April 2019
Creating A Pathway to College for Men of Color
If you ask Cameron Collier, director of Spartanburg High School’s Freshman Academy, why he is so passionate about the Tiger Alliance, he will tell you emphatically that it helps our young men create pathways to and, ultimately, graduate from college. He believes it is an important factor in shaping our future state and national leaders.

The program exposes our young males to diverse life activities, develops strong ethical character and provides models of positive leadership. One of its many benefits is attending Clemson University's Men of Color National Summit, which was held in April. The two-day event encourages male African-American and Hispanic students to pursue higher education and provides them with mentoring and networking support. Collier took 50 Tiger Alliance students from Spartanburg High School and its Freshman Academy to join with 2,000 nationwide participants.

While there, students attended collegiate meet-and-greets, strategy sessions on making the most of their high school and college experience, and even etiquette lessons to help them navigate situations like formal dinners.

Senior Moe Wedman, a three-year member of Tiger Alliance who is heading to the U.S. Naval Academy next year, said, "How you
handle yourself in certain situations matters. And there are plenty of chances to meet new people who you might be able to help or might be able to help you.”

In order to participate in the Tiger Alliance program, students must be African-American or Hispanic young men with at least a 2.5 GPA. The SHS chapter has 50 spots. 
SHS seniors Yazmeen Hardin, Nicholas Glover, and Justen Parker talk to Mark Richardson, a member of the board of trustees at Clemson University, as they stand with other members of the Tiger Alliance Clemson University Men of Color National Summit at the Greenville Convention Center. 
Rudy Manke Collaborates on Curriculum Ideas for Outdoor Classroom at New SHS
An ordinary walk turns into an extraordinary adventure when you're with famed South Carolina naturalist Rudy Mancke. Each step alongside the SHS alumnus and former faculty member is like an episode of NatureScene, which he hosted for 25-years as one of SCETV's most successful television series.

This was the experience of SHS environmental science teacher, Mr. Rob Wilder, and his students when they joined Mancke on site at the new high school's outdoor classroom on April 10th. Students presented their ideas for how to create learning opportunities around the classroom's pond and other natural areas, and Mancke brainstormed with them to share his.

"Walking the outdoor classroom with Mr. Mancke was very eye opening," said student Macy Petty. "Everywhere we walked, he had something interesting to tell us about the plants, animals, and even the soil that made up the outdoor classroom. He shared many interesting facts that I did not know about the plants I see every day. It made me consider all of the educational opportunities it will provide for students."

The ideas generated range from creating and tracking a comprehensive flora, fauna and animals list to installing a wildlife camera to supporting wildlife through nest boxes and the incorporation of food plants for the animals. Ideas also crossed over to impact interior spaces, with suggestions to set up an aquarium and/or terrarium using animals and plants from the wetlands – where students could observe dragonfly nymphs changing into adults and then release them, for example – and creating a collection of skulls, pressed plants, and other features of the area. Educational materials to house on-site were also of interest, which could include information about the watershed and the area's history, potential venomous animals and poisonous plants in the area, and the migration timelines of animals through the area, among other ideas.

“I thought Mr. Wilder and the students were very knowledgeable," Mancke said. "They had lots of information and when I asked questions, they had answers. I was very impressed with them."

The group also discussed ways to include girl and boy scouts, garden clubs, and other community groups who have an interest in the environment and may be willing to lend a hand. "That is a situation where everybody wins," said Mancke. "If you ask people and they are proud to become part of the effort, then you have good friends for a long time. That community/grass roots support has always been there for District Seven and I hope it continues."

Mr. Wilder has been visiting the site to investigate secondary succession and water quality, and to explore ideas for developing the space. He and his students have published two State of the Pond publications tracking a wide variety of information about the pond and its surrounding areas, and they plan to continue. "I am excited about building a base of knowledge that can be passed on the future teachers and students who will be able to describe changes occurring on the property," he said.

The Spartanburg Herald Journal and WYFF-TV also attended the planning session. See their stories via the links below.
D7's Terrific Kids Take Center Stage
Our mission in District Seven is to inspire our students, but so often it is they who inspire us.

