February 2020
Black History Celebrated Across District 7
For our D7 community, Black History Month was a wonderful opportunity to celebrate Black heritage, encourage reflection, and renew our resilience in the face of current challenges. Spartanburg High School kicked off Black History Month with a dedication ceremony for the new Carver High School History Wall. The highlights video above captures this special and important moment to commemorate the rich history of Carver High School as we mark the 50th anniversary of full integration in District 7.

Our schools celebrated Black History Month during February with events ranging from music performances to art projects to book discussions. The accomplishments and history of Black people were not taught as a separate unit; rather, those accomplishments and art and achievements were woven into daily discussions and activities and in every single class. Elementary school students discussed influential figures like Harriet Tubman, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and Rosa Parks, while middle schoolers listened to various Black poets and discussed the power of words. Their reading included works of poets Amanda Gorman and Gwendolyn Brooks. Students also learned about a different Black musicians each week, studying Ella Fitzgerald, Stevie Wonder, and Trombone Shorty while listening to their music. 

We applaud our schools for the ways they celebrated the rich and vibrant contributions of Black Americans to our culture and democracy, and the many ways our dedicated students and staff worked to show examples of what it means to be inclusive, to be empathetic, and to be kind. Although Black History Month has drawn to a close, we will continue to challenge our young people to be a champion for racial equity and inclusion and to help them understand how acts of courage lead to change.
Black History Programs in our schools were a little different this year, but in so many ways our educator's and student's openness helped to make a smooth transition to virtual celebrations. Enjoy two of the virtual programs from E.P. Todd and Pine Street Elementary below.
E.P. Todd showcased African American educators in D7 and spoke to the importance of African American pioneers throughout past and present history.
Pine Street Elementary students received encouragement from community members reminding them to "Be the Dream".
Mary H. Wright "History Makers" created their own movie for Black History Month! Counselor Kenneth Smith is a look-alike for Spike Lee! You definitely want to check it out!
The Spartanburg Herald Journal named D7's own Mary Honor Wright and Howie Williams as "10 spotlights to be remembered in Spartanburg County" not only during Black History Month, but year-round. One left her mark on public education, the other on the sports fields. Both led in the face of opposition and adversity.
In August 2020, a 100-year-old student of Mary H. Wright attended a ceremony honoring her legendary teacher. The celebration hosted by the Southside Heritage Committee was held near Wright's burial site at the Historic Cemetery Street Cemetery in Spartanburg recognizing her 158th birthday. Hazel Jackson, who turned 100-years-old on May 9, attended the school established by Wright in Spartanburg through the sixth grade.
February 5, 2016, days before the Carolina Panthers would play in Super Bowl 50, D7 was beaming with pride as Howie Williams was honored at an assembly for the NFL Super Bowl High School Honor Roll. The event paid homage to and recognized high school athletic programs that helped produce future Super Bowl competitors. In honor of Williams and of Steve Fuller, Stephen Davis, and Landon Cohen, Spartanburg High School received four golden footballs – more than any other school in the state – and each man came home to present the football to a current student athlete.
We See You - A Message to Students Everywhere
As one of several month-long random acts of kindness during February, Spartanburg High School students and faculty produced this video to show students that teachers and staff see what students are going through and truly care. Great message, great production, in one word: refreshing.
Delving into the Life of a Principal
Behind the scenes of Vance Jones's journey to becoming the Viking leader by SHS Senior Jackson Edwards for the Norse News
As he left what is now known as Gibbs Stadium for the last time as a Wofford football player, Vance Jones did not know what lay before him. As a finance major, he had his eyes set on a job at a local bank, where he could use the skills he acquired in college. However, when he got to that first job, he realized banking wasn’t his purpose in life. Less than two weeks after he began his job, he quit.

While going through school as a child, Jones found a passion in math, where he excelled and obtained high grades. This passion fostered a desire to become a math teacher. When he was applying as an incoming freshman to Wofford College, where he received a football scholarship, he settled on finance because the school didn’t offer an education major. 

After quitting his job, Jones went back to what he felt called to do as a child and committed to a teaching career through the critical needs program, where he mastered the skills needed to become a business administration teacher. One day, his strong leadership skills were discovered during observation. Jones’s presiding principal consequently recommended him to join education administration.

