The School of Professional Studies (SPS) is a an electives-based certificate program available to students enrolled in the PA Leadership Charter School (PALCS). While PALCS is available to all Pennsylvanian students in grades K-12, SPS is only available to PALCS students in grades 9-12.
School of Professional Studies students choose between participating in either SPS LIVE or SPS Virtual for the school year.
SPS LIVE students come on-site to the Western Regional Center in Pittsburgh (Harmar Township) twice a week. SPS LIVE gives students the opportunity to learn in an academic community with other driven, self-motivated students where individual achievement is valued and supported. SPS LIVE enables students to make friends and network with other PALCS high school students. During SPS LIVE sessions, students complete their cyber class work and participate in exciting opportunities designed to supplement your SPS certificate work.
SPS Virtual students attend weekly SPS virtual classes and explore their career pursuits through specially-designed cyber projects. Wherever possible, SPS Virtual students attend live broadcast special events with SPS LIVE students to stay involved in the educational community.
With the support of guidance counselors, School of Professional Studies students choose to participate in a custom certificate program in the fields of the arts
, health and human services
(Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). Certificate tracks are packages of 6-7 PALCS elective courses and are designed to be completed as part of four-year high school graduation requirements, including core classes and other electives.
Each certificate track is modeled after a college major, so students can try out future career paths while still in high school, free from the risk and expense of experiencing these courses of study for the first time in post-secondary school.
In addition to standard elective credit earned for every course completed in the certificate track, students can earn .5 elective credits
for every year of participation in the SPS program itself. Participation in the program includes enrichment programming opportunities such as guest speakers, workshops, collaborative projects, field trips, job shadowing, and hands-on experiences.
Upon completion of the program, students earn high school credit, their custom SPS Certificate, and a special designation on their high school transcript.
By taking a focused set of elective courses during high school, students are able to distinguish themselves and may have an advantage when applying to colleges, universities and job opportunities. Participation in the program and the earned certificate may be added to a resume. The structure of our cyber-blended education model helps students become motivated and self-disciplined while building engaging relationships with other students, educators, colleges and employers.
The School of Professional Studies SPS Live Program is located north of downtown Pittsburgh in Harmar Township at the PALCS Western Regional Center.
PALCS Western Regional Center
55 Alpha Drive West
Pittsburgh, PA 15238
Learn more about the Western Regional Center »
Ms. Christine Marks is the coordinator of the School of Professional Studies, with assistance from Mrs. Carrie Longstreth in the Western Regional Center. Click below to learn more about our staff.
Additionally, students work directly with classroom teachers for any courses they are taking. View our complete list of PALCS teachers.