March 2019

Standing Ovations Here, There and Everywhere!
Stellar reviews are pouring in for the musicals staged throughout the District this season! And it's no surprise - District 7 has been rolling out the red carpet since the 1800s when it became a leader in South Carolina by establishing its music and arts program. History and tradition have a lot to say about what's important in our community, and the unique way our schools maintain top-notch academic and fine arts programs is what keeps our students center stage and in the spotlight.

March was Music in Our Schools month, and we enjoyed Disney Classics  The Lion King at Mary H. Wright, Beauty and the Beast at E.P. Todd, Mary Poppins at Pine Street, and Cinderella at Jesse Boyd. Coming up in May is the District-wide production of  Mamma Mia. D7 students and staff are a talented bunch!

In case you missed these shows, you can catch a glimpse here through pictures and a peek inside Mary H. Wright's The Lion King in this video.
We Are Doing a LOT Right in Spartanburg!
Communities across our region are increasingly looking to Spartanburg to learn how we are transforming our approach to education. Last month, District 7 welcomed a visiting team from Rowan-Salisbury School District to share our experiences. District 7 is honored to partner with many community organizations whose collective work has created Meeting Street Academy, The Franklin School, Spartanburg Academic Movement, the Northside Initiative, and more. Groundwork is being laid to one day achieve a “cradle to career” approach that helps every child reach his or her full potential. Our work together is not a sprint, but a marathon. We are happy to share our experiences and are thankful for each and every contributor along the way.
Inspiring and Equipping Future Teachers
Spartanburg High School students Maddie Drummer and Jaylon Girdner are just two of our many aspiring teachers gaining first-hand experience in elementary school classrooms across D7!

As participants in the SHS Teacher Cadet program, which was created in 1985, they spend one semester studying various education topics and a second semester assisting teachers and working with students in elementary classrooms . This kind of student teaching experience is one that prospective teachers usually don't get until they are well into college.

Jaylon and Maddie teach at Pine Street Elementary and Jesse Boyd Elementary Schools, respectively. Jaylon is excited to be working in his former kindergarten classroom with his former teacher. " It’s a great feeling being able to go back to where it all started, and help out. Knowing how much the children look up to us makes it even better," he said. 

Maddie works with 3rd graders, and recently presented a lesson on kindness inspired by Teacher Cadet Instructor Angela Eaton.
Maddie explained, "During the first week of school, Ms. Eaton did a lesson for our Teacher Cadet class on filling each other's buckets. The underlying meaning of the lesson is to build up others and in exchange you will build yourself up."

Ms. Eaton has been "filling the buckets" of her cadets ever since she took the program's helm in 2015. She works with them throughout the year, meets with cooperating teachers, and formally observes each student teaching in his or her classroom. You can see each lesson documented on her Twitter account - @AREaton.

The meaningful relationship Ms. Eaton cultivates with each student is a primary reason the program and her cadets are so successful in earning South Carolina Teaching Fellows awards and college scholarships.

"I couldn't be more proud of this year's group of 16 students. They are all future classroom stars and I have no doubt they have gained the first-hand experience they need before setting off for college," Ms. Eaton said.
Viking Early College Teams with Habitat for Humanity
While many of their peers spent spring break enjoying hard-earned rest and relaxation, several students from Spartanburg High School's Viking Early College (VEC) used their time off to finish houses they have been building on Spartanburg's Southside.

The group of juniors has been working on two Habitat for Humanity homes on Salem Street as part of VEC's volunteer and service project. VEC Director Verotta Kennedy said, "It means everything that our young men have been able to help  build houses to achieve a community goal and that they are also learning new skills."

Junior Duante Hamlet said seeing the impact his work is making in the community brings his voluntarism experience full circle. "This is special. The work we’ve done matters," he affirmed. "It has opened my eyes to so many things, and it pushes me to continue working." 
District 7 Has the "411" on
Virtual Professional Development
Our District's Technology Integration Specialists spend a lot of time in our schools. Getting in front of teachers is an important component of delivering technology training and demonstrating lessons. But from a logistical perspective, scheduling a day when all teachers are available for a workshop, and securing substitute teachers to enable their participation, is quite a challenge.

So with a nod to D7's values of innovation, excellence and engagement, the team began considering new ways to accomplish their mission. What if professional development (PD) could be virtual, they asked? And better yet, what if it could be quick and effective?

Thus was born a new Seven Ignites virtual initiative, 411 in a Flash. D7 teachers and PD facilitators are now connecting virtually using equipment they already have in place - laptops and interactive panels. Through 15-minute 411 in a Flash sessions, available live or anytime thereafter via YouTube, our technology specialists now have flexibility to deliver training while using everyone's time efficiently. 

