September 2020

D7 Steps Up to the Challenge of 2020

Getting children back to school – whether in person or virtually – has been District 7's top priority for the last several months. Our faculty and staff are learning how to facilitate everything school involves with a host of new safety measures in place, and we marvel at the endless creativity they bring to the task. One example is the way our Drayton Mills Elementary staff is helping students remember to wear their masks, while taking the task to a whole new level of cool. “Put your mask on” is an original music performance that DMES reading coach and past Teacher of the Year Sherrie Jeffries, former Teacher of the Year Audrey Hailstock, and custodian Hope Gordon teamed up to write and record.

Ms. Jeffries explained how it all came together. "Hope was a logical choice because the children love him at school and he and the other custodians are equally important to the work we do each day at DMES. I thought it would be neat for students to see him in another role. Audrey and I sing together on the praise team at my church. All of the lyrics are original. We each wrote the part we sang. We sure do love our students, and everyone is working hard to keep them safe. Wear your mask and wash your hands!"

Times of challenge often bring out the best in people. We see this across our students, parents, and staff this year. As we tackle on day and one challenge at a time, we recognize setting work-life balance boundaries has never been more important. If your family is still adjusting to a new normal of working and learning from home, D7 has posted a wide variety of social and emotional health tips and community resources available here as well as an informative web section covering a wide range of safety protocol and operational procedures.
Congratulations to Our Teachers and Support Staff of the Year
Tiffany Anderson, second grade teacher at Pine Street Elementary School, says it’s her job to nurture the talent in every one of her children. “I would like to think I help my students see that greatness is in each of them. It is my responsibility to inspire every one of my students and to help them understand that they are all brilliant and wonderful.”

District 7 is proud to announce Mrs. Anderson as our 2020-2021 District Teacher of the Year. Each year, one teacher is recognized by the District for their expert ability to teach as well as to lead others. A 25-year veteran with D7, Mrs. Anderson is well known among her colleagues as a go-getter who is always willing to learn new things and who builds strong relationships. She continually learns and applies best practices to ensure each student receives what they need to learn, in the way that best works for them. Mrs. Anderson realizes her calling as a teacher is not only to educate young minds, but also to create experiences for students. Every student who enters her classroom is met where they are in their learning process and guided forward from that point. Mrs. Anderson's passion is to build a love for learning.

"This year it feels particularly important and healing to shine a spotlight on educators who perform such a critical service to our community," said Superintendent Jeff Stevens. “Tiffany’s energy and passion toward ensuring all students learn is an incredible gift for our district and students."

Pine Street Elementary principal, Mr. Dennis Regnier, agrees. “Mrs. Anderson is an outstanding educator, advocate for children, and role model for young teachers. She develops meaningful relationships with students and demonstrates constant enthusiasm for her profession. We are thrilled she is being recognized for her excellent teaching at the District level," he said.
Each year, District 7 recognizes one Teacher of the Year and Support Staff of the Year from each school and auxiliary site. These professionals excel in their commitment and contributions to their school or department, to our students, and to our greater educational community. We celebrated them publicly with the video above on social media and at the first home Viking football game on September 25th. You may also spot their congratulatory yard signs on display in neighborhoods near you!

The 2020-2021 Teachers of the Year are: Anna Grace Hair, Early Learning Center at Park Hills; Corrina Gibbs, Jesse Boyd Elementary; Rachel Heyward, Cleveland Academy; Carolyn Miller, Drayton Mills Elementary; Vanessa Briggs, E.P. Todd School; Kayla Pepper, Mary H Wright Elementary; Tiffany Anderson, Pine Street Elementary (District 7 Teacher of the Year); Tracy Fink, Carver Middle; Gordon Farley, McCracken Middle; John McAllister, Spartanburg High; Melissa Basham, McCarthy Teszler School; and Laura Palmer, Whitlock Flexible Learning Center.

The Support Staff Members of the Year are: Paul Brown, Early Learning Center at Park Hills; Joyce Goode, Jesse Boyd Elementary; Joseph Thomas, Cleveland Academy; Michele Burnett, Drayton Mills Elementary; Essie Heitz, E.P. Todd School; Janelle Washington, Mary H. Wright Elementary; Tyann Anderson, Pine Street Elementary; Christopher Jefferson, Carver Middle; Tanya Ruff, McCracken Middle; Kathy Burrows, Spartanburg High; Kristen Bright, Christopher Shelton, Chuck Sexton, McCarthy Teszler School; Brenda Lindsay and Shelia Blakely, Whitlock Flexible Learning Center; Donna Elmore, Mike Patterson, and Frankie, Transportation; Holly Sanders, District Support and Operations Center; and Tiffani Cash, District Office.

