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Learning is a team effort in the Philipsburg-Osceola Area School District, located in northwestern Centre and southeastern Clearfield counties. This small, rural district allows students the opportunity to compete and learn with peers in an inclusive and academically rigorous environment. As the school’s vision statement points out, students are prepared for the classroom today, and for the world tomorrow.
Comprised of about 1,800 students and 250 employees, the district encompasses 222 square miles, covering Rush Township and Philipsburg borough in Centre County, along with Wallaceton and Decatur townships and the boroughs of Chester Hill and Osceola Mills in Clearfield County. It served a resident population of 15,410 in 2010, and operates four schools: a high school, a middle school and two elementary schools.
Educational initiatives are offered beyond the standard curriculum. A dual-enrollment program gives students the opportunity to earn credits at various colleges including Lock Haven University, Pennsylvania Highlands Community College and Mount Aloysius College. The district has also recently implemented SpringBoard in its secondary English classes, a pre-AP program that also fully aligns to state standards and the SAT Suite of Assessments. AP courses are offered as well and are very popular, at one point doubling enrollment in a year’s time.
The district’s unique, collaborative approach to learning carries over to faculty. Each cycle, teachers from every grade meet to discuss the success level of their students. Instructional intervention is planned if necessary, and each child’s progress is closely monitored going forward. Additional interventions are used if needed, sometimes utilizing the services of other district professionals such as the school psychologist or reading specialist.
The collaborative ethos begins early here, as middle school teachers in science, math, English and social studies are responsible for academic teams. Teachers are allowed time to plan for this educational activity, which increases learning opportunities for each student. This teaching method carries into grades 9 and 10.
While learning is the goal, the foundation of Philipsburg-Osceola Area School District may as well be its strong support network. Middle schoolers, along with elementary-aged children, are exposed to a school-wide positive behavior intervention support program. The district also offers a student assistance program for all grades. This assures students have a support network during the most stressful moments of adolescence.
The community itself is even invited to become part of the district’s support network. The Philipsburg-Osceola Area Educational Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving educational opportunities in this rural district. The organization was formed to take donations and use them to improve the educational experience for all learners. Soon, the foundation plans to offer scholarships, purchase educational resources, support athletics and extracurriculars, and more.
With its focus on teamwork and its culture of positivity, every student should feel welcome in the Philipsburg-Osceola Area School District. For many prospective students, this small, rural district will feel just like home.