November 2022
D7 Principals Are Our Heroes!
We are blessed to have wonderful school leaders in District 7. Through the month of October, we thanked them for leading, supporting, encouraging, giving, challenging, celebrating, comforting, listening, rewarding, redirecting, inspiring, equipping - and so much more - the students, teachers and staff within their school communities.

District 7 celebrated our dedicated and highly capable school leaders during October by publishing the video above in which each principal shares brief reflection on why they belong in 7. The video is a great way for our entire community to get to know these leaders on a more personal level. We also had a little fun with a #takeovertuesday by publishing a tribute graphic on each school’s social media accounts thanking their principal for their leadership and inviting the community to comment as well.
If you missed this social media series sharing their stories, we hope you will take a moment to view them on our Facebook page: These spotlights generated more than 30,000 views and 14,580 reactions, comments, and shares on Facebook alone.

A day in the life of a school principal is like no other job in the world. Our District 7 principals are our heroes, and we are their biggest fans! We wholeheartedly thank them, and all who commented on their posts and added messages of appreciation. Thank you, D7 Principals, for being a guiding light during this time when your passion, compassion, and steady leadership is needed more than ever!
D7's Schools Earn Good Grades!
Just as students in school receive a report card to show how they are doing in English or Math or some other topic, school districts and schools receive report cards too. Recently, District 7 and its schools received their report card from the State Department of Education. Ratings formulas are set by the Education Oversight Committee, created by the General Assembly to guide implementation of South Carolina’s Education Accountability Act.  This is the first time that report cards have been released with ratings since 2019.

Despite challenges faced through the pandemic, results on the 2021-2022 state report card was filled with encouraging news and remarkable success. The results beat all expectations of what we thought were possible while living through COVID disruptions. Below we shine the spotlight on five District 7 schools for their outstanding progress on the 2021-2022 South Carolina School Report Cards.
Jesse Boyd Elementary
For increasing 11 points on the 2021-2022 South Carolina School Report Card – the fourth highest increase in Spartanburg School District 7 – and achieving one of the district's highest school ratings
Principal Jonathan Duvall and members of the JBE Bulldogs team
Cleveland Academy of Leadership
For increasing 15 points ­on the 2021-2022 South Carolina School Report Card ­– the second highest in growth Spartanburg School District 7 ­– and achieving its highest rating in history
Principal Marquice Clark and members of the Cleveland Tigers team
Drayton Mills Elementary
For increasing 12 points on the 2021-2022 South Carolina School Report Card ­– the third highest growth in Spartanburg School District 7 – and achieving its highest rating since opening in 2018
Principal Thomas Webster and members of the DMES Dalmatians team  
E.P. Todd School
For increasing 22 points on the 2021-2022 South Carolina School Report Card – the greatest growth of any District 7 school – and climbing three categories since 2019 to achieve its highest rating in history
Principal Victoria Bradley and members of the Todd Tigers team
Carver Middle School
For continually increasing its South Carolina School Report Card rating since 2018, advancing three categories to earn its highest rating of “Good” in 2022
Nicole Thompson, former principal, was recognized along with Principal Randy Edwards and the Carver team for her work that went into this multiple-year success story.
In addition to these unprecedented successes, this year all D7 schools received accreditation from Cognia, a distinctive mark of quality recognized internationally. Cognia, formerly AdvancED, nationally recognizes districts that meet rigorous standards that focus on productive learning environments, equitable resource allocation for meeting the needs of learners, and effective leadership. It is widely considered to be the "gold standard" of quality assessment for schools and school districts.