Joey Colon, Technology Integration Specialist from McCracken Middle School, said, " As we increase availability with the help of virtual tools, we create meaningful connections and support educators in their professional development. It's a true team effort with such a high reward."
Students "Rock Their Socks" to Gain Deeper Understanding of Down Syndrome
On March 21, World Down Syndrome Day, District 7 students and staff donned crazy, mismatched socks for "Rock Your Socks Day" to raise awareness of Down Syndrome. But the real rubber met the road when elementary teacher Susan Holcombe and her son, Rion, visited classrooms at Mary H. Wright and Pine Street Elementary Schools to lead students to a deeper understanding of the chromosomal disorder. Rion, who has Down Syndrome, recently graduated from the new ClemsonLIFE program, which was a dream come true for the Holcombe family. "I always knew Rion would have a great life,” Ms. Holcombe said. “But I didn’t ever imagine he could go to college, no way.”

Several of the students, like third grader Kyla, pointed out that Rion was "just, like, the same as me. We all can be friends." For this group of students the message of mismatched socks became clearer and even more important. Susan and Rion Holcombe also recently contributed to an article sharing insights about Down Syndrome on, linked below.
D7 Partners with Spartanburg Academic Movement for Continuous Improvement
District 7 board members and staff were thrilled to take part in a celebration introducing Spartanburg Academic Movement's John T. Wardlaw Institute for Continuous Improvement on March 20.

A game-changer for education in Spartanburg County, the Institute is building Continuous Improvement (CI) science practices across schools and non-profit support organizations to improve academic achievement. It offers training for educators and agencies, tracks results, and partners with SAM to monitor progress across key stages of learning - ultimately leading to better results for our children. CI coaches are already working in two D7 schools, the Cleveland Academy of Leadership and Mary H. Wright Elementary, thanks to a partnership with SAM and the Northside Development Group.

We thank the Wardlaw family (pictured at top right) for continuing the data-driven work John Wardlaw inspired that is enhancing Spartanburg's collective approach to education.
Time to Register for Kindergarten!
Now is the time to register your kindergartener for school this fall! Please visit your neighborhood elementary school between the hours of 8:30am – 2:30pm by April 19 to register for the 2019-2020 school year.

To enroll a new student in 5k, parents must present: 
  • State-issued birth certificate 
  • Properly completed Immunization Certificate or Religious Exemption Certificate provided by the Health Department
  • Proof of residence in two forms (current mortgage/lease statement and current electric or utility bill)
After enrollment, parents are given a snap code to finish the registration process online through the appropriate links found on the District website.

For information about D7's 3- and 4-year-old preschool programs, visit our website .
Seen Around Seven
These winning smiles are compliments of the State Senators who visited Meeting Street Academy! (From l to r) Senator John Matthews (Orangeburg), Senator Scott Talley (Spartanburg), Senator Floyd Nicholson (Greenwood), and Senator Greg Hembree (Horry)
D7 was honored to help cut the ribbon for The Franklin School, which serves children ages birth to pre-K. A D7 partnership with First Steps, the Northside Development Group, Piedmont Community Action, USC Upstate, and the Mary Black Foundation, this innovative school helps cultivate a “cradle to career” approach to education in Spartanburg.
Viking Early College students were invited to attend Claflin University's 2019 Torchbearers Spring Luncheon. The event was held at Silver Hill United Methodist Church in conjunction with the Tom Joyner Foundation's 2019 School of the Month Program. Pictured with D7 students is Claflin's President, Dr. Henry Tisdale.
The Association for Learning Environments named Drayton Mills Elementary School  the 2019 Merit Award winner in recognition of South Carolina’s “Best in Class” solutions for spaces where our children learn, grow, and play. 
The Butterfly Foundation's Liberty Canzater shared smiles and stories with girls from the Cleveland Academy of Leadership.
In honor of Women’s History Month, students from SHS attended the Women in Technology and Sciences Symposium at Limestone College. The students interacted with professors and engaged in cryptography, kinesiology, environmental testing and CAD design activities.
Glover Smiley Relays 100M Champions -Ladajah Watson and Nolan Brown. Way to go, Vikings!
A great big shout out to our senior girls Lacrosse players for their dedication and commitment to SHS. (l-r) Evan Gaubert, Patty Tidd, Damayia Gregory, and Faith Lee
We are singing the praises of the SHS Vikings who participated in the SC All-State Honor Ensemble in Rock Hill. (l-r) Claire Stevens, Liza Chapman, Hadley Carmichael, Sophie Kannee, Bryson Rose, and Seth Smith
The SHS Viking Booster Club jumped at the amazing opportunity to honor Tavien Feaster with this billboard as a two-time National Champion with the Clemson Tigers. D7 is so proud of his accomplishments on and off the field!
You never know what you'll find in a good book! The Early Learning Center's literacy night program sparked curiosity in children and parents alike as they rotated through interactive stations together.
  SHS Senior Sean Jenkins (far left) led the North team to victory with 18 points in the North-South All-Star basketball game in Lexington, SC on March 16. He was also named All-State Recipient. Congratulations, Sean!  
McCracken Middle School's Jazz Band performed at the South Carolina Association for Middle Level Education Conference in Myrtle Beach.
Carver Middle School's Girls on the Run club is all heart and "sole"! D7 girls across the district are pounding the pavement alongside program mentors as they learn the joy of running.
Congratulations to Lillian Lamy for earning the Silver Medal in Graphics Imaging Sublimation at the SkillsUSA Competition. Lillian is a SHS junior and a Daniel Morgan Technology Center Graphic Communications completer.   
Wynn Story, Reese Crocker, and Principal Dennis Regnier took flight in Pine Street School's Mary Poppins.
E.P. Todd students were WILD about Beauty and the Beast, and their audiences were, too!
Armed with needles and thread, Cinderella's mice friends from Jesse Boyd were ready to dress her in style. 
Celebrating Academic Excellence at SHS
We say it all the time: Our mission in Spartanburg District 7 is  to inspire and equip   our students for meaningful lives of leadership and service . And there's nothing like seeing that mission play out in the lives of our students. O n March 18, i n an evening reserved to honor our highest achievers, SHS's annual Academic Excellence Program paid tribute to a wide range of student accomplishments.

