Bethel Park High School
|Bethel Park High School|
"Where Futures Begin"
|309 Church Road
Bethel Park, Pennsylvania 15102
|School district||Bethel Park School District|
|Principal||Dr. Zeb Jansante|
|Assistant principals||Mrs. Sheryl Graff, Mr. Brian Lenosky|
|Color(s)||Black, Orange and White|
Bethel Park High School, also called BPHS, is a four-year, comprehensive high school located in Bethel Park, Pennsylvania, with an enrollment of 1,937 students in grades 9–12. Its curriculum includes ten Advanced Placement Program courses, 14 honors courses and four foreign language programs. Its mascot is the Black Hawk.
Its mission statement is "To lead an educational partnership with the community, maintaining an environment that challenges all students to reach their potential as lifelong learners and responsible members of society."
- 1 Alma mater
- 2 Graduation rate
- 3 Graduation requirements
- 4 Academics
- 5 Curriculum
- 6 Classrooms for the Future Grant
- 7 Old Campus
- 8 New School
- 9 History
- 10 Student life
- 11 Extracurriculars
- 12 Notable alumni
- 13 References
- 14 External links
Oh Alma Mater, Bethel High
All hail to thee.
We sing thee praises every one
With love and loyalty.
From atop the summit’s brow
Keep a watchful eye.
We’ll always love thy colors true
Our Bethel High.
In 2010, the Pennsylvania Department of Education issued a new, 4 year cohort graduation rate. Bethel Park School District's rate was 97% for 2010.
According to traditional graduation rate calculations:
The Bethel Park School Board requires that a student earn 27 credits to graduate including: English 4 credits, Mathematics 4 credits, Science 4 credits, Social Studies 4 credits, Technology 1 credit, Health/Phys. Ed. 1.50 credits, Fine Arts 2 credits and Electives 7.5 credits. All students (special education students with I.E.P.’s excluded) who fall below grade level on a standardized test or state assessment in reading will be required to take reading courses until they read at grade level.
By law, all Pennsylvania secondary school students must complete a project as a part of their eligibility to graduate from high school. The type of project, its rigor and its expectations are set by the individual school district. At Bethel Park Senior High School the graduation project includes: a paper, a presentation, and a product. The project must be related to a course the student is taking in the junior or senior year.
By Pennsylvania School Board regulations, for the graduating classes 2016, students must demonstrate successful completion of secondary level course work in Algebra I, Biology, English Composition, and Literature for which the Keystone Exams serve as the final course exams. Students’ Keystone Exam scores shall count for at least one-third of the final course grade.
In 2010 the high school declined to Warning - AYP status due to chronic, low achievement for special education students and low income students. In 2009, the school achieved AYP status.
The high school ranked 14th of 123 high school in western Pennsylvania for academic achievement based on three years of PSSA results on: math, reading, writing and one year of science, by the Pittsburgh Business Times in May 2009.
- PSSA Results
- 11th Grade Reading
- 2010 - 84%, State - 67% of 11th graders on grade level.
- 2009 - 86%, State - 65% 
- 2008 - 80%, State - 65% 
- 11th Grade Math:
- 2010 - 75% on grade level. In Pennsylvania, 59% of 11th graders are on grade level.
- 2009 - 79%, State - 56% 
- 2008 - 74%, State - 56% 
- 11th Grade Science:
- 2010 - 57% on grade level. State: 39% of 11th graders on grade level.
- 2009 - 67%, State: 40% 
- 2008 - 55%, State - 39% 
College remediation: According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, 29% of Bethel Park School District graduates required remediation in mathematics and or reading before they were prepared to take college level courses in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education or community colleges. Less than 66% of Pennsylvania high school graduates, who enroll in a four-year college in Pennsylvania, will earn a bachelor's degree within six years. Among Pennsylvania high school graduates pursuing an associate degree, only one in three graduate in three years. Per the Pennsylvania Department of Education, one in three recent high school graduates who attend Pennsylvania's public universities and community colleges takes at least one remedial course in math, reading or English.