We thank these professionals for the heart work and hard work they do each day for our students, staff and community. Their dedication is an important part of our D7 Story!
Vikings Make a Splash at the New T.K. Gregg
The Dr. T.K. Gregg Community Center on our city's Northside, not yet open to the public, hosted its first event recently: the city rivalry swim meet between Dorman and Spartanburg High Schools. And while COVID-19 restrictions meant social distancing was enforced and spectators had to watch via livestream, the center and its offerings struck a chord with those who had a first look.

Vikings swim coach Johnna Edwards looked out across the blue-and-gold lane markers and the SHS logo across the pool wall and commented, “To have our own pool, especially during everything that’s been going on with COVID-19, it’s just a blessing. We’re thankful to the City of Spartanburg, to the high school, and to District 7."

The new T.K. Gregg Center features an indoor aquatics center with two pools—one for competitive and exercise lap swimming and one for water therapy and swimming lessons—as well as an indoor basketball gym, fitness center, walking track, and multiple community rooms. It will serve as both a community anchor for Spartanburg's redeveloping Northside as well as a destination for residents throughout our city. An exciting opportunity for the entire D7 community is that swim lessons will be FREE to any child in the city and/or in School District 7!
While a public opening date is not yet set due to the pandemic, a new partnership between District 7 and the City of Spartanburg has enabled the T.K. Gregg Center to open its doors to students who need a place to go on their remote learning days. Operating out of both the T.K. Gregg and C.C. Woodson Community Centers, staff are hosting full-day support service for hybrid schedule students in grades 6 - 12. From 8am - 6pm, students have access to Wi-Fi and receive support for school work as well as after school enrichment activities. Space is available in the program. Please see the flier below.
Math Lab Honors Cleveland Academy Alumnus
When Tramaine Brown returned to the Cleveland Academy of Leadership over 10 years ago as a tutor, he brought many dreams with him. A Wofford College student at the time, Brown established the Wofford Math Academy at Cleveland Elementary School. His dream was to help create a spark in the young minds at Cleveland, the very school he had attended as a youngster. Brown had learned the benefit of mentoring as a participant in the Citizen Scholars program, which helped him and other at-risk students prepare for college. Not only did he go on to college, but he also went on to work for President Obama and Apple, and this fall he began a graduate program in teacher education at Harvard University.

As a Citizen Scholar, Brown was mentored by former District 7 school board member Laura Stille and her husband, Brande. Mrs. Stille reflects that as Brown built the capacity for his own success, he became both a resource and role model for young people at Cleveland. “We’re incredibly proud of how Tramaine constantly pushed himself to higher academic achievement, while also reaching out to his peers at Wofford College, and to the community he served,” she said. The math tutoring program he established at Cleveland continues to benefit students today.

Earlier this year, the connection shared by Brown and his mentors came full circle as the Stilles, Alice Eberhardt, and members of First Presbyterian Church gave the funds to create a new math lab at Cleveland Academy. Principal Marquice Clark says this new math intervention model will lead his students to a stronger conceptual understanding of mathematics and to think like a mathematician.

This month, the lab was formally dedicated in Brown's honor. During the dedication, Cleveland Tiger Leader Bradin Bryant (pictured above) read a poem Brown wrote to inspire every Cleveland Academy student. Titled "A message from a student from not so long ago," the poem will continue to be displayed in the lab to inspire hopeful students who look toward bright futures of their own.
Get Your Drive-Thru Flu Vaccine
Drive-up healthcare has become the latest weapon in the battle against COVID-19 and other viruses, including the seasonal flu. This fall, D7 will offer three drive-up flu shot or flu mist clinics for students. Participants will be required to wear facial coverings for either method.

