Future Teachers
Teacher Cadets Visit District Office

Back Row: C.J. Tessnear, Brandon Walker, Daniel Kimbrell, Matthew Brock,
Courtney Williamson, Tiffany Sullivan, Bobby Foos, Stephanie Cash
Front Row: Vasthy Quistian, Kelsea Solomon, Paige Bolton, Lilly Hancock, Ashlyn Westmoreland

Chesnee High Teacher Cadets recently visited the District Office during their class period to learn more about the functions of the various district departments and how they support teaching and learning in the schools. Both Chesnee and Boiling Springs high schools offer a Teacher Cadet Program in which students can earn three hours college credit and an AP rating. Stephanie Cash teaches the CHS class, and Patsy Meeks teaches the BSH class.

The Teacher Cadet Program was created in South Carolina in the 1980s and was designed to attract academically talented students to the teaching profession. It is operated by the Center for Educator Recruitment, Retention, and Advancement (CERRA) and has been adopted across the United States.

As Teacher Cadets, students are exposed to the world of education; they explore the teaching profession, learn about the psychology of learning, gain experience in interpersonal skills that facilitate the learning process, study growth and development, and acquire effective strategies for dealing with people. They are empowered to be better teachers and learners. Whether students choose to pursue a profession in teaching or in another field, the knowledge, skills, and strategies they learn in the Teacher Cadet Program will serve them well throughout their lives.

EXCEL in District Two

Superintendent Scott Mercer's presentation of the first iPad Mini

Superintendent Scott Mercer's presentation of the first iPad mini to Boiling Springs Middle School eighth grader Hallie Bright on October 22 marked the rollout of EXCEL (Engage, eXplore, Collaborate, Empower, Launch), the district's personalized digital learning initiative. Middle school students will receive the district-owned devices this year; next year, all students in third grade and up will be issued an iPad mini for personal use. Students in grades five and up can take them home to use as a resource throughout the day.

"Students in Spartanburg Two's classrooms are already at high levels of engagement with the curriculum," states Dr. Mercer. "This tool will enable them to truly deepen their understanding through research, collaboration and discussion, decision-making, writing, and designing presentations. We appreciate the Board and community support for this next step in our evolution as a District."

The vision of Spartanburg School District Two's EXCEL Initiative is to transform teaching and learning by engaging all students in rich, authentic, relevant, personalized digital learning experiences and to enable deeper learning across the disciplines. Using digital technologies, students will explore various resources and will work collaboratively, using technology to create products, to conduct research, to develop multimedia projects, and to communicate. Students will be empowered as they are able to participate in anytime, anywhere learning opportunities and as their individual learning styles and needs are addressed using high-quality, adaptive software programs. Teachers can collaborate across time and space to share and develop learning resources. We will launch our students towards college and career readiness as they facilitate their own learning, guided by teachers knowledgeable in content, pedagogy, and technology.

Assistant Superintendent for Instruction Angela Hinton notes that districts implementing successful digital conversion models have seen increased student engagement and achievement. "We are excited about our EXCEL initiative because with the blending of digital learning and existing best practices, we can help every child reach his or her full potential by customizing instruction so that students can learn at their own pace, anytime and anywhere. We look forward to helping our students EXCEL!"

Click here for more information about Spartanburg 2 EXCEL.

   E ngaging students in personalized experiences that promote deeper learning across disciplines
 eX ploring various technological resources to meet students' individual needs
   C ollaborating with others to create projects, conduct research, and communicate
   E mpowering students to participate in anytime, anywhere high-quality learning opportunities
   L aunching students' learning towards college and career readiness

US Department of Education Awards Three-Year
School Climate Transformation Grant to Spartanburg School District Two

Spartanburg School District Two is one of 71 school districts across the nation and the only one in South Carolina to be awarded one of the US Department of Education's new School Climate Transformation grants. To implement the district's proposal submitted in the competitive grant process, the program will provide a three-year grant at $328,267 per year, a total of $984,801. Dr. Nancy Turner, District Two Director of Special Services, will manage the grant.

School Climate Transformation grants, as described by the Department of Education, will be used to "develop, enhance, or expand systems of support for implementing evidence-based, multi-tiered behavioral frameworks for improving behavioral outcomes and learning conditions for students." District Two will enhance and expand its emphasis on two programs focused on student success and behavior, Response to Intervention and Positive Behavior Intervention Supports (PBIS), to continually improve the school learning environment/educational experience (school climate).

Response to Intervention (RtI) involves determining which children are struggling in reading, math, and behavior. Each school has a school-based team that problem-solves solutions and interventions to assist individual students in their areas of deficits, providing research-based interventions to offer remediation in instruction. A team of staff provide remediation for students requiring instructional and behavioral interventions at each school.

