Spartanburg Academic Movement (SAM)

In 2013 the Spartanburg Academic Movement (SAM) was launched. 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.

Mission: 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.

Link: Spartanburg Academic Movement Website (


The 40/30 Challenge (Predecessor to SAM)

Realizing the crisis at hand, The Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce commissioned a Taskforce on College Degree Attainment in 2007 to propose recommendations to put Spartanburg back on track to compete for jobs and industries.  The Chamber then turned to The Spartanburg County Foundation to serve as a catalyzing force in the implementation of The 40/30 Challenge, a goal of increasing the number of adults holding post-secondary degrees to 40 percent by the year 2030.  For the past two years, The Spartanburg County Foundation has convened more than 200 citizens to form a strategic plan, which will guide Spartanburg in meeting this goal.


Spartanburg County will be the best educated county in the state of South Carolina.


By the year 2030, 40 percent of the residents in Spartanburg County ages 25 and over will have a baccalaureate or associate degree.

Strategic Plan Summary

Strategy 1: To make college accessible for all of our citizens

  • Action 1: Remove perceived (and real) barriers to pursuing a college degree
  • Action 2: Create a countywide Dual Credit System
  • Action 3: Create a “Last-in” scholarship program for K-12 and Adult Return to Learn students

Strategy 2: To ensure that all of our students who graduate from high school are prepared for post secondary and/or baccalaureate attainment

  • Action 1: Support countywide college readiness success
  • Action 2: Develop a countywide mentoring and tutoring network
  • Action 3: Institute a college orientation system countywide

Strategy 3: To increase the number of adults (25 and over) who are attending and completing college

  • Action 1: Create The College Hub of Spartanburg County with services to focus on needs of the Adult Return to Learn population
  • Action 2: Create an alternative and distance learning network for baccalaureate degree attainment and beyond
  • Action 3: Recruit and engage Bachelor Degree Advocates in business