Principal Jeff Stevens says the program has a rich tradition and is an important event for the District. "We've been doing this program for 30 years to recognize academic excellence at Spartanburg High School. Not only do we recognize our brightest students, but also the fact that many of these young people stand among the most academically elite students in South Carolina." Stevens says more than 400 students in grades 9-12 were recognized at the event. "This is the most we've ever had, and it's certainly a testimony to the rigor of our program and the commitment our kids bring to their studies every single day." 

D7 was honored to welcome Benedict College President Dr. Roslyn Clark Artis as keynote speaker. Dr. Artis encouraged students to pursue excellence throughout their lives, and challenged them to stay the course, to make good decisions, and to act with integrity in all they do.
Save the Dates - April 2019
April 19, 2019
Jazz on the Square featuring the Bands of District 7
Downtown Spartanburg
100 N Liberty Street

April 9, 2019
Board Meeting at SHS

April 14
Palm Sunday

April 17
D7 Early Release Day

April 19
Good Friday
Senior Field Day
SHS Performs at Jazz on the Square
April 20 
SHS Prom 

April 21

April 22
Earth Day
Senior Recognition 

April 24
Administrative Professionals Day 

April 29
Progress Reports 
Mark your calendars for the smash hit MAMMA MIA May 23, 25 & 26
Join us on May 23rd for the opening night of Mamma Mia , this year's selection for D7's annual musical production! Set in a Greek island paradise, a tale of love, identity, and friendship is told through the timeless hits of ABBA.

Tickets go on sale in May 1st. Get yours at the Chapman Cultural Center box office.
Alumni Spotlight - Alexander "Bernie" Smalls
Last year, D7 students broke bread with Alexander "Bernie" Smalls, a 1970 SHS graduate and award-winning opera singer turned world-renowned chef, when he shared recipes from his cookbook, Between Harlem and Heaven , as part of the District’s 7Reads program.

In March, Smalls was invited to take a seat at another table - as a judge for The Food Network's Top Chef finale in Macau, China. Smalls was among the star-studded table of international diners - acclaimed chefs Mitsuharu Tsumara,
Dan Hong, May Chow, and Alvin Leung, along with Deputy Editor of Food & Wine magazine Melanie Hansche, and show host Padma Lakshmi, head judge Tom Colicchio, and Graham Elliot and Nilou Motamed. 

Top Chef winner Kelsey Clark opened her meal with dish of buttermilk and cornbread. Smalls dished out the compliment, “she got that cornbread right.”

We hope you enjoy these tasty clips from Mr. Smalls on the finale of Top Chef .
Hit Us With Your Best Spring Break Shots!
Simply email us a picture at OR click the “Submit Your Photos" button located at the bottom of the D7 homepage. As soon as your image is approved, we’ll post it for all the world to see. So, hit us with your best shots!
D7 is Now on LinkedIn
Cruise over to   to connect with us, and with one another, via your professional profile on LinkedIn. This networking community is a great way for SHS students, alumni, employees and friends to find one another and convey their association with D7! We have also created a community for the hashtag #myd7story, and invite you to follow that from our page and add your own content there, as well.

You are the FIRST to know and we hope you’ll help us spread the word!
610 Dupre Drive Spartanburg, South Carolina

P: 864.594.4400