Bethel Park's curriculum offers a wide range of academic opportunities. The school has long prided itself on its strong academics. In the 2006 Pittsburgh Business Times annual ranking of schools, Bethel Park High School was ranked #9 out of 123 high schools in southwestern Pennsylvania.  10 Advanced Placement courses are offered including: American and European History, English Literature and Language, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Calculus, Calculus BC, Java, Spanish, French, German, and Latin. BPHS also offers 14 Honors classes and numerous electives, not limited to but including, Law and You, Democratic Leadership, Sociology, Journalism, Media Literacy, Theatre Arts, and Web Page Design. Every other year, Bethel Park also offers a course called the China Experience, which is taught by a teacher from Bethel Park's sister school Xing Zhi High School in China. Spanish, French, German, and Latin are offered as well. The average SAT score at Bethel Park High School in 2006 was 1046, compared to the state average of 993. The class of 2009 produced 2 National Merit Scholars and 7 National Merit Commended Students and 105 students who received scholarships totaling $4.8 million. Forty-three percent of the Class of 2008 graduated with a QPA of 3.5 or higher, with 111 students maintaining their standing in the National Honor Society, by keeping their QPA at 3.85 or higher. The SAT scores of the Class of 2008 were 93 points higher than the State average and 55 points higher than the National average.
The high school offers a Dual Enrollment program. This state program permits high school students to take courses, at local higher education institutions, to earn college credits. Students remain enrolled at their high school. The courses count towards high school graduation requirements and towards earning a college degree. The students continue to have full access to activities at their high school. The college credits are offered at a deeply discounted rate. The state offers a small grant to assist students in costs for tuition, fees and books. Under the Pennsylvania Transfer and Articulation Agreement, many Pennsylvania colleges and universities accept these credits for students who transfer to their institutions.
For the 2009-10 funding year, the school district received a state grant of $3162 for the program.
Bethel Park High School uses the following grading system:
- A (90% and Higher)
- B (80% – 89%)
- C (70% – 79%)
- D (60% – 69%)
- F (Below 60%)
- I (incomplete)
Grades are usually rounded up if it is .5 or above. Ex 89.5% = "A"
Bethel Park High School began to offer Edline for progress reporting to all students. Teachers are expected to update grades on Edline the 2nd, 4th, 6th, and 8th week of all grading periods (every two weeks).
Classrooms for the Future Grant
Bethel Park School Board received a grant from the PA Department of Education to purchase equipment to help reform the high school's core subjects instruction and to prepare students for future employment by using cutting-edge equipment and software. The district used the funds to purchase laptops for students, laptops for teachers, laptop carts and other digital equipment. The grant provided additional funding for a technology coach to instruct teachers in using the equipment to improve instruction. In 2006-07 and 2007-08 the district applied for, but was denied Classroom For the Future funding by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. In 2008-09, the district received $188,223. Beginning in 2006, Pennsylvania's Classrooms for the Future program distributed more than $150 million for laptops, interactive boards and other high-tech tools to 543 Pennsylvania high schools. In 2009, the Classrooms For the Future funding program was terminated due to a deep state revenue shortfall.
The high school was one of few high schools in Pennsylvania that was composed of more than three buildings. In fact, the high school was originally intended to serve dual purposes as both the high school for Bethel Park and a campus for the Community College of Allegheny County. The campus opened in 1959 and was extensively renovated in 1996.
- Building 1 - Science and Health. Also homerooms for freshmen.
- Building 2 - Social Studies, Business and Foreign Language. Also homerooms for sophomores/freshman.
- Building 3 - Math, Art, Computer Science and Marketing. Also homerooms for juniors
- Building 4 - English, and Family and consumer science. Also homerooms for seniors, and the location of both the principal's office, the attendance office, the nurse's office and the Writing Center.
- Building 5 - Technology education, and the Golf Room in the basement.
- Building 6 - Gym, the pool, the Athletic Office, the locker rooms and the rifle range in the basement.
- Building 7 - Cafeteria, Music, Auditorium, and Theatre arts.
- Building 8 - Media Center (Library).
Buildings 2, 3, and 4 each featured a courtyard in the center of each building. The building 2 courtyard featured trees and flower gardens. The building 3 courtyard had a circle of bricks. The building 4 courtyard featured a fountain with a pond, benches, and flower gardens. Some teachers held classes in the courtyards when the weather was nice.
