Back to school/South: Tale of two school districts

South Allegheny, South Park highlight their programs

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Two school districts in the South suburbs were inadvertently omitted Sept. 6 from the back-to-school package:

South Allegheny

District comprises Glassport, Liberty, Lincoln and Port Vue boroughs

Opening day for the district's 1,572 students was Aug. 23

Number of district employees: 168

Number of buildings: 3; 1 middle/high, 1 elementary, 1 early childhood

Budget this year: $20,550,395 with no tax hike or program cuts

Average tax bill? $750

New this year: School administrators and teachers are working to ensure the K through 12 curriculums are aligned with the new Pennsylvania Common Core Standards.

The district also announced that for the ninth consecutive year they have made AYP, or adequate yearly progress.

Eleventh-grade students will be taking the Keystone Exam in place of the PSSAs this year. Tests will be given in the content areas of Algebra I, biology and literature.

The History Department has been restructured to better correlate with AP exams and the Pennsylvania Common Core Standards. A new class has been added -- Modern World History -- that will add recent historical events. The Problems of Democracy economics class has been updated to a civics class.

As a way to incorporate project-based learning into the curriculum, the seventh grade has partnered with Pittsburgh Cares, a nonprofit affiliate of the HandsOn Network, that works to advance a culture of volunteerism and civic engagement. Pittsburgh Cares staff provides opportunities and connections to link the seventh grade students to community projects.

Eighth grade teachers will be incorporating robotics and other technology into their character education classes thanks to a grant from the Allegheny Intermediate Unit called Cirque du Qwerty. Using a circus theme, students will be creating a transition program for incoming sixth graders. It will be an on-stage production with robotics.

The middle school was one of three Pennsylvania schools named a "National Champion" school and has been awarded a state-of-the-art Live PositivelyTM Fitness Center for encouraging physical fitness.

As of Oct. 1, the elementary school is offering an after-school program that assists with homework, as well as providing additional opportunities through math, literacy, science, physical education, art, technology and service learning tied to the community. The program is offered free to students in grades 2-6 every Monday through Friday from 3:30-5:30 p.m. Dinner is provided.

Website: www.southallegheny.org

South Park

District comprises South Park Township

The district's 2,072 students started Aug. 27.

Employees: 230

Buildings: 3; 1 high, 1 middle, 1 elementary

Budget: $27,762,825 with no tax hike or program cuts

Average tax bill: $3,460

New this year: A cyber school option is available.

The middle school is moving to the next level of implementation for the Olweus Bullying Program and Phase 2 of the Positive Schoolwide Behavior Program is at the elementary center.

Website: www.sparksd.org

education - neigh_south


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