- McCracken Middle School
Closure Info & Updates from D7
June 15, 2020 Update
We know you have many questions about our school operations for next year. D7 is working closely with medical professionals, public health experts, community leaders, and South Carolina Department of Education’s AcceleratED task force to create an operational plan for safely resuming school in the Fall. The AcceleratED Task Force was created to offer safety recommendations for the 2020-2021 school year.
The priority is to establish guidelines that will enable teachers and students to feel safe coming back to school, and to create flexible scenarios that allow us to operate responsively to the pandemic.
We are sharing AcceleratED’s report “AccelerateED Task Force Guidance and Recommendations for 2020-21 School Year”. It is a 200-page report but on pages 31-38 are the key elements for reopening schools in the Fall. The task force would appreciate your reviewing the recommendations and your feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org
District 7 will be seeking input from parents and employees via a survey once the AcceleratED guidelines have been finalized. It is important that our decisions are informed by your perspectives.
Thank you for your time. Our students need to return to a sense of normalcy that is so important in their lives. We will move Forward Together.
May 8, 2020 Update
‘If you’re brave enough to start, you are strong enough to finish.” ~Gary Ryan Blair
It is difficult to imagine our year ending in such a different manner than we are accustomed to as a District 7 family. We miss the smiles, the laughter, and the camaraderie of having our school communities together. However, we have learned something important – individually and collectively – through this experience: our District 7 community is stronger, more resilient, more creative, more capable of a growth mindset, and can overcome obstacles with more assurance than we even imagined. We know this pandemic is not yet over, so please know that we will continue to support you and our students in every way possible.
As we prepare to close out the 2019-2020 academic year in a remote learning setting, we have much information to communicate about operational procedures. In the summary below, we have included those topics we know are most important to you based on questions and feedback you have shared. In addition to this information, you will receive more specific details from your school’s administration and teachers in the coming days. Should you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to them.
Beyond all of the details below, we want you to know that our schools are developing creative approaches to celebrating student achievements and milestones as we end our year together. While we are unable to celebrate in person, we can still honor our students and their accomplishments through other means.
Our overarching goal during these unprecedented times is to give every District 7 student the opportunity to thrive academically, socially and emotionally. Most importantly, we want our students and families to know that we recognize and support student effort and engagement in the learning process during remote learning. Governor McMaster’s last executive order afforded districts a degree of much needed flexibility for last two weeks of our school calendar. Recognizing the challenges and logistics for closing out the school year, we are most appreciative of this action.
Friday, May 15 will be the last day for introducing new instructional material. However, it is important to note that school will not end until Monday, June 1.
After May 15, the last two weeks will be a time for:
- Students to make up work, receive tutoring and extra assistance if needed, and complete any credit recovery work (at the secondary level);
- IEP meetings with families;
- Advance Placement preparation and testing, according to guidelines from the College Board;
- Providing enrichment opportunities for students.
We believe it is important for teachers to continue to communicate with and support all students and families through June 1.
Elementary Student Assignment Matrix and Submission of Completed Work
The final student work assignment matrix for the elementary level, covering May 11 – 15, is now available online and for pickup outside of each school. Each elementary school is developing a plan for collecting student work and will communicate this plan to staff and families.
Assessing Student Progress/Grading
When it comes to grading, our aim is to provide students every opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned. We fully recognize that our students will have spent the entire fourth nine-week grading period in a distance learning environment with no physical contact with their teachers, counselors, and other support staff. We also recognize that our families are facing a myriad of challenges during this uncertain time, and not all children have the supports needed to thrive in a distance learning environment. To this end, we have asked teachers to view their assessment of students through an equity lens.
The first three grading periods will serve as our baseline for issuing a fourth quarter grade during these challenging times. In other words, no student’s fourth quarter grade will be lower than their third quarter grade. Please note, however, that students CAN IMPROVE their fourth quarter grade based on their effort and the engagement with teachers during the final grading period. We believe this approach is in the best interest of students during the extended remote learning environment. If parents have questions about a student’s grade or their progression to the next grade level, please reach out to the teacher or school.
In summary, grading for fourth quarter, second semester and 2019-2020 year will be as follows:
- Fourth quarter grade should not be lower than third quarter grade – it CAN be higher based on student engagement, teacher feedback and teacher professional judgement.
- Third quarter and fourth quarter grades will be averaged to determine the second semester grade.
- First semester and second semester grades will be averaged to determine the final grade.
- District 7 will not administer second semester/final exams.