In 2009 plans were made to build a new single-building school. In 2010 ground was broken in the area just south of the campus that had previously served as a parking lot and practice fields for the school. The new building was completed in mid-2011 and students were officially moved in during January 2012. The old campus was then promptly demolished, this area now serves as parking and practice fields.
In 1886 when the school district was formed, Bethel was a township, so the name of the school district was the Bethel Township School District.
Bethel Park High School was originally called Bethel High School. The first Bethel High School held two classrooms and an auditorium; and employed four teachers. It was constructed in 1908 at the corner of South Park Road and Park Avenue for $6,400 and still stands today. The first graduating class of 15 students, five males and ten females, graduated in 1909.
In 1914, the high school changed to a four-year program. Around 1920 extracurriculars began. A 10 room grade school was constructed in 1927 near the high school on Park Avenue, in the current site of the current Bethel Park Community Center. The enrollment at the high school level outgrew the original high school facility and the high school students switched schools with the younger students in 1934.
Enrollment over the years kept increasing, which necessitated additions to the high school on Park Avenue. During the construction of a new addition to the school on July 11, 1939, a fire broke out and heavily damaged the building, but construction continued and on September 20, 1940 a dedication was held to commemorate the new addition to the building. In 1949 a gymnasium was added to the Park Avenue school and in 1952 an upper wing was constructed to meet growing enrollment and student educational needs
In 1956 the Board of School Directors purchased an 80-acre (320,000 m2) plot on Church Road, known at that time as McCormack Farm, and plans were drawn to create a campus environment. In the fall of 1959, sophomores, juniors and seniors moved to their six-building campus, which consisted of two academic buildings, library, auditorium/cafeteria, physical education building and boiler house at a cost of $4.1 million for construction and equipment. Ninth graders stayed at the junior high.
Ninth graders returned to campus in the fall of 1964 and were excluded again beginning in 1976. Finally, ninth graders returned to the campus again in 1985 and have remained since.
The school was called Bethel High School until the campus high school opened in 1959, changing the name to Bethel Senior High School. It was not until 1964 that the school district added “Park” to its name, becoming Bethel Park Senior High School.
The new Bethel Senior High School was dedicated on October 23, 1960, but the campus would not grow to its current size until seven years later. Phase II of the construction was completed in 1964 with the addition of another academic building and the industrial arts building. Phase III was completed in 1967 with the construction of the fourth academic building and a 6,300 seat football stadium and track, three tennis courts, seven basketball courts and a baseball field, as well as additions to the library, cafeteria and physical education building. Ten classrooms were added to Buildings 2 and 3 in 1969.
In 1972 the first Bethel High School was converted into the School House Arts Center and was given historic landmark designation by the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Association in 1990. When the high school students moved to their new campus, the former high school on Park Avenue was used as a junior high school until it was put up for sale in 1974. It was sold to the Municipality of Bethel Park in 1975 for $1 and closed in 1980.
It was demolished in 1990 and is now the home of the Bethel Park Community Center. Before the school was demolished, the Bethel High School compass-style floor emblem that was in the vestibule, linking the gymnasium and auditorium in the old school, was carefully removed. The emblem is 9’2” in diameter and constructed from terrazzo, and now proudly adorns the lobby of the Community Center.
In June 1994 a 26 month, $20 million renovation included new roofs, ceilings, terrazzo tile and carpeting, site work, painting, elevators, plumbing and HVAC, as well renovations to the gymnasium/swimming pool and industrial arts building. All renovations were completed to the eight buildings by 1996. Around 1996 “Senior” was dropped and the school is currently known as Bethel Park High School.
During the late 2000s, plans were made for a new high school to replace the campus. The idea was proposed for security reasons (anyone could walk into the old high school with no trouble; students could leave school midday without notice), as well as the fact that the old school was falling apart from age and corners cut during the 1996 renovation. Ground was broken on the new school in 2010, south of the old campus next to the stadium parking lot. In 2012, the new school was finished, and students and staff were transferred to the new school for the second semester of the 2011-2012 school year. The buildings of the old campus were slowly demolished over the following months, with the landmark "Smokestack" once connected to Building 5 being the last part of the campus to be torn down. As the old school went down, new practice fields and parking lots were built over the remains. The work on the new fields and campus are as of October 2013 almost 100% complete. The only parts of the old campus that remain are the Bladerunners Ice Rink complex, Blackhawk Drive, Blackhawk Stadium, and Perkey Memorial Field, along with a few sidewalks that once connected the campus to Blackhawk Drive.