The clinics will be held at Spartanburg High School in Faculty Lot F. Participants should enter the campus from Plainview Drive. Clinic dates are:

  • Wednesday, October 21st from 3pm – 6pm
  • Thursday, October 22nd from 3pm – 6pm
  • Saturday, November 14th from 10am – 1pm

Advance registration is not needed. Students under 16 years of age must have a parent or guardian present for consent. All participants will need to bring their Medicaid or Insurance Card (those without insurance will still receive the vaccination). There will be no out-of-pocket cost for vaccination.
(Above) Superintendent Jeff Stevens leads by example during the district's free, on-site flu vaccines for staff earlier this month. "DHEC has been extremely generous to school districts in offering opportunities for students and staff to receive flu shots," he said. “This year, it’s more important than ever to get the vaccine. Let's keep our children - and ourselves - healthy and strong!"
Keeping Parents Informed on Student Progress: There's an App for That!
With District 7's hybrid and virtual learning options in full swing, we are doubly committed to strong parent-teacher communication. A handy online tool is available to help parents stay informed about their student’s academic progress. By downloading the PowerSchool Parent Portal app to a smartphone or tablet, parents can have an immediate pipeline to information as teachers post assignment and test grades, attendance, and more.

PowerSchool parent accounts build a connection between parents and teachers, especially in the midst of limitations due to the pandemic. Every D7 parent is encouraged to create an account: Simply contact your school's front office to request instructions, which include your student's unique ID code so you can access their information.

After creating an account online, the PowerSchool Parent Portal app can be download from the Apple App Store or Google Play - you can even turn on notifications to be alerted when new grades are posted. Visit our website for more information.
Help Shape Our Future
Just 10 minutes will make a difference for the next 10 years in Spartanburg!

An accurate count of every adult and child living in Spartanburg will ensure our community receives maximum funding for roads, schools, hospitals, and much more. So if you haven’t already, take 10 minutes to complete the U.S. Census today. Let's make sure Spartanburg is accurately represented!

Fill out your U.S. Census online at – the deadline has been extended until October 31, 2020. Now is also an ideal time to register to vote or to request an absentee ballot - to do that online, visit
Students Earn Nation's Highest Accolades
Accolades keep rolling in for our flagship Spartanburg High School. SHS is proud to be home to eight of the ten National Merit Semifinalists across Spartanburg County this year! The distinction is awarded to students who earn the highest scores on the Preliminary SAT (PSAT), placing them in the top 1% of our nation.

Congratulations to seniors Will Beeson, Ilan Falcon, Tristen Godfrey, Drew Lawton, Jacob Price, Jackson Van Hyning, Harrison VanVleet, and Xander Woodfin. They are among 197 students from public, private, and homeschools across South Carolina to achieve the ranking, placing SHS fourth in the state for the number of National Merit Semifinalists.

Additionally, for the second year in a row, SHS celebrates a record number of National AP Scholars! Advance Placement tests were different than usual for the 2019-2020 school year because of school building closures, but our AP students didn’t let that stop them from earning recognition for excellence on their exams. The College Board recently announced 140 SHS students earned AP Scholar Awards for their exams last May - 20 more than the previous school record and the most in Spartanburg County! We give a special nod to our National AP Scholars, AP Scholars with Distinction, and AP Scholars with Honor.

These capstone accomplishments result from many years of hard work and dedication on the part of both students and teachers alike. It truly takes a village and we we are proud of ours here in D7!
Teacher Shout Outs
Todd Seagle

Todd Seagle, who coaches both tennis teams at Spartanburg High School and teaches physical education at Pine Street Elementary, has been named State Elementary Physical Education Teacher of the Year by the South Carolina Association for Physical Education and Sport. Mr. Seagle was selected for this honor for his outstanding contributions to physical education in S.C., exemplifying excellence in his profession, and creating an exceptional learning environment for his students.
Leslie Richard
An educator whose doctoral work focuses on equity and inclusion for African American students, SHS English department chair Leslie Richard recently earned both her doctorate degree and a national award for her dissertation. As recipient of the 2020 Carnegie Project of the Education Doctorate (CPED) Dissertation in Practice Award, Dr. Richard is being recognized for her work entitled, “More luggage”: The Heavy but Invisible Social Burden Carried by African American Advanced Placement Students. Dr. Richard's work was chosen an exemplar among the nominations nationwide. She will be recognized at the CPED Convening in October hosted by Arizona State University.
Lori Patterson
Lori Patterson, music teacher at Pine Street Elementary, was selected to receive the The Lovett Promising School Leader Award for Converse College's 2020 graduate class in Administration and Supervision. The award was established in 2014 by former Dean of the School of Education and Graduate Studies, Dr. Martha T. Lovett. It is presented annually during the college's graduation ceremony to a graduate student who has completed a degree in school administration.
Alice Scoggins
Alice Scoggins is WYFF News 4's first Golden Apple Award recipient of the 2020-2021 school year. Each week, the news station rewards an Upstate educator who goes above and beyond by spotlighting them as a Golden Apple Award winner. The winner is selected by a panel of judges and receives a visit from WYFF's Geoff Hart for the award presentation.