Following this recommendation, Jones relocated to the Northeast, where he attended graduate school at Cambridge University to become a principal. He joined Spartanburg High School as an assistant principal, and following the departure of former principal Jeff Stevens, Jones became the Viking leader.  
As the principal of such a diverse school, Jones finds satisfaction in watching this student body excel, whether in the classroom, athletic field or theater.  
“As the principal of Spartanburg High School, I find the most joy in being out and about when students are at lunch, having athletic competitions, and just watching the students succeed,” Jones said.  

This year, with COVID-19 bringing new issues to the table, Jones has found a way to safely navigate the return of students to the classroom.  Every decision he has made has been looked at from all health and safety perspectives, as well as a student point of view.  

“This school year, which has been plagued by COVID-19, has been difficult to maneuver through because I have to try to balance what the students want as well as being safe,” Jones said. “One of the hardest decisions I had to make was how to do lunches. Other schools have lunch in their classrooms, but I wanted the students to be able to have lunch with their friends.” 

Outside of school, Jones dedicates his time to a relatable hobby: collecting sneakers. When he first started collecting, Jones was enamored with Jordans, which make up most of his present-day collection. Recently, Jones has shifted his eyes towards other brands, particularly new Adidas shoes such as Yeezys and Human Races. This passion has led to a collection that contains upwards of 50 pairs of shoes.  

As he looks back on his first two years as principal of Spartanburg High School, Jones is thankful for how his school has come together. Despite the immense diversity within the student body and staff, Jones is proud of the way these differences are put aside in order to positively represent the school. 
“We have such great teachers that are so knowledgeable and caring,” Jones said. “They come together with the wide variety of students to work together, play together, laugh together, cry together and represent Spartanburg High school magnificently.” 
A Shot of Hope: COVID-19 Vaccine Updates
South Carolina officials announced that the state will move to phase 1b of its COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan on Monday, March 8. This will allow roughly 2.7 million people in the state to get the vaccine, which includes teachers, essential workers, and everyone 55 and older.

District 7 has moved quickly to help all employees receive vaccination appointments as soon as possible, and has partnered with Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System (SRHS) to assist them in registering for the vaccine. Our goal is to do everything we can to help every D7 educator receive a shot this month. Our school nurses were the first to receive a coronavirus vaccine through SC's phased distribution plan. We appreciate the strong example they set in conveying that the vaccine is safe, so that our families and staff can feel comfortable about receiving it as well. We thank the Spartanburg Herald-Journal for spotlighting our school nurses, who keep amazing us through this pandemic (article below).

As part of the ongoing COVID-19 communications with our D7 community, we have created a webpage that includes key information from DHEC and the CDC about the vaccine and its availability within the Spartanburg community. Our goal is to help educate and connect our community with information so that our employees and families can make an informed decision about receiving the vaccine. Visit D7's COVID-19 Vaccine Info Page at www.spartanburg7.org/covidvaccine for more information.
First Spartanburg school nurses, staff members receive COVID-19 vaccinations
Nurse Robbin Argentine takes care of every sick child at Mary H. Wright Elementary School whether they have a cold or COVID-19.
Now, Argentine has more than a mask and gloves to protect her as she protects the health of others.
Argentine, a registered nurse, was able to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine during Phase 1a of S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control's vaccine rollout. Phase 1a included health care workers, COVID-19 vaccine and testing mission-critical employees, and those 65 and older.
Exceptional Students Named National Merit Scholars
Congratulations to seven of D7's most academically accomplished students who have moved on to become National Merit FINALISTS in the 2021 National Merit Scholarship Competition. Our SHS students are the largest group of finalists in Spartanburg County and 4th largest in the state, and they represent the top 1% of our nation's high school seniors. Tristen Godfrey, Will Beeson, Jackson VanHyning, Drew Lawton, Jacob Price, Harrison Van Vleet and Ilan Falcon (left to right) were all selected as finalists. Their academic records, extracurricular activities, community service, teacher recommendations, and a personal essay will be considered for the title. The program provides scholarships each year to thousands of students.
Tristen, Jacob, Drew, Harrison, and Ilan can add an additional feather to their cap: Theses four students were also named candidates in the 2021 U.S. Presidential Scholars Program. They are the largest group from a single SHS senior class in history to receive this distinction and are are among approximately 4,500 candidates selected from the nearly 3.6 million students expected to graduate from U.S. high schools this year. Inclusion in the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program is one of the highest honors bestowed upon graduating high school seniors. Scholars are selected on the basis of superior academic and artistic achievements, leadership qualities, strong character and involvement in community and school activities.

