Plum High School

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Plum Senior High School
Type Public high school
Administrative staff
Students 1,500
Location Plum, Pennsylvania, USA
Campus Suburban
Mascot Mustang

Plum High School is a public high school and the only high school in Plum Borough School District located at 900 Elicker Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15239, USA. It has 1,478 students enrolled for the 2007-2008 school year and serves grades nine through twelve. The principal is Ryan Kociela with vice-principals Mr. Michael Loughren, and Mr. Justin Stephans. The school's colors are purple and gold.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2010, the school reported an enrollment of 1,401 pupils in grades 9th through 12th, with 210 pupils eligible for a federal free or reduced-price lunch. The school employed 91 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 15:1.[1] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[2]


Plum High School offers an array of classes including music, technology, and art classes on top of a foundation of core curricula. Plum has faculty members that teach Advanced Placement courses and produce high proportions of students who pass the AP Test in May. Plum is known for its success in academic competitions such as the Science Olympiad and University of Pittsburgh's Integration Bee, as well as in Future Problem Solvers of America Competitions, Propaganda Bowls, and Robotics tournaments. Plum Senior High's Robotics Teams won first and fifth place at the 2009 North American National Robotics Competition.[3]

Graduation rate[edit]

In 2011, the graduation rate was 98%.[4] In 2010, the Pennsylvania Department of Education issued a new, four year cohort graduation rate. Plum Borough Senior High School's rate was 96.8% for 2010.[5]

Other graduation rates:

  • 2010 - 96% [6]
  • 2009 - 97%[7]
  • 2008 - 96%
  • 2007 - 96% [8]

Academic achievement[edit]

Statewide academic ranking

In 2013-2014, Plum Borough Senior High school ranked 261st in statewide testing conducted by the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA).[9] There are 952 public high schools in Pennsylvania.[10]

  • 2013- 331st
  • 2012- 93rd
  • 2011- 247th
  • 2010- 242nd
Local academic ranking

In 2012, Plum Borough Senior High School ranked 56th out of 124 western Pennsylvania High schools by the Pittsburgh Business Times for academic achievement as reflected by the last three years of 11th grade results on: math, reading, writing and science PSSAs.[11]

  • 2011 - 52nd
  • 2010 - 42nd
  • 2009 - 43rd [12]

In 2011, Plum Borough Senior High School declined to Warning status due to lagging student achievement in reading and math.[13] In 2010, the high school achieved AYP status.

PSSA Results
11th Grade Reading:
  • 2011 - 77% on grade level, (9% below basic). State - 69.1% of 11th graders are on grade level.[14]
  • 2010 - 78% (9% below basic). State - 66% [15]
  • 2009 - 74%, State - 65% [16]
  • 2008 - 70%, State - 65% [17]
11th Grade Math:
  • 2011 - 61% on grade level (18% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 60.3% of 11th graders are on grade level.[18]
  • 2010 - 63% (19% below basic). State - 59% [19]
  • 2009 - 63%, State - 56% [20]
  • 2008 - 60%, State - 56% [21]
11th Grade Science:
  • 2011 - 47% on grade level (9% below basic). State - 40% of 11th graders were on grade level.[22]
  • 2010 - 39% (10% below basic). State - 39%
  • 2009 - 45%, State - 40% [23]
  • 2008 - 41%, State - 39% [24]

College remediation[edit]

According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, 32% of Plum Borough 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.[25] 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.[26] 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.

SAT scores[edit]

From January to June 2011, 259 students at Plum Borough School District took the SAT exams. The district's Verbal Average Score was 491. The Math average score was 492. The Writing average score was 472.[27] Pennsylvania ranked 40th among states with SAT scores: Verbal - 493, Math - 501, Writing - 479.[28] In the United States, 1.65 million students took the exam in 2011. They averaged 497 (out of 800) verbal, 514 math and 489 in writing.[29]

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.[30]

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 both: high school graduation requirements and towards a college degree. The students continue to have full access to all clubs, activities and programs, at their high school, including the graduation ceremony. 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.[31] Under the Pennsylvania Transfer and Articulation Agreement, many Pennsylvania colleges and universities accept these credits for students who transfer to their institutions.[32]

For the 2009-10 funding year, the school district received a state grant of $2,647 for the program.[33]

Graduation requirements[edit]

Plum Borough School Board has determined that a pupil must earn 25.8 credits to graduate, including: Math 3 credits, English 4 credits, social studies 3 credits (including United States History, World Cultures, Social Studies Elective), Science 3 credits, Physical Education 2 credits, Health 0.5 credit, Driver Education theory 0.3 credit and electives 9 credits. In 2015 the required credits will be reduced to 25.5 credits eliminating the mandatory Drivers education course.[34] Students must also achieve a proficient or advanced on the 11th grade Pennsylvania System of School Assessment in order to meet graduation requirements. Students who do not reach proficiency on the 11th grade reading PSSA must earn a “C” or higher in their senior English course in order to graduate.

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.[35]

By Pennsylvania School Board regulations, for the graduating class of 2017, 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.[36][37][38] In 2011, Pennsylvania high school students field tested the Algebra 1, Biology and English Lit exams. The statewide results were: Algebra 1 38% on grade level, Biology 35% on grade level and English Lit - 49% on grade level.[39] Individual student, school or district reports were not made public, although they were reported to district officials by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

Foreign exchange student program[edit]

Plum Borough School District plays host, for 6 to 11 months, to students from other nations through the AFS (American Field Service) Exchange Program. Local families host the students providing free room and board, while the district offers one year of school at no cost to the student's family. Plum Borough School District students have traveled to Italy, Argentina, and Germany.

