District Five Schools of Spartanburg County


A Message from the Board

December 8, 2014

Dear Citizens of Spartanburg School District Five:

Let me begin by saying THANK YOU to all of you in our district! The support all of our schools receive from parents and residents of D5 is spectacular. We have been blessed with a great administration, first class teachers – and our students are hungry to learn and grow! On behalf of the District Five Schools Board of Trustees, I want to again say thank you. This is an exciting time in the life of District 5 and all public schools in South Carolina as we have elected a new Superintendent of Education, Molly Spearman, who supports our efforts to treat every child special every day. Also, one of our own, Rita Allison has been selected in the House of Representatives to lead the House Education and Public Works Committee this year. It was described in a meeting I was in recently like a Perfect Storm (in a good way) for Public Education. We’re proud of Rita, as she is a former District 5 board member. Her daughter came through District 5 schools along with her grandchildren. This kind of support along with the support of our state South Carolina School Board Association promises to provide greater achievements moving forward. 

I also want to say, as a former QB at the University of South Carolina, I don’t like to lose. I say that because I am passionate about seeing our kids/students in District 5 win and they do that through receiving a quality education. I believe, and our board believes that our responsibility is to ensure that children of District Five receive the BEST education possible, in a safe and clean environment and with the technology and resources needed to win.

Finally I want to reiterate once again three key principles on which our Board will govern. We believe that it is our charge from you to be transparent, fiscally responsible and strive for excellence in all of our endeavors. 

Board Transparency

The District Five Schools Board of Trustees believes that transparency promotes accountability and communication. We want to know your concerns so we can help and we want you to know what the Board and District is doing to build trust and cooperation in the community. We want to encourage your participation and involvement in District Five. Our board and committee meetings are open to the public. Please join us to learn more about the great things happening in our schools, as well as the challenges we face going forward. All of our meeting times and locations are posted on the District website at http://www.spart5.net/.  Improving communication with you is a priority. In addition to posting the minutes from our meetings, we will begin including the supporting documentation and presentations used during the meetings. We are also adding contact information for our board members.

As your board chairman, I plan to begin communicating with you on behalf of the board via letters such as this one more frequently. 

Fiscal Management

The District Five Schools Board of Trustees knows that in these difficult economic times, we must spend every tax dollar with care and ensure your money is spent wisely. The administration and board of District Five have a long history of being outstanding stewards of our financial resources. Since 2006, we have been ranked first out of 85 school districts in South Carolina with the highest percentage of current expenditures going toward instruction and instructional support. For the 2012-13 school year, 76.02% of our expenditures went toward instruction and instructional support. (reference: Insite).

Continuous Improvement

We will always put our children first. We must prepare all of our children to compete in a demanding economy and to succeed as responsible citizens. The economy of the 21st century will be based on knowledge and rapidly changing technologies. We must be aggressive to keep moving forward. District Five has been actively and continuously working to improve our academic performance. For our younger students:

· We have added reading coaches in elementary and intermediate schools to help all children read on grade level.

· We have increased the number of 4 year old kindergarten classes.

· We have increased the number of special needs classes for at risk 3 and 4 year old children.

· We have also added outstanding instructional software to aid teachers in their instructional practices.

Improving our graduation rate has been a high priority. In the last few years, we have implemented several innovative programs to help our high school students graduate: 

· The Byrnes Freshman Academy, using the team teaching model, improves the transition of students from middle school to high school.

· Rebel Success is an opportunity for all students to receive free tutoring if they are having difficulty with an academic subject area.

· District Five Academy is an alternative program located at Middle Tyger Community Center and operates Monday – Thursday from 1:30 – 5:30 pm. The program allows non-traditional students to recapture credits for courses they have failed.

· NOVA Net, Virtual School is a computer based instructional program which allows students to recapture credits for courses they have failed. Virtual courses are offered for students whose schedules may not accommodate all of the courses they may need to graduate on time. It also allows students to take courses that may not be offered on a regular basis at our high school due to low enrollment.

· Saturday Recapture is a program designed to allow students to make up unexcused absences from class. The state requires that a student be denied credit for a course if they miss more than five days regardless of their academic grade in the course. The Saturday recapture program allows students who are passing the course to make up the time they have missed and therefore allows them to receive the credit for the course.

· Gateway to College is a partnership between Spartanburg Community College and the School Districts of Spartanburg County. It targets students who are at risk of dropping out of high school and allows them to enter a college setting where their course work will result in dual high school and college credit.

· Fresh Start is an alternative night school for students with discipline problems that prevent them from attending school in a traditional schedule.

These new programs are yielding successful results in helping more of our high school students earn their diplomas. Our graduation rate improved by approximately 10% this past year.

Clearly, these are challenging and exciting times. The District Five School Board is committed to work alongside the administration, teachers, support staff, students, parents, and citizens of District Five to make it the best in South Carolina.

Thank you for your support.

Garry Harper, Chairman
District Five Board of Trustees of Spartanburg County

Last Modified on October 29, 2015