Who Is SAM?
The Spartanburg Academic Movement is a county-wide race to reach high levels of educational achievement by measuring learning that matters from kindergarten readiness through college completion, and aligning partners county-wide in pursuit of escalating targets of academic success.
SAM is a partnership of educators and others from across Spartanburg County (corporations, government, social services, foundations, faith communities, non-profits, and citizen leaders) who have banded together in their determination to pursue targeted goals of educational achievement at all levels, by all students, across the County. A board of directors serves as the leadership council steering the work of SAM. The Board is supported in its work by a large “roundtable” of partners from across the County. The day-to-day work of SAM is undertaken by an executive director and a small staff.
In concert with the school districts and educators county-wide, SAM establishes academic achievement targets at every level from kindergarten readiness through college graduation; it encourages the development and supports the work of networks of educators and partners in pursuit of these targets at various levels; and, with persistent regularity, SAM will report progress in reaching these targets across the County and beyond.
Why Spartanburg County
It all begins with history. For generations, Spartanburg County was a textile economy. The work of its people was in the mills and in the surrounding economy that supported the textile industry. Educational achievement was not a “cultural value.” It was not imperative that young people persist successfully through high school and post-secondary education in order to get a job that could support a family and a reasonably acceptable way of life. Now, the mills are gone; the demands of the economy have changed; and the sense of commitment to educational achievement within our families and across our communities must change as well … and now.
We are at the dawning of a digital age wherein education and technology will be the critical determinants of Spartanburg County’s success. We live, now, in a new economy that needs to continue with the improvement of educational attainment in order to thrive as a community.