At Upper St. Clair School District, five unique programs immerse students in learning outside of the classroom and help them develop life ready skills. While attending the 2019 PASA-PSBA School Leadership Conference to share information about their programs, Superintendent John Rozzo and Amy Pfender, assistant to the superintendent, joined us to provide more insight into what makes their programs unique and how they have impacted students.

While we place a large and important emphasis on academics in our school district, we also recognize that we need to do more to help prepare them for the world after K12.

Skip to: 02:11 Your partner programs, SHOP @ USC and Partners in PE, bring special education students and their peers together. What kind of interaction have you seen between these students, and what lifelong lessons do you think they take away from this experience?
Skip to: 04:00 Student leadership academies are offered to students in grades 4 through 12. Do you regularly see students return to these academies throughout their educational career?
Skip to: 04:51 Can you talk about the programming over the summer months?

By offering more summer programming and giving credit for it, that has allowed us to create greater flexibility for our students.

Skip to: 06:18 Since the summer STEAM academy began in 2011, have you experienced students making educational choices and, later, career choices that were influenced by an interest in STEAM?
Skip to: 09:35 In your presentation, you mentioned that the SMART desk program has experienced increased female involvement in recent years. How were you able to evoke more interest in a STEAM-related program from female students?

Right now at our high school we have 22 students participating in SMART desk; a third of them are females.

Skip to: 11:35 What advice would you offer to other school districts that are looking to engage students outside of the typical classroom environment?

The fact that we start small, have realistic expectations out of the gate and then make sure we’re getting buy-in from all the appropriate constituents has really been essential in the effectiveness of the programs for us.

Dr. John Rozzo, superintendent of schools, Upper St. Clair SD

Dr. John Rozzo has served as Superintendent of Schools of Upper St. Clair School District since July 1, 2018.

Previous to his role as Superintendent, Dr. Rozzo served as the Assistant Superintendent from 2014 to 2018 and was instrumental in steering the district’s strategic planning process. He has been a vital part of the district leadership, vision and commitment to students and their families.

A member of the Upper St. Clair School District staff since 2005, Dr. Rozzo has been promoted to several administrative positions including assistant principal, middle school principal of academics, and supervisor of middle level education. In addition, he served as Assistant Superintendent from 2014 through 2018. Dr. Rozzo began his educational career in 1999 as a science teacher in the Brentwood School District.

Throughout his tenure, Dr. Rozzo has led several initiatives including serving as chairperson of the district’s Strategic/Comprehensive Plan and guiding the district’s transition to the new Principal and Teacher Effectiveness Model. In addition, he has presented at numerous local, regional and statewide conferences regarding increasing student achievement, instructional leadership, and components of an exemplary school district.

Mrs. Amy Pfender, assistant to the superintendent, Upper St. Clair SD

Mrs. Amy Pfender has served as Assistant to the Superintendent of Upper St. Clair School School District since July 1, 2019. In this role, she oversees the district’s educational program in grades 9 through 12.

Mrs. Pfender began her tenure with Upper St. Clair School District as a special education teacher at Boyce Middle School in August 2005. In 2009 she became the district’s elementary special education department chairperson and the following year ascended to special education curriculum leader. In March 2012, she was appointed assistant middle school principal and was promoted to principal of Boyce Middle School a year later. She served as the district’s Director of Student Support Services from 2016 through 2019.