Woodland Hills School District

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Woodland Hills School District
Map of Allegheny County Pennsylvania School Districts.png
Address
2430 Greensburg Pike
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Allegheny County, 15221-3611
United States
Information
Type Public
Established 1981
Faculty 349 teachers in 2010
Grades K-12
Enrollment 3,985 students in 2010
Kindergarten 320
Grade 1 335
Grade 2 267
Grade 3 273
Grade 4 307
Grade 5 288
Grade 6 279
Grade 7 308
Grade 8 319
Grade 9 372
Grade 10 355
Grade 11 274
Grade 12 326
Other Enrollment projected to decline to 3149 in 2020[1]
Color(s) Turquoise & Black and White
Athletics conference AAAA (PIAA athletic conference)
Mascot Wolverine
Budget $81,000,000 [2]
Tuition for nonresident and charter school students ES - $10,573.97, HS - $11,969.63 [3]
Information 412-731-1300
Representative Paul Segui Costa
Per pupil spending $15,087 2008 (ranked 63rd in PA)
Per pupils spending $16,151.05 (2010) ranked 64th
Website

Woodland Hills School District is a public school district located in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, serving twelve municipalities in the Pittsburgh area; Braddock, Braddock Hills, Chalfant, Churchill, East Pittsburgh, Edgewood, Forest Hills, North Braddock, Rankin, Swissvale, Turtle Creek and Wilkins Township.[4] Woodland Hills School District encompasses approximately 12 square miles (31 km2). According to 2000 federal census data, it serves a resident population of 52,876. In school year 2007-08 the Woodland Hills School District provided basic educational services to 4,865 pupils through the employment of 400 teachers, 162 full-time and part-time support personnel, and 42 administrators. Woodland Hills School District received more than $27.3 million in state funding in school year 2007-08.

Woodland Hills School District was formed in July 1981 by a mandated merger of Edgewood, General Braddock, Swissvale, Churchill and Turtle Creek school districts. The Woodland Hills School District is unique in that it was formed by a court order (one of only three such districts so formed in Pennsylvania) in 1982 as a result of a Civil Rights Act lawsuit filed by various residents of the prior school districts. It was formed from an amalgamation of seven separate districts in the eastern region of Allegheny County in suburban Pittsburgh. The suit was filed to address the fact that the seven districts were all composed almost exclusively of all white or all black student enrollments. This resulted in African American students being transported long distances past all White schools and vice versa. The resultant court order created a single large school district of over 7,000 students comprised almost equally of white and black students.[5]

Woodland Hills School District is bordered by eight other school districts: Pittsburgh S.D., Penn Hills S.D., Gateway S.D., East Allegheny S.D., Wilkinsburg Borough S.D. Also bordering (but across the Monongehela River from) Woodland Hills School District, is: West Mifflin S.D., Steel Valley S.D., and Duquesne City S.D. Woodland Hills School District's football size classification is "AAAA" (Quad-A), which is the largest of the four classifications (A, AA, AAA, AAAA).

Schools[edit]

Woodland Hills School district serves approximately 5,100 students, and has eight facilities:

  • Woodland Hills High School (9–12)
  • Woodland Hills Junior High School (7–8)
  • Dickson Elementary School (K-6)
  • Fairless Elementary School (K-6)
  • Edgewood Elementary School (preK-6)
  • Shaffer Elementary School (K-6)
  • Wilkins Elementary School (preK-6)
  • Woodland Hills Academy (K-8)

Demographics[edit]

Per Diversity in the Classroom 2008 reported by The New York Times online

  • 60% – African American/Non Hispanic
  • 39% – White/Non-Hispanic
  • 1% – Asian/Pacific Islander
  • 1% – Hispanic
  • 0.0% – American Indian/Alaska Native

Governance[edit]

The school district is governed by 9 individually elected board members (serve four-year terms), the Pennsylvania State Board of Education, the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Pennsylvania General Assembly.[6] The federal government controls programs it funds like Title I funding for low-income children in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and the No Child Left Behind Act, which mandates the district focus resources on student success in acquiring reading and math skills.