1958-1960 – Theodore A. Siedle
1960-1967 – Robert E. Owsiany
1967-1976 – Edward A. Strall
1976-1985 – Thomas K. Walters
1985-1991 – Thomas R. Moses
1991-1996 – Lawrence A. Bukowski, Ph.D.
1996-2001 – Thomas A. Hisiro, Ed.D.
2001-2006 – David Helinski
2006–present – Zeb Jansante, Ed.D.
Curriculum in the 1930s consisted of English, History, French, Home Economics, Social Studies, Music, Latin, Science and Math. Events such as the May Day Celebration, class banquets, Halloween Parties and a New Year’s Dance were part of school life. Operettas were presented instead of the Musical. Clubs such as Girl Reserves, Hi-Y, The Secret Sixteen and the Junior Birdmen were popular among the students. Sports were limited to Boys Basketball and Football. Girls Basketball was an intramural sport. The first school cafeteria in Allegheny County opened at Bethel High School in 1930 and was staffed by students who earned one credit toward graduation for their participation.
The 1940s saw an end to the Depression and the beginning of World War II. Like other schools, many young Bethel High School male students were active in the war. Female students did their part for the war effort by participating in organizations such as the Girl Reserves to knit mittens and socks for the soldiers. Because of war conditions, several interscholastic sports were cancelled. After the war, school life got back to normal, with music and dancing in the cafeteria during lunchtime for those who stayed.
Dancing was an important part of school social life in the 1940s, with Student Council holding weekly dances in addition to the Prom and May Dance, which were held in the gymnasium.
The curriculum expanded to include classes such as Shorthand, Wood Shop, Art, Physical Education, Spanish and Penmanship.
Student clubs of the 1940s included the 8x Owls and Miracle Book Club. Sports grew to include Boys Golf.
As Bethel moved into the 1950s, the high school began to grow. A new gymnasium with a divider enabled boys and girls gym classes to be held simultaneously. The addition of bleachers meant that students could attend sporting events and cheer for their teams from the stands. Student organizations included the Canteen Committee, Sub Deb Club, Technician’s Club, Radio Club, Forensics League and the Future Teachers of America. Rifle was added as a sport. One of Bethel’s great traditions was born in the 1950s—the Powder Puff Football Game, that pits senior girls against their junior counterparts for a friendly game of flag football. This event, now more than 50 years old, “kicks off” the annual Homecoming Week festivities. In the 1950s T.M. Buck, Bethel High School’s Supervising Principal and the first Superintendent of the school district, wrote this in the Bethlan student handbook: “High school provides the place and opportunity, but only your desire and will to work can make these good things result in qualities of scholarship, leadership and character for the individual; and only these will result in the kind of school we want. Good citizenship is the first step, and every one of you can take it. If each teacher and pupil ‘gives’ to the school, there will be plenty for all to ‘take.’”
As Bethel rocked and rolled into the 1960s, the average student changed considerably. Events such as the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and the onset of the Vietnam War prompted students to break away from conformity. However, while fashion and attitude were changing dramatically, school spirit remained. School clubs that were formed in the 1960s included Future Nurses of America, Leathercraft Club, Photography Club, Future Business Leaders of America, Mechanics Club, Electronics Club and Vernissage. Boys Swimming and Cross Country, as well as Girls Gymnastics, were new sports of the 1960s. In 1967 the Bethettes retired their batons in favor of the now-famous pom-poms, but the uniforms have remained basically the same over the years.
The spirit of rebellion continued into the 1970s, accompanied by a great deal of self-evaluation, as students became skeptical that they could change the world. But the Bethel student body was victorious in bringing change to their school. For example, Bethel students won the right to an Honor Study Program, the right to drive to school and have an influence on the curriculum. But as conservatism dominated the late 70’s, many of these privileges were revoked as the curriculum headed to a “back to basics” philosophy.
