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Quaker Valley Awards & Honors

Quaker Valley School District is committed to Excellence in Education. To see the results, click on the sections below.

District Awards & Honors

Four National Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence
All four Quaker Valley schools are designated National Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence. The Blue Ribbon is the most prestigious education award in the country, distinguishing schools for excellence in leadership, teaching, curriculum, student achievement, parent involvement and community support.

School Performance Exceeds State Requirements
The Pennsylvania Department of Education assigns a score, based on a 100 point scale, to every public school in the commonwealth. Quaker Valley School District schools were assigned the following academic performance scores for 2012-2013: Edgeworth Elementary: 81.4; Osborne Elementary: 88.1; Quaker Valley Middle School: 93.8; Quaker Valley High School: 93.2. Schools that scored 70 percent or higher met or exceeded the achievement and growth standard for 2012-2013. Scores are based upon achievement and growth on the PSSA and/or Keystone exams; graduation, promotion, and attendance rates; as well as participation and/or performance on the PSAT, SAT, ACT, NOCTI and Advanced Placement courses. Schools may earn up to seven extra points beyond the 100 point scoring system for students earning advanced scores on state, industry, and Advanced Placement exams.

Niche Best School Districts
The 2017 Niche Best School District Rankings name Quaker Valley School District #4 in Pittsburgh, #8 in Pennsylvania, and #79 in the nation. The ranking is compiled using several factors including SAT/ACT scores, student-teacher ratio and reviews by parents and students. view rankings

SAT Scores Remain Strong
On the 2015 Scholastic Aptitude Test, Quaker Valley students continued to achieve at an exceptionally high level. Quaker Valley students averaged 553 in reading, 572 in math, and 545 in writing, for a combined average score of 1670. The Pittsburgh Business Times ranks Quaker Valley 7th out of 102 public school districts in the Pittsburgh region based on 2015 SAT scores.

PASCD Supervision and Evaluation Award
Quaker Valley School District received the Exemplary Practices in Teacher Supervision and Evaluation Award from the Pennsylvania Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development in 2012-13. This award recognizes the work of Pennsylvania school districts in developing and implementing outstanding systems of teacher supervision and evaluation. Quaker Valley is one of only six public school districts in Pennsylvania to have earned this distinction.

Pittsburgh Business Times Ranking
The 2016 Pittsburgh Business Times Guide to Western Pennsylvania Schools ranks Quaker Valley School District 10th out of 105 public school districts in western Pennsylvania and 30th out of 500 school districts in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Rankings are based upon three years of PSSA test scores in reading, math, writing and science. This is the 12th consecutive year that Quaker Valley is ranked in the top 10. view rankings

Washington Post names QVHS most challenging in PA
The Washington Post has named Quaker Valley High School one of the most challenging high schools in Pennsylvania. In the 2017 rankings, Quaker Valley was listed as the most challenging high school in Western Pennsylvania, and 10th across the entire state. QVHS has a national ranking of 896.

U.S. News & World Report Best High Schools Ranking
In 2018, U.S. News and World Report, ranking the best public high schools in America, placed Quaker Valley High School #1 in Western Pennsylvania, 10th among Pennsylvania's high schools, and 681 out of more than 21,000 public high schools nationwide. Schools are evaluated based on overall student performance on state tests, AP tests, and International Baccalaureate exams, as well as how they educate black, Hispanic, and economically disadvantaged students.

School-Wide Positive Behavior Model Schools
In 2013-14, Osborne & Edgeworth Elementary Schools, and Quaker Valley Middle School were designated model schools for Pennsylvania’s School-Wide Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports program. The purpose of the recognition system is to identify and publicly recognize schools for successful implementation of Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports. In addition, it affords schools and districts the opportunity to accurately self-reflect on their progress implementing and sustaining the program.

Best Communities for Music Education For 14 Consecutive Years
In 2018, Quaker Valley School District was named among the nation’s Best Communities for Music Education by the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Foundation for the 14th consecutive year - one of 538 districts nationwide to receive this designation. The NAMM Foundation recognizes schools that have demonstrated exceptional efforts toward maintaining music education as part of the school's core curriculum.