This is a tremendous acknowledgment of the incredible work of our students, staff, parents and community. The pandemic proved, above all else, relationships matter! We have seen our staff and students work hard to uplift, inspire and challenge each other to be their best and it has paid off. Building relationships and empowering each other has truly been rewarding.
SHS Class of 1970 Celebrates Delayed 50th, Honors Alumnae for Forward Together Sculpture Gift
The Spartanburg High School Class of 1970 held its “50 plus-2”-year reunion on October 22. Planning for the reunion actually started more than two years ago. It initially was to be held in the fall of 2020, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the committee had to postpone the event. Although there have been remarkable changes in the decades since this class graduated, this group has held on to the best values and outlooks of their growing-up years. Unlike a several-day reunion event with a football game, a dance and formal dresses, this reunion consisted only of gathering, highlighted by lots of storytelling and a very special tribute and commemoration honoring Don Bain. Don Bain actively served as a member of the District 7 School Board from 1958 to 1972, overseeing the governance of the District as the Board Chair from 1963-1972, he tirelessly worked to advance the visibility and reputation of the District and was lauded for the Board’s efforts to integrate our schools and to fuel the growth of our community. A staunch proponent for equity in education, Mr. Bain also served as the President of the South Carolina School Boards Association, expanding opportunities for students throughout South Carolina.

In 2020, District 7 unveiled the Forward Together sculpture in front of the D7 Fine Arts Center. It commemorated the important milestone 50th anniversary of bringing Carver High School and Spartanburg High School together as one. The vision of the piece is to carry the ideas of the pasts forward to our current students and invite them to have a role in this shared history – because our efforts to become an inclusive community remain important as they continue today. The Forward Together sculpture represents past, present and future, and this inclusive process enhances its spirit and significance. 

Three District 7 alumni sisters and their families funded the commissioning of the Forward Together sculpture. The sisters include Class of 1970 alumna Kittler Bain Zibart and Nancy Bain Cote, who were present for the reunion, and Anne Bain. D7 was honored to welcome them and their classmates to campus and share a special presentation with former superintendent Dr. Russell Booker during their reunion.

The series of commemorative displays throughout the high school, also include a Carver High School history wall and a Spartanburg High School history wall installation inside SHS. All have been very special for Spartanburg High School students and staff, and to all of District 7.
D7 Celebrates Multiple Awareness Campaigns
This past month of multiple awareness campaigns, we laced up our shoes, wore pink, just said "no" to drugs, and honored the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America. Throughout the District, students and staff organized a variety of activities to support Walk to School Day, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Red Ribbon Week and Hispanic Heritage Month.
Mary H Wright Elementary School's celebration of Walk to School day had the perfect sense of direction - encouraging students to make healthier choices for them and the environment. We appreciate our friends, parents, teachers, and community members who helped to make these events a success.
The Wofford Terrier got in on the action - and participated in Walk to School Day festivities at Pine Street.
We have a UPS delivery driver and an artist! These cuties from Pine Street Elementary celebrated "Live your best Life" day... dress as what you want to be when you grow up.
At Mary H Wright, students and teachers are keeping reading alive with their annual Book Character dress-up day for Red Ribbon Week.
Meeting Street Academy students are proud to stand up to drugs. Red Ribbon Week meets Tie Tuesday to help bring awareness.
Drayton Mills Elementary students were twinning - to get into the spirit for Red Ribbon Week!
The quiet heroes of our school district were also celebrated this month on Custodian Appreciation Day. Our custodians are the first ones to arrive at school and they clean up messes no one wants to touch. The three pictured above are "among the most beloved people in our school" according to Drayton Mills Elementary - "Crew chief Mr. Michael, Miss Cynthia, and Miss Deb are adored equally by students and faculty." For Custodian Appreciation Day, it is our true pleasure to honor these three and all D7 custodians for the work they do behind the scenes to keep our school safe and clean! 
What Are Moon Bears, And Why Should We Care?
From the classroom to the world — Jesse Boyd's IB program continues to inspire students to take their learning and turn it into action. That is exactly what Mrs. April Bryant’s third grade class did when they learned about endangered moon bears from a book they read. Moon bears are a unique species, identified by their shaggy black coats and a gorgeous yellow moon-shaped crescent across their chests. Based on their DNA, they are the oldest living modern bears, but despite this, moon bears are listed as vulnerable to extinction. They are farmed throughout Asia for their bile — a digestive fluid produced by their liver and stored in the gall bladder, which is used in some forms of traditional Chinese medicine.