Classrooms for the Future grant[edit]

The Classroom for the Future state program provided districts with state funding to buy laptop computers for each core curriculum high school class (English, Science, History, Math) and paid for teacher training to optimize the computers use. The program was funded from 2006-2009. The School District did not apply to participate in 2006-07. In 2007-08, the district received $480,074. The district received $87,594 in 2008-09 for a total funding of $567,668.[40] In County the highest award was given to Highlands School District which received $835,286. The highest funding state wide was awarded to Philadelphia City School District in Philadelphia County - $9,409,073. In 2010, Classrooms for the Future grant funding was curtailed statewide due to a state financial crisis.

Highmark Healthy High 5 grants[edit]

In 2009, four Plum Borough School District schools received extra funding through a Highmark Healthy High 5 grant. Plum Senior High School received $9,800 which was used for aerobic and resistance training equipment and pedometers for 9th grade students' Physical Education classes.[41] Beginning in 2006, Highmark Foundation engaged in a 5-year, $100 million program to promote lifelong healthy behaviors in children and adolescents through local nonprofits and schools.


The school offers clubs, activities and sports. Plum is known for its music program, boasting five bands, five choirs, and three orchestras.

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.[42]


The district offers a program funded by the local and state taxpayers. The District is part of the WPIAL sports organization.

  • Cheerleading
  • Cross country (coed)
  • Golf (CoEd)
  • Football
  • Soccer (boys and girls)
  • Tennis
  • Volleyball (boys and girls)
  • Basketball varsity (boys and girls) and 9th grade teams
  • Rifle (CoEd)
  • Swimming and diving (boys and girls)
  • Wrestling
  • Volleyball varsity and 9th grade teams
  • Baseball varsity and 9th grade teams
  • Softball
  • Tennis
  • Track and field (boys and girls)

Club sports - indoor track, ice hockey, bowling and crew

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ National Center for Education Statistics, Common Care Data - Plum Borough Senior High School, 2010
  2. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education, Professional Qualifications of Teachers Plum Borough Senior High School, September 29, 2011
  3. ^ [1] Newspaper Article: 'Battle bot' best of bunch at national competition by Karen Zapf, TMCnet, 07 May 2009.
  4. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (September 29, 2011). "Plum Borough School District AYP Data Table". 
  5. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (March 15, 2011). "New 4-year Cohort Graduation Rate Calculation Now Being Implemented". 
  6. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (2010). "Plum Borough Senior High School AYP Data table". 
  7. ^ Plum Borough School District Academic Achievement Report Card 2009
  8. ^ Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children (2008). "High School Graduation rate 2007" (PDF). 
  9. ^ EL. "Best High Schools...". School Digger. Retrieved 1 May 2015. 
  10. ^ EL. "Pennsylvania High Schools". Retrieved 1 May 2015. 
  11. ^ Pittsburgh Business Times (April 6, 2012). "11th Grade Ranking information 2012". 
  12. ^ The Rankings: 11th Grades, Pittsburgh Business Times, May 15, 2009
  13. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (September 29, 2011). "Plum Borough Senior High School AYP Overview 2011". 
  14. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (September 29, 2011). "2010-2011 PSSA and AYP Results". 
  15. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (2010). "2009-2010 PSSA and AYP Results". 
  16. ^ The Times-Tribune (September 14, 2009). "Grading Our Schools database, 2009 PSSA results". 
  17. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education, Plum Borough Senior High School Academic Achievement Report Card 2008, August 15, 2008
  18. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (September 29, 2011). "High School Academic Achievement Report Card 2011". 
  19. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education, Plum Borough Senior High School Academic Achievement Report Card 2010, October 20, 2010
  20. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education, 2009 Results PSSAs: Reading, Math, Writing and Science, September 14, 2009
  21. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (August 15, 2008). "2007-2008 PSSA and AYP Results". 
  22. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (September 29, 2011). "2010-2011 PSSA results in Science". 
  23. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education, Plum Borough Senior High School Academic Achievement Report Card 2009, September 14, 2009
  24. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (2008). "Report on PSSA Science results by school and grade 2008". 
  25. ^ Pennsylvania College Remediation Report
  26. ^ National Center for Education Statistics
  27. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (2011). "Public School SAT Scores 2011". 
  28. ^ College Board (September 2011). "SAT Scores State By State - Pennsylvania". 
  29. ^ "While U.S. SAT scores dip across the board, N.J. test-takers hold steady". September 2011. 
  30. ^ Pennsylvania Code §4.24 (a) High school graduation requirements
  31. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education - Dual Enrollment Guidelines.
  32. ^ Pennsylvania Transfer and Articulation Agreement. Site accessed March 2010.
  33. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education Dual Enrollment Fall Grants 2009-10. August 2009
  34. ^ Plum Borough School District Administration, Student Handbook 2012-13, 2012
  35. ^ Pennsylvania Code §4.24 (a) High school graduation requirements
  36. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (2010). "Keystone Exam Overview" (PDF). 
  37. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (September 2011). "Pennsylvania Keystone Exams Overview". 
  38. ^ Pennsylvania State Board of Education (2010). "Rules and Regulation Title 22 PA School Code CH. 4". 
  39. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (2011). "Keystone Exams". 
  40. ^ Pennsylvania Auditor General (December 22, 2008). "Classrooms for the Future grants audit" (PDF). 
  41. ^ Highmark Foundation, 2009 School Challenge Grants, 2009
  42. ^ Pennsylvania Office of the Governor Press Release, Home-Schooled, Charter School Children Can Participate in School District Extracurricular Activities, November 10, 2005

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°30′26″N 79°46′01″W / 40.5073°N 79.7670°W / 40.5073; -79.7670