September 2019
Excitement and High-Fives Kick Off School Year
There's no mistaking the sounds of a new academic year! With hugs, high-fives and the sounds of laughter, District 7 welcomed 7,546 students for the new year on Monday, August 19. District and Spartanburg community leaders were in every school to help give our young people a great start to their day.

"It's not just a school community it's an entire community," said Major Art Littlejohn of the Spartanburg Police Department.

Superintendent Dr. Russell Booker spent the day chatting with children, parents and teachers and Tweeting about the experience along the way, "This year holds so much excitement!"

Check out the video above for more first-day fun.
Meet D7's New Principals
New students aren't the only "new" folks who were too excited to sleep the night before school started...our new principals were, too! D7 caught up with our five new leaders to get a few impressions on their first day of school. While none are new to our D7 family, we welcome each to their new role as principal: Marquice Clark of the Cleveland Academy of Leadership, Rene Ford of the McCarthy Teszler School, Tammy Jordan of Mary. H. Wright Elementary, Kira Reeves of Daniel Morgan Technology Center, and Vance Jones of Spartanburg High School.

Get to know each of our new leaders:
Our NEW Spartanburg High School is Open!
It was a moment like no other in recent history as the new Spartanburg High School welcomed its first students. As opening day approached, faculty and staff were hard at work, bringing the building to life with energy and personal touches that transformed it into a home for the SHS family. We give a special thanks to our dedicated team at the District 7 Support and Operations Center (DSOC), who worked tirelessly all summer to prepare for opening day!
The new SHS is a 400,000 square foot facility on 187 acres at 2250 East Main Street. Constructed for a capacity of 2,500 students, the campus includes a 1,000-seat Fine Arts Center, a comprehensive athletic complex, a 7,500-seat athletic stadium, and a 2,500-seat arena.

Designed as a "smart" school, it is infused with technology that enhances learning and safety. Classrooms are equipped with FrontRow technology, allowing teachers to amplify their voices and record lessons so students can access them later. Portable "Nooks" with charging stations and flexible learning spaces throughout the hallways invite students to gather and collaborate. Multimedia displays throughout the hallways enhance communication and provide a laboratory for learning as students contribute to content development. From natural lighting and spacious corridors to visible classroom spaces and controlled fresh air, each aspect of the facility has been designed to improve student learning.

The school was also designed with a mindfulness for sustainability and the goal of attaining Green Globe status. The campus includes an outdoor classroom, designed with input and guidance from SHS students and faculty, along with walking trails, ponds, functional courtyards and plazas These natural resources provide learning, wellness, and conservation-minded benefits such as the irrigation of our grounds.

Spartanburg has been excitedly awaiting its first peek into the beautiful new facility, so opening day was big news! Several Upstate media outlets joined students on the first day and shared an inside look with the public. Please enjoy their coverage below.

Look for information soon on our community dedication and celebration planned for later this year. And please plan to cheer on your Vikings in their new home at Viking Stadium!

Enjoy these scenes and soundbites from opening day:
As SHS faculty and staff gathered in their new home for the first time (below), they had one simple message to share with the Spartanburg community: THANK YOU!
SHS Opening Day Media Coverage
Hats Off to our Teachers of the Year
District 7's Teachers of the Year were recognized during the Opening Convocation for employees in August, where they took the stage to the driving rhythm of Celebrate Good Times (and yes, there was quite a bit of dancing in the aisles as they waved to their fans - check out the video below!). E.P. Todd's Crystal Weathers (pictured above right) was announced as District 7 Teacher of the Year during the event. The group gathered again to be honored before our Board of Trustees in September, and we recognized them publicly along with our Support Staff Members of the Year at the first home Viking football game on September 27th (photo below).

The District 7 Teachers of the Year 2019-20 are: (pictured above, front row L to R) Valarie Wilkerson, Carver Middle; Thomasina Guffey, Spartanburg High; Kenesha Hardy, Mary H. Wright Elementary; Rosemary Foux, Drayton Mills Elementary; (middle row, L to R) Crystal Weathers, E.P. Todd School; Priscilla Martin, McCracken Middle; Mary Ann Stoddard, Pine Street Elementary; Ashley Moss, Early Learning Center; (Back row L to R) Sallie McKissick, McCarthy Teszler School; Michael Walker, Whitlock Flexible Learning Center; Claire Louka, Jesse Boyd Elementary. Not pictured is Brandi Dendy of The Cleveland Academy of Leadership.