School Parking Lot Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi On Wheels
Our Wi-Fi on Wheels program will continue through June 1. Wi-Fi in school parking lots will continue to be available throughout the summer and families are welcome to visit our schools in order to facilitate student learning via the Internet. Wi-Fi on Wheels locations and school sites for parking lot Wi-Fi are listed here.
Distribution of Student Belongings and Other Materials
Each school has developed a plan for distributing student belongings (student work, yearbooks, artwork, etc.), and any personal belongings remaining at school. At the elementary level, district provided bags will be packed by the teacher for each family and a coordinated pickup schedule will be shared by the school. This will provide a fun opportunity for teachers and students to see one another and say farewell. At the secondary level, schools will communicate directly with students and parents about their distribution plan. Teachers will be issued gloves and masks to ensure student items are packed in accordance with CDC and DHEC guidelines.
Return of MacBooks and Other School Property
While schools are returning student belongings, they will also be collecting MacBooks, textbooks, music instruments, athletic equipment, library books, and any other items issued by the school. All school property must be returned by June 1. You will receive a specific schedule from your child’s school for returning their technology and other items. Please remember to include your charger along with your MacBook.
Families who have a cafeteria lunch balance or other fees may use EZSchoolPay.com, the District’s online payment option, or turn in payment at the time they collect their belongings from school. Each school will communicate the specific schedule for this process. We know these are unprecedented times, so if these fees present a challenge for your family, please be sure to let the school know.
Student Meal Service and Summer Meals
School bus meal delivery and drive-thru pickup locations will continue through June 1. We are in the process of finalizing a waiver that will allow us to provide additional meals on Fridays to cover the weekends.
During the summer break, District 7 participates in a national feeding program. These meals are typically served at sites across Spartanburg, but this operation will be different for 2020 due to the pandemic. Therefore, District 7 will continue to provide student meal service at our drive-thru school sites throughout the summer. Locations and service hours are available here.
New & Returning Student Enrollment for 2020-20201
Kindergarten (both 4K and 5K) and new student enrollment is NOW OPEN. Visit our District 7 website or any school’s website and click the enrollment button on the homepage to complete this process via email or via printed forms submitted to your school.
Enrollment of current students for next school year is expected to take place the last week of school. Our goal is for all D7 families to enroll by June 1! Enrolling online through Powerschool Registration can be done right from your smartphone or other device, and our schools will be available by telephone to assist anyone who needs help. You will receive specific instructions for the enrollment process as Powerschool Registration opens.
2020-2021 Academic Calendar
Discussions about how teaching and learning will be conducted next fall are ongoing at the national, state and local levels, and more must be understood about how the pandemic will continue to impact our operations in order for plans to be finalized. We will learn more over the summer about what we are able to do within our school buildings and about any adjustments to the schedule for Fall 2020. In the meantime, the 2020-2021 academic calendar is considered to be in effect and is available here.
Summer Academic Programs
We fully recognize that a total of 22 weeks will have passed before students would re-enter our buildings on August 17. We also understand that this lengthy break has the potential to create learning gaps among our students, both individually and collectively. We will be sharing more about summer learning opportunities for students in the coming weeks. Some of these programs will be conducted virtually and others may allow for small group interaction with teachers. We encourage you to follow our website for summer enrichment tips and opportunities to help you keep your child engaged during this critical time. We will do everything we can to minimize the summer slide moving forward.
Family Check-In Surveys
Thank you to all who submitted the family check-in surveys for your school. Important insights were provided through these surveys that are influencing decisions and action plans across the district. Each school’s administrative team has carefully reviewed their survey data and many of you will hear directly from your school in response to feedback you provided.
Additional Support Resources for Families
Please remember that many resources available to support your family are available on the homepage of our District 7 and school websites. Highlights include:
- NEW Telehealth capability via student MacBooks enables your family to receive many types of medical care without leaving your home. Whether you are a current or new patient, there are options for care through the Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System or Prisma Health (which includes Pediatric Associates of Spartanburg).
- Social and Emotional Health tips and a wide variety of community resources are available to support your family.
- Academic and enrichment resources within and beyond District 7 will keep your student engaged with learning during the school year and throughout the summer.
- Technical Support tips and resources for help with MacBooks and software applications are outlined within the Tech Support link.
We encourage every family in District 7 to complete the 2020 Census in order to help our community receive funding and resources for a wide variety of services, from health clinics to fire departments to our roads and – yes – our schools. If you are a member of a Spanish-speaking household, this video was created by PASOs here in Spartanburg to provide you with more understanding about the census.
