- Spartanburg School District 7
4K, Middle School Restructure to Increase Access & Achievement
In a move fueled by District 7’s commitment to equity in student access and achievement, the Board of Trustees has approved plans to restructure the middle school program at E.P. Todd and the 4K program currently housed at the Early Learning Center.
The plan will transition middle school students from E.P. Todd School into Carver Middle School and will transition the district’s 4K program from the Early Learning Center into students’ “home” elementary schools. Both will be implemented for the 2021-2022 school year.
“These advancements will strengthen equity across District 7 by providing all students with access to the rich opportunities and experiences that distinguish our district." said Superintendent Jeff Stevens. "We are deeply committed to helping every student achieve their full potential.”
Middle School Restructuring
The middle school restructuring will provide every District 7 student with a comprehensive middle school experience that includes the full range of academics, arts, athletics and student activities available within District 7. Rising 6th – 8th grade students at E.P. Todd School will transition to Carver Middle School, which was previously zoned to served Todd’s elementary students. The move will create two middle schools of similar size within the district, at Carver and McCracken.
“E.P. Todd was designed and built to serve elementary students, so is not equipped to house all of academic, arts, student activities and athletic opportunities provided by District 7’s other middle schools. In addition, our 250 middle students at Todd are supported by a team of 12 core subject teachers, limiting the range of courses that can be taught in person at the school,” said Superintendent Jeff Stevens.
At Carver, these students will gain access to:
- A school-wide AVID (Advancing Via Individual Determination) approach of best practices that encourages honors course participation and creates a college going culture. As a National Demonstration site for AVID, Carver is recognized as an exemplary program among the top 2% of our nation’s 6,000 AVID schools.
- STEM programs through Project Lead the Way/Pre-Engineering and Robotics;
- Additional course options including honors courses where they can be taught by in-person teachers rather than virtually (as is often the case at Todd due to low enrollment numbers);
- Arts facilities and programs that provide more robust chorus, band, orchestra, dance, and visual arts experiences; and
- Athletic facilities that allow students to compete within their home school.
As the proposal was developed over the last few months, conversations were held with school and district leaders, teachers, and parents through a series of focus groups and open forum meetings. “Our priority is to keep our community informed and to support students, parents and teachers as they make this transition. Teachers and school leaders are excited to implement many creative ideas to help students get to know their new school community this spring so they feel comfortable as next school year begins,” said Stevens. Carver Principal Nicole Thompson added, “Carver is preparing to host open house events for our Todd students and families right away, so they can meet our teachers, see our campus, and learn more about our school. We are ready to roll out the red carpet to welcome our new Wildcats!”
This video about Carver was produced to help introduce Todd families to their new school:
4K Program Restructuring
The 4K restructuring plan is designed to increase kindergarten readiness across the district. The program will move from the Early Learning Center at Park Hills into students’ “home” elementary schools, expanding capacity in order to provide early academic intervention for more students.
Being in the elementary schools will:
- Provide 4K students access to more comprehensive schoolwide services and programs;
- Enable students to form earlier connections with the school and teachers who will serve them for the next six years;
- Create stronger academic preparation as 4K, 5K and first grade teachers collaborate and better align curriculum across these grades;
- Enable student progress monitoring at the school level; and
- Provide access to support from the elementary schools’ parent engagement facilitators, literacy coaches, related arts teachers, and school counselors.
District 7 also anticipates increased parent engagement at the 4K level as parents recognize the long-term benefit from forming school relationships when their child will remain in that environment for the next six years.
“All of these benefits lead to increased kindergarten readiness for our students, which is a significant indicator for long-term academic success,” said Stevens. “Placing our 4K students in their home schools will encourage families to enroll their children in our programs earlier and provide students with a stronger academic foundation, which will positively impact success throughout their K-12 education career.”
Priority for 4K enrollment will be based on need, focusing on at-risk students. The first phase of the plan will include 4K programs at The Cleveland Academy/The Franklin School, Drayton Mills Elementary, E.P. Todd School, and Mary H. Wright Elementary. The second phase, anticipated to begin in 2022, will expand the program into Jesse Boyd Elementary and Pine Street Elementary. Meeting Street Academy already has a 4K program, which will continue.
District 7’s elementary teachers are enthusiastic about welcoming 4K to their schools. “I recognize that 4K is critically important, especially for at-risk students,” said Sarah Kennedy, who previously taught preschool self-contained students and now teaches at the Cleveland Academy of Leadership. “I hope this will help with enrollment in 4K and help our students be better prepared when coming into 5K. This change makes me very proud to say I work in D7 and that we are moving forward to help all students!”