Today, Upper St. Clair High School held its Veterans Day program. Among those honored were current and former school district staff members who have or are serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. I hope you will join me in thanking these brave men and women for their service to our country:
On Veterans Day, the Chanteclairs, Fort Couch Middle School band and Baker Elementary fourth grade chorus will be performing at the fifth annual Veterans Day observance at Upper St. Clair Veterans Memorial Park. The event begins at 9:30 a.m. and all are welcome and encouraged to attend.
In addition, the Upper St. Clair High School marching band will be performing in the annual Veterans Day parade in downtown Pittsburgh. The parade begins at 10 a.m. at Liberty Avenue and 10th Street, then continues on Liberty Avenue to Point State Park.
We appreciate our veterans for the sacrifices they have made on behalf of our country and our freedom. Our students’ participation in Veterans Day remembrances are such a valuable teaching moment and a tradition that will endure.
What a great experience I had this week as I tagged along with Eisenhower Principal Mark Miller to The Education Partnership center to observe our Eisenhower students, staff and parents volunteer for a great cause.
The Education Partnership is a local nonprofit that helps bridge the gap between what students have and what students need to succeed in the classroom. Each year, the organization serves 60,000 local students in need by distributing basic school supplies to students and teachers. As the organization’s website states, “the basics are a big deal.” We couldn’t agree more and we’re glad to help.
Our Upper St. Clair students packed school supplies for and wrote personal notes to the students at Kelly Elementary School, located in the Wilkinsburg School District. Throughout the year the Eisenhower school community helps to support Kelly students through fundraisers for school supplies as well as a hat and mitten drive in November.
Coordinated through the district’s parent-teacher organizations, all Upper St. Clair schools worked together to raise enough funds to provide each elementary student in the Wilkinsburg School District with basic school supplies last year. In May 2016, the USC Parent Teacher Council presented a donation of $12,500 to The Education Partnership. Justin Brown, executive director, stated that Upper St. Clair is the first entity to fully support all students in the Wilkinsburg School District with a single gift.
The Education Partnership staff shared with me that when students receive their bags of school supplies, the first thing they reach for is not the shiny new pencils or scissors….it’s the handwritten note. Let us all remember – “no act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted” (Aesop).
I am enormously proud that our school community continues to make a difference for others in our region.
This past Friday, Sept. 23, I had the honor of attending the 17th Annual Halls of Fame Induction where we recognized the academic, artistic and athletic accomplishments of 11 alumni and friends of Upper St. Clair. These 11 individuals are among 271 USC Halls of Fame inductees who have contributed to the pride and prestige of Upper St. Clair High School.
Each year, our inductees’ remarks remind me what a great school district we have and, specifically, the immeasurable impact of our great teachers. One by one each inductee praised USC teachers for their influence, dedication, and unwavering support of their respective interests and talents.
We are exceptionally proud of our inductees and are grateful for their willingness to share their stories and their wisdom with our school community. Please take a few minutes to read about their high school, collegiate and professional achievements. Their stories are inspirational.
Thank you to the Upper St. Clair Parent Teacher Council for hosting a welcome event for our new families this past Friday, Sept. 9. Attendees enjoyed dinner in the high school’s nutrition center followed by the USC vs. Moon football game at the stadium. It was so great to have this opportunity to meet and talk with families who are new to our USC community.
The event was planned by the USC PTC’s Welcoming Committee, chaired by Stacie de la Parra. I can’t thank these caring volunteers enough for extending such a kind welcome. Relocating and establishing roots in a new community can be an intimidating challenge for families. This type of neighborly spirit is what makes Upper St. Clair such a special place.
Thanks again for making our new families feel at home at USC!
Now that school is up and running, I am reluctantly starting the task of replacing our Director of Business and Finance Frosina Cordisco, who will be retiring effective Jan. 2, 2017.