In closing, please continue to check our website and social media pages for updates and be sure to stay in touch with your child’s schools for any questions you may have. Thank you for all you have done, continue to do, and will do as we work collectively to support your child. Let’s finish strong!
Russell W. Booker, Ph.d.
Jeffrey T. Stevens,
April 22, 2020 Update
District 7 Students and Families,
Today, Governor Henry McMaster announced that South Carolina schools will remain closed for the remainder of the 2019-2020 academic year. While this decision is difficult for all of us across the District 7 family, we know it is in the best interest of our community’s health and safety.
Both Governor McMaster and State Superintendent Molly Spearman shared a special note of appreciation to our teachers and families for the excellent job being done to continue learning during this unprecedented time. They also noted the success of our meal service delivery programs and recognized the dedication and support of our custodians, cafeteria staff, and transportation teams. Acknowledging the hardship and challenge this pandemic has created for many people throughout our state, they thanked our citizens for the perseverance, discipline and understanding being displayed.
District 7 will continue our remote and eLearning protocol and our meal service to students. We know that families have many questions regarding other plans and programs, and that graduation is on the mind of our seniors and their families especially. Rest assured that District 7 WILL hold a graduation ceremony, although it will be in a non-traditional format. We are working collectively across all Spartanburg County school districts to create a consistent plan for a ceremony format that honors our seniors within the parameters of CDC guidelines.
Please look for additional information and updates for our families and staff from Dr. Russell Booker and from your schools over the next week.
April 6, 2020 Update
District 7 Students and Families,
We hope you are enjoying spring break while following CDC guidelines for this pandemic in order to keep yourselves and our community healthy and safe. District 7 has been working diligently on our plans for extending the school closure period. Below you will find information on our eLearning and remote learning plans. We are working through many other details relating to our operations and student services in light of new guidance received from the South Carolina Department of Education this week. As soon as we have more information on these, we will share it with you.
Middle and High School Curriculum
For our middle and high school students, eLearning will continue in the manner in which our students and teachers are accustomed. Teachers will be in touch with students to provide additional assignments.
At the elementary level, we have created a matrix with lesson plans for each grade that enable us to work in tandem across the district. Several of our teachers, curriculum specialists, principals and administrators have developed this curriculum. Please find below one matrix for each grade level, from kindergarten through fifth grade, covering two weeks of learning to begin Tuesday, April 7. Daily lessons cover Reading/Writing, Math, Science/Social Studies, Health/Social Emotional Learning, Art and Music and Physical Education. They are designed to engage students and families together in the learning process, keeping in mind that not all of our families have the same resources or access to WiFi. Our goal was to design work that would support the standards for each grade, that would not require school materials students do not have at home or internet access, and would not require purchasing items in order to complete the assignments.
Each matrix is a guideline that may be followed explicitly by teachers or that teachers may choose to augment based on their assessment of student needs and of their class’ current scope of learning. Teachers will continue regular communication and engagement with students and families in order to stay connected, to facilitate learning, and to provide support throughout this process.
Elementary Grade Levels Remote Learning Lesson Plans for April 7 - 17, 2020
Elementary Lesson Plans for April 20 - May 8, 2020
If your family would like to pick up printed copies of your grade level assignments, each elementary school will have these available from noon on Monday, April 6 until 8:30 am on Thursday, April 9. These materials will be placed outside of the schools in bins labeled for each grade level, enabling you to pick up any time that suits your schedule, day or night. Your school will communicate with you more about specific placement.
We are working on another ten days of assignments and will share them soon. We are most appreciative of each teacher, principal, curriculum specialist and our communications division for their hard work on this project. We also thank each of our families for supporting the learning of their students at home. Our success in completing the school year during this pandemic would not be possible without the team approach between our district and our families.
March 27, 2020 Update
Dear District 7 Families,
As we complete our second week of remote and eLearning, I stand in awe of this community. Thank you for everything you are doing as we navigate these unprecedented and uncertain times. One thing I know for sure is that District 7 is full of amazing individuals, and collectively this community is strong. As we prepare for Spring Break, I want to share a few important updates.
School Campus Closures Extended Through April 30, 2020
As you are already aware, Governor McMaster issued a second executive order that extends our school campus closures until April 30. Our teachers and administrators are working hard to continue providing students with meaningful learning experiences as we enter this extended time of remote and eLearning. We will share more information about the process and timeline for students to receive their next assignments prior to April 6.