Students felt compelled to act after learning about the plight of the moon bear - and their discussion turned into coordinating a bake sale to raise money for the charity, Animals Asia. With the help of parents, JBE staff, the PTSO, and community members, the students were able to collect all kinds of cookies, cakes, brownies, and other goodies to sell at JBE’s fall festival. The students raised over $325 for the organization, which will help to restore the health of recused bears so they eventually can be released back into the wild where they belong. 
Mrs. Bryant was beaming with pride. “I couldn’t be prouder of my students. What was originally meant to be a simple reading lesson became so much more than that. Seeing the enthusiasm and selflessness of my students made this simple lesson an unforgettable one. In the end, I think my students would all agree that the real lesson that was learned was that we all are capable and responsible for making the world a better place….and I can’t think of a better lesson to learn!”
We are so proud of these of students and have no doubt their passion and action will pave the way for many others to follow in their footsteps.
Student Leaders Encouraged to Be the Change They Want to See
Hope Blackley (above) defines leadership as “making other leaders.” “It’s really that simple,” she said. It is no surprise the former Spartanburg County Clerk of Court, now founder of the Institute for Youth Justice in partnership with the Spartanburg County Foundation finds great joy in giving back to her community. This week, Ms. Blakely introduced a new pilot at Spartanburg High for student council – an Institute for Youth Justice “Power Hour” – a formal introduction to the criminal justice system with sessions led by community leaders each week through December. Topic sessions will include: arrest, booking, hearings, pre-trial intervention, sentencing, probation, family court, juvenile justice and legal aid led by Solicitor Barry Barnette (below), Judge Erika McJimpsey, Attorney Jennifer Wells, Coroner Charles Clevenger, and Police Chief Alonzo Thompson.
Chris White, honors English teacher, and student council advisor, noted, “I am excited for this opportunity for my student council to learn more about our judicial system. The slate of speakers is phenomenal. I am grateful that Hope Blackley organized this venture for my students.”
Institute for Youth Justice founded in 2017 provides leadership training, education, and an opportunity to connect with juniors and seniors throughout Spartanburg County who are interested in making a positive difference in their communities. In the full leadership training course, students meet once a month beginning in January 2023 four months to increase their knowledge of the criminal justice system and gain a better understanding of the role they can play in partnering together with criminal justice officials, as well as the consequences of poor decision-making. They also gain exposure to state and federal delegation. Any SHS junior or senior who has an interest in the criminal justice field are encouraged to apply for the Institute for Youth Justice Spring 2023 class. You can download the application here and apply by November 4.
Spartanburg Adult Education Center Lauded as the Top in the State
We are honored to shine the spotlight on the important work District 7 does to increase the educational attainment of adults throughout Spartanburg County. Just like our K-12 schools, our committed team of teachers and staff from the Spartanburg County Adult Education work each day with men and women who are pursuing their GED or high school diploma, working towards work credentials, and even taking English language courses or other competency-based courses. Over the past five years, Erin Black (pictured center) and her team have enrolled nearly 2,000 students in the GED or diploma educational track, have had 619 students gain career readiness credentials and 341 students to make educational functioning level gains.

This outstanding work is attracting attention at the state level, as three of our District 7 team members received top awards. Last Friday, Erin Black was named the South Carolina Association of School Administrators Adult Education Director of the Year. In addition, she nominated two of her teachers for state awards from the South Carolina Association of Adult and Continuing Education, and both were selected for the honor.