These inspiring educators go out of their way to spark a love of learning in their students. Each honoree has a high potential for long-term leadership and the ability to motivate and inspire his or her fellow educators.
If you follow District 7 on Facebook , you may already be familiar with the educator pictured on the back row, third from left . From her back-to-school video messages from Carolina Panthers to being named this year’s Crystal Apple Award Winner for our District, Bree Burnette goes all out as a 4 th grade teacher at Mary H. Wright!

This summer, the National Council of Teachers of English recognized Ms. Burnette in Washington, D.C. as one of five nationwide recipients of the Early Career Educator of Color Leadership Award. The award is designed to support and encourage teachers of color as they build accomplished teaching careers in literacy education. Congratulations, Ms. Burnette. Your District 7 family is proud of the positive impact you are making!
Meeting Street Academy music teacher Larry Lawson didn't skip a beat in showing his excitement during a surprise announcement that he has won a Caribbean cruise! Representatives from South Carolina Future Minds and Bojangles’ presented the award as part of their Teacher Appreciation Month promotion.

Mr. Lawson was nominated by a colleague who said in her nomination: “ Larry is a true servant to the students and families of our school. His official title is music teacher, but he uses his gifts and talents to work tirelessly to provide quality music education, plan stellar musical performances, lead parenting classes, and prepare wonderful food for special school events. I am not sure when he sleeps…Larry goes above and beyond for our school."

“It means so much to know someone thought this much of what I do,” Lawson said. “I love what I do. I think my calling was to work with children, and sometimes I put that aside. I found that this is so much more than a job!”
First WYFF Golden Apple Winner of the Year
WYFF News 4 selected District 7 Adult Education Instructor Trinia Mims as the first of this year's Golden Apple winners.

Each week, the news station rewards an educator who goes above and beyond in their teaching by designating them as a Golden Apple Award winner. The winner is selected from nominations by a panel of judges.

WYFF highlighted Ms. Jones' ability to put adult students at ease and to keep them motivated and focused on obtaining their diploma or GED. The story demonstrates her special gift of showing them unconditional love, understanding, and kindness. Mims says the best reward is “seeing her former students flourish.”
Mary H. Wright Students Learn About School's Namesake During Birthday Celebration
The Mary H. Wright Elementary School
family celebrated the 157th birthday of their school’s namesake on August 29th. Students learned about the important impact of this great educator and celebrated the role they play in continuing her legacy.

Mary H. Wright was a prominent Spartanburg educator in the 1920s who paved the way for the success for many of our community's children. We continue to teach today's students about the important work she did in order to inspire and equip them to dream big in their own lives.
D7 Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month
September 15 - October 15 is National Hispanic Heritage Month, and District 7 is taking this special opportunity to celebrate and learn more about the Latinx culture represented across our schools and community.

On our website and social media pages, we are sharing spotlights of Hispanic Americans within our D7 family. Within our schools, we are celebrating and learning about Hispanic culture in order to deepen our connections as a community that values diversity and inclusion. Follow along with our social media posts at  #D7HispanicHeritage.
Spotlight: Noemi Gallegos, DMES Kindergarten Teacher

“I am Mexican-American born in California. My parents immigrated to the United States in the mid 1970’s and eventually brought their first six children over. They had the last three of us in California. I am the youngest...

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Spotlight: Patricia Chanes, ESOL Assistant for the ELC

At the ELC, many of our students are separating from their parents for the first time. In the Hispanic culture, it is not customary to take them to daycare, but rather the mother or a relative takes care of them. I help parents with communication...

