Penn Hills High School

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Penn Hills High School
309 Collins Drive
Penn Hills, Pennsylvania, Allegheny County, 15235
United States
School district Penn Hills School District
Superintendent Thomas K. Washington[1]
Principal Eric Kostic[2]
Grades 9th through 12th
Enrollment 1527
Information (412) 793-7000

Penn Hills High School is a public secondary school located in Penn Hills, Pennsylvania (a suburb of Pittsburgh) in the Penn Hills School District.

The Pennsylvania Department of Education reports enrollment was 1527 students in 2014, and the student-faculty ratio is 15:1. [3]


The new $85 million Penn Hills High School building was opened on January 3, 2013. The school was designed by Architectural Innovations. There are two gymnasiums, with the main one seating 1,900. The auditorium has about 1,000 seats with state-of-the-art lighting and sound-systems. All classrooms include Promethean World interactive whiteboards. The building features large skylights that can be seen from both the top and bottom floors to promote natural lighting. The school's new HVAC system is expected to save 30 percent in energy costs.[4]

In 2012, the Pittsburgh Steelers funded a new $200,000 football field for the school. [5]

Academic achievement[edit]

In 2009, the high school is in Corrective Action II 3rd Year due to the poor academic achievement of students as demonstrated by Reading, Writing, Mathematics and Science PSSA results and the graduation rate. It has been identified as a turnaround school in the Race to the Top federal education grant program.

Graduation Rate:
2009 – 88%[6]
2008 – 93%
2007 – 93%[7]

PSSA Results
11th Grade Reading
2009 – 55% on grade level. In Pennsylvania, 65% of 11th graders on grade level.
2008 – 59%, State – 65%
2007 – 58%, State – 65.4%[8]

11th Grade Math:
2009 – 41% on grade level. In Pennsylvania, 56% of 11th graders are on grade level.[9]
2008 – 43%, State – 56%
2007 – 38%, State – 53%

11th Grade Science:
2009 – 24% on grade level. State: 40% of 11th graders were on grade level.
2008 – 27%, State – 39%
2007 – Tested, state did not make results public

Penn Hills School District was ranked 464th out of the 498 ranked Pennsylvania School Districts in 2008 by the Pittsburgh Business Times. The ranking was based on student academic performance as demonstrated in three years of PSSA results.[10]


At Penn Hills Senior High School, students have the opportunity to take Advanced Placement course work and exams. The AP participation rate at Penn Hills Senior High School is 10 percent. [11] These courses include AP Literature and Composition, AP Language and Composition, AP European History, AP United States History, AP Psychology, AP Calculus AB and BC, AP Biology, AP Chemistry, AP Physics, AP Spanish, AP French, AP German, and AP Studio Art. [12]

The school also offers College in High School courses sponsored by the University of Pittsburgh where students are able to earn free college credits in Computer Programming and Statistics. [13]

Penn Hills Senior High School offers a variety of electives in journalism, theatre, creative writing, art, ceramics, economics, psychology, sociology, law, human anatomy and physiology, forensic science, interior design, cooking, home economics, accounting, entrepreneurship, and music. Music courses include Concert Band, Orchestra, Show Choir, Concert Choir, Mixed Choir, Piano Lab, Digital Recording, and Music Theory. The school also has a large technology department with courses in digital photography, robotics, CAD, Computer Programming, and Video Productions. Video Productions students use state-of-the-art technology to produce a daily morning announcements show, as well as film events at the school such as musicals, plays, and guest lectures. Students in the NJROTC program take Naval Science courses. Penn Hills High School also offers a Professional Experience Program, where select seniors are placed into on-site internships in their chosen career. For example, students interested in becoming obstetricians can shadow physicians at hospitals and view live births. [14]

Penn Hills High School also partners with Forbes Road East Career and Technical Center, and students are able to participate in a variety of technical programs. These students are able to graduate high school with certificates in fields such as cosmetology, culinary arts, child care services, HVAC, computer networking security, emergency response services, and automotive technology. [15]

College remediation rate[edit]