Jennie Forrester (pictured left next to Superintendent Jeff Stevens) was named South Carolina Teacher of the Year. Mrs. Forrester is a beloved mentor to the men and women she works with at the Spartanburg County Jail. Many of these individuals enter her classroom with uneasiness, but leave her classroom hopeful and encouraged about what they could accomplish. During the pandemic, Mrs. Forrester worked to build adult education’s first fully virtual GED program.

Princess Lipscomb (pictured right next to D7 board member Vernon Beatty) was named South Carolina Part-Time Teacher of the Year. Mrs. Lipscomb serves as Virtual GED instructor, coordinates the WIN testing schedule and conducts testing for all Spartanburg County Adult Education sites across the county, and serves as a WIN Instructor for one of our vocational rehabilitation sites. As a Vocational Rehabilitation WIN instructor, Mrs. Lipscomb works with a wide array of individuals with both physical and psychological disabilities, but despite their disadvantages, Mrs. Lipscomb's students had an 89% overall success rate of earning a Work Keys or WIN certification after going through her class. On many occasions, Mrs. Lipscomb has gone out of her way to provide lessons on computer usage so that when students sit to take their WIN tests (and even their GED tests), they feel more comfortable and capable. She also helped build our first fully virtual program for adult students.

We congratulate Ms. Black on building a program worthy of sweeping our state awards, and for its outstanding impact on students. These accomplishments shine in the success of this program and in the teachers who shared the spotlight in Columbia. Congratulations to all Adult Educators are so proud of the work you are doing to make a difference in our community! If you or anyone you know is interested in Spartanburg County Adult Education please visit -
In the News
The awesomeness continues for our very own Davis Petty! Davis, the 11-year-old phenom from McCracken Middle School who is taking the golf world by storm, was honored this week with a reception at Delaney’s Irish Pub. There, he learned that he’s been named the Under Armour Junior Player of the Year. Spartanburg City Council also officially announced Davis Petty Day in the city, with a proclamation from Mayor Jerome Rice. Congratulations, Davis! Your D7 family is always cheering you on! 
Alumni Spotlight
Alexander "Bernie" Smalls, a 1970 Spartanburg High School graduate and award-winning opera singer turned world-renowned chef, received a special honor on October 14th. Smalls was presented with the Key to the City of Spartanburg by another SHS alumnus, city council member Jamie Fulmer and member Erica Brown.  “Mr. Smalls, the City of Spartanburg celebrates your career and commitment to preserving African-America culture,” Brown said in presenting the award. “You are an inspiration to this community and an example of how young people, growing up in Spartanburg, can perform and conduct business on the biggest world stages. Welcome home and congratulations.” 

In 2018, Bernie shared recipes from his cookbook, Between Harlem and Heaven, as part of the District’s 7Reads program and dined with students from Daniel Morgan Technology Center. Since that time, he has taken a seat at another table – as a judge for Food Network's Top Chef program.

At age 70, with his restaurants and a new book and a recently released album of African-American spiritual music in a jazz style, Smalls says his twin languages continue to animate and sustain him as they always have.  “When music was my focus, food became my outlet. When food became my focus, music soothed my soul. I feel rewarded that I've been able to have a life that has allowed me to do those things that I love the most and make a difference."

Mr. Smalls shared with SHS students this powerful message on his visit in 2018. “When you understand that you have purpose in life it makes life far more rewarding and filling, and when you have the courage to release fear and live out that purpose then you have a life of value and substance and something you can be proud of.”

