Keystone Oaks High School

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Keystone Oaks High School
1000 Kelton Avenue, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 15216 Coordinates: 40°23′14″N 80°01′49″W / 40.387120°N 80.030297°W / 40.387120; -80.030297
Type Public high school
Established 1969
School district Keystone Oaks School District
Principal Scott Hagy
Grades 9–12
Enrollment 865
Mascot Golden eagle
Information 412-571-6039

Keystone Oaks High School or KO, whose current building was built in 1969, four years after the high school's founding, is a public high school in the South Hills suburbs of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. It is the only high school in the Keystone Oaks School District.


The main building of the high school was built in 1969, four years after the three suburbs of Green Tree, Dormont and Castle Shannon combined their students to form a common school district. The high school was built on a 43-acre (170,000 m2) tract of land in neighboring Mount Lebanon, just outside the southwest border of Dormont. The site adjoined the Kelton Avenue Elementary School, which no longer exists.

The name 'Keystone Oaks' refers to the merger of the three school districts: 'key' for the 'door' in Dormont; 'stone' from the 'castle' in Castle Shannon; and 'oak' as a tree in Green Tree. The name was suggested by Thomas Clark, of the Class of 1965, and was chosen as part of a student competition to name the new school district.

Due to the deteriorating state of the district's Jay Neff Middle School (the original Dormont High School), a new middle school was attached to the old high school in 1996. This precipitated a massive redesign of the grounds, including the demolition of a little-used outdoor amphitheatre and the construction of a band practice field and new tennis courts. These tennis courts were later repaved in 2006.

Through the summer of 2001 and the 2001/2002 school year, the high school was renovated.

In January 2007, the school turned its Journalism and TV/Video Classes into clubs, so as to ease the strain of increased class sizes on English teachers.

Academic achievement[edit]

In 2013, Keystone Oaks was featured in U.S. News & World Report's America's Best High Schools edition. The Washington, D.C.-based American Institutes for Research study included Keystone Oaks among the top 10 percent of all public and private high schools nationally and in Pennsylvania. The report also rated Keystone Oaks the ninth best public or private high school in Allegheny County.[1]

In 2009, Keystone Oaks High School was ranked 83rd out of 123 western Pennsylvania high schools, by the Pittsburgh Business Times for academic achievement based on three years of the PSSAs on: reading, writing, math and one year of science.[2]

Graduation rate:
2009 - 94%[3]
2008 - 86%
2007 - 88%[4]

PSSA Results
11th Grade Reading
2009 - 67% on grade level. In Pennsylvania, 65% of 11th graders on grade level.
2008 - 60%, State - 65%[5]
2007 - 72%, State - 65%

11th Grade Math:
2009 - 59% on grade level. In Pennsylvania, 56% of 11th graders are on grade level.[6]
2008 - 56%, State - 56%
2007 - 58%, State - 53%[7]

11th Grade Science:
2009 - 33% on grade level. State: 40% of 11th graders were on grade level.
2008 - 32%[8]

College remediation According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, 41% of Keystone Oaks 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.[9] 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.[10] 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.

Dual enrollment[edit]

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 and programs 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.[11] Under the Pennsylvania Transfer and Articulation Agreement, many Pennsylvania colleges and universities accept these credits for students who transfer to their institutions.[12]

For the 2009-10 funding year, the school district received a state grant of $9,415 for the program.[13]

The building[edit]

Keystone Oaks High School is a 2 12-story red brick building. Its shape is rectangular, with a one-story library bisecting its longest sides. Two arms extend out from its western and southern corners; the western arm houses the gymnasium, weight room, and pool, and the southern arm links to the middle school, auditorium, and art classrooms. The bottom floor of the main building houses lockers, administrative offices, and (since the 2001–2002 renovations) middle school classrooms. The top two floors are almost entirely classrooms.

The pool has a 12-foot (3.7 m) deep end, and roughly a 4-foot (1.2 m) shallow end, and has a diving board, an electronic scoreboard, and bench-style stadium seating. The swim team has its own separate locker rooms, apart from the larger locker rooms designated for the basketball, wrestling, and football teams.

The High School contains a planetarium that had languished in disrepair from the mid-1980s into the late 1990s. It has since been refurbished .