On April 18th, 12 young people from District Seven schools took center stage as Terrific Kids of the Year and were recognized for their good character, self-esteem, and perseverance. Together with their families and school leaders, they were treated to a luncheon in their honor hosted by the Kiwanis Club of Spartanburg.

The honorees include Colton Scoggins of the Early Learning Center; Esmeralda Chavez-Perez of Cleveland Academy; Valeria Hernandez of Drayton Mills Elementary; Samuel Markle of E.P. Todd School; Martin Landrum of Jesse Boyd Elementary; Jennifer Rivera-Lopez of Mary H. Wright Elementary; Shatavion Miller of Pine Street Elementary; Liam Dudley of McCarthy Teszler Elementary; Samariah Kelly of McCarthy Teszler's Teszler Division; and Selena Henderson of McCarty Teszler's Secondary Division. 

Congratulations to these and ALL our Terrific Kids!
U.S. Senator Tim Scott Learns About The Franklin School, Meets with Community Leaders
Not too long ago, The Franklin School's pre-K children learned about our nation’s capital in Washington, D.C., so their faces lit up with excitement when they heard their special school visitor worked there. Hands shot up in the air as they eagerly shared other buildings and monuments they can name in the city. As U.S. Senator Tim Scott sat alongside them on their classroom rug, it was surely one of the most insightful moments of his April 23rd visit to the school. But nap time schedules rule the day in this special place, and the Congressman waved goodbye to his new young friends just in time.
Senator Scott has visited Spartanburg’s Northside several times and continues to follow our community’s work to strengthen this area. He was excited to return for a tour of The Franklin School now that it is open.

City, community and education leaders who were integral partners in making the school a reality joined him to discuss the importance of early childhood education, our community's innovative approach to creating the school, and their commitment to continuing collaborative work to reduce child poverty in Spartanburg. 
"The Franklin School is a national model that everybody can follow,” Senator Scott said. “My role is to be a conduit for greatness, to find ways to fund it and communicate it.”
Superintendent Launches Diversity and Inclusion Initiative
As Dr. Russell Booker announced his plans to retire as superintendent at the conclusion of the next academic year, he also launched the final new strategic initiative of his tenure: a broad-based, data-driven diversity, equity and inclusion effort from within District Seven and in collaboration with partner organizations across Spartanburg. The initiative has been in the conceptual stages over the last few years, hand-in-hand with Spartanburg’s collective work towards this end, and aims to close the gaps in access and achievement for students across the school district.

“Spartanburg County is leaning into this work in a meaningful way with the Racial Equity Index recently published by USC Upstate, and the work going on across multiple foundations, nonprofits, and organizations," Dr. Booker said. "This work is also a cornerstone of our Compassionate Schools effort for educating the whole child. It is not a new focus for District Seven, but rather a deepening of this focus to become more intentional and strategic in our work to create broad and sustainable change by weaving it into the fabric of our culture,” Booker said.

The effort ties directly to Dr. Booker’s work on the board of directors for StriveTogether, which is leading a national movement to improve outcomes for communities and children through a cradle-to-career approach to education tied to equity and economic mobility. 

The District Seven School Board recently approved the request to create a Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer as part of a restructuring of the district's senior leadership team. This budget-neutral shift creates the capacity to launch the diversity and inclusion initiative in earnest.

“I’m excited that our Board is committed to addressing these issues in a more intentional way. We will spend the next year looking at the data and metrics within our district at a deeper level as part of our continuous improvement efforts, and we will put into place a strategic approach to close the gaps for students that exist within our school district,” said Booker.
D7 Teacher Named Special Olympics
Coach of the Year
Al Jeter, Our Beloved "Singular Sensation," Honored by D7 Fine Arts Community Upon His Retirement
When it comes to songs about hope and love and magic, there are those of us who catch the spirit of a tune and soar a little higher when we sing it, laugh a little louder when we hear it, or see more clearly when we feel it. And, just like that, the arts can open our eyes…. take us wonder by wonder, over sideways and under - to a whole new world.