Academic achievement[edit]

For the 2011-2012 school year, Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) ranked Woodland Hills High School 449th out of the 676 public high schools in Pennsylvania. The ranking was based solely on the combined math and reading PSSA test scores from that high school.[7]

In July 2012, the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) released a report identifying six Woodland Hills School District schools as among the lowest-achieving schools for reading and mathematics in 2011. Dickson Elementary, Fairless Elementary, Wilkins Elementary, Edgewood Elementary, Woodland Hills Junior High School School and Woodland Hills High School are all among the 15% lowest-achieving schools in the Commonwealth. Parents and students may be eligible for scholarships to transfer to another public or nonpublic school through the state's Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit Program 2.0 which was passed in June 2012.[8] The scholarships are limited to those students whose family's income is less than $60,000 annually, with another $12,000 allowed per dependent. Maximum scholarship award is $8,500, with special education students receiving up to $15,000 for a year's tuition. Parents pay any difference between the scholarship amount and the receiving school's tuition rate. Students may seek admission to neighboring public school districts. Each year the PDE publishes the tuition rate for each individual public school district.[9] Fifty three public schools in Allegheny County are among the lowest-achieving schools in 2011. According to the report, parents in 414 public schools (74 school districts) were offered access to these scholarships. For the 2012-13 school year, eight public school districts in Pennsylvania had all of their schools placed on the list, including: Sto-Rox School District, Chester Upland School District, Clairton City School District, Duquesne City School District, Farrell Area School District, Wilkinsburg Borough School District, William Penn School District and Steelton-Highspire School District.[10] Funding for the scholarships comes from donations by businesses which receive a partial state business tax credit for donating

Statewide Academic ranking

Woodland Hills School District was ranked 480th out of 498 Pennsylvania school districts by the Pittsburgh Business Times in 2012.[11] The ranking was based on student academic achievement as demonstrated on the last three years of the PSSAs for: reading, writing math and science.[12] The PSSAs are given to all children in grades 3rd through 8th and the 11th grade in high school. Adapted examinations are given to children in the special education programs.

  • 2011 - 478th [13]
  • 2010 - 479th [14]
  • 2009 - 478th
  • 2008 - 477th
  • 2007 - 474th out of 501 school districts.[15]
Overachiever statewide ranking

In 2012, the Pittsburgh Business Times also reported an Overachievers Ranking for 498 Pennsylvania school districts. Woodland Hills School District ranked 255th. In 2011, the district was 322nd. [16] The editor describes the ranking as: "a ranking answers the question - which school districts do better than expectations based upon economics? This rank takes the Honor Roll rank and adds the percentage of students in the district eligible for free and reduced-price lunch into the formula. A district finishing high on this rank is smashing expectations, and any district above the median point is exceeding expectations."[17]

Western Pennsylvania local ranking Woodland Hills School District was ranked 102nd out of 105 western Pennsylvania school districts, in 2012, by the Pittsburgh Business Times. The ranking was based on the last three years of student academic performance on the PSSAs on: math, reading, writing and science.[18] (includes 105 districts in: Allegheny County, Armstrong County, Beaver County, Butler County, Fayette County, Washington County and Westmoreland County excludes Duquesne City School District & Midland Borough School District due to no high schools)

  • 2011 - 104th
  • 2010 - 99th [19]
  • 2009 - 99th
District AYP status history

In 2011, Woodland Hills School District declined to Corrective Action II 3rd Year for Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP).[20] In 2011, 94 percent of the 500 Pennsylvania public school districts achieved the No Child Left Behind Act progress level of 72% of students reading on grade level and 67% of students demonstrating on grade level math. In 2011, 46.9 percent of Pennsylvania school districts achieved Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) based on student performance. An additional 37.8 percent of school districts made AYP based on a calculated method called safe harbor, 8.2 percent on the growth model and 0.8 percent on a two-year average performance.[21] School District achieved AYP status each year from 2004 to 2009, while in 2003 the District was in Warning status due to lagging student achievement.[22]

