School News

Walker Gamble Elementary Announced as a 2023 Distinguished School Award Recipient


The Clarendon County School District is delighted to celebrate the remarkable achievement of Walker Gamble Elementary School (WGE), which has been honored with the esteemed 2023 National ESEA Distinguished School Award for excellence in education. This national recognition highlights the dedication and commitment to providing an outstanding education to its students. During a statewide Title I meeting on October 27th, Walker Gamble Elementary School was announced as one of two state schools receiving the national award. The Distinguished School Award is presented yearly to two schools in every state and selected by their State Education Agencies. Schools named collectively exhibit the following common characteristics:

- A poverty rate of at least 35% for the selected year (may use the state’s average poverty rate to qualify a school if below 35%)

- Demonstrated high academic achievement (which may include high academic growth)

- Met or exceeded state-determined accountability criteria

Additionally, they are recognized under the following categories of excellence:

- Category 1: Schools exhibiting exceptional student performance and academic growth

- Category 2: Schools that have closed the achievement gap between student groups

- Category 3: Schools that show excellence in serv

ing special populations of students (e.g., homeless, migrant,

English learners, etc.)

Allen Kirby, principal of Walker Gamble Elementary, is honored by the national recognition and expressed his gratitude for the dedicated team at WGE. “It is an honor to receive recognition on the national level by being named a distinguished Title 1 School. This honor is a testament to the hard work of our WGE family, and further validates that our students can achieve the highest level of success with a strong foundation and support.”

Superintendent Johnson expressed his pride in Walker Gamble Elementary School for earning this prestigious award. “We are thrilled to see one of our district’s schools receive this national recognition,” he said. “This achievement is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the school’s staff, students, and community partners. It reflects our district’s commitment to teaching and learning where academic excellence, innovative teaching methods, and overall student development are a top priority.”


The primary source of federal aid for elementary and secondary education is the Elementary and Secondary

Education Act (ESEA)—particularly its Title I-A program, which authorizes federal aid for the education of disadvantaged students. The National ESEA Distinguished Schools Program is a project of the National Association of ESEA State Program Administrators (NAESPA) that publicly recognizes qualifying federally funded schools for their positive educational advances and outstanding student academic achievement.

All National ESEA Distinguished Schools are honored with a commemorative award package, a dedicated section on the ESEA Network website, and a special presentation at the National ESEA Conference. Throughout the National ESEA Conference, select sessions will feature Stories of Success from Distinguished Schools, highlighting the notable work they have done to make significant improvements for their students. Distinguished School attendees are also celebrated during several exclusive conference events.