Striving to Lead with Excellence Among Districts in the Southeast
To Inspire and Equip. The words of our mission ring with new meaning for our school district and community as we emerge into this era. As we implement normal operating procedures for the 2023-2024 school year, we continue our intentional approach to implementing new, evidence-based approaches for addressing the academic, social and emotional needs of our students, families and staff. This continues to be an unprecedented time for charting new ground in education and in Spartanburg School District Seven.
In order to streamline our focus throughout the district, we have continued to focus on four key areas for our 2023-2024 school year that carry forward as multi-year initiatives:
We have expanded our instructional and student service leadership teams to support these strategic initiatives. Our District Seven family embraces our focus areas with a shared sense of hope, determination, resilience, and heart that enables us to fulfill our mission of inspiring and equipping students for meaningful lives of leadership and service as world citizens.
During this unique time in our history, District Seven continues to lead on a number of fronts that position us for continual and substantial growth. From our nationally recognized 1:1 technology initiative to the increasingly strong outcomes of our graduating seniors, the cumulative impact of all we do shines in the success stories of our children, the impressive contributions of our teachers and staff, and the continued support of a community that has long prized excellence in education. Moreover, our collective commitment to equity in education and to addressing the needs of the whole child is evidenced by our outcomes as well as our national accolades and distinctions.
District Seven is a key partner in supporting the work of the Racial Equity Institute, the Diversity Leaders Initiative, the Network for Southern Economic Mobility, and a host of community efforts aimed at bringing forth equitable outcomes for our citizens.
Meanwhile, to nurture children at every age and stage of growth, District Seven is forging the charge among educators to measure more than a student’s mastery of knowledge. With support from entities such as Compassionate Schools and Hope Lab, we are encouraging our schools and teachers to further inspire hope, to boost engagement, and to support the well-being of every child. We know educating the whole child is paramount in this competitive 21st century. Our work with local organizations such as the Spartanburg Academic Movement (SAM), the Northside Initiative, the Highland Group, the City of Spartanburg, One Spartanburg, and on a national level with Compassionate Schools is a key component in bettering the quality of life for our students, their families and our broader community.
Our Franklin School, which opened in 2018 through a public-private partnership, is a world-class early learning center located in the high-need area of our District’s Northside, with the goal of equipping children from birth to 4 years of age to enter kindergarten ready to learn. The Franklin School joins our other public-private partnership school, Meeting Street Academy, a national Blue Ribbon school, as evidence of the innovative approach to education within the Spartanburg community. Our commitment to early childhood education was further strengthened this past school year with the integration of 4K classrooms into every District Seven elementary school. This integration enabled alignment across our 4K, 5K and first grade teachers and curriculum, increased enrollment, and elevated community awareness of the importance of kindergarten readiness.
Our flagship Spartanburg High School strives to ensure each student is college and career ready. Our graduation rate remains above the state and national average and our SAT average is among the highest in Spartanburg County. Approximately 86% of our graduates continue their education at a higher education institution or in the military. Spartanburg High School’s rigorous Advanced Placement program offers one of the largest arrays of AP courses in the state, with 125 National AP Scholars identified this year and AP exam passage rates that far exceed the national average. In 2021, District Seven began offering an AP Capstone course, which was developed by the College Board to provide seniors with an interdisciplinary, college-level experience that allows them to propose and explore topics that align with their personal interests and ambitions. District Seven also celebrated six National Merit honorees this past year and, for the second consecutive year, a United States Presidential Scholar. Recognizing that workforce readiness is a critical component of defining success for many District Seven graduates, our partnership with Daniel Morgan Technology Center resulted in 206 professional certifications being earned by the Class of 2023. With consistently positive student outcomes, Spartanburg High School was ranked, again this year, as one of the nation’s best high schools by the U.S. News & World. We celebrate these tremendous accomplishments in the classroom, on the field, on the stage, and in our community as a result of the support of our parents, and the dedication and commitment of our board, faculty, staff and administration.
Cultivating a commitment to academic excellence begins early for students in District Seven. They achieve at every level of their academic career, as evidenced by 33 eighth grade students earning recognition as South Carolina Junior Scholars for their high scores on the PSAT/NMSQT in spring 2022. Our ODYSSEY gifted and talented students regularly earn among the highest scores in the national WordMasters Challenge, which encourages growth in verbal and vocabulary reasoning. District Seven elementary teams won first place nationwide three times during the 2022-2023 school year. Numerous other programs also earn national recognition, such as our Future City, our Envirothon, and Cyber Patriots teams.
Equally important to high achievement is our focus on creating access for all students. Each school in the district does this in a way that best fits with their school community. Whether they have achieved excellence as an AVID School of Distinction, become an International Baccalaureate School, opened a Montessori program, adopted an arts-infusion approach, or found their niche as a Franklin Covey Leader in Me Lighthouse School, they all share the common goal of helping each student overcome obstacles in order to reach his or her full potential. Results are seen not only in our graduation and college matriculation rates, but also in our student cohorts who have simultaneously earned their high school diploma and an associate’s degree through the Viking Early College, the Spartanburg County Early College High School and the Scholars Academy. For students who are often the first in their family to attend college, the reward of completing their bachelor’s degree while in high school is clear. In 2023, 12 seniors earned dual degrees through these programs.
As we look to the 2023-2024 school year and beyond, we strive to lead with excellence among districts in the Southeast and we affirm our commitment to giving students a competitive edge through exceptional instruction and world-class learning facilities. Our Board of Trustees, teachers and staff, students and families, community partners and stakeholders are all invested in charting this direction, and we live out these ideals inside and outside of the classroom every day.