1970s student clubs reflected the interests of the day, including the Psychology Club, Chess Club, Coin Club, Radio Club, Last Resort Club, Monopoly Club, Flat Earth Society, Future Secretaries of America and Astronomy Club.
Social events in the 1970s included the Sadie Hawkins Dance, Christmas Dance, Sock Hop, Sweetheart’s Dance and Campus Carnival. The 1970s saw the creation of several girls sports teams, including Volleyball, Swimming, Tennis, Softball, Golf, Track and Cross Country. Boys Ice Hockey had its inception in the 1970s as well.
Graduating classes in the 1980s declined from more than 700 students in 1980 to 479 in 1989. The curriculum included some interesting offerings such as an Independent Living Relations Class, which held a Greek Orthodox Mock Wedding. The reception was catered by the Gourmet Cooking Class. Girls Soccer was added to the athletic offerings in the 1980s and the clubs reflected students’ interest in pop culture, with the Rubik’s Cube Club and EPOCH (Europeans for the Preservation of Our Cultural Heritage). Activities in the 1980s included the Snow Ball Dance, Cupid’s Connection Dance, a Beach Party and a Tombstone Twist.
Both boys' and girls' swimming teams were dominant in this decade, with the boys winning Pennsylvania state championships in 1981, 1982, 1985 and 1988, and the girls winning state championships in 1981, 1985 and 1988.
The boys' baseball team won the Pennsylvania state championship in 1988 and finished second in 1985 and 1987. The girls' softball team finished second in 1987.
The boys' cross country team won the PIAA championship in 1986.
The boys' basketball team won the school's first WPIAL championship in 1989 and was led by esteemed coach William "Red" Ryan.
Issues such as drunk driving, brought about the creation of a SADD group in the 1990s, as well as a Newcomers Club to welcome new students to campus. Activities included the Club Coca-Cola Dance, Colonial Day, Twin Day and Mardi Gras Week. Traditions which had their inception in the 1990s and still continue today include Senior Appreciation Day, the Cheerleaders annual Fashion Show to benefit Make-A-Wish, the SGA Volleyball Tournament and the ever-popular Man of the Year dance competition, which debuted in 1991. The Goofy Awards began in 1995 and continue today. 1990s new sports included Men's Lacrosse and Fencing. Classes included Research Techniques and Speedwriting.
This decade saw some shifts in the school. With the passage of No Child Left Behind, there was a larger emphasis on standardized testing. Senior Appreciation Day, which was commonly known as Senior Slave Day, was banned because it was considered harassment. Telerama, Bethel Park High School's talent show, showed dwindling attendance, but the great work of two teachers revitalized its popularity. Homecoming and Prom remained as the two most popular dances. Participation in other school dances was poor until 2010. In 2010, Bethel Park students started a "glow fest" dance, which had outstanding attendance.
The district offers a variety of clubs, activities and sports. Eligibility to participate is determined by school board policies. It is the policy of the board that no student can be compelled to participate in a public performance or be penalized in any way for failure to do so.
By Pennsylvania law, all K-12 students in the district, including those who attend a private nonpublic school, cyber charter school, charter school and those homeschooled, are eligible to participate in the extracurricular programs including all athletics. They must meet the same eligibility rules as the students enrolled in the district's schools.
- Barbara Feldon - Movie and Television Actress, most notably co-star of Get Smart
- Armon Gilliam - NBA player and 2nd overall pick in the 1987 NBA draft
- Richard G. Jewell - President of Grove City College
- Rick Sebak - Movie Writer, Producer, and Narrator
- Jim Shooter - Comic book writer and editor; Editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics, 1978 - 1987. Wrote comics while a student at BPHS.
- Matt Smith - Politician and Pennsylvania State Representative
- Mike Westhoff - NFL coach; current special teams coordinator for New York Jets
- Richard White - Voice of Gaston in Disney's 1991 animated movie Beauty and the Beast
The History of Bethel Park High School retrieved 27 July 2008 and 29 July 2008 at http://www.bpsd.org/bphs/historyofbphs.html, credits Bethel Beacon Yearbooks (1931–2008), Cathy Born and the Bethel Park High School Records Office, newspaper clippings from the Bethel Park Library, Bethel—Our Home by John Biewener, From Acres to Charter Acres by the Bethel Park Junior Women's Club, and The Bethel Park Centennial 1886-1996 Commemorative Book.
