Southmoreland Elementary School

  1. PLC Story
  2. PLC Practices
  3. Achievement Data
  4. Awards
  5. Resources

In 2007-08, Southmoreland Elementary was placed in School Improvement, meaning that adequate yearly progress was not achieved in consecutive years. During 2008-09, Dr. Richard DuFour’s Professional Learning Community model of school improvement through collective capacity building was implemented. Today, SES is one of the most improved schools in the Commonwealth. In fact, in 2013, SES was recognized by the Department of Education as a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence. 

Since winning the Blue Ribbon, Southmoreland Elementasry School has continued to work as a collaborative team to enhance our professional practice and to improve learning for all of our students. We have designed our gifted program to meet our students in their areas of strengths and we have added to our autistic support and life skills settings to provide additional support for our students who may need it.

1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.

Teachers on grade level teams begin the team learning process annually by identifying the essential outcomes for each of the content areas. They select several “power standards” from our current state standards which are then unpacked, reviewed, and established as benchmarks for student growth and learning during the semester or school year. The teams map the curriculum and pacing for those skills is established and followed to allow for reliability and comparison in results. Based upon those power standards, teachers write common formative and summative assessments together and then share their student results data with their peers during weekly curriculum meetings. It is here that teachers can share best practice, select students for Intervention and Enrichment (I/E). This process ensures that students receive the guaranteed, viable curriculum that our teachers agree all students must have to be successful in their coursework going forward.

2. Creating systems of intervention to provide students with additional time and support for learning.

At Southmoreland Elementary School, it is important to give extra support to our struggling learners through the Intervention/Enrichment block. Each grade level has a 30-minute block of time built into the daily schedule to work with students who need extra time and assistance in learning essential skills, especially in reading and mathematics. The teachers meet once per cycle to plan strategies for implementing the intervention process for struggling learners and enrichment activities for those who have mastered identified skills. Students recommended by their teachers attend after school tutoring two times per week during the school year. This gives students in need an extra opportunity to become successful.

Intervention is provided by classroom teachers and our instructional aides. These teams identify student needs as well as programmatic gaps and address them during that timeframe. Classroom teachers also serve as after school tutors, and assist in the creation of specific lessons and assessments based upon the students who participate. Data from student classrooms assessments and from state level assessments is reviewed and our student lists are based upon those data sets.

3. Building teacher capacity to work as members of high performing collaborative teams that focus efforts on improved learning for all students.

The culture of Southmoreland Elementary School has changed drastically over the past five years, from a school characterized by teacher isolation to a school where constant collaboration is the norm today. Teachers have embraced this transformation toward shared leadership and have enthusiastically accepted the challenge of becoming a true learning organization dedicated to high student achievement.

Teams are organized by grade level and include our learning support staff. Teams meet from 8:30-9:10 each morning on a six day cycle--three meetings are held on each day. They are:

Curriuclum (principal led)

IE planning (team leader led)

Student Support (couselor led)

Additional Achievement Data

2017 performance data:

SES 3rd Grade ELA 75%--State Ave 60%
SES 3rd Grade Math 71%--State Ave  54%

SES 4th Grade ELA 74%--State Ave 59%
SES 4th Grade Math 62%--State Ave 47% 
SES 4th Grade Science 88%--State Ave 76%

SES 5th Grade ELA 71%--State Ave 61%  
SES 5th Grade Math 60%--State Ave 46%


  1. Keystone Achievement Award from the Pennsylvania Department of Education 2004-06, 2011-12
  2. Recognition from Pennsylvania Department of Education for Special Education students making progress equal to or better than their non-disabled peers over a three year period.
  3. Southmoreland Elementary School was a 2013 National Bluee Ribbon Award winner. 
  4. Ranked in the “2016 Pittsburgh Business Times” as follows:
    1. Grade 3-21st out of 105 school districts in the western region of Pennsylvania
    2. Grade 4- 9th out of 105 school districts in the western region of Pennsylvania
    3. Grade 5-29th out of 105 school districts in the western region of Pennsylvania
  5. Southmoreland School District is ranked by the “Pittsburgh Business Times” (2016) as the 4th most overachieving district of 500 districts in Pennsylvania.