  • 2011 - Corrective Action II 2nd Year
  • 2010 - Corrective Action II 1st Year
  • 2009 - Making Progress Corrective Action I
  • 2008 - Corrective Action I
  • 2007 - Making Progress - School Improvement II
  • 2006 - School Improvement II
  • 2005 - School Improvement II
  • 2004 - School Improvement I
  • 2003 - Warning status due to low student achievement

Graduation rate[edit]

In 2011, the graduation rate at Woodland Hills School District was 81%.[23] In 2010, the Pennsylvania Department of Education issued a new, 4-year cohort graduation rate. Woodland Hills Senior High School's rate was 77.63% for 2010.[24]

According to traditional graduation rate calculations
  • 2010 - 78% [25]
  • 2009 – 83%
  • 2008 – 80% [26]
  • 2007 – 80% [27]

High school[edit]

Woodland Hills High School is located at 2550 Greensburg Pike, Pittsburgh. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2010, the school reported an enrollment of 1,495 pupils in grades 9th through 12th, with 820 pupils eligible for a federal free or reduced-price lunch. The school is Title I. The school employed 123 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 12:1.[28] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.[29]

Western PA school district academic rankings

The Woodland Hills Senior High School ranks 102nd of 105 school districts in western Pennsylvania for academic achievement based on the last three years of PSSA results on: math, reading, writing and science, by Pittsburgh Business Times in 2012.

  • 2011 - 104th
  • 2010 - 107th
  • 2009 - 107th [30]
  • 2008 - 98th

Woodland Hills was ranked as the 635th best high school in the Nation in 2003 by Newsweek. Public schools were ranked according to a ratio called the Challenge Index: the number of Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate tests taken by all students at a school in 2002 divided by the number of graduating seniors.[31]

AYP Status history

In 2011, Woodland Hills High School declined to Corrective Action II 5th Year AYP status, achieving one of 12 metrics.[32][33] Under the No Child Left Behind Act, the administration was required to notify the parents of the school's low achievement and to offer the opportunity to transfer to an effective school in the District. No such alternative is available. Additionally, the Additionally the school administration was required by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, to develop a School Improvement Plan to address the school's low student achievement. Under the Pennsylvania Accountability System, the school must pay fro additional tutoring for struggling students.[34]

  • 2010 - Corrective Action II 4th Year
  • 2009 - Corrective Action II 3rd Year for chronically low academic achievement and a low graduation rate.
  • 2008 - Corrective Action II 2nd Year
  • 2007 - Corrective Action II 1st Year
  • 2006 - Corrective Action I

PSSA Results
11th Grade Reading

  • 2011 - 56% on grade level, (20% below basic). State - 69.1% of 11th graders are on grade level.[35]
  • 2010 - 59% (19% below basic). State - 66% [36]
  • 2009 – 58%, State - 65% [37]
  • 2008 – 49%, State – 65% [38]
  • 2007 – 51%, State – 65%[39]

11th Grade Math:

  • 2011 - 40% on grade level (34% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 60.3% of 11th graders are on grade level.[40]
  • 2010 - 45% (35% below basic). State - 59% [41]
  • 2009 – 45%, State - 56% [42]
  • 2008 – 32%, State – 56%
  • 2007 – 35%, State – 53%

11th Grade Science:

  • 2011 - 16% on grade level (41% below basic). State - 40% of 11th graders were on grade level.[43]
  • 2010 - 26% (31% below basic). State - 39%
  • 2009 – 23%, State - 40%
  • 2008 – 26%, State - 39% [44]

College remediation[edit]

According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, 50% of Woodland 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.[45]

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.[46] Under the Pennsylvania Transfer and Articulation Agreement, many Pennsylvania colleges and universities accept these credits for students who transfer to their institutions.[47] For the 2009–10 funding year, the school district received a state grant of $20,129 for the program.

