South Fayette High School

Educators at South Fayette High School are preparing students to compete in the global marketplace. Their strategy is clear: implement sweeping changes in the curriculum, set high expectations for the use of technology in every classroom, and put useful student data into the hands of teachers. Leaders hope their efforts will open doors to post-secondary options and lead students into successful careers.
Educators at South Fayette High School are preparing students to compete in the global marketplace. Their strategy is clear: implement sweeping changes in the curriculum, set high expectations for the use of technology in every classroom, and put useful student data into the hands of teachers. Leaders hope their efforts will open doors to post-secondary options and lead students into successful careers.

 

Experiencing Change

Teachers and administrators rework their curriculum using student data.

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Professionalism has guided students and faculty at South Fayette through a period of growth.

South Fayette High School is located in an affluent suburb of Pittsburgh. The school district has experienced rapid growth, almost doubling in size since 1990. Since moving into a new building five years ago, the high school administration, faculty and staff have made a variety of changes in curriculum and instruction aimed at improving student achievement. Although the changes have not always been smooth, the insistence on involving all stakeholders—teachers, parents, students and administrators—helps ensure the perception and reality of wide participation.


 

 Focusing on the Future

Preparing students for the world beyond high school is a top priority at South Fayette.

The school exhibits a clear focus on the future–its own and that of its students. One major move toward the future occurred with the elimination of all general education courses. Now every student at South Fayette participates in college preparation or honors classes. In addition, they begin considering career paths in the ninth grade. Career exploration culminates in a senior project aimed at improving academic achievement and encouraging lifelong learning.



Technology figures prominently throughout the school. South Fayette has a top-notch TV production studio and media team. People boast of the award-winning technology department–they were named a technology school by the Pennsylvania Board of Education. In keeping with the times, administrators and teachers believe technology should be a part of the preparation of students for the world beyond high school. As early as sixth grade, students begin acquiring the technology skills they will need to compete in the marketplace. The career exploration program also relies on technology. Through Project 720 and its Keys to Work software, students can determine the technical skills necessary to pursue careers of interest. They work closely with the post-secondary transition counselor to balance career interests with personal passions.


 

Encouraging Integration

Teachers in various subject areas incorporate technology into their curriculum.

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Technology and learning go hand-in-hand for many South Fayette students

Besides acquiring technical skills, students at South Fayette High School encounter technology throughout the curriculum. Indeed, technology helps define the curricular core. Moreover, Daggett’s Rigor and Relevance Framework guides teachers’ instructional planning toward reform and achievement.



School leaders expect all teachers to use technology as an integral part of instruction. South Fayette facilitates widespread use of technology in classrooms by building accountability into professional development. Part of the learning includes using technology in classrooms and then reflecting on its use.



Staff worked diligently to restructure the technology curriculum when they moved into the new building. Their intent was to give students a competitive edge after they graduate. Students participate in a pre-engineering style program that uses industry-standard software and hardware. The program offers choices based on student interest and career expectations.