The district offers clubs, activities and sports.

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.[14]

The Arts[edit]

In February 2007, the high school hosted the PMEA District 1 West Band Festival,in which nine Keystone Oaks students participated. The school also sends students to PMEA District 1 Honors Band, as well as to PMEA Region Band and occasionally to State Band.

Each year, the students perform a spring musical. Keystone Oaks Spring Musical history:

Clubs and activities[edit]

The school has afterschool clubs and activities, including language clubs for Spanish and French, SADD, PJAS, Student Senate, Art Club, Environmental Club, Academic Team, The Gay Straight Alliance, Adventure Club, Math Club, Science Club, a chapter of the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA), Health Careers Club, Forensics (a Speech and Debate Club), a Yearbook Club, Best Buddies and many others.

Some notable events are often held by the clubs as fundraisers, such as FBLA's All Night Dodgeball Game, and SADD's annual Grim Reaper Day. Students Senate and the Class planning committees organize the Junior-Senior Prom and Graduation. PJAS, the Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science, competes in a competition against many other schools every year. Forensics often competes in many regional and state competitions and are quite successful. Academic Team attends quiz competitions at local colleges, and form a team every year consisting of seniors for the local TV competition Hometown High-Q on KDKA, hosted by Ken Rice and attended the national competition in Chicago, IL in 2010. The Future Business Leaders of America is chapter of a national organization, and attands the regional, state and sometimes national competitions every year. Notable is their success in the category of Parliamentary Procedures, which they place in the top every year at the State Competition in Hershey, PA. At the 2011 SLC in Hershey, PA, the team placed in the top ten in three categories.

Athletics (Keystone Oaks Golden Eagles)[edit]

Keystone Oaks is a member of the Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League. While not known as an athletic powerhouse, the wrestling, swimming, and tennis teams have at times seen success.

As Keystone Oaks High School is located outside the southern end of Dormont, their football stadium is located at the northern end (Hillsdale Ave.) near the Banksville/Pittsburgh border.

The school only has a few rivalries of note. Chartiers Valley High School can be considered a rival, but KO is especially at odds with Thomas Jefferson High School. Both can be considered rivals of KO due to the similarities in demographics and because the three schools often are in the same section of WPIAL. In some sense, Mount Lebanon High School is also a rival by geography, since KO is located within Mount Lebanon, but has no student from there. Seton-La Salle Catholic High School, located across the street from KO, may be Keystone Oak's biggest Rival.

Starting with the 2008 football season,the Keystone Oaks/ Seton-La Salle rivalry was renewed when the Golden Eagles began playing in Class AA's Century Conference.

The Golden Eagles finished the 2009 regular season at 8-1. With a quarter-final win against Mt. Pleasant, Keystone Oaks advanced to the WPIAL semifinals for the first time in school history.

Notable alumni[edit]

  • Comedian Dennis Miller
  • Congressman and Presidential Candidate Ron Paul (graduated from Dormont High School, which merged into Keystone Oaks in 1965)

Standard & Poor's rating of Allegheny County School Districts[edit]

Keystone Oaks: Moderately above-average student results. Comparatively high spending.


  1. ^
  2. ^ The Rankings: 11th Grade, Guide to Western Pennsylvania Schools, Pittsburgh Business Times. May 15, 2009
  3. ^ Keystone Oaks School District Academic Achievement Report Card 2009
  4. ^ Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children - Graduation rate at Pennsylvania High Schools 2007
  5. ^ Keystone Oaks School District Academic Achievement Report Card 2008
  6. ^ 2009 PSSAs: Reading, Math, Writing and Science Results
  7. ^ Keystone Oaks School District Academic Achievement Report Card 2007
  8. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education Report on Science PSSA 2008 August 2008.
  9. ^ Pennsylvania College Remediation Report. January 2009
  10. ^ National Center for Education Statistics
  11. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education - Dual Enrollment Guidelines.
  12. ^ Pennsylvania Transfer and Articulation Agreement. site accessed March 2010.
  13. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education Dual Enrollment Fall Grants 2009-10. August 2009
  14. ^ Home-Schooled, Charter School Children Can Participate in School District Extracurricular Activities, Pennsylvania Office of the Governor Press Release, November 10, 2005