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Two D7 Schools Receive $5,000 Wardlaw Institute Awards
During Spartanburg Academic Movement's annual celebration, Mary H. Wright Elementary and Cleveland Academy of Leadership were each awarded $5,000 from the John T. Wardlaw Institute of Continuous Improvement , the training hub for SAM. The awards recognized the schools’ participation and results from engaging in the Institute’s Continuous Improvement (CI) training and strategies.
Together with Jesse Bobo Elementary and Lone Oak Elementary, who also received awards, the recipient schools are part of “The Four Schools Project,” a focused intervention designed to improve early grades reading achievement and overall academic success in Spartanburg County’s highest poverty schools. At the event, the results of the third grade reading proficiency for 2019 revealed a more than 60% increase in student achievement, markedly higher than earlier gains.

“These schools and their teachers have been working deeply in continuous improvement strategies to improve student achievement. SAM is proud to be part of that success, but it is their hard work and dedication every day that is making this happen,” said John Stockwell, SAM’s executive director.

Victoria Bradley of Mary H. Wright and Argyl Brewton of Cleveland Academy each received individual Wardlaw Pioneer Awards. They are among the first three Continuous Improvement Coaches hired in the County. Bradley was also recognized for having helped share the Institute’s successful strategies at a national convening of the StriveTogether network held earlier this month in Washington, DC. The network includes 70 partnerships across the nation, working in their local communities to help every child succeed in school and in life from cradle to career, regardless of race, zip code or circumstance. Dr. Russell Booker, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Dr. Carlotta Redish, and Director of Assessment and Accountability Dr. Glen Carson also represented D7 at the convening.

Above, Dr. John Stockwell presents the Wardlaw Institute awards to the Cleveland Academy (accepted by Mr. Marquice Clark, principal, and Mr. Fred Logan, past principal), and to Mary H. Wright (accepted by Dr. Marc Zachary, past principal).
Viking Coaches Selected for SC Football Hall of Fame
Two Viking coaches will be inducted into the South Carolina Football Coaches Hall of Fame. Current Viking head coach Chris Miller (left) and former Viking coach Alan Sitterle will be honored at this year’s induction banquet on December 13th in Myrtle Beach. Coach Miller is entering his 18 th  season at SHS and has also led programs at Broome and Byrnes. He has 165 career victories and has won five state championships.
District 7 College Colors Day Pictures
District 7 students and staff sported their favorite college colors and apparel to celebrate  National College Colors Day on Friday, August 30th . As D7 continues to grow a culture of college readiness, this initiative is a fun way to advance important conversations with our young people about college and career goals while building on the buzz and excitement of a new football season.

We captured the fun from across the District:
Cheering it on at Carver
JBE's full of energy
Drayton Mills' mighty team
Representing in orange at Whitlock
SHS Coaches sport garnet and black
Some love for our hometown, Wofford College
McCracken Eagles spirits soar
Todd Tigers ready to roar
MMS teachers and students are all smiles
Save the Dates
October 18, 2019
Tuesday, October 1
Board Meeting
Child Health Day

Wednesday, October 2
International Walk to School Day

Friday, October 4 
7:30pm Viking Football vs. Dorman 

Monday – Friday, October 7-11
Fire Prevention Week

Friday, October 11 
7:30pm Vikings at Boiling Springs

Monday – Friday, October 14 – 18
National School Lunch Week
Monday, October 14
Columbus Day
Wednesday, October 16
Bosses Day

Friday, October 18
7:30pm Viking Football vs. Mauldin

Monday – Friday, October 21 – 25
National School Bus Safety Week

Wed – Thurs, October 23 – 31
Red Ribbon Week
Thursday, October 24
Report Cards

Friday, October 25
7:30pm Viking Football at Riverside 

Thursday, October 31
Viking Nation is Home at Last!
Magic was in the air as Spartanburg packed the house for our first game - and a WIN - in Viking Stadium! The beautiful evening was the perfect backdrop to our talented student-athletes, a fabulous half-time show by our Viking Band, the spirit of our cheerleaders, and the overwhelming enthusiasm of our fans.
Peachjar Digital Flyers for Parents
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 paper savings of 533,301! If you've yet to sign up to receive this timely information, simply click the Peachjar button on the homepage of your school's website to view flyers or click on the graphic above.

610 Dupre Drive Spartanburg, South Carolina

P: 864.594.4400