We are forever amazed by our Carver, Evans and Spartanburg High School graduates and the amazing work they are doing in our community, state, country and global community.
Culinary students from Daniel Morgan prepared dishes from Smalls' cookbook “Between Harlem and Heaven” in April 2018 during Mr. Small's his visit to Spartanburg High School. All dishes and the short ribs were fall off the bone good.
Scene Around Seven
Super Selfies & Much More...
Superintendent Jeff Stevens takes the best selfies, and he stands in front of the philosophy that it is our responsibility as a school district and a community to make sure that our students are not just surviving but thriving. One of the ways we do that is by asking everyone in the Spartanburg community to join us, help us wrap their arms around our children and do whatever they can do to be present and connect with our students and teachers! We all BELONG in 7!
Our Teachers of the Year took to the field during the SHS/Boiling Springs game during halftime to be recognized for their outstanding contributions as educators. It was an extra special evening for our district teacher of the year, Mignona Hall of Cleveland Academy (far left), who was also celebrating her birthday! Our 2022 Teachers of the Year are: Felicia Ratcliffe, Drayton Mills Elementary; Nicole Butler, E.P. Todd School; Nick Drake; Jesse Boyd Elementary; Sherale Smith, Mary H. Wright Elementary; Molly Fisher, Pine Street Elementary; Victoria Carroll, Carver Middle; Earl Diones, McCracken Middle; Hannah Land, Spartanburg High School; Carol Williams; Whitlock Flexible Learning Center and Alina Stephens, McCarthy Teszler School. As we celebrate these honorees, we also recognize and thank all our District 7 teachers for their unwavering dedication to engaging, encouraging and inspiring our children.
We love students with a sense of humor - don't let the shirt fool you, the whole crew at McCarthy Teszler had a blast during their Fall Festival.
Then an entire class screams “Ewwww!!!” - you know there's an opportunity for learning! The students at the Franklin School loved their pumpkins until it was time to feel them!
Last year, Drayton Mills Elementary School Principal Thomas Webster made a challenge to his students: Increase the percentages of students scoring Met or above on SC Ready ELA and math. He told them, if they did, he would let a tarantula crawl on his head. Well.....they CRUSHED the goal and so a snake came to the party as well: 34.7 percent scored Met or above on ELA and 25.5 scored Met or above on math SC Ready! Big thanks to Spartanburg Science Center for their help, and a HUGE shoutout to Dalmatian Nation for achieving this goal!
We congratulate Vanessa Briggs from E.P. Todd School on being named Spartanburg Academic Movement's (SAM) Wardlaw Institute for Continuous Improvement Pioneer of the Year. Vanessa trained a select group of teachers last school year who helped further CI implementation this year. Thanks to her dedicated efforts, the school is on track to have all staff trained in CI tools & strategies. She is always eager to learn, collaborating with fellow coaches to stay up to date on best practices.
Congratulations as well to Cleveland Academy of Leadership on being named Spartanburg Academic Movement's (SAM) Wardlaw Institute for Continuous Improvement School of the Year for Impact. Cleveland began implementing CI tools in 2017. Since then, they have raised their 3rd grade reading proficiency rate from 6.7% to 39%. This surpasses the 30% goal set for them 5 years ago! Even during COVID, the school continued to see improvement.
Senior Knox Eaton was recognized by the District 7 school board for his acceptance into the GE Foundation’s NEXT Engineering Academy. Next Engineers is a global initiative, funded by the GE Foundation, in conjunction with Clemson University that aims to inspire youth to pursue careers in engineering. Knox will participate over the next three years.
Kindness is in their character! Student leaders from Cleveland Academy enjoyed dressing up as their favorite book characters.
Check out these future firefighters from Cleveland Academy ready to save our city. We appreciate the Spartanburg Fire Department for inspiring our young leaders.
The Viking Early College had three students accepted into the Spartanburg Community Aviation Program: Alex Tufino, Samijay Rogers and Ayden Adams-Scott. This diverse program curriculum demonstrates all the possibilities in working in the aviation field, and allows young people to see what the aviation field has to offer in more ways than just being a pilot.
Former and current D7 Teacher of Year Kelli Hardigree and Mignona Hall, respectively, were recognized by OneSpartanburg during their annual celebration. They were honored for their excellence in teaching and service to their schools. 
Mr. Medford’s Carpentry II students from Daniel Morgan recently toured the Tindall Infrastructure Plant. Students got to observe how the company creates precast concrete structures that are produced in a quality-controlled plant environment. Keath Roberts, Operations Manager, and Carlin Compton, Industrial Engineer, gave an overview of the employment opportunities available at Tindall.
District 7's food service provider Chartwells is helping kids connect what they eat with how they feel as part of developing healthy eating patterns. Now through January, Chartwells is setting up Discovery Kitchen Tasting at all D7 schools. Pictured above are two events from E.P. Todd and Pine Street, respectively - and we have heard rave reviews from our youngsters! Chef Mike received lots of thumbs up from the students for October’s Seed to Table cucumber and tomato salad! Students will have a chance to sample and vote on the rotating featured offerings at their school.