We congratulate all our scholastic champions! Both recognitions represent excellence in education and the promise of greatness that comes from our D7 elementary, middle and high schools. All of us in D7 are honored to have been a part of their journey.
D7 Students Earn Top Honors at Black History Bowl
Students from across Spartanburg county competed in the 6th annual Black History Bowl and proved their mettle answering a variety of questions during several rounds of competition held virtually at the University of South Carolina Upstate on Saturday, February 27. The "Jeopardy” style quiz bowl game covered local and national Black history facts, including questions about Martin Luther King Jr., George Washington Carver and Mae Jemison, and also included a poster competition. Over a dozen teams in the junior and senior divisions squared off, hoping for this year’s bragging rights.

In total, District 7 had representation from every middle school and had over over thirty educators and students to take part in the junior division. McCracken Middle School’s Team One received third place, E.P. Todd School’s team earned second place and McCracken Middle School’s Team Two claimed the first place championship title. We congratulate all of our middle schools for competing.
The E.P. Todd School team of Nicholas Rhoden, Khamren Vongsay, Joshua Watt, Nalani Manigault, Jeada Johnson, and Coach Kamala Brown earned 2nd place in the junior division
McCracken Middle School’s Team One - Danielle Tyus, Alex Tufino, Mackenzie Littlejohn and Javian Smith - received 3rd place.
It's Almost Time to Register for Kindergarten!
Kindergarten registration for the 2021-2022 school year is right around the corner, beginning in late March. Look for information for 3K, 4K and 5K programs coming soon!
Chapman Cultural Center Celebrates Youth Art Month
Youth Art Month is a nationwide celebration of achievement in the arts by children in grades K-12, and Chapman Cultural Center is showcasing the creative talents of Spartanburg students throughout March.

