These 14 Pittsburgh-area school districts are leading the way — and earning national recognition from AASA

Photo above by MD Duran used by permission via Unsplash.

Last June, Kidsburgh wrote about two local school districts — Elizabeth Forward and West Allegheny — which were both named “lighthouse districts” by AASA, the national organization of school superintendents. These school districts “serve as beacons of light in key areas of holistic redesign of American education,” according to AASA.

As they lead the way, these school systems help other districts discover what’s possible.

Recently, AASA released its latest list of standout public school districts. A total of 49 school districts were chosen from nearly 14,000 nationwide. Of those, 14 districts are located near Pittsburgh, making Western Pennsylvania home to the largest cluster of innovative school districts in the country.

Along with Elizabeth Forward and West Allegheny, three Pittsburgh-area districts newly added to the “lighthouse” list are Fox Chapel Area, Northgate and Shaler Area.

AASA also named 28 districts around the country “demonstration systems to watch.” These districts are on their way to becoming “lighthouses” themselves. It’s exciting to see that nine out of those 28 districts are located near Pittsburgh.

Western Pennsylvania’s “demonstration systems to watch” are:

  • Allegheny Valley School District
  • Baldwin-Whitehall School District
  • Beaver Area School District
  • Brownsville Area School District
  • California Area School District
  • Chartiers Valley School District
  • Deer Lakes School District
  • Franklin Regional School District
  • South Fayette Township School District

Our region’s five “lighthouse” districts and nine “demonstration systems to watch” will be celebrated this summer at AASA’s second-annual Learning 2025 National Summit, to be held June 26-28 in Washington, D.C.

These districts are members of the Western Pennsylvania Learning 2025 Alliance, a cohort of 34 school districts working to prepare Pittsburgh-area students for the future. With support from The Grable Foundation, the Alliance provides workshops, expert speakers, networking and professional development services tailored to each school district’s unique goals.

“The Grable Foundation is proud to support the Western Pennsylvania Learning 2025 Alliance,” said Gregg Behr, executive director of The Grable Foundation, in an announcement about these awards. “These 34 districts are showing the world what school could be. Together, they’re providing a path for every learner to discover their passions, pursue their dreams, and become the best of whoever they are.”