The History of IBin Upper St. Clair School DistrictDuring the middle 1990s, public education was being challenged nationally by the academic and moral development offered at private and parochial schools. This challenge resulted in a national response with the creation of Charter Schools. Pennsylvania was one commonwealth that embraced the response.
Upper St. Clair School District received a $25,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Education to study the implementation of choices within the district together with the possibility of starting a Charter School program. Using these funds, the School District investigated many programs, including ones offered by the International Baccalaureate Organization.
In the spring of 1998, Upper St. Clair School District approved three curriculum recommendations which resulted in the process of implementing three IB programs. This moved resulted from District professional staff and parent teams visiting various IB schools. These visits included Vincentian Academy in Pittsburgh, PA, Washington International School in Washington, D.C., and George Moody Middle School in Richmond, Virginia. Members of the teams also attended IB seminars in Boston, MA, and Fairfax, VA. The teams reported that positive attitudes of students and faculties about their IB programs were encouraging as well as the success of IB Diploma students impressive.
The Upper St. Clair High School administration proceeded with the application process for the IB Diploma Program in the spring of 1998. In the 1998-1999 school year, the IB Primary Years Program was piloted at Streams Elementary School. At Fort Couch Middle School, the Middle Years Program was piloted with the District also beginning the process to seek IB program authorization. Boyce Middle School piloted the program with sixth graders in the 2000-2001 school year. In 2000-2001 school year, the first group of students started course work during their eleventh grade year in the IB Diploma Program. Upper St. Clair High School awarded the IB Diploma and DP certificates for the first time to students in June, 2002. As of June 2009, 33 IB Diplomas have been awarded to Upper St. Clair High School students and IB Certificates have been awarded to over 300 students.
During the 2006-2007 school year, a review of the benefits of the IB programs was conducted by a Community Study Committee. Members of this committee included community and School District members who were appointed by the Superintendent of Schools. On April 10, 2007, members of this Committee released their report. In the report, the Study Committee made the following conclusion: “The IB Program at all levels is a rigorous program of instruction in the Upper St. Clair School District.” This committee also concluded, “. . . 58% of Upper St. Clair residents believe that the cost of the program justifies the expenditure for the program.”
In September of 2007, the Upper St. Clair School District Board of Directors approved four curriculum recommendations that resulted in the District’s continued support for IB programming.