District-wide Model Counseling Program
In 2012-13, Quaker Valley Middle School earned the Recognized ASCA Model Program (RAMP) designation for its school counseling program – one of only four schools in the nation to earn this achievement three consecutive times. This effort was spearheaded by middle school counselor Matt Parrish and former counselor Dr. Christy Clapper. Quaker Valley School District is the only district in Pennsylvania to have all of its schools honored with RAMP distinction.

Distinguished School Board Award
The Quaker Valley School Board received the D. Richard Wynn Distinguished School Board Award from the Tri-State Area School Study Council at the University of Pittsburgh in 2013. The award recognizes the board's accomplishments during the 2010-11 and 2011-12 school years.

Pennsylvania School Boards Association Recognition
The Pennsylvania School Boards Association recognized Quaker Valley School District with two honorable mention distinctions in 2011 for the QVSD website and 2010-11 district wall calendar. In previous years, the PSBA recognized the district website and QV Update publication.

PenSPRA Communication Awards
Quaker Valley School District received two Awards of Merit and an Award of Honorable Mention in the National School Public Relations Association’s 2012 Publications and Electronic Media Awards contest. The 2011-12 district calendar and the Quaker Valley Better Together video each earned Awards of Merit, while the Quaker Valley Middle School Renovation Blog earned Honorable Mention from among the 701 entries.

National Council of Teachers of English Recognition
Bittersweet: Antiqua, Quaker Valley High School’s literary magazine, was honored with the rank of Highest Award in the 2012 National Council of Teachers of English Program to Recognize Excellence in Student Literary Magazines. Quaker Valley is one of only 26 nationwide and the only Pennsylvania high school to receive NCTE’s top award.

AFP Youth in Philanthropy Award
The Quaker Valley Laps for Love Program was selected as the 2012 recipient of the Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy Award presented by the Western Pennsylvania chapter of the Association for Fundraising. From 1994-2016, Quaker Valley Laps for Love has raised $74,158.15 to benefit The Children's Institute's free care fund.

Cisco Networking Academy Partnership
The Cisco Networking Academy Program is an innovative partnership that teaches students to design, build and maintain computer networks. Quaker Valley High School offers this specialized technology curriculum that prepares students for college and employment in the 21st century.

Student Awards & Honors

National Merit Scholarship Program Recognition
In 2015, Quaker Valley High School seniors Justin Green and Addison Gould were named National Merit Finalists in the 60th annual National Merit Scholarship program. Green and Gould scored in the top one percent of students completing the PSAT in October 2013, the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. In 2014, seniors Mattias Cooper, Julia Nelson and Kathryn Wroblewski were recognized as Commended Students.

Middle School Student Council State Recognition
In 2014-2015, the Quaker Valley Middle School Student Council was named an inaugural recipient of the Pennsylvania Association of Student Councils' Keystone Council Award. The middle school was one of only 10 student councils in the commonwealth to earn this honor. Margot Bruno, science teacher, and Danielle Schultz, school counselor, serve as student council co-sponsors.

College Board Advanced Placement Scholars
In 2014, the College Board announced that a record 81 Quaker Valley High School students earned the designation of AP Scholar – including four National AP Scholars. These students earned recognition for their exceptional achievement in the college-level Advanced Placement Program. 185 Quaker Valley students completed 386 AP exams in 24 subjects – earning a 91 percent pass rate. view the graph

National Achievement Scholarship Semifinalist
A Quaker Valley High School student earned recognition as a Semifinalist in the 2014 National Achievement Scholarship Program, an academic competition for African American high school students. Senior Lydia Olawaiye is among the more than 1,600 high school seniors to earn this distinction in 2013.

First Place Honors in Chemistry Olympics
In 2014, a team of three Quaker Valley High School students recently earned first place honors in the 34th Annual High School Chemistry Olympics at the University of Pittsburgh. Senior Axel Gross and juniors Guillaume Shippee and Andrew Warburton competed in category II, second year chemistry level. The Annual Chemistry Olympics is a competitive chemistry laboratory competition where students perform experiments that are judged on the basis of results and analysis.