The Artists’ Guild of Spartanburg’s newest exhibition focuses on youth art from School Districts 4, 6 and 7. Dozens of works were selected by a special community juror after being submitted by area teachers. The exhibit is free and open to the public seven days a week and are located in the hallways of the Carlos Dupree Moseley Building. This year the artwork can also be enjoyed through their website.
In the News
Scene Around Seven
Love Was In the Air Across D7 During February
Love the Bus Week, School Counseling Week, Kindness Weeks – District 7 was showing and sharing love as we celebrated our bus drivers and our school counselors during the month of February. Love and kindness was also shared throughout our schools through their involvement in Spartanburg's community-wide 21 Day Kindness Challenge.
On Bus Driver Appreciation Day, a Drayton Mills student gave a special shout out to the women and men who keep them safe on the journey to and from school.
Elementary School Counselors
Middle School Counselors
Counselors who work with our high schoolers at Spartanburg High School and those students who attend programs at the McCarthy Teszler School and the Whitlock Flexible Learning Center.
A big shout out to the Drayton MIlls and their observance of Kindness Week. DMES created kindness graffiti and challenged people to smile.
DMES “made our masks smile” for kindness week. There are real smiles behind them. Great job, Dalmatians!
Whitlock Flexible Learning Center students and staff joined together to send 50 “Bag of Love” sweetheart bags to Mobile Meals for the community. 
The love and care kept going at the Early Learning Center! Rain or shine, all their partners were showing a little kindness.
McCarthy-Teszler students participated in daily celebrations for their Great Kindness Challenge, sponsored by Kids for Peace. With this warm fuzzy activity, students sent smiles to to various staff members in the school.
E.P. Todd had some sneaky students who were delivering kindness all around the school during the month. One in particular was sweet on Principal Bradley.
Mary H. Wright classes celebrated Valentine’s Day with themed activities: food shape sorting, coloring by number, and heart shaped pancakes by the teachers. Can you feel the love?
As the Spartanburg Housing Authority settled into their new office space, they thanked Cleveland Academy for welcoming them to the Northside. The students presented them with a magnificent piece of art for their wall. #kindspartanburg
Valentine’s Day was the perfect opportunity for some heart-filled math lessons at the Early Learning Center at Park Hills.
Viking Early College seniors enjoyed a special Lunch and Learn with Superintendent Jeff Stevens, former superintendent Russell Booker, Bill Barnet, and Spartanburg County Foundation and Regenesis representatives. They discussed Amanda Gorman’s poem, “The Hill We Climb” (from the presidential inauguration) and discussed how one of the most powerful things poetry can do is refocus, if not transform, people’s point of view.
E.P. Todd middle school honors students competed in the 2021 South Carolina Academy of Science (MESAS). Students researched science content which included created tessellations along with calculating their strides. Each grade had a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winner and an overall winner for the highest score. All of the entries are on their way to the state to compete with other students from South Carolina.
Whether it’s reading, watching, or creating, teachers and students in all our schools brought Black History Month alive. Mrs. Lehrer's first grade class at Pine Street showed gratitude and appreciation in their creations. Just learning to write, the students wrote letters with their own artwork, to the influential Rosa Parks.
At Carver Middle School, the AVID philosophy is ingrained across all subject areas and mediums to enable students to succeed in becoming college ready. Here, Kendreya motivates all during the morning announcements.
Congratulations to our South Carolina Ethics Bowl State Champions from Spartanburg High School! Theo Goodchild-Michelman, Jamey Whisnant and Rebekah Maguire will continue their quest for a national championship against winners from Chicago in March. Go Vikings!
3rd graders from Meeting Street Academy dug deep into history while learning about greats like Dr. King, Rosa Parks and Malcolm X. They also took a field trip to the Black Lives Matter Mural in Downtown Spartanburg and joined Spartanburg's Assistant City Manager, Mitch Kennedy. for a discussion about the project's importance.
The students in Mrs. Bell’s class at Cleveland Academy definitely have something to say. The class is finishing up their opinion writing unit and will be publishing the final copies of their writing pieces. Awesome!
Jesse Boyd celebrated World Read Aloud Day and captivated their audiences in the classroom and online.
Dressed to a tee, Mary H. Wright students and faculty stepped back into history and dressed as famous African Americans.
In honor of Black History Month, Cleveland Academy of Leadership highlighted their very own author in residence Mrs. Alanda Posey. Mrs. Posey serves as Cleveland’s Curriculum and Instruction Administrator. She works hard to uplift and to help educate every child at Cleveland. Spartanburg High School also featured her as a local black author for their Black History Month program. You can show Mrs. Posey some love by visiting her website and checking out her awesome books - http://soulfulbeginningsacademy.com/shop/
Hayden Green, in his second year as the concertmaster for the Spartanburg Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, made his debut with the Spartanburg Philharmonic on Feb 20 during their Soulful Serenade concert series with his performance of "Méditation from Thaïs" by Massenet. Hayden is also a vibrant part of the D7 Orchestra, All-State and Regional orchestras, and he also played violin from 2017-2019 with the Carolina Youth Symphony. He fondly remembers playing with that group on the stage of Carnegie Hall in New York City. As his high school years come to a close, Haydn looks forward to playing "Orange Blossom Special" one last time with the SHS Symphony before he graduates this spring. This is music to our ears!
A big thank you to the Junior League of Spartanburg for the books they gave to all of the kindergarten and 1st grade children at Drayton Mills Elementary School. Look at those smiles!
Save the Dates
Tuesday, March 2
Read Across America Day
March 2021
Music in Our School Month
Women's History Month
Mon, March 1- Fri, March 5 Maintenance Appreciation Week

Tuesday, March 2
School Board Meeting
Read Across America Day
Dr. Seuss's Birthday
Monday, March 7-Friday, March 12
School Social Work Week
School Breakfast Week
Monday, March 8
International Women's Day

Sunday, March 14
Daylight Saving Time Begins
Wednesday, March 17
St. Patrick’s Day
Thursday, March 18
135th Day of School
Friday, March 20
First Day of Spring
Wednesday, March 24
Report Cards
Sunday, March 28
Palm Sunday
Friday, April 2
Staff Exchange Day
Spring Break Begins
Valkyrie Middle College Applications are Due March 10 - Watch to Learn More
The Valkyrie Middle College (VMC), in its first year, is creating a pathway from high school to college for students who desire to earn a degree in education and make an impact in Spartanburg county. The two-year, co-ed program provides high achieving Spartanburg High School students the opportunity to earn up to 30 hours of transferable college credit – free of cost. SHS students apply during the spring of their sophomore year and participate during their junior and senior years. Priority acceptance to Converse’s teacher education program and priority consideration for teaching jobs in District 7 are benefits for students who successfully complete the program.

The deadline for current sophomores to apply for the Fall 2021 cohort has been extended to Wednesday, March 10. You can learn more here and in the video above.
Schools Closed for Spring Break April 2 - April 9
610 Dupre Drive Spartanburg, South Carolina

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