucy T Davis staff

Briggs Elementary Principal Tara Newton could not contain her excitement when she received the news, something the school staff has been anxiously waiting for.

“First of all, thank you to our students, our staff, our parents and our community for always supporting Briggs,” Newton said. “They are the reason we are a Lighthouse School with Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence. This is an amazing honor. We are proud to be among the best schools in the nation with this award. We are truly an amazing school and this highest honor recognizes the hard work and dedication of our community! We look forward to taking this honor and allowing it to guide us to many more honors and recognitions for our bulldogs.”

Briggs Elementary Staff

Dr. Judy Warden Fields, CEO, Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence applauded Lucy T. Davis Elementary School and Briggs Elementary School for their courage, collaborative spirit and commitment to excellence in ensuring all students get the education they deserve - all while dealing with the disruptions of a global pandemic.

“This is a huge accomplishment for Briggs and Lucy T. Davis Elementary schools,” said Michelle McBride, Florence 1 Schools Assistant Superintendent for Elementary Education. “Both Principal Newton and Principal Graves have worked extremely hard to create a conducive culture for all stakeholders and set high learning expectations for students. Last year was a tough year for educators due to the pandemic. Our schools are continuing to make great strides to have students highly engaged in instruction and compete with other schools in our nation. The district is excited to celebrate these two schools for receiving Lighthouse status for Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence.”

The awards will be presented during the Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence Conference in Orlando, Florida at Disney's Yacht and Beach Club Convention Center at the Awards Luncheon on Friday, December 3. Over 40 states are represented at this national event each year. For more information visit