SAT scores[edit]

From January to June 2011, 215 Woodland Hills students took the SAT exams. The district's Verbal Average Score was 446. The Math average score was 443. The Writing average score was 414.[48] Pennsylvania ranked 40th among states with SAT scores: Verbal - 493, Math - 501, Writing - 479.[49] 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.[50]

Graduation requirements[edit]

The Woodland Hills School Board has determined that a pupil must earn 25 credits to graduate, including: Mathematics 3-4 credits, English 4 credits, Social Studies 4 credits, science 3-4 credits, Physical Education 2 credits, Computer 1 credit, Health 0.5 credit and electives. Students must earn a minimum of 5 credits to be promoted from 9th grade to 10 grade and 12 credits to enter 11th grade.[51]

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.[52]

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.[53][54][55] 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.[56] Individual student, school or district reports were not made public, although they were reported to district officials by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

Junior high school[edit]

Woodland Hills Junior High School is located at 7600 Evans Street, Pittsburgh. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2010, the school reported an enrollment of 612 pupils in grades 7th and 8th, with 443 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty. The school is a Title I school by federal standards. The school employed 51.50 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 12:1.[57] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[58]

AYP status

In 2011, Woodland Hills Junior High School was in School Improvement II AYP status achieving 4 out of 10 metrics.[59] In 2010, the school was in School Improvement I' status. The school administration was required to notify parents of the low achievement at the school and to offer the opportunity to transfer to a successful school in the District. The school administration was required by the Pennsylvania Department of Education to develop a school improvement plan and to submit it for approval.

Western regional schools ranking

In 2012, Woodland Hills Junior High School's eighth grade ranked 134th out of 105 western Pennsylvania middle schools based on the last three years of student academic achievement in Pennsylvania System of School Assessments (PSSA) in: reading, math, writing and three years of science.[60] (Includes schools in: Allegheny County, Beaver County, Butler County, Fayette County, Westmoreland County, and Washington County)

  • 2010 - 135th
  • 2009 - 127th [61]
PSSA Results
8th Grade Reading:
  • 2011 - 56% on grade level (25% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 81.8% of 8th graders on grade level.[62]
  • 2010 - 65% (20% below basic). State - 81%
  • 2009 – 64%, State - 80.9% [63]
  • 2008 – 62%, State – 78% [64]
8th Grade Math:
  • 2011 - 37% on grade level (38% below basic). State - 76.9%
  • 2010 - 43% (39% below basic). State - 75%
  • 2009 – 47%, State - 71%
  • 2008 – 43%, State −70%
8th Grade Science:
  • 2011 - 25% on grade level (61% below basic). State – 58.3% of 8th graders were on grade level.
  • 2010 - 26% (54% below basic). State – 57%
  • 2009 - 25% (51.5% below basic). State – 57%

In 2009, the single Woodland Hills Junior High School was established by consolidating Woodland Hills Junior High East and Woodland Hills Junior High West together.

Elementary schools[edit]

Dickson Elementary School is located at 7301 Schoyer Avenue, Pittsburgh. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2010, the school reported an enrollment of 373 pupils in grades kindergarten through 6th, with 282 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty. The School is a Title I school. The school employed 31 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 12:1.[65] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[66] In 2011, Dickson Elementary School declined to School Improvement I AYP status due to low student achievement in reading and math.[67] In 2010, the school was in Warning status due to lagging student achievement. In 2011, only 52% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd through 6th. In math, just 57% of the students in 3rd through 6th grades were on grade level and 11% scored advanced. In 4th grade science, 56% of the pupils were on grade level.[68] Dickson Elementary School Administration was mandated under No Child Left Behind, to notify parents of the poor achievement and to offer the opportunity to transfer to a successful school in the District. The Administrators were also required to write a School Improvement Plan to target raising student achievement in reading, writing, math and science. The plan was submitted to the PDE for approval. In 2012, Dickson Elementary School was listed as one of the lowest-performing schools in the state. This made the children eligible to scholarships to attend a school outside the District.

