Award Year: 2013

Southmoreland Elementary School

100 Scottie Way
Scottdale, PA, 15683-1048

(724) 887-2021

John Lee Jr., Principal at time of Nomination


School Website


High Quality Learning for All

Student Demographics
  • Black/African American: 2%
  • White: 96%
  • Hispanic: 1%
  • Asian: 1%
  • Economically Disadvantaged: %

Southmoreland Elementary School, located in Scottdale, is comprised of grades two through five with a population of 600 students, 49% of whom are economically disadvantaged. The school fell into School Improvement in 2008 under No Child Left Behind because of low student achievement in reading and math. In 2008-2009, SES implemented Dr. Richard DuFour’s Professional Learning Community model and began to build a collaborative culture with a focus on learning for everyone within the organization. Dr. DuFour defines a PLC as “an ongoing process in which educators work collaboratively in recurring cycles of collective inquiry and action research to achieve better results for the students they serve” (Learning by Doing: A Handbook for Professional Learning Communities at Work, DuFour, DuFour, Eaker, Many, p.11, 2010). Teachers embrace high levels of learning for all students as our fundamental mission. To this end, team meetings consisting of teachers, administrators, and guidance counselors occur as a routine, regular way of conducting business. This way of behaving is now embedded in our culture.

In 2008, 73% of Southmoreland Elementary students were proficient or advanced in math, 61% in reading, and 82% in science. Today, SES is one of the most improved schools in the Commonwealth. In 2012, 93% of students were proficient or advanced in math, 82% in reading, and 98% in science.

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.