St. Sylvester School is a Parish School in the South Hills Deanery in the Diocese of Pittsburgh. The administrative structure greatly impacts the total education and our ability to create an environment that is conducive to academic and spiritual growth. The principal looks to the pastor for guidance, support, and encouragement to provide effective leadership for the school. The collaboration of the pastor and the principal facilitates decisions in the area of staffing, financing, fund raising and improving the physical plant.
The School Advisory Council/Long Range Planning and Development Committee, and the Parent Teacher Guild are consultative in nature and function in an advisory and supportive capacity.
St. Sylvester School in the Diocese of Pittsburgh is under the jurisdiction of the Secretary of Education for the Diocese, assisted by a Superintendent, an Assistant Superintendent and a staff of Educational Consultants.
In Saint Sylvester School, we want our students to be good and intelligent citizens, committed to life-long learning with a respect for knowledge. We expect our students to possess a strong moral compass knowing right from wrong. As part of our values-based education, our students understand their rights and responsibilities and learn to respect their fellow students' right to learn in a safe environment. Our discipline policy revolves around our belief that each child deserves to feel safe. The anti-bullying curriculum emphasizes this belief. Our teachers and principal are committed to deal with bullying issues as they arise.
The annual selection of a gospel value with a specific plan of action has actively engaged our students and heightened their awareness of the importance of the following values: justice, reconciliation, community, faith, hope, courage service, love and justice.
We are confident that we provide a quality education at St. Sylvester School. This has been validated by many awards given to our alumni: Honor Rolls, National Honor Society, inclusion in "Who's Who in American High School Students", high school class academic rankings in the top 10%, and selection for the National Forensic League Tournament.
Past and Present Goals
Faith Formation / Catholic Identity
At Saint Sylvester School we take seriously our role as teachers of the Catholic faith. Teachers set aside daily class time to teach the doctrines, attitudes and values that are central to our Catholic faith. Every interaction between our teachers and students is motivated by a love for each child as an individual made in God's likeness. Each year we have incorporated the National Catholic Education Association Vision and Values program to challenge our students to be caring and compassionate, with a desire to serve others, especially the poor and disadvantaged.
We will continue to provide opportunities for our students to attend weekly Masses, to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation and to participate in Stations of the Cross, the Living Rosary, Cinco de Mayo celebrations, and Prayer Services. Even as we present the Diocesan "Aids" and "Catholic Vision of Love" curriculum, our teachers are conscious of their responsibility to pass along the beliefs of our Catholic Faith.
We believe it is our responsibility to give our students the best educational foundation for life... one that is built on academic quality and a well-rounded curriculum. We have expanded our foreign language instruction to include Spanish and French for students in pre-school through grade 8. Each year we have updated text books and addressed the wide range of ability levels by providing small group instruction in math. Annually our teacher review Terra Nova standardized test results to identify students needing remediation and/ or enrichment.
Students who score below the 50% on annual Terra Nova Test, will receive information and application forms concerning tutoring grants funded by "Classroom Plus". Teachers will be asked to complete a Growth Plan listing specific accommodations or modifications for students with special needs.
Recruitment and Retention
Our "Project Proposal" included four specific goals in this area:
- Recruitment and retention of students beyond preschool
- Expansion of programs to retain students through grade eight
- A close relationship between the teachers and the parents through an effective PTG
- The reactivation of the School Advisory Council with emphasis on recruitment, retention and marketing
School Readiness, Preschool and Kindergarten Orientation, and Middle School Meetings have increased our retention rate in the past few years. In 2002 our School Advisory Council was converted to a Long Range Planning Committee so we temporarily stopped meeting as a School Advisory Council.
We intend to reactivate our School Advisory Council, schedule monthly meetings and to establish goals for the following committees: Alumni, Recruitment and Retention, and Public Relations. We will continue our efforts in the area of recruitment and retention.
In the past five years we have carefully documented the specific progress that we have made in reaching the past and on-going goals. Our public relations efforts have allowed our local community to recognize our excellence. This has had a positive effect on the stabilization of our enrollment.