Spring Break Extended: Students Resume Learning Tuesday, April 7
In order to give our staff the additional opportunity to further prepare for the extended closure, Monday, April 6 will now be a teacher work day. We hope this gives your family one additional day to enjoy the break before returning to learning on Tuesday, April 7.
Rolling Out Student Internet Access with “Wi-Fi on Wheels”
Our transportation and technology departments have equipped five District 7 school buses with WiFi access in order to provide more support for students who do not have home internet service. Beginning Monday, April 6, we will deploy these buses each Monday and Thursday to a number of housing developments and communities. Students will be able to download any needed material during a two-hour window when the bus is in their area. WiFi can be accessed within 150ft of each bus.
See the “Wi-Fi On Wheels” schedule on this page to find out when a bus will be in your area.
Please also remember that many of our school campuses have available Wi-Fi access and you are welcome to drive to these sites (see the list here). It is important to remain inside your vehicles while on our campuses in order to follow the COVID-19 guidelines, and we ask that you adhere to this request so we may continue to provide this service.
Student Meal Service
District 7 has expanded our meal delivery to include spring break. On Thursday, 3 days of meals were provided to students. On Tuesday, March 31, 4 meals will be delivered via our school buses. We will not be offering grab-and-go meals at our drive-thru locations during Spring Break. The daily meal service via bus and drive-thru locations will resume on Monday, April 6.
District 7 has been granted a waiver that allows the parents to pick up the meals without the child being present. Parents will need to provide names of the students who will be receiving those meals at the time of pickup.
I want to extend a very special thank you to our transportation and food service departments for their diligence in delivering meals to our students, both during the regular school session and especially during the break. Their dedication is both recognized and appreciated.
Testing Requirements and Grading
State and federal testing requirements have been waived for Spring 2020. Therefore, students will not be taking SC READY, SC PASS, end of course exams and other required state and federal assessments.
Consideration of the best approach to grading for the final nine-week period has been a priority at the local and state levels. We are blessed in District 7 to have the means to continue uninterrupted instruction through our robust digital platforms. However, we know inequities exist from home to home as it relates to our students’ capacities and resources to work in this manner. I know our students and families have questions regarding grading, and we will be providing guidance as soon as possible. Our teachers are mindful of the circumstances in which we are working as they introduce new concepts, assess student progress, and plan for the next several weeks.
The Class of 2020
The Spartanburg High School Class of 2020 will have much to talk about at their 10-year class reunion. They have epitomized the meaning of GRIT! If you are the parent of a senior, please know that we are working on ways to celebrate this class as they complete their time at SHS. A communication from SHS went out to all seniors and their families today with information to address the many questions these students have regarding the remainder of their year.
District 7 Updates and Important News During COVID-19
We have revised our website homepage to provide a collection of resources for students, staff and families throughout this COVID-19 pandemic. These links are duplicated on each school homepage as well. Please look to www.spartanburg7.org for updates and resources, such as a robust guide to remote and eLearning, a page highlighting the creative connections and learning taking place around the district while schools are closed, tips for families on social and emotional wellness during challenging times, meal service schedules, free Wi-Fi locations, updates on upcoming events, and more.
So, where do we go from here? We move forward together. Our first priority as a school system and community is to do everything within our power to minimize the spread of COVID-19. Please adhere to the guidance of our medical professionals, CDC, DHEC, and leadership and impress upon your children the importance of their doing the same. If they are out roaming or gathering in groups, it defeats the purpose of our schools being closed. This effort requires every citizen to do their part in order for us to return to a normal state.
While the weeks ahead will undoubtably be challenging, I have no doubt our students will be just fine in the long run. Times of adversity also bring opportunity, and our children’s time with you is an opportunity to learn and grow in ways that cannot be accomplished in school. We understand that our parents are juggling jobs, managing households, and sometimes caring for other family members while also supporting our children at home. Please take time over the coming weeks to take care of yourselves. We are thankful for all you are doing and we are here to support and help you in every way we can.
With appreciation and hope,
Russell W. Booker, Ph.D.
March 24, 2020 Update
Today, Governor Henry McMaster issued an executive order that all South Carolina schools remain closed throughout the month of April. In accordance with this order, District 7 will continue with our remote and eLearning protocol and with our student meal services following spring break. Our administrators and teachers are working now on innovative approaches to teaching and learning that extend our eLearning in an effective manner through this timeframe. We will share more information regarding this process soon.
