From the desk of the Executive Director:

Greetings and Happy New Year from IU1!  This is always such a busy time in our school districts as well as our own IU programs.  As we enter this new year, I want to share some highlights that have occurred in our IU as well as our entire region.

IU1 was selected as one of 10 Pittsburgh Innovative agencies by the HundrED Organization, based out of Helsinki, Finland.  I encourage you to review our resources (including videos highlighting the work of our students in the FAB Lab).  Through the efforts of our Special Education, Curriculum, and Mental Health Departments, along with the great work of our teachers and students, we are in full-swing of a Project-Based Learning Curriculum.  In the near future, much of the core curriculum areas will be centered around the projects created in the FAB Lab.  Also, our students that receive therapeutic services are provided this while working on group projects.  Our Social Workers are trained in this curriculum and the results have been simply amazing!  Attendance has increased while classroom disruptions (as well as other forms of negative student-behaviors) have decreased.  In addition, our “cutting-edge” work has been nationally recognized by the Mid-Atlantic Regional Education Laboratory (REL).  More to come on this topic in the coming months!

As a result of this work, IU1 was invited to present at the Helsinki World Education Conference in Helsinki, Finland this past November.  Since then, we have had several international agencies take an interest in our work.  This all began a few years back through the gracious funding efforts of the Chevron and Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation.  Without this support, we simply would not have been able to do this innovative and exciting work.

Another exciting milestone for IU1 was the renaming of our Mental Health Outpatient Clinic (located in Waynesburg) to the “Charles F. Mahoney III Mental Health Outpatient Clinic.”  IU1’s recently retired, former Executive Director, Mr. Mahoney was (and continues to be) a top advocate for mental health services in our region.  Under his 10-year leadership, IU1 created a complete Division of Mental Health Services, which includes school-based MH programming for our districts in Greene County.  Special thanks and gratitude to the IU1 Board of Education that recognized and supported these efforts through the years.

Our districts shine in continuing to provide the best educational services to our children using “state-of-the-art” facilities.  All of our 25 districts offer multiple maker-spaces/FAB Labs, while many of them are participating in the Aquaponics (farm-to-table) Agricultural Program.  Students in our rural, tri-county area are not only excelling in state assessments, but also learning the day-to-day life skills necessary to live an independent, holistic lifestyle after high school.  We are also concentrating on career-readiness, working in conjunction with our five incredible Career-Technical Centers. 

Finally, I would like to welcome our newest addition to our Administrative Team (although she certainly is no stranger to IU1).  Dr. Kristin Szewczyk was officially named as the Assistant Executive Director at the December Board Meeting.  She has been with the organization for over 14 years and has been the principal of our Waynesburg Campus the past four years.  “Dr. K” will focus on all phases of educational programming, while assisting with our campus-based schools and programs.  I’m confident that she will bring fresh ideas and assist our entire administrative team as we continue to collaborate with our districts in making our students’ educational experience the absolute best.

There are just too many exciting and innovative projects and initiatives going on in our region that I simply can’t highlight them all.  However, I encourage you to continue perusing our website for more information.  I would also recommend you virtually visit all our 25 districts and CTC’s (all linked to our website) to read about the wonderful programs happening in our schools.

Once again, Happy New Year from IU1!