Fairless Elementary School is located at 531 Jones Ave, Braddock. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2010, the school reported an enrollment of 308 pupils in grades kindergarten through 6th, with 264 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty. Title I school. The school employed 24 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 12:1.[69] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, teachers were rated "Non‐Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[70] In 2011, Fairless Elementary School declined to School Improvement I AYP status due to lagging student achievement.[71] In 2010, the school was in Warning status due to low student achievement. In 2011, only 78% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd through 6th. In math, 93% of the students in 3rd through 6th grades were on grade level and 66% scored advanced. In 4th grade science, 95% of the pupils were on grade level.[72] Fairless Elementary School Administration was mandated under No Child Left Behind, to notify parents of the poor achievement and to offer the opportunity to transfer to a successful school in the District. The Administrators were also required to write a School Improvement Plan to target raising student achievement in reading, writing, math and science. The plan was submitted to the PDE for approval. Fairless Elementary School was listed as one of the lowest-performing schools in the state. This made the children eligible to scholarships to attend a school outside the District.

Edgewood Elementary School is located at 241 Maple Avenue, Pittsburgh. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2010, the school reported an enrollment of 477 pupils in grades Preschool through 6th, with 329 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty making it a Title I school. The school employed 35 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 13:1.[73] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.[74] In 2011, Edgewood Elementary School achieved AYP status. In 2010, the school was in Warning status.[75] In 2011, only 54% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd through 6th. In math, 65% of the students in 3rd through 6th grades were on grade level and 36% scored advanced. In 4th grade science, 60% of the pupils were on grade level with 23% advanced.[76]

Shaffer Elementary School is located at 37 Garden Terrace, Pittsburgh. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2010, the school reported an enrollment of 266 pupils in grades kindergarten through 6th, with 201 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty, making it a Title I school. The school employed 23 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 11:1.[77] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[78] In 2010 and 2011, Shaffer Elementary School achieved AYP status.[79] In 2011, only 60% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd through 6th. In math, just 71% of the students in 3rd through 6th grades were on grade level and 37% scored advanced. In 4th grade science, 65% of the pupils were on grade level.[80]

Wilkins Elementary School is located at 362 Churchill Rd, Pittsburgh. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2010, the school reported an enrollment of 480 pupils in grades Preschool through 6th, with 358 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty, making the school Title I. The school employed 38 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 12:1.[81] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[82] In 2011, Wilkins Elementary School declined to Warning status due to low student achievement. In 2010, the school achieved AYP status.[83] In 2011, only 54% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd through 6th. In math, just 70% of the students in 3rd through 6th grades were on grade level and 35% scored advanced. In 4th grade science, 67% of the pupils were on grade level.[84]

Woodland Hills Academy is located at 126 Monroeville Avenue, Turtle Creek. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2010, the school reported an enrollment of 299 pupils in grades kindergarten through 7th, with 167 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty, making it a Title I school. The school employed 24 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 12:1.[85] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[86] In 2010 and 2011, Woodland Hills Academy achieved AYP status.[87] In 2011, only 70% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd through 7th. In math, 84% of the students in 3rd through 7th grades were on grade level and 51% scored advanced. In 4th grade science, 81% of the pupils were on grade level.[88]

Enrollment[edit]

Over the next 10 years, enrollment in the district is projected to decline sharply by 800 students.[89]

Pennsylvania has one of the highest numbers of school districts in the nation. In Pennsylvania, 80% of the school districts serve student populations under 5,000, and 40% serve less than 2,000. This results in excessive school administration bureaucracy and not enough course diversity.[90] In a survey of 88 superintendents of small districts, 42% of the respondents stated that they thought consolidation would save money without closing any schools.[91]

Belief statements[edit]

  • All students can learn and are capable of achieving high standards.
  • Effective schools encourage all students to be resourceful and accept challenges as positive learning experiences.
  • The best schools encourage a love of lifelong learning and the development of self-esteem.
  • Students are motivated to learn when they can apply what they have learned to their lives.
  • An effective curriculum promotes understanding and appreciation of all people and cultural backgrounds.
  • Student success is best achieved through the cooperation of home, school and community.
  • Students learn best in safe and orderly places.
  • Educated students will become productive citizens in the local and global communities.
  • Student pride in self, school and community will strengthen the Woodland Hills community.
  • Student participation in extra-curricular activities is an important component of a well-rounded education.
  • On-going staff development and training is essential to maintain a quality education program.
  • Students must possess the technological skills required in the information age.
  • Diversity is our strength.[92]

