The Early Years
Carver boasts a rich and unique history. The first school at 467 South Church Street opened in 1926 as Cumming Street Senior High School. In 1938, under Superintendent Lowry Jenkins, the city began an extensive building program. Carver High School was the first building to be erected
In 1938, Carver was built as Spartanburg’s only black high school and to this day, former alumni speak with great pride about the heritage. 1946 Carver graduate, Reubon Salters, recently explained the distinctiveness of the faculty and how during that time, many black families weren’t far removed from slavery. The Spartanburg Herald Journal quoted him as saying, “We were the first to go to college and aspire to excellence”. Out of the 65 graduates of Salters class, 57 of them went to college as first generational students.
In 1970, segregation ended at Carver, and the name changed to Carver Junior High, serving grade 7-9. Years later, in 2001, a new school was constructed on the grounds and the old building was torn down. Unfortunately, it was as if the destruction of the original school dismantled the aspirations of success. As Carver’s student population changed to predominately children of poverty, the dream of college began fading and the academic gap began widening.
Rebirth With AVID
With a steady decline in academic achievement, the decision was made to find a way to take Carver back to its legacy. The vision of AVID was discovered and in 2008 the elective class was added to the schedule. For three years, a small handful of students were granted the opportunity to experience the methodologies of AVID and a glimpse of hope was restored. Then another changed occurred. In 2011-2012, Carver transitioned to a middle school serving grades 6-8. This significant change resulted in a united focus to transform the culture. Carver went from being a school with AVID to an AVID school and the rigor of excellence within the walls of the classrooms improved. This transformation established a sense of community and developed a strong commitment to redirect the focus to what could be controlled by the teachers…equipping students for success in a competitive and global society. As a community of learners, dedicated to producing experiences rich in effective instructional approaches, the philosophy to prepare the next generation of innovators was instilled. The framework from decades earlier to engage, inspire, and motivate was reestablished by the infusion of AVID and the faculty and staff became “all-in”.
Headed into the future
As part of a 1-to-1 district, all Carver students today have a Macbook Air and follow a school-wide organizational and behavior system. Teachers use WICOR strategies to break down content in fun and engaging ways. And it's working. In Spring 2016, Carver was named an AVID National Demonstration School. We were also named the nation's first Learning Forward School. The Demonstration School Designation was renewed in 2019. Every year, several of our 8th graders are accepted into early college programs. Indeed, Dr. George Washington Carver would be immensely proud of the school that bears his name and the many accomplishments that signal our commitment to inspiring and equipping students for success in a competitive global society.