SAM Celebrates! 2019

Spartanburg, SC – Four local schools and three educators were awarded over $20,000 by the Spartanburg Academic Movement (SAM) Wednesday evening, September 18, at SAM’s annual celebration.

This event was covered in a Spartanburg Herald Journal news article published Thursday, September 19, 2019.

Keith Burton, Principal receives the Wardlaw Pioneer Award for Lone Oak Elementary School, an award which included $5,000, in recognition Continuous Improvement work at the District 6 School.

Keith Burton, Principal receives the Wardlaw Pioneer Award for Lone Oak Elementary School, an award which included $5,000, in recognition Continuous Improvement work at the District 6 School.

Lone Oak and Jesse S. Bobo Elementary Schools in Spartanburg District 6 and Mary H. Wright and Cleveland Academy of Leadership in Spartanburg District 7 were each awarded $5,000 from the John T. Wardlaw Institute of Continuous Improvement, the training hub for the Spartanburg Academic Movement. The awards recognized the schools’ participation and results from engaging in the Institute’s Continuous Improvement (CI) training and strategies.

Collectively, the four award recipient schools are part of “The Four Schools Project” a focused intervention designed to improve early grades reading achievement and overall academic success in Spartanburg County’s highest poverty schools. Just before the awards were announced, a graph depicting the 2019 results of third grade reading proficiency revealed a more than 60% increase in student achievement, markedly higher than earlier gains.

“These schools and their teachers have been working deeply in continuous improvement strategies to improve student achievement. SAM is proud to be part of that success, but it is their hard work and dedication every day that is making this happen,” said John Stockwell, SAM’s executive director.

In addition to the financial award, each school received a framed artistic rendering of their school façade for being a “Wardlaw Pioneer Champion.” Dr. Darryl Owings and Dr. Russell Booker, superintendents of Districts 6 and 7 respectively, spoke about each award recipient and the impact of CI in their districts.

SAM Executive Director John Stockwell shares highlights of SAM’s work 2018-2019

SAM Executive Director John Stockwell shares highlights of SAM’s work 2018-2019

Victoria Bradley (Mary H. Wright), Argyl Brewton (Cleveland Academy), and Amanda Justice (Jesse Bobo/Lone Oak) each received individual Wardlaw Pioneer Awards and a gift of $500.  The three were the first Continuous Improvement Coaches hired in the County.  Bradley and Justice, along with Mendy Mossbrook, director of SAM’s Wardlaw Institute, were also recognized for having shared the Institute’s successful strategies at a national convening of the StriveTogether network held earlier this month in Washington, DC.  The network includes 70 partnerships across the nation, working in their local communities to help every child succeed in school and in life from cradle to career, regardless of race, zip code or circumstance. The network is impacting the lives of 13.7 million children nationwide. 

Through the Wardlaw Institute, SAM has been working to embed CI practice across the county, with initial focus given to teachers and administrators involved in “The Four Schools Project.”  Initial work began on the project began in 2017, with CI training beginning in 2018 and the formal launch of the Wardlaw Institute happening in March 2019.  Over 330 local educators and dozens of nonprofit leaders have received training through the Institute.

Mendy Mossbrook, Director of the Institute, explained that five training tracks have now been launched: CI 101 for Educators, CI 101 for Leaders, CI Leadership, CI for School Leadership, and CI 102.

At the event, the story of the late John T. Wardlaw’s deep passion for improving academic achievement was shared by Troy Hanna, president and CEO of the Spartanburg County Foundation. Wardlaw’s philanthropic legacy supported the launch of the Institute and the awards. His daughter, Saunders McCollum, helped present awards to each recipient.

“We have honored our pioneers in this work tonight. We are on the right track. Now we are scaling these successful practices across the county and into our nonprofit and community agencies working to support children. It is thrilling to consider the success stories we will be sharing at our next celebration,” said Stockwell.

During the event, Stockwell reminded the crowd of over 100 attendees of SAM’s strategic focus areas: kindergarten readiness, early grades reading, middle grades math, high school graduation, post-secondary enrollment, post-secondary persistence, and post-secondary completion. A detailed report, SAM Chapter 4, was also released during the event and will be available on SAM’s website www.learnwithsam.org this week.

