The Carmichaels Area School District is located in southwestern Pennsylvania, on the eastern side of Greene County. The district encompasses approximately 39 square miles and educates around 1,100 children. The school is truly the center of a proud community that is involved in all aspects of its education and athletic teams. Although a rural community, the area roots itself in the natural resources that were so abundant many years ago. The people in the community come from hard-working coal mines and farms that dotted the area. Although many of the mines have closed, and too many farms have disappeared, the work ethic that families pushed from generation to generation still exists today. With the loss of industry came the gain of economically disadvantaged families. The area has not fully recovered, despite the resurgence of the natural gas industry. At this time, more than half of the student population in the school district struggles with the economically disadvantaged label. Using this information, the district has plans to reverse the cycle of poverty to give children a chance to be successful as they move from school to college or career.

According to the Future Ready PA Index, 57% percent of students from Carmichaels attend post-secondary institutions. This led district administration to wonder what was being done for the other 43% of students.

The leadership team has enacted plans to examine the way the district educates students. Studies have shown that the country is in a near-crisis in terms of students entering trades. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that there are more than 6.7 million job openings, and this eclipses the labor pool. This information has forced the question: “What can the district do to help students succeed?”

To help every student reach success, the district leadership team is in the beginning phase of transforming its schools. The team is developing a 5-year plan that will ensure the district is using all community resources to start to break the cycle of poverty in local communities. In five years, the district plans to have full career tracks for students, allowing them to find their passion and have a plan of study that will transition them to college or career. The district wants students to be able to be placed in jobs soon after graduation if they choose the career route. Students will gain experience while in high school by using community partnerships, internships, and apprenticeships to give them real experiences in fields of their choice. The district will also develop elective courses and lifelong skill courses to allow students to see success early and have a focused path.

The district will also develop career portfolios in which every student will showcase their experiences throughout their career at Carmichaels. When a student leaves campus, future employers and universities will truly see their experiences in detail, making students more marketable in the real world. Students will no longer be ranked and rated based solely on test scores. Their experiences will shine through genuine courses designed to showcase their skills and talents.

This all leads to one final question: What is a “Mike”?

The district’s logo has changed through the years, but one thing has not: From their roots as coal miners to farmers, Mikes have always worked hard for their accomplishments. Mikes are proud people and show genuine pride in all aspects of their community. Mikes are heartfelt and caring. Mikes look out for one another. Mikes are determined to be successful. Mikes strive to be the difference. The Carmichaels administration, teachers, students, and community (the Mikes), will strive to be the leaders in innovation that will change the way we do education in Pennsylvania. Mikes will work tirelessly to see that this change is a difference-maker in the lives of students.

This is why Carmichaels Area School District is always proud to say: “Once a Mike…Always a Mike!” 

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