Please also mark your calendar for Thursday, November 17 as a day not to pack a lunch (if you do) - all schools will be serving up a Southern Thanksgiving lunch with all the favorite fixins' and your child will not want to miss it! You can view school lunch menus here.
We're banging the drum! Spartanburg High School's Marching Band had a great performance in the 5A category and the awards keep rolling in! Congratulations to our SHS marching band on another great performance……1st place Percussion, Music, and Class. Go Vikings!!
Vikings Headed to the Playoffs!
Congratulations to our Viking football team, our Spartanburg fans, and to Coach Hodge and his staff. Our Vikings have played one of the toughest schedules in the state and were tested as a group throughout the season. Last Friday night they sealed the deal with a 42-41 victory over the Dorman Cavaliers to wrap up another thrilling chapter of the “City Rivalry” and earn a first-place tie in region 2-AAAAA. With this win Spartanburg moved way up into the number 4 position – ahead of Gaffney - in the South Carolina Top 25, powered by MaxPreps.

Leading the effort was our experienced Shrine Bowl selections - quarterback Raheim Jeter and wide receiver Andrew Dantin. Raheim threw for 118 yards and 2 touchdowns while running for 3 touchdowns in the thrilling game against Dorman. Raheim was also recently announced as 1 of only 7 players nominated for the South Carolina Mr. Football award.

Our Vikings will begin the 5A state playoffs at home this Friday, November 4, as host to Nations Ford High School at 7:30pm in Vikings Stadium. To purchase tickets for this playoff game visit: As per South Carolina High School League (SCHSL) rules, no School District 7 Pass, Senior Citizen/Retiree Pass, or District Employee Pass is valid for a SCHSL playoff game. The only pass that is accepted for a playoff game is the South Carolina High School League (SCHSL) Pass that is administered to school administrators and coaches. All others must purchase a ticket for entry to the game. All tickets are general admission and are $10; children 5 and under are free. Tickets can be purchased online (with an additional $1 service fee) as well as at the stadium on Friday evening. Gates open at 6:30pm. Please be sure to review our updated safety and security procedures, including our clear bag policy for Viking Stadium Look out! Our Vikings are on their way to a state championship win if they keep playing with the same grit and heart, they did last Friday and throughout the season! Go Vikings!

As a reminder You can catch all the action on Fox Sports 1400 Home of the Vikings at 98.3 FM.
Save the Date
Election Day Holiday
Sunday, Nov 6
Daylight Saving Time Ends

Monday, Nov 7
Exchange Day Holiday Students/Staff

Tuesday, Nov 8
Election Day Holiday

Friday, Nov 11
Veterans Day 
Monday, Nov 14 - Friday, Nov 18
American Education Week

Wednesday, Nov 16
Education Support Professionals Day

Thursday, Nov 17
Progress Reports 

Wednesday, Nov 23 – Friday, Nov 25
Thanksgiving Holidays 
Mark Your Calendar for School Flu Clinics
As we do each year, Spartanburg School District 7 is pleased to offer students the opportunity to get a FREE flu vaccine at school. We partner with DHEC to provide this service to all students who received parent/guardian permission for the vaccine.
Student clinics will be held the 3rd week in November. Please mark your calendar if you registered your student to receive the vaccine or mist at school.