On April 23, during Spartanburg High School's year-end chorus concert, it seemed only fitting to sing the praises of one very special member of the District Seven family who has dedicated a lifetime to sharing the joy of music with others and advancing the arts in our community. Dr. Al Jeter, Director of Assessment and Accountability, will retire in June after 45 years of service. Dr. Booker presented a special commendation to Dr. Jeter on behalf of the entire District Seven arts community.

An excerpt from the commendation reads: "Dr. Al Jeter is what you might call 'one singular sensation, one thrilling combination' – of teacher, leader, artist and inspirational motivator. He is a champion of children, a custodian of cheer and an advocate for all. A man of many skills, our eternal optimist, our comedic genius, our faith-filled intercessor and our beloved friend. You’ve heard it said that people come into our lives for a reason, bringing something we must learn, and we are led to those who help us grow, if we let them, and we help them in return. Well, that certainly sums up Al Jeter’s place in our lives and the impact he’s had on District Seven. In November 2018, Al was honored by the Chapman Cultural Center as the Educator of the Year and a Cultural Champion in the community. For nearly five decades, Al has been the District’s ambassador for the arts, all while moving through the ranks of public education. From teacher to principal to administrator, Dr. Jeter will retire as District Seven’s Director of Testing and Accountability.
Along with his responsibilities related to the academic achievement of our students, he’s folded other duties into his days, like coordinating world languages in our schools, growing our programs for English learners, overseeing strategic planning across the District, and strengthening our approach to data driven improvements. With just as much energy and enthusiasm, Al is equally busy beyond his District Seven duties as a member of the Central United Methodist Chancel Choir and the director of one of the best hand bell carillons in South Carolina.'

Dr. Jeter, you will be sorely missed by your District Seven family. We wish you all the best!
40 Years Later, SHS Alumni Finally Attend Prom
According to Donna and Jeff Millwood, some things are better late than never. Although they were sweethearts through their years at Spartanburg High School, each has always had one high school regret: they never went to their prom. As teenagers, the Millwoods were both shy and preferred to avoid large social gatherings –so when prom time came, neither was eager to attend. In 1979 and 1980, they let their two opportunities slip by.

In 1981, Donna and Jeff went their separate ways. But, as fate would have it, 25 years later they reconnected and married. This Spring, Jeff Millwood contacted SHS principal Jeff Stevens, who granted the couple's dream of a second chance at prom. It was an opportunity the Millwoods had waited 40 years for, and they made it count. On the special night, Jeff wore a tuxedo and black bow tie, while Donna turned heads in a gorgeous gold gown. To top if off, the couple was invited to crown the prom king and queen. That moment, along with an evening full of dancing, marked the whole experience as one to remember.