Alliance for Young Artists & Writers Recognition
In 2013, seven Quaker Valley High School seniors were recognized for outstanding artwork by the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers. Senior Laura Schumacher was awarded a Gold Key for her portfolio. Ben Bartling, Molly Johnson, Megan Youngblood and Garrett Powell earned Silver Keys; and Colleen Barenick and Mathilda Savocchia received Honorable Mention. All seven seniors enrolled in advanced placement studio art with Jeremy Pidhirny and Robin Russell.

Odyssey of the Mind World Finals
In 2015, an Osborne Elementary team made it to the OM World Finals for the second time. The also made it to the finals in 2013. Coached by Mr. Jeff Christensen, the team included Isabella Bock, Lilly Capezzuto, Stella Christensen, Ilijana Hasak, Jhon Freddy Krebs, Owen Petronick and Taylor Retzlaff.

PMEA Honors Choir
In 2014, five Quaker Valley High School students were selected through competitive audition to the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association District One Honors Choir Festival. Senior Chase Lenz; junior Gabriella Zucckero; and freshmen Annika Christensen, Rhiannon Gray and Kevin McManus were selected.

Dual Enrollment Opportunities
Quaker Valley High school students may explore opportunities to take classes at nearby colleges and universities. With the pre-approval of the principal, dual enrollment is offered to enhance the opportunities available to students. Some college courses are offered at a discounted rate, allowing the student to earn both high school and college credit simultaneously.

PA Junior Academy of Science
In 2015, QV had another tremendous performance at the Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science (PJAS). Ten seniors from Honors Research Science, as well as two freshman and seventeen 7th and 8th graders presented and defended their own novel research findings and continued a tradition of QV excellence at PJAS. In 2014, seventeen Quaker Valley students earned first place awards.

National Honor Society
In 2016, the Quaker Valley High School Chapter of the National Honor Society inducted 55 new members. Each year, members are chosen for exemplifying the ideals of character, scholarship, service and leadership.

Global Scholars Program
During the 2013-2014 school year, 26 global opportunities were offered to students in Quaker Valley High School's Global Scholars Program, with more than 76 of the global scholar students participating in this year's events alone.

Staff Awards & Honors

Twenty-five National Board Certified Teachers
Quaker Valley has 25 National Board Certified Teachers, the highest number in suburban Allegheny County and the fourth highest in Pennsylvania. The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) certification is widely considered the "gold standard in teaching excellence."

World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh Award
Quaker Valley High School teacher and Global Scholars coordinator Susan McCauley was selected to receive the 2014 George C. Oehmler Award from the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh. Mrs. McCauley has coordinated Quaker Valley’s Global Scholars Initiative since it was launched in the fall of 2010. The goal is to provide every high school student with a relevant 21st century education steeped in real-world application. Students are challenged to understand the shared needs and shared problems that impact the entire globe and are encouraged to seek solutions by looking beyond the traditional constraints of borders, geographical locations, language and cultural understandings.

Champion of Change Award
Tom Forrest, English and language arts teacher at Quaker Valley Middle School, was recognized as a 2013 Champion of Change by the Allegheny Intermediate Unit and Common Sense Media for his innovative use of technology in the classroom.

Distinguished Female Educator Award
In 2013, Dr. Heidi Ondek, then Assistant Superintendent of Quaker Valley School District, received the 2013 Distinguished Female Educator Award from the Tri-State Area School Study Council. The award recognizes honorees for their leadership within their school districts and communities as well as their mentorship and assistance extended to others.

PMEA Citation of Excellence
In 2013, Todd Fox, instrumental music director for Quaker Valley Middle School, was awarded the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association District 1 Citation of Excellence. High school choral director Matt Boice received this award in 2006, and elementary instrumental music teacher Christine Burgh received it in 2004.

Ambridge Chamber of Commerce Outstanding Educator Award
In 2015, Quaker Valley High School career education teacher Marianne Cibulas was named an Outstanding Educator by the Ambridge Area Chamber of Commerce. The chamber recognizes a QV teacher annually for his/her efforts to enrich the community. Previous winners were Tracey Shaffer in 2014 and Jason Harrison in 2013.

Outstanding Educator Recognition
Jeffrey Sebastian received a Certificate of Recognition as an Outstanding Educator from the University of Chicago for excellence in teaching and mentorship in 2013. Mr. Sebastian teaches AP Calculus and Honors Calculus at Quaker Valley High School.