Dr. Turner describes Positive Behavior Intervention Supports (PBIS) as "the next step in Response to Intervention, with a focus on the solution rather than on the problem." It is about teaching and supporting behavioral expectations-rewarding positive behaviors school-wide and in the classroom. (See elementary school sample chart of expectations, below.) The research behind PBIS confirms that students learn better ways of behaving by being taught directly and receiving positive feedback. Schools implementing PBIS see a positive long-term effect on overall school climate: increased staff retention and morale, student-focused instruction, strong intrinsic motivation, reduction in suspensions, and higher graduation rate.

As stated by Dr. Turner, "The ultimate goal of expanding RtI and PBIS with the grant is to equip all students, each step along the way, for successful transition to adulthood."

Sample District Two elementary school PBIS chart of behavioral expectations (courtesy HES)

2014 National Healthy Schools Award

PE teacher Robin Brannon (front, far right) accepted the award
for HES at the Alliance for a Healthier Generation Summit.

(Washington, DC) September 13, 2014- The Alliance for a Healthier Generation, founded by the American Heart Association and the Clinton Foundation, recognized James H. Hendrix Elementary School with a 2014 National Healthy Schools Award for transforming its environment into a healthier place. James H. Hendrix Elementary School received this award at the Alliance's 2014 Leaders Summit in Washington, DC on September 13.

To earn the National Healthy Schools Award Hendrix Elementary School improved its nutrition and physical activity programs to meet or exceed stringent standards set by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation's Healthy Schools Program. The Healthy Schools Program provides schools guidance, professional development, access to national experts, and evidence-based resources and tools to help them create and sustain healthy school environments. Schools are eligible for Bronze, Silver, or Gold National Healthy Schools Awards based on their level of achievement. The Alliance's Healthy Schools Program has helped more than 24,000 schools increase quality physical activity, health education, and healthy eating; and this year, 250 schools are being recognized with a National Healthy Schools Award.

As a recipient of the Bronze National Healthy Schools Award, Hendrix Elementary school has helped students learn that making healthy choices is not only good for your body-it can also be fun. Students are choosing healthier snacks at school and demonstrate an increased awareness of the impact of their choices and the importance of choosing nutritious foods. Their endurance has also increased through the school's running club and walk to school programs. Some students even participated in a Wildcat Fun Run to test their fitness. Staff have noticed that students have started paying more attention to nutrition labels-and now better understand how to read them. "The Healthy Schools Program was the catalyst for our paradigm shift in our healthy thinking and choices," said physical education teacher Robin Brannon.

"We applaud the achievements of our 2014 honorees," said Dr. Howell Wechsler, Chief Executive Officer, Alliance for a Healthier Generation. "They are exemplary in their efforts to get students and staff eating better and moving more, and they prove that it is possible to build healthy school environments. We need thousands more schools across the country like James H. Hendrix Elementary -schools that are fully committed to promoting health and wellness, which is vital to improving students' academic performance." To further strengthen the Healthy Schools Program, the Alliance brokers and implements voluntary agreements with industry leaders to provide schools better access to healthier foods, beverages, and physical activity. Additionally, the Alliance's landmark agreement with the American Beverage Association has contributed to a 90 percent reduction in calories from beverages shipped to schools between the 2004-2010 school years.

The Alliance's Healthy Schools Program is supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. To become a healthier place for students to learn and staff to work, any school in the United States can enroll and receive assistance and support, at no cost. Find out more at HealthierGeneration.org.

About the Alliance for a Healthier Generation In response to the rapid increase in childhood obesity rates over the last three decades, the Alliance for a Healthier Generation was founded to serve as a catalyst for improving children's health. The Alliance works with schools, companies, community organizations, healthcare professionals and families to build healthier environments where children thrive. The Alliance's current work directly impacts more than 20 million children, with a focus on low-income and minority populations who are at increased risk for obesity and other diseases. Millions more young people benefit from system changes initiated through partnerships between the Alliance and the corporate sector.

About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation focuses on the pressing health and health care issues facing our country. As the nation's largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to improving the health and health care of all Americans, the Foundation works with a diverse group of organizations and individuals to identify solutions and achieve comprehensive, measureable, and timely change. For 40 years the Foundation has brought experience, commitment, and a rigorous, balanced approach to the problems that affect the health and health care of those it serves. When it comes to helping Americans lead healthier lives and get the care they need, the Foundation expects to make a difference in your lifetime. For more information, visit www.rwjf.org.

Media Contacts: Meghan Johnson, Meghan.Johnson@HealthierGeneration.org or 215-872-6867

District Recruitment Videorecruitment video

View our district recruitment video.