Photos by Jeremy Powers

Quality Counts Expands in Spartanburg County

SAM has provided the table around which efforts to expand quality in 4K instruction have been discussed, debated, planned and formed, and monitored on behalf of Spartanburg County children. A fourth year of funding, expanding the reach of the proven Quality Counts initiative in Spartanburg County, is the highlight of this Spartanburg Herald Journal Article. Staff member Beth Thompson, Director of Continuous Improvement, has worked with County school districts in framing and presenting the grant requests and progress monitoring of the expansion. “All of the scientific research tells us that those birth-to-5 years are scientifically critical to their future success because of the amount of brain development happening during that time. Every moment we have with young children is critical,” Beth is quoted as saying in the article.

SAM and Spartanburg highlighted as national example of what it will take

The SAM team was beyond thrilled that Spartanburg was selected for a site visit and talk time with New York Times columnist David Brooks as he investigate the StriveTogether network and national movement. When his ARTICLE came out, coinciding with the opening of the 2018 Strive Together Convening, the theme “Go Far, Go Together” could not have been more appropriate. We encourage you to read all about it.

Spartanburg leaders were ready to come to the table to share the Spartanburg Academic Movement and StriveTogether story.

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International exploration

The Spartanburg Herald Journal caught up with Upstate educational leaders, including SAM’s executive director, Dr. John Stockwell and Board Member Dr. Russell Booker, along with SAM Partner Dr. Laura Reynolds from the USC Upstate School of Education. Their Facetime from Finland interview resulted in this first look at key learning from the contingent’s exploration of the Finnish school system’s successes.

https://www.goupstate.com/news/20181020/upstate-educators-get-up-close-look-at-classrooms-in-finland

Turning "Summer Slide" into "Summer Climb"

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Maintaining the Momentum Story: http://www.goupstate.com/news/20180728/transforming-summer-slide-into-summer-climb

Related Teacher Focus Story: http://www.goupstate.com/news/20180729/empathy-is-everything-for-district-6-literary-coach

Coverage also shared a student success story. Though not related specifically to Summer Slide/Climb, it highlights a students journey through the local schools as she heads off to the second leg of her post-secondary studies. http://www.goupstate.com/news/20180729/former-ep-todd-student-pursuing-college-dream

Shopping supports students' skill "Climb"

Rather than letting their skills "slide" over the summer holidays, many students across the county have participated in "Summer Climb" camps, working to strengthen and build skills before starting school again.  All seven Spartanburg County schools participated in SAM's effort to ensure rising 2nd graders participated.  

District Two schools used some of their funds from SAM to provide an incentive shopping experience shown HERE on Fox Carolina news. 

 

 

Behind the Scenes issues for education:

It's about so much more than pencils, paper, and books.  Or teachers, schools, principals, and parents. The lives of the children in our educational system are complex, with many of those multiform issues impacting learning.  This May 2018 PODCAST shares some of Adam Orr's perspectives having taken over reporting these issues for The Four Schools Project news features being offered as a serious look into what happens behind the scenes in the lives and education of our Spartanburg County children. 

Making the News: Students Make Gains

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In Print

Spartanburg Herald Journal 10.19.2017

SAM brought Early Childhood Development experts together to form a collaborative Action Network focused on improving children's readiness to achieve Kindergarten success. One result of the group's work drew grant funds from the SC Education Oversight Committee (EOC) into Spartanburg to connect the Quality Counts program of support for early childhood classes with 4K programs within the County.  One District's result was highlighted in recent news: Read the full story

Since that program launched, morel funds have been brought in to replicate that successful work in other county classrooms, with additional funding being secured and sought for continued efforts to expand the success. 

Update:  January 2018

SAM has launched its latest effort to share key learnings from its work by releasing Research Briefs.  The goal is to share specific project results with the community in a timely manner and in a way that the findings can encourage local collaborative action and inform collective impact around related additional needs identified within Spartanburg County.  The Quality Counts brief highlights key findings from the effort referenced in the article above. 

 

Making the News: SAM Funded Summer Reading Initiatives

Journaling and one-on-one review time help build reading and literacy skills

Journaling and one-on-one review time help build reading and literacy skills

The Spartanburg Academic Movement's effort to improve student achievement in reading, provided grants to local school districts to provide summer reading camps to rising second graders. The goal was to prevent/eliminate the summer slide factor early in a child's skill development rather than waiting until gaps showed up in third grade test scores, the point at which the state requires intervention.  

