Whitlock Flexible Learning Center received 300 books at a student-led assembly today as a result of a Leadership Spartanburg class project.  Whitlock Flexible Learning Center serves middle and high school students from all seven districts throughout Spartanburg County and offers students a “fresh start,” according to Principal Jada Kidd-Robinson, to improve their behavior and academic habits. The goal for faculty and staff at Whitlock is to reach students and help them achieve a successful integration back into their school environment.

During a site visit to Whitlock, a small group of Leadership Spartanburg class members learned that the facility had textbooks and required reading novel sets that align with each grade level standards.  Some English teachers also had small baskets of books for the students in their classrooms.  However, the school did not have a library.  The group had an idea to create classroom libraries for every teacher at Whitlock and sought several community partnerships to launch the project.

The Spartanburg County Foundation, along with an anonymous donor, provided a $5,000 challenge grant to the class participants, and the group raised more than $6,000 to purchase the books as well as establish the Whitlock Flexible Learning Center Fund held at the Foundation.

The Spartanburg County Public Library helped the team purchase 100 copies each of 3 popular teen books, chosen by the teachers at Whitlock, at a reduced cost.

“Offering a teen an opportunity to read for pleasure is critical in today’s hyper-connected world.  Leadership Spartanburg understands this importance.  The Spartanburg County Public Libraries is pleased to partner with the Leadership Spartanburg class and their partners to bring interesting, fun, and engaging books to the classroom,” said R. Todd Stephens, County Librarian with Spartanburg County Public Libraries.  “Reading leads to lifelong learning and improved communities.  We are excited and honored to participate in this life-changing project.”

Whitlock is launching the “One Book, One School” project, which will engage teachers, administrators, and students in together featuring the titles purchased from Leadership Spartanburg.

“We will be reading together for three days a week for 45 minutes and participating in literature circles,” said Kidd-Robinson.  “The books chosen for the project leads back to our mission and will help teach essential reading components and amazing character development strategies.  Our hope is that students will develop a love for reading while learning behavior enhancement strategies to help them grow into young people who make an impact in their communities.”

Tracie Rodak, a member of the Leadership Spartanburg Class of 2018, helped set up the Whitlock Flexible Learning Center Fund at The Spartanburg County Foundation in order to build classroom libraries for Whitlock and include supporting items for their reading projects.

“It has been a fun and rewarding project to work with Leadership Spartanburg Class of 2018 to provide library books for the students at Whitlock Flexible Leaning Center.  The Spartanburg County Foundation has helped us establish a Designated Fund to support library books for Whitlock in the coming years and the Spartanburg County Public Library has supported the project by ordering books for us. It is wonderful to work with various community partners to promote reading for school children in our community,” said Rodak.

Kidd-Robinson hopes that other groups will support this project, help grow the fund, and continue to provide resources for Whitlock students. Several individuals have expressed an eagerness to contribute to the fund because they see what a transformative experience reading can be, especially in the life of a young person. Anyone interested in supporting classroom libraries at Whitlock Flexible Learning Center may designate funds to The Spartanburg County Foundation.  For ways to give, visit the Foundation’s website at www.spcf.org.


The Spartanburg County Foundation is dedicated to improving the lives of Spartanburg County residents by promoting philanthropy, encouraging community engagement and responding to community needs. Established in 1943, The Spartanburg County Foundation is the oldest community foundation in South Carolina. Additional information about the Foundation is available at www.spcf.org.