• May 31, 2024

    USC honored with School Operations Impact Award

    Tree PlantingUpper St. Clair School District has been awarded the 2024 School Operations Impact Award by the Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials (PASBO). The award recognizes the district’s Building Leadership Team (BOLT) model.

    The award is designed to recognize a PASBO member, school or group of school employees who have undertaken a project and demonstrated making a significant impact on their school business operations. In addition to statewide recognition, the district received a $3,000 grant, which is being used to beautify school campuses in partnership with the Upper St. Clair High School Environmental Club.

    Environmental Club members recently worked with officials from the district’s landscaping company to plant three large shrubs at Baker Elementary School and will be doing additional planting at Fort Couch Middle School. The projects are coordinated by Dan Snyder, assistant director of facilities, and Janine Despines, high school librarian and Environmental Club sponsor.

    The School Operations Impact Award application was completed by Ray Carson, senior director of operations & administrative services, and Dr. Lou Angelo, director of facilities and operations, who developed and implemented the BOLT model in 2019.

    “BOLT was created to place, and accentuate, our students at the center of every decision and improve both the function and the culture of the operations department,” Dr. Angelo said. “Our goal was to improve results and decrease the cost to serve. This would be accomplished by reducing injuries and workers' compensation claims and by moving from the break-fix approach to a preventative mindset that decreased costs, while increasing engagement and ownership.”

    The holistic system brought sub-teams together and moved from a reactive culture of independence to a proactive culture of empowerment, collaboration, communication and interdependence that focused on students. BOLT operates at all six Upper St. Clair schools and includes one participant from custodial, maintenance, security and technology.

    BOLT members meet once per month for 60–90 minutes. There are two parts to each meeting – operations and discovery walks. Operations includes conversation about successes or the closure of follow-up items, safety and security, building permits/calendar review, outstanding work orders, upcoming projects, new business/concerns, etc. The discovery walks include a building walkthrough to assess floors, hallways, stairwells, doors, exits, storage areas, elevators, kitchens, cafeterias, classrooms, offices, playgrounds, restrooms, parking lot and grounds.

    “Our team members strive to deliver extraordinary educational experiences that empower our students,” Dr. Angelo said. “In doing so, our students and staff benefit from the safer and healthier learning and work environment that is created by the intentional assessments and proactive nature of BOLT.”

    The district has experienced savings resulting from reduced workers' compensation claims and operational efficiencies. The money saved was invested back into the facilities department to improve safety and increase productivity.

    The BOLT model is also credited with improving morale by providing a real sense of community and personal ownership over the workplace.

    “BOLT’s collective intelligence and team concept, which encourages collaboration, communication, and cross-functional expertise, builds confidence and pride through consistent good decision-making,” Dr. Angelo said. “In addition, the custodians, maintenance technicians, police officers, and technical support are positioned to serve as strategic leaders in the operation of their buildings.”

    Dr. Angelo accepted the 2024 School Operations Impact Award during PASBO’s 69th Annual Conference on March 8, 2024, in Hershey, Pennsylvania.

    The Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials is a statewide association with 4,100 members. Its mission is to develop and support leaders in school business operations.