For the last 16 years, Mrs. Scoggins has dedicated her career to teaching at Jesse Boyd Elementary, where she once attended school. The WYFF story demonstrates her special gift of showing her students love, understanding, and kindness. Scoggins says the best reward is “seeing my students so eager to learn each day.” Watch the segment here.
You're never too young to make a difference! SHS Teacher Cadets, like Mattie Moore (above), are leading by example. In yet another example of creatively adapting during the pandemic, their new Teacher Cadet video channel features the aspiring educators presenting virtual children's read-alouds (and other lessons) in lieu of the more traditional method of visiting classrooms as guest readers. While the teacher cadets wish they could visit their elementary friends in person right now, they are putting their skills to work as they make connections through these videos. D7 families can access the story collection by logging in via their student's MacBooks at this link.
Seven medals - two gold and five silver - was the total haul for D7 students at the 61st International Mathematics Olympiad. Approximately 150,000 students worldwide participated in the International Math Olympiads for elementary and middle schools this year, with participants from all 50 states and approximately 30 other countries. Awards were presented to students whose total scores are in the top echelons of the contest. From D7, the Elementary Division Math Olympiads Silver Pin winners are Matthew Brown, Sadie Evans, Ellie Kocisko, Austin Owens, and Wynn Story. A Gold Pin is awarded to the top 2% of all Math Olympiads participants. Our Gold Pin Winners are Nicholas Battocchio and Drake Vaughn. Congratulations to these students and to their coaches and Odyssey teachers Cynthia Edge, Alexis Howlett, Anne Martin, Anne McChesney, and Kathryn Reichwald for this impressive recognition!
Scene Around Seven
From the first day of school, our new Superintendent has made connecting with students and teachers one of his highest priorities. Visiting our schools several times each week, Mr. Stevens' biggest smiles (behind the mask, of course) come from these special moments!
We have some guest visitors in Bree Burnette's and Autumn Arnold's classrooms for Hispanic Heritage Month! We love the creative way our students and teachers are using their desk partitions for learning as well as safety. Students from Mary H. Wright each chose an influential leader from the hispanic community to research and share what they learned with their classmates.
Fifth grade music students at Drayton Mills are cranking up their instrument skills by studying West African hand drumming. Students are rocking with Little Kids Rock, an organization dedicated to teaching students to play popular instruments while teaching the national music standards.
Desk partitions provide a layer of protection when students are eating or having a mask break, and they enable teachers work closely with students to build relationships and impact learning. Above, teacher Caroline Pruitt from DMES connects with her students.
While home on an eLearning Friday, these JBE students showed their college spirit for National College Colors Day. We are proud that families from all of our schools - including our virtual school - participated as we focused together on our mission to Inspire and Equip students.
Carver Middle took to Facebook and their website with a clever video to introduce their Virtual School teachers and support staff to families. Visit to see all grade levels along with Guidance and Office staff.
The Lady Eagles volleyball team at McCracken Middle has been rocking the court this year. Above, they celebrate a victory over Sims Middle. Way to go, girls!
This special group from E.P. Todd were recognized and celebrated as the first group of Terrific Kids. Great job from our Track A students!
A dry-erase marker was all Mary H. Wright administrator Paula Stephens Jeter needed to give teachers a boost! She wrote special personalized messages to greet faculty on their classroom doors. We appreciate all D7 teachers and staff for creating the smoothest possible start to this unprecedented school year.
No matter what comes our way, we're having a ball! The Drayton Mills' playground is always teaming with fun and laughter, and we glimpsed some fancy footwork as well.
E.P. Todd Tigers were abundantly blessed by a donation of 50 backpacks from Relevant Church! Each bag contained supplies for a deserving student. We are so grateful to our community.
Art is important to students, now more than ever. Mrs. Scott, an art teacher at Pine, recognizes this need and is making sure her students step away from their screens to create masterpieces. Picture this - her school's clothing rack is now a drying rack for these treasures!
Students at the McCarthy Teszler school are having a "ball" every day thanks to Jason Henson from Johnstone Supply! School Resource Officer Clint Cooper helped the school connect with community partners to be sure every student in the Vocational Program has a basketball to play with during outside time! We are so thankful for the support and kindness.
Fried Flounder, hush puppies, fries and salad brighten any teacher's day! At Cleveland Academy, Principal Marquice Clark and the administrative team show their appreciation with a Teacher Appreciation Fish Fry on duty-free lunch day. Mr. Clark notes, "support, accountability and appreciation must coexist!"
"Home Sweet School!" We thank our Virtual School families for sharing pictures with us. Please keep them coming to! Each Virtual School family is an important part of helping us strengthen remote teaching and learning each and every day. We appreciate our Virtual School teachers for making sure their students stay on course to have a successful school year. Above, a bulletin board at E.P. Todd celebrates our can-do spirit and keeps our virtual students close at heart.
As part of Furman University’s Diversity Leaders Initiative (DLI) at the Riley Institute, our own Chief Academic Officer Dr. Terry Pruitt (second from right) is helping D7 students and families gain access to books. As part of the program, participants of DLI work in small groups to identify and develop solutions for issues across South Carolina. The book drive is one way this group of leaders is developing a bond while helping strengthen our community.
Spotlight on Spartanburg's Virtual Schools
The Herald-Journal newspaper interviewed several District 7 virtual teachers, students and parents at the elementary, middle and high school levels for two companion articles about virtual schools across Spartanburg County. District 7 is appreciative of all who are working to D7 move Forward Together during this challenging time, especially our families at home!
D7's Environmentally Friendly Digital Flyer Service
In the spirit of going green, follow the peach! This year, D7 schools will continue to share information about community-sponsored programs and events via a digital alternative to the paper flyers of the past. The system, called Peachjar, saves time, money and trees, by sharing flyers electronically via email. Last year, the District saw a savings of approximately 600,000 pieces of paper! Parents will be registered by the school district and will receive an email with login instructions. If you did not receive login instructions, please make sure your email address is on file with your school. If you are already receiving Peachjar notifications from your child’s school, no further action is required.
Alumni Establish College Scholarship
A new college scholarship is being established by Pine Street Elementary School alumni to encourage and assist promising students with their college expenses. It will be awarded annually to a Spartanburg High School senior who is graduating in the top 20% of their class, who shows leadership, good character and financial need for college expenses, and who attended Pine Street Elementary. The first award will be presented in April 2021. 