News outlets highlighted efforts by grant recipients participating in this proactive approach to improvement students achievement:  

IN PRINT

A variety of group and individual activities encouraged reading throughout summer programs

A variety of group and individual activities encouraged reading throughout summer programs

Reading Programs Seek To Prevent Summer Slide     

Spartanburg Herald Journal: June 9, 2017

Spartanburg, SC - Teachers, parents and child care providers are working to prevent local students’ reading skills from slipping during the summer months.

The “summer slide,” as it’s been called, refers to the negative impact time away from the classroom can have on students and the knowledge they retain. Efforts to reduce that problem locally can be found in summer reading camps and special instruction at schools, child care facilities and local colleges.  Read more

District 7 Reading Program Mixes Pups and Paperbacks

Spartanburg Herald Journal: June 19, 2017

Six-year-old Claire Reed, a rising second-grader in Spartanburg School District 7, is just one of a handful of students who got the opportunity to read to a couple of new canine companions on Monday.

Each Monday morning in June, a group of students between second and fourth grade from all over District 7 come to Houston Elementary School and are given the opportunity to read children’s books to dogs provided by the Spartanburg Humane Society.  Read more

ON AIR

Upstate School District Uses Social Media To Encourage, Reward, Summer Learning

     Watch here WYFF4: June 27, 2017

Spartanburg School District 2 Says Summer Learning Program Producing Positive Results

   Watch here  WSPA: June 21, 2017

 

SAM Executive Director John Stockwell Receives National Recognition

Danae Davis (l) from Milwaukee Succeeds Initiative and the Strive Together Board, celebrates the presentation of the Bill Henningsgaard Cradle to Career Champion Award to Dr. John Stockwell of the Spartanburg Academic Movement. The award was presented by StriveTogether network navigator Bridget Jancarz (r) in Phoenix, Arizona.

Danae Davis (l) from Milwaukee Succeeds Initiative and the Strive Together Board, celebrates the presentation of the Bill Henningsgaard Cradle to Career Champion Award to Dr. John Stockwell of the Spartanburg Academic Movement. The award was presented by StriveTogether network navigator Bridget Jancarz (r) in Phoenix, Arizona.

Media Release 10.20.2017

CINCINNATI, OHIO — After 17 years as chancellor at the University of South Carolina Upstate, Dr. John Stockwell  joined an effort to pursue high levels of academic achievement for children in Spartanburg County where he now serves as Executive Director of the Spartanburg Academic Movement. His long focus on helping kids succeed is why he has been selected for the Bill Henningsgaard Cradle to Career Champion Award by StriveTogether, a national nonprofit organization working to improve education for every child. Read more

SPARTANBURG, SC — After learning of the prestigious award,  The Spartanburg Academic Board issued their own public statement of appreciation for Dr. Stockwell's leadership of the countywide movement to affect systems change to in support of student achievement along a cradle to career continuum. The statement highlighted several of SAM's achievements within its first three years of operation.  Read more

SAM TO PRESENT AT NATIONAL CONFERENCE 9.21.2017

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Media Release 9.21.2017

SPARTANBURG ACADEMIC MOVEMENT TO PRESENT AT NATIONAL CONFERENCE

StriveTogether event to draw nationwide community, education and nonprofit leaders

 PHOENIX, ARIZ. —The Spartanburg Academic Movement (SAM) will Be The Change during the Strive Together national convening event in Phoenix, Arizona Oct. 3-5 SAM staff will join more than 400 community leaders from across the country for the StriveTogether Cradle to Career Network Convening, Be the Change: Getting Results for Every Child.

SAM Staff members Ida Thompson, Program and Network Manager; and Beth Thompson, Director of Collaborative Action Networks, will present “Collaborative Action in Action,” highlighting the journey to success for the Kindergarten Success Collaborative Action Network (KSCAN) group working throughout Spartanburg County to impact kindergarten readiness.  Read More

SPARTANBURG ACADEMIC MOVEMENT hires Project Manager 9.22.2017

Sharon Lauer joins SAM in support of efforts to improve College and Career Ready Graduation

Sharon Lauer joins SAM in support of efforts to improve College and Career Ready Graduation

Media Release 9.22.2017

Spartanburg, SC — The Spartanburg Academic Movement (SAM) has hired Sharon Lauer as a full-time Project Manager.  Her primary focus will be working with Ms. Beth Thompson, Director of Collaborative Action Networks, to meet goals set for the College/Career Ready High School Graduation outcome area in SAM’s Cradle-to-Career work in education. The Spartanburg Chamber of Commerce and Spartanburg County schools have provided funding for this expansion of SAM’s collective impact work to improve student outcomes.  Read More