Walter J. DeLacy Award for Excellence in Instruction
The Pennsylvania School Study Council (PSSC) in 2011 named mathematics teacher Jeffrey Sebastian the recipient of the Walter J. DeLacy Award for Excellence in Instruction. Sebastian, who has taught for Quaker Valley High School for ten years, was selected for ongoing accomplishments both in and out of the classroom while serving a variety of students and contributing to teaching excellence by improving instruction beyond his classroom.

Teacher Award for Excellence

Established in 2001, the Quaker Valley Award for Excellence is presented annually to a teacher or teachers to recognize distinguished service to students.

Quaker Valley Award for Excellence recipients:

  • Argy Darakos, 2018
  • Joe Prosdocimo, 2017
  • Marianne Cibulas, 2016
  • Andrea Croft, 2015
  • Matthew Boice & Lou Valenzi, 2014
  • QVHS Advanced Placement Teachers, 2013
  • Rose Ann Bergandy, 2012
  • Mike Haboush, 2011
  • David Noyes, 2010
  • Adrienne Floro, 2009
  • Betsey Wilson, 2008
  • Stephen Moxie, 2007
  • Dan Pellis, 2006
  • Rita Hoepp, 2005
  • Jeff Andrews, 2004
  • Joan Leja, 2003
  • Christine Burgh, 2002
  • Gene Klein, 2001


National Board Certified Teachers

National Board Certification is a voluntary assessment program designed to recognize and reward great teachers—and make them better. While state licensing systems set basic requirements to teach in each state, National Board Certified Teachers have successfully demonstrated advanced teaching knowledge, skills and practices. These accomplished teachers comprise approximately three percent of the national teaching force.

Certification is achieved through a rigorous, performance-based assessment that typically takes one to three years to complete. As part of the process, teachers build a portfolio that includes student work samples, assignments, videotapes and a thorough analysis of their classroom teaching. Additionally, teachers are assessed on their knowledge of the subjects they teach.

Quaker Valley currently has 26 National Board Certified Teachers. Teachers certified by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards include the following:

  • Amy Balbach
  • Jamie Chappell
  • Andrea Croft
  • Argyro Darakos
  • Jill Ferguson
  • Gary Galuska
  • Jessica Garavaglia
  • Beth Grunwald
  • Michael Haboush
  • Catherine Hanna
  • Matt Littell
  • Alexandra Mariano
  • Regina Marth
  • Michele O'Farrell
  • Kelly Panucci
  • Sally Peterson
  • David Robertson
  • Robin Russell
  • Jeffrey Sebastian
  • Tracy Shaffer
  • Christine Simon
  • Kristine Stedeford
  • Stacy Tessaro
  • Matthew Welch
  • Erin Woods

Velma Award

The Velma Award, established in 2001, is affectionately named after retired Assistant Superintendent Dr. Velma Saire. The award is announced during the annual Opening Day event that marks the start of the new school year for Quaker Valley School District staff.

The award is presented to demonstrate that great deeds are usually wrought at great risks. The symbolic giraffe is given to the honoree for the duration of the school year – until the following Opening Day, when it is presented to the next Velma Award recipient. The names of those honored are added to a perpetual plaque displayed in Quaker Valley’s district office.

Velma Award recipients:

  • Dr. Jeff Evancho, 2017
  • Dr. Sally Hoover, Leah Wells, & Academic Specialists, 2016
  • Jason Harrison & Lauren McGuirk, 2015
  • Mike Mastroianni & Gene Klein, 2014
  • Karlton Chapman, 2013
  • School Counselors, 2012
  • Youth Connect/Floyd Faulkner, 2011
  • School Nurses, 2010
  • QV Middle School Faculty & Staff, 2009
  • Linda Conlon, 2008
  • Alex Mariano & Sue McCauley, 2007
  • Rose Ann Bergandy, 2006
  • Edgeworth Staff, 2005
  • Holly Voelp, 2004
  • Lynn Sopp & Betsey Wilson, 2003
  • John Doucette, 2002
  • Dr. Joseph Marrone, 2001

Quaker Valley School District
100 Leetsdale Industrial Drive, Leetsdale, PA 15056 | 412-749-3600
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