Frosina and I began our tenure at USC at about the same time. She made a big career change, leaving the corporate world in September 2006 for public education. She was familiar with the district - having lived in the community for several years. In fact, her son and daughter are graduates of USCHS.
Since she began at USC, she has been a pillar of strength to our leadership team. She is always thorough, always professional, always courteous, and extremely competent. When we eliminated two central office administrative positions in 2013, she eagerly took on additional responsibilities to help our leadership team absorb the workload. I could go on and on about her value and her work ethic.
One of my chief responsibilities is to look after the future of our district, so we will be turning the page, searching for a new Director of Business and Finance, who can bring the same energy, skills and passion that Frosina has given the District throughout the past 10 years.
We hope everyone got off to a great start this morning. Adjusting from summer-mode to school-mode can be difficult for students (and grown ups). New routines and schedules will soon start to take hold – bringing that structure that so many of us seem to need.
Please keep in mind that during the first week of each school year buses tend to run late – especially the elementary buses in the afternoon. Our school staff is taking extra time and care at dismissal to ensure that our students board the correct bus in the afternoon. Each day you should see a gradual improvement as we inch closer to the target arrival time. Your patience and understanding throughout these first days of school are much appreciated.
You are welcome to contact our Director of Transportation Jonn Mansfield with any questions or concerns regarding bus transportation: 412-833-1600 ext. 3451 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Back-to-School Online has reached a nearly 90% completion rate – thank you so much for your cooperation with this initiative. Having up-to-date emergency contact and medical information for ALL students is essential to keeping them safe.
If you are among our 500+ families that have not yet completed Back-to-School Online, please make time for this at your earliest convenience. It only takes a few minutes to complete. If you are having issues accessing your Parent Portal account, let us know at email@example.com and we’ll be happy to help you.
I hope each of our students has a spectacular first day of school. May your dinner conversations be filled with stories of the school day. For those with reluctant talkers, here are a few resources that may help:
Back-to-School! There are few events as exciting as the first day of school. Our leadership team has worked hard over the summer to prepare for the new 2016-17 school year. We welcomed our instructional staff back last week.
Now, our favorite day is here as the students return tomorrow - Tuesday, Aug. 23. I hope everyone has a safe and successful school year.
I have many occasions to take part in ceremonies that make me proud to be the superintendent of schools for Upper St. Clair. However, few match the pride I felt at our recent PTC meeting. The PTC presented a donation of $12,500 to Justin Brown, executive director of the Education Partnership.
Throughout the 2015-16 school year all USC schools and their parent-teacher organizations worked together to raise enough funds to provide each elementary student in the Wilkinsburg School District with basic school supplies. Wilkinsburg is one of the far too many school districts in Pennsylvania that are struggling financially to provide essential educational services for children.
Mr. Brown shared with us that USC is the first entity to fully support all students in the district with a single gift. His moving description of the joy expressed by students when presented with their new school supplies reinforces the importance of continuing to provide opportunities for our students and their families to make a difference in our greater community.
I extend my sincere gratitude to the PTC for leading this effort and to all who donated to this important cause.
I enjoyed the semi-annual PTC Open Mike on Monday. Approximately 25 parents attended our session, where I was joined by fellow administrators: Dr. Sharon Suritsky, Dr. John Rozzo, Dr. Judy Bulazo, and Mr. Brad Wilson.
The biggest advantage of these face-to-face sessions is the opportunity for two-way dialog. We hear feedback, questions, and concerns about district programs and initiatives, which provides us a forum to offer further information and clarification about the educational experience at USC.
At this session, we discussed the new teacher contract, capital projects, 1:1 learning, bullying, drug/alcohol education, and transgender policies.
As usual, I ended the session feeling very good about my administrative colleagues and our community. We have such thoughtful, caring people at USC, who greatly value and support quality public education.
The information we glean from these sessions is immensely helpful as we continually seek opportunities to improve. Questions and concerns that were raised assist us as we plan for the new school year and beyond.