Building Spartanburg Through Its Youngest Residents

For 18 months, a group of Spartanburg/Upstate early childhood experts have been diving into efforts to deepen the community impact of their combined decades of knowledge and best practices.

Start small and build community. These are two of the lessons we’ve learned through Spartanburg Academic Movement’s participation in the Prenatal to Age 3 Impact and Improvement Network through StriveTogether and NICHQ. Read what else we’ve learned as we work toward ensuring that every child in our community has the best possible start to school and life.

The StriveTogether national network featured this BLOGPOST written by the team about their efforts.

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FREE Professional Development offered to Spartanburg County Teachers

Local Philanthropy Supports SAM Initiative to Instill CI Practice in Schools

The practices of Continuous Improvement (CI) Science have long been effectively applied in corporate sectors. The Spartanburg Academic Movement (SAM) is teaming with Spartanburg’s school districts to apply these practices in the classroom.

CI 101 guides teachers through standards-based goal setting with data visualization and analysis to track student achievement, modify teaching and learning strategies, and bring control of success into the hand of students.

Four, single-day, free educator workshops, being held in March and April:

·         Thursday, March 14:  9 AM – 4PM, Mary Black Foundation Conference Center

·         Wednesday, March 27:  9 AM – 4PM, Mary Black Foundation Conference Center

·         Wednesday, April 10:  9 AM – 4PM, Mary Black Foundation Conference Center

·         Wednesday, April 24:  9 AM – 4PM, Mary Black Foundation Conference Center

Registration is now open for these workshops via this REGISTRATION LINK.

All seven Superintendents of Spartanburg County school districts have authorized this training to count toward re-certification hours.

To date, about 50 educators have been trained and Districts 6 and 7 have hired Continuous Improvement coaches to further support the use of these strategies. Just a few months after training, one veteran Spartanburg County teacher reported:  

 “I have become more intentional about my teaching and my students have paid more attention to what they are learning and how well they are doing.”

Another Spartanburg County teacher said:

 “If someone had been able to share this data use with me as a first-year  teacher, I would have been in a much better place.”

 “Use of CI practice is not another new program adopted one year and falling out of favor two years later.  It is a shift in perspectives and practices that transcends grade level, content area, and school locations to empower teachers, schools, and students to make the progress that has been standing just beyond reach for too many, for far too long,” explains Mendy Mossbrook, director of SAM’s CI Institute.

 Consider the parent who, after asking the age-old question, “what did you learn in school today,” hears “subtraction with regrouping” rather than “stuff” or “math.”  “Show me” becomes a real possibility for positive parent-child connection.  

 Connecting standards-based dialog to teaching, learning, goal-setting and classroom communication are strategies taught in the upcoming educator workshops. Teachers are reporting back to CI coaches:

 “The kids are becoming so conversant about what they are doing!”

“My class culture is changing, becoming a community of learners encouraging each other.”

The earliest CI for the classroom training had its beginnings in “The Four Schools Project,” a SAM initiative that launched in the fall of 2017 to identify strategies to improve outcomes for children in the four highest poverty schools in the county.  The effort, involving schools in Districts 6 and 7, has identified CI in the classroom as a key strategy to address multiple factors impacting student success. 

“The beauty of this training is that teachers know this and do so much of it instinctively.  We are providing them a framework that helps their results become obvious and stay at the forefront of everything that happens in the classroom,” explained Cheryl Broadnax, Senior Director of District Improvement with StriveTogether.

During her previous tenure with Cincinnati Public Schools as Assistant Superintendent, Broadnax led the effort to embed CI practice across that district, resulting in in the district raising its achievement rating to the highest available in Ohio. Broadnax has worked with SAM and the Wardlaw Institute’s director, Mendy Mossbrook to develop educator workshops that provide teachers high impact training in single-day sessions.

For additional information contact Mendy Mossbrook at mmossbrook@learnwithsam.org or call

864-573-5804 to register for a workshop: REGISTRATION LINK