According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, 44% of Penn Hills 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.[16] 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.[17] 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 juniors and seniors to take courses at the Community College of Allegheny County to earn college credits. Students remain enrolled at their high school, and continue to have full access to activities at their high school. The courses count towards earning a college degree. The school currently pays for one class per semester, including tuition, fees, and textbooks, and students may take additional classes at their own expense. [18] Under the Pennsylvania Transfer and Articulation Agreement, many Pennsylvania colleges and universities accept these credits for students who transfer to their institutions.[19]

For the 2009–10 funding year, the school district received a state grant of $22,798 for the program.[20]

Graduation project[edit]

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.[21]


The students have access to clubs, activities and sports. [22] Varsity athletics include Baseball, Bowling, Basketball, Cheerleading, Soccer, Tennis, Volleyball, Cross Country, Fitness Team, Football, Golf, Indoor Track, Track and Field, Softball, Swimming and Diving, and Wrestling. The teams are referred to as the Penn Hills Indians and Lady Indians, and the student cheering section is known as the Tribe. [23]

The Penn Hills Marching Band travels to football games and marches in a variety of parades throughout the year. Every year they return to Kennywood to perform, and take another trip out-of-state. Past band trips include Walt Disney World, Chicago, and Six Flags. The school also produces Gene Kelly Awards winning musicals[24] and two plays per year.

Clubs at Penn Hills High School include the Library Assistants, Lab Assistants, Front Office Assistants, Athletic Office Assistants, Bible Club, Medical Careers Club, Key Club, Future Business Leaders of America, Yearbook Staff, PennPoints Newspaper Staff, French Club, Spanish Club, German Club, Games Club, National Honor Society, and Role Models. All freshmen students are matched with junior and senior Role Models to promote academic achievement, leadership, school spirit, and team-building skills. The school also sponsors teams for Calcusolve, Hometown High-Q, and Academic WorldQuest.

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.[25]

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ "Penn Hills superintendent appointed". Pittsburgh Post Gazette. Retrieved March 22, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Penn Hills Senior High School". Penn Hills School District. Retrieved July 18, 2010. 
  3. ^ "Penn Hills Senior High School Overview". US News. Retrieved March 22, 2014. 
  4. ^ "Penn Hills Opens New High School". Pittsburgh Post Gazette. Retrieved March 22, 2014. 
  5. ^ "Penn Hills High School getting new football field". WTAE. Retrieved March 22, 2014. 
  6. ^ Penn Hills School District Report Card 2009
  7. ^ Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children – High School Graduation Rates 2007
  8. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education report Mathematics, Reading, Writing PSSA results by School 2007. August 2007.
  9. ^ 2009 PSSAs: Reading, math, writing and science results
  10. ^ Pennsylvania Public School Rankings, Pittsburgh Business Times. May 23, 2007.
  11. ^ "Penn Hills Senior High School Overview". US News. Retrieved March 22, 2014. 
  12. ^ "Penn Hills High School Program of Studies" (PDF). Penn Hills High School. Retrieved March 22, 2014. 
  13. ^ "Penn Hills High School Program of Studies" (PDF). Penn Hills High School. Retrieved March 22, 2014. 
  14. ^ "Penn Hills High School Program of Studies" (PDF). Penn Hills High School. Retrieved March 22, 2014. 
  15. ^ "Penn Hills High School Program of Studies" (PDF). Penn Hills High School. Retrieved March 22, 2014. 
  16. ^ Pennsylvania College Remediation Report
  17. ^ National Center for Education Statistics
  18. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education – Dual Enrollment Guidelines.
  19. ^ Pennsylvania Transfer and Articulation Agreement. site accessed March 2010.
  20. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education Dual Enrollment Fall Grants 2009–10. August 2009
  21. ^ "Pennsylvania Code §4.24 (a) High school graduation requirements". Retrieved May 5, 2010. 
  22. ^ Penn Hills School District Policy Manual – Policy 122 Extracurriculars Policy and Policy 123 Interscholastic Athletics
  23. ^ "Penn Hills High School Official Website". Penn Hills High School. Retrieved March 22, 2014. 
  24. ^ "2013 Gene Kelly Award Winners". Retrieved March 22, 2014. 
  25. ^ Home-Schooled, Charter School Children Can Participate in School District Extracurricular Activities, Pennsylvania Office of the Governor Press Release, November 10, 2005

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°28′03″N 79°49′02″W / 40.4674°N 79.8173°W / 40.4674; -79.8173