- "WelcomeBack08.pdf". Welcome Back 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-29.
- "BP Online - The History of Bethel Park High School". The History of Bethel Park High School. Retrieved 2008-07-27.
- Pennsylvania Department of Education (March 15, 2011). "New 4-year Cohort Graduation Rate Calculation Now Being Implemented".
- Pennsylvania Department of Education (2010). "Bethel Park SD - District AYP Data Table".
- The Times-Tribune (2009). "Allegheny County School Districts 2008 Graduation Rates".
- Pennsylvania High School Graduation Rates, Pennsylvania Partnership for Children.
- Bethel Park School District Administration (2011). "Bethel Park School District Course Selection guide 2011-12".
- "Pennsylvania Code §4.24 (a) High school graduation requirements". 2003.
- Pennsylvania Department of Education (September 2011). "Pennsylvania Keystone Exams Overview".
- Pennsylvania Department of Education (2010). "Bethel Park Senior HIGH SCHOOL - School AYP Overview".
- Guide to Western Pennsylvania Schools - 11th grade Rankings, Pittsburgh Business Times, May 15, 2009
- Pennsylvania Department of Education (2010). "Bethel Park High School Academic Achievement Report Card 2010".
- Pennsylvania Department of Education, (2009). "Bethel Park School District Academic Achievement Report Card 2009,".
- Bethel Park School District Administration. "Bethel Park School District 2010 PSSA Overview".
- Pennsylvania Department of Education (September 14, 2010). "2010 PSSAs: Reading, Math, Writing and Science Results,".
- Pennsylvania Department of Education (2009). "2009 PSSAs: Reading, Math, Writing Results by School and Grade".
- Pennsylvania Department of Education (2008). "2008 PSSAs: Reading, Math, Writing Results by School and Grade".
- Pennsylvania Department of Education (2009). "2009 PSSAs: Science Results by School and Grade".
- Pennsylvania Department of Education. "Report PSSA Science by school and grade 2008".
- Pennsylvania Department of Education (January 2009). "Pennsylvania College Remediation Report".
- National Center for Education Statistics - IPEDs 2009
- "BPfacts.pdf". The Bethel Park School District & Bethel Park Facts and Figures.
- Pennsylvania Department of Education. "Dual Enrollment Guidelines".
- "Pennsylvania Transfer and Articulation Agreement". March 2010.
- "Bethel Park School District - Bethel Park High School". Edline Now Available for Bethel Park High School Parents. Retrieved 2008-07-30.
- Pennsylvania Auditor General (December 22, 2008). "Classrooms For the Future grants audit".
- Governor's Press Office release, (October 9, 2009). "Governor Rendell Signs Education Budget Preserving Pennsylvania's Academic Progress, Keeping Property Taxes Down,". Reuters.
- Bethel Park School Board and Administration (Nov 2007). "Interscholastic Athletics Policy 243".
- Bethel Park School Board and Administration (Nov 2007). "Extracurricular Activities Policy 242".
- Bethel Park School Board and Administration (November 20, 2007). "PUBLIC PERFORMANCES BY STUDENTS Policy 230".
- Pennsylvania Office of the Governor Press Release, (November 10, 2005). "Home-Schooled, Charter School Children Can Participate in School District Extracurricular Activities,".
- Bethel Park School Board and Administration (November 2008). "Extracurricular Participation by Home Education Students Policy 137.1".
- Bethel Park School Board and Administration (August 2008). "EExtracurricular Participation by Non-Enrolled/Charter/Cyber Students Policy 140.1".
- "Armon Gilliam Statistics". Basketball-Reference.com. Retrieved 2007-02-25.
- "Facebook page". Facebook. Retrieved 2009-09-13.
- "Web page of Representative Matthew H. Smith". Pennsylvania House of Representatives Website. Retrieved 2007-02-25.
- Finder, Chuck (2005-01-11). "Bethel Park native raises cane as Jets assistant". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2007-02-25.
- "BP Online - The History of Bethel Park High School". The History of Bethel Park High School. Retrieved 2008-07-29.