Donna said it best: "As you get older and experience life’s losses and joys, you begin to learn that every moment is precious beyond words. Time is fleeting and missed opportunities may never come your way again. It’s a somber reminder to seize the moment and not take one second of your life or experiences for granted."
Spring Sports Signing Day was held April 17 in Dobson Gym at Spartanburg High School where student athletes were honored for signing letters of intent to play at the collegiate level. The 13 athletes represented football, cross country, lacrosse, soccer, volleyball, track and swimming. The ceremony also included recognition of Nick Dixon's commitment to play at Wingate University, which he made just before his unexpected passing earlier this year. We are proud of our students, their coaches and their families!
The SHS Envirothon Teams swept first and second places at the State Envirothon Competition in Columbia. A-Team members Isabella Goodchild-Michelman, Emma Sandago, Nolan Sykes, Justin Barron and Nathan Jones placed first overall and each was awarded a $1,000 scholarship. B-Team Sarah Cribb, Emily Daniel, Florence Cope, Henry Miles, and Jacob Price placed second overall and each won a $500 scholarship. Amy Reith had the highest Wildlife test score of the competition for the second consecutive year. The A-Team will represent South Carolina at the NCF Envirothon this summer in Raleigh. Congratulations!
Viking boys and girls soccer teams closed the season with identical 1-0 wins over Oakbrook Prep.
Bravo to the boys and girls track teams for their many state qualifiers. Special congrats to Nolan Brown, Cameron Gist, Jasmine Jones, Jaila Phillips and Logan Gray who are Region 2-5A Champions in their respective events.
The Viking boys golf team shot 74, 75, 76, 77 & 77 at last week's Spartanburg County Tournament. The team hosted the Region 2-5A Tournament on April 30, finishing second place.
Congrats to the boys tennis team for their 6-0 win over Greenwood in the first round of the playoffs and their 6-0 win over Spring Valley in the second round.
Seen Around Seven
E.P. Todd's Science Olympiad team, led by Brian Landon, brought home medals in several events in the state competition. They also enjoyed touring The Citadel.
The finish line was just the beginning for students from Carver Middle, E.P. Todd Middle, and Drayton Mills Elementary who joined other youngsters across the county for the Girls on the Run Celebration 5K.
Young men in the CEO Mentoring program at Carver Middle had the opportunity to visit the Penn Center at St. Helena Island, SC. The boys saw a cottage were Martin Luther King worked on civil rights strategy and his famous "I Have a Dream" speech.
Jesse Boyd's Ladies Lunch Club was dressed to impress during their community outing, where they put their new skills into practice.
It was all smiles during E.P. Todd's annual Montessori family picnic.
Whitlock Flexible Learning Center students took the time to read to students at the Early Learning Center on Dr. Seuss Day.
Future Viking Band members tried out instruments to see what they like best! Fourth graders from across D7 visited the SHS band room for an “instrumental petting zoo” hosted by band directors and current Viking Band members on April 29. We can’t wait to see them performing in the years to come.
These young women in  The Cleveland Academy of Leadership 's Chefs Club treated members of the Mary Black Foundation to a healthy meal with dishes they have learned throughout the semester .
A fun time was had by young and old at Drayton Mills Elementary's Skate Night.
Beautiful mixed media butterfly garden collages, created by E.P. Todd fifth graders, brighten up school days.
SHS Yearbook Staff and Norse News Staff garnered a number of awards and honors for their journalism and photography skills. The Yearbook has been featured 15 of the last 17 years in Jostens’ annual “best-of-the-best” publication. Norse News students also brought home multiple awards from the S.C. Scholastic Press Association’s Spring Conference in Columbia.
We are so proud of Tamera Keitt, Mary H. Wright Elementary 5th grader, who is a finalist for the 2019 Betsy Williams Youth of the Year award! The honor is given by the Spartanburg Boys & Girls Club.
Senior Jaylon Girdner is the recipient of the Red Dobson award winner for the Class of 2019. This award is the most prestigious athletic award given to any athlete at Spartanburg High Schoo l.
We love this collaborative creative project from McCracken Middle School in celebration of Earth Day.
"Leaf" it to SHS Teacher Cadets to lend a hand for Mary H. Wright Elementary's Earth Day festivities!
Pine Street Elementary's second grade held Habitat Day, with classroom rotations that included a pollution experiment, learning about ecosystems, STEAM activities, and making a polar bear snack.
Save the Dates - May 2019
May 24, 2019
Commencement for the Class of 2019
Wofford College

May 1
College Signing Day
Tickets go on Sale for Mamma Mia 

May 2
Meeting Street Academy Production,
6:30pm, Barnet Park
Orchestra Finale Concert, 7pm, SHS
May 6 – 10
Teacher Appreciation Week
May 6
AP Studio Art Reception, 4:30pm, SHS

May 7
D7 Board Meeting
National Teacher Day

May 8
National School Nurse Day
May 23
Class of 2019 Senior Walk
Mamma Mia , 7pm, Chapman

May 24
Graduation, 7:30, Wofford
May 25
Mamma Mia , 2pm and 7pm
May 26
Mamma Mia , 3pm
May 27
Memorial Day Holiday
May 31
Last Day of School
Mark Your Calendars
Percussion Ensemble Performs at Prestigious National Festival

The SHS Percussion Ensemble performed a 45-minute concert at the Sandy Feldstein National Percussion Festival in Indianapolis. Matt McDaniel's group of 14 students was among only a handful in the nation to earn an invitation to the festival. Check out this video to see why they are living up to their nickname of The Ultimate Drumming Machine! 

610 Dupre Drive Spartanburg, South Carolina

P: 864.594.4400