Schools are an integral part of any neighborhood, whether you have children or not. Aside from the obvious educational benefits of an excellent school system, school district quality directly impacts home values and the cost of housing. The Brookings Institute discovered that home values can vary by $205,000 or higher in high-scoring versus low-scoring school districts. If you’re searching for a new home, you’ll want to check out these five highly rated Pittsburgh area school districts.
Named 15th best school district in the U.S. and third best in Pennsylvania by Niche.com, Mt. Lebanon’s public school system received A+ grades in several subjects, including teachers, academics, college prep, activities and clubs, and health and safety. The Mt. Lebanon School District includes seven elementary schools, two middle schools and a high school.
The district incorporates Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (STEAM) disciplines into the curriculum for all grades, empowering students to succeed in the district and beyond.
The North Allegheny School District is second in the Pittsburgh area, according to the Niche.com ranking. The district serves the communities of McCandless, Franklin Park Borough, Marshall Township and Bradford Woods with seven elementary schools, three middle schools and two high schools. (Students in grades nine and 10 attend one high school, while those in grades 11 and 12 attend another school.)
The district’s mission focuses on six goals: academic achievement, safe and supportive schools, stewardships of resources, innovation, creativity, and a curriculum that fosters creativity, critical thinking and lifelong learning.
Upper St. Clair
Ranked third in the area by Niche.com, Upper St. Clair School District serves more than 4,000 students in six schools, including three K-four schools and separate schools for grades five and six, seven and eight, and nine through 12.
Classroom teachers develop their curriculum under the direction of a district-wide curriculum panel. The panel takes into consideration recommendations from parents, students and community members to ensure that students receive a high-quality education.
Fox Chapel Area School District was recognized as the fourth best school in the Pittsburgh area. It serves students from Fox Chapel, Sharpsburg, Blawnox, Aspinwall, and Indiana and O’Hara Townships. This fall, the district will introduce a Spanish immersion program for first graders with instruction almost completely in Spanish. The program will eventually be extended to grades one through five.
Students at the Fox Chapels’ four elementary, one middle and one high school benefit from a well-rounded curriculum that emphasizes technology and STEAM subjects. The district also offers a variety of academic and athletic extra-curricular activities, ranging from forensics to crew and orchestra.
South Fayette Township School District
At number five in the Niche.com ranking, South Fayette Township School District is smaller than some of the other districts, but delivers impressive results. The district includes four schools, including an elementary, intermediate, middle and high school.
Technology education is integrated at all grade levels, and the district trains teachers in design thinking strategies. As part of its initiative to eliminate the computer science gender gap, South Fayette Township offers after-school activities just for girls, including a girls’ STEAM team, underwater remotely operated vehicles (ROV) team and Girls Who Code.
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Brookings Institute: Housing Costs, Zoning and Access to High-Scoring Schools
KDKA: Mt. Lebanon Among Top School Districts in the Country
Niche.com: 2019 Best School Districts in America