Upper St. Clair SHOP@USC wins top national award
Upper St. Clair School District has been selected as one of three national Grand Prize Winners in the 23rd annual Magna Awards program sponsored by the National School Boards Association’s magazine, American School Board Journal. The district was recognized for its SHOP@USC program, which is a pioneering, student-run business, operated through the collaboration between students with significant disabilities and their same-age peers without disabilities. Within SHOP, students produce and sell greeting cards, business cards, signs/banners, laser-engraved items and USC spirit wear merchandise. SHOP is an acronym for Showing How Opportunity Pays. Established in the 2014-15 school year, the program currently serves 38 students – 17 of whom are part of the school’s Life Skills Support program with various special needs and abilities. Mrs. Michelle Zirngibl, SHOP@USC coordinator explains that “students are receiving valuable experiences in fabrication as well as sales. In addition, it’s the soft skills such as teamwork, communication, professionalism and enthusiasm that students also gain experiences in learning. Whether you are a student with autism who needs to practice appropriate social skills or a student who is college-bound wanting to experience a work environment, there is something to be gained for everyone.” The Magna Awards recognize school districts and their leaders for taking bold and innovative steps to improve the lives of their students and their communities. An independent panel of school board members, administrators, and other educators selected the 2017 Magna Award winners from nearly 200 submissions.