District 7's Diversity and Inclusion Initiative
In Spartanburg School District 7, we believe that diversity and inclusion is necessary to achieve academic and institutional excellence. Every student, faculty and staff member not only matters, but their unique perspectives are the core of our strength and our success. We recognize that inequities exist within our community and even in our schools, and we are committed to providing the opportunity for every member of our community to achieve his or her full potential. To that end, the district established the Office of Diversity and Inclusion in 2019.
We are building the capacity of our community by working collectively to improve outcomes for all citizens – regardless of race, income, or zip code. 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 such as Spartanburg Academic Movement, the City of Spartanburg, One Spartanburg, the Northside Development Group, and the Highland Group. In recent months, our faith community has engaged our broader community through the Spartanburg County Clergy Initiative held at Mount Moriah Baptist Church and the poverty summit at First Presbyterian Church.
Our schools are central to this work, and District Seven is uniquely positioned to help foster the broad-based cultural shift that is imperative for sustainable impact. In many ways, this is not a new focus for District Seven, but rather a deepening of this focus. We are becoming more intentional and strategic about creating broad and sustainable change by weaving this into the fabric of our culture.
As we focus on creating access for all students, each school across District Seven does this in way that best fits with their school community. Whether they have achieved excellence as an AVID School of Distinction, earned certification as a Capturing Kids Hearts school, become an International Baccalaureate School, opened a Montessori program, adopted an arts-infusion approach, or found their niche as a 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. This work is also a cornerstone of our Compassionate Schools effort for educating the whole child.
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 and the Spartanburg County Early College High School. Both of these programs put the completion of a bachelor’s degree much more within reach for students who are often times the first in their family to attend college. Additionally, numerous students earned dual college credit and industry certifications at Spartanburg High School, Daniel Morgan Technology Center, and the Scholars Academy.
This past year, we broadened our public-private partnerships with the opening of The Franklin School, 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 5 years of age to enter kindergarten ready to learn. The Franklin School joins District Seven’s other public-private partnership school, Meeting Street Academy, and our Viking Early College as evidence of the innovative approach to education within our community.
As individuals, communities, and organizations strive for equitable outcomes, it is important that we all embrace diversity and work towards a more inclusive community. We invite you to join us in this effort as we strive together for collective impact.