Pine Street alumni and friends are invited to contribute by sending your gift to: The Spartanburg County Foundation, 424 East Kennedy Street, Spartanburg, SC 29302. Mark your contribution for Fund 02215
Friday Night Lights
Magic was in the air for the first football game of the year in Viking Stadium! The beautiful evening was the perfect backdrop to our talented student-athletes, fabulous Viking Band, the spirit of our cheerleaders, and the overwhelming enthusiasm of our fans. If you can't watch the game from the stands due to limited seating, you can catch all the football action on Fox Sports 1400 Home of the Vikings at 98.3 FM or subscribe to the new live stream on the National Federation of State High Schools (NFHS) Network. The next game is Friday, Oct 2 at Wade Hampton. Get more info about live streaming subscriptions on the NFHS website.
It's time to meet your 2020 Vikings! Check out this year's lineup in the video above.

Revised ticket and stadium guidelines for the COVID-19 pandemic are outlined in our Viking Stadium Guidelines and Procedures. The next game at home is Homecoming on October 16 vs. Riverside.
Save the Date
12- 16
Monday, October 12-Friday, October 16
Homecoming Week - Vikings vs. Riverside
Friday, Oct 2
National Custodian Day
Viking Football @ Wade Hampton

Oct 4 – Oct 10
Fire Prevention Week

Monday, Oct 5
Child Health Day

Tuesday, Oct 6
D7 School Board Meeting 
(available to the public via livestream due to the COVID-19 pandemic)

Wednesday, Oct 7
National Walk to School Day

Monday, Oct 12
Columbus Day (School is in)
Homecoming Week

Oct 12 - Oct 16
National School Lunch Week
Tuesday, Oct 13
Cafeteria Staff Appreciation Day
Superintendent Jeff Stevens on "Life Behind the Art"

Friday, Oct 16
Boss's Day
Vikings Home vs Riverside Homecoming
Monday, Oct 19
End of 1st 9 Weeks
Monday, Oct 19 – Friday, Oct 23
National School Bus Safety Week
Thursday, Oct 22
Report Cards

Oct 23 – Oct 31
Red Ribbon Week
Saturday, Oct 31
610 Dupre Drive Spartanburg, South Carolina

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