Every member of our District 7 community has done an incredible job of adapting to our school closure. The examples of creative learning, staying connected, and finding new ways to bring smiles to one another while we are apart are truly heartwarming. Our mission to inspire and equip has never been more evident than it is at this very moment. Look for a new webpage highlighting all that is going on across D7 later today!
As spring break begins on Friday, we hope all members of our D7 community will take time to rest, restore, and enjoy family and friends. Thank you for your continued patience as we continue to work through this pandemic collectively. We look forward to resuming our focus on teaching and learning during the week of April 6.
Joint Statement from Gov. Henry McMaster, S.C. Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman
COLUMBIA, S.C. – Governor Henry McMaster and South Carolina Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman today released the following joint statement announcing that South Carolina’s schools will remain closed for the duration of the month of April: “At this time, students, parents, and families should plan for South Carolina’s schools to remain closed through the month of April. Our dedicated teachers and school administrators have done a tremendous job in making it possible for our students to learn at home. We understand that the prospect of schools remaining closed for an extended period of time places stress and strain on parents and children. Rest assured, if there is any way to safely open our schools earlier, we will do that, but schools must remain closed to protect the health and safety of South Carolinians.”
March 23, 2020 Update
Today, District 7 received notification that federal requirements for spring testing and assessments have been waived as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"The suspension of South Carolina's student assessments will allow educators to focus on meeting the needs of students and relieve undue anxiety faced by parents and students," said South Carolina State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman. "Our efforts must be concentrated on addressing this unprecedented public health pandemic. I appreciate Secretary DeVos and the U.S. Department of Education recognizing this and swiftly approving our waiver request."
For spring 2020, South Carolina will not administer any of the following assessment programs:
- SC READY (English language arts and mathematics in grades 3–8);
- SCPASS (science in grades 4 and 6);
- End-of-Course Examination Program (English, Algebra, Biology, United States History and the Constitution) the requirement that these examinations count 20 percent has been waived;
- Prekindergarten assessments; and
- Alternate Assessments
Faculty and staff members (except those who are sick, already on approved leaves, or who are considered at high-risk for COVID-19 by their healthcare provider) are to report to work on Monday, March 16 for a teacher workday.
Any student or parents needing to pick up their backpacks, personal items, technology devices and educational materials, and medications may do so between the hours of 7:30am – 3:30 pm on Monday, March 16.
Complete information on operations, remote/eLearning procedures, and meal service during the closure period is available here.
In an effort to keep the District 7 community informed of our monitoring and response of the coronavirus (COVID-19), this is an update to the communication shared on March 9.
Please note that there are no confirmed cases nor any known direct impact such as quarantines within District 7 households.
We will update you immediately and provide recommendations and next steps if a case of coronavirus should be confirmed by DHEC among District 7 students, staff or families. As a reminder, if a member of a student or staff member’s household has traveled in an area of outbreak, has come into contact with someone who has been diagnosed with coronavirus, or is diagnosed themselves with coronavirus, please report this information to your school immediately.
District 7 continues to follow closely all developments and guidance from experts at the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and our South Carolina Department of Education. Superintendents from all seven Spartanburg County districts reconvened this morning and our executive administrative team met this afternoon to assess all aspects of our operations.
Effectively immediately, all out-of-state field trips have been postponed. Principals are working diligently to find alternate dates and will share more information as soon as it is available. At present, our in-state field trips will continue as planned. No new travel will be planned for students or staff within the next 30 days.
We continue to monitor plans for large gatherings, particularly public events, and are making decisions on a case-by-case basis. No district-wide events have been cancelled at this time. School events that are postponed or cancelled will be communicated through school channels. Please monitor our district and school social media sites and email communications for news of any event changes.
The South Carolina High School League issued a statement this afternoon that they have deferred a decision on suspending or canceling any athletic events until after the statewide meeting of district superintendents planned for this coming Monday afternoon, where the issue will be discussed. The league stated that it is in close communication with DHEC and the SCHSL Sports Medicine Advisory Committee, which is comprised of health and medical professionals from across the state, regarding the decision.
Throughout this process, District 7 has been preparing for eLearning. Should we need to institute that protocol due to a school closure, for individual students who need to be out related to COVD-19, or in the event of a district-wide closure, we will be ready.
Please refer to our web section on the coronavirus for more detailed guidelines that were posted on March 9 and remain in effect. We will continue to update you via email, our website, and social media as more decisions are made regarding operations and activities.
Thank you for all you are doing to help prevent the spread of illness, to keep students calm and focused, and to keep learning along with safety a top priority.
Chief Operations Officer, Superintendent-Elect