Special education[edit]

In December 2010, the district administration reported that 854 pupils or 20.4% of the district's pupils received Special Education services, with 29% identified students having a specific learning disability.[93] In 2009, the administration reported that 901 or 20.4% received Special Education services.

In order to comply with state and federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act rules and regulations, the school district engages in identification procedures to ensure that eligible students receive an appropriate educational program consisting of special education and related services, individualized to meet student needs. At no cost to the parents, these services are provided in compliance with state and federal law; and are reasonably calculated to yield meaningful educational benefit and student progress .[94] To identify students who may be eligible for special education services, various screening activities are conducted on an ongoing basis. These screening activities include: review of group-based data (cumulative records, enrollment records, health records, report cards, ability and achievement test scores); hearing, vision, motor, and speech/language screening; and review by the Special Education administration. When screening results suggest that the student may be eligible, the District seeks parental consent to conduct a multidisciplinary evaluation. Parents who suspect their child is eligible may verbally request a multidisciplinary evaluation from a professional employee of the District or contact the district's Special Education Department.[95][96]

In 2010, the state of Pennsylvania provided $1,026,815,000 for special education services. This funding is in addition to the state's basic education per pupil funding, as well as, all other state and federal funding.[97] The Pennsylvania Special Education funding system assumes that 16% of the district’s students receive special education services. It also assumes that each student’s needs accrue the same level of costs.[98] The state requires each district to have a three-year special education plan to meet the unique needs of its special education students.[99] Overidentification of students, in order to increase state funding, has been an issue in the Commonwealth. Some districts have more than 20% of its students receiving special education services while others have 10% supported through special education.[100]

The Woodland Hills School District received a $3,351,401 supplement for special education services in 2010.[101] For the 2011-12 and 2012-13 school year, all Pennsylvania public school districts received the same level of funding for special education that they received in 2010-11. This level funding is provided regardless of changes in the number of pupils who need special education services and regardless of the level of services the respective students required.[102][103]

Gifted education[edit]

The District Administration reported that 396 or 7.45% of its students were gifted in 2009. The highest percentage of gifted students reported among all 500 school districts and 100 public charter schools in Pennsylvania was North Allegheny School District with 15.5% of its students identified as gifted.[104] By law, the district must provide mentally gifted programs at all grade levels. The referral process for a gifted evaluation can be initiated by teachers or parents by contacting the student’s building principal and requesting an evaluation. All requests must be made in writing. To be eligible for mentally gifted programs in Pennsylvania, a student must have a cognitive ability of at least 130 as measured on a standardized ability test by a certified school psychologist. Other factors that indicate giftedness will also be considered for eligibility.[105][106]

Budget[edit]

In 2011, the average teacher salary in Woodland Hills School District was $54,781.47 a year, while the cost of the benefits teachers receive was $22,984.57 per employee, for a total annual average teacher compensation of $77,766.04.[107] According to a study conducted at the American Enterprise Institute, in 2011, public school teachers’ total compensation is roughly 50 percent higher than they would likely receive in the private sector. The study found that the most generous benefits that teachers receive are not accounted for in many studies of compensation, including: pension, retiree health benefits and job security.[108]

In 2009, Woodland Hills School District reported employing 499 teachers and administrators with a median salary of $56,961 and a top salary of $141,750.[109] The teacher’s work day is 7 hours and 30 minutes, with 192 days in the contract year. Teachers receive a daily preparation period with additionally pay for hours worked outside of regular day. Additionally, the teachers receive a defined benefit pension, health insurance, professional development reimbursement, multiple paid personal days, 10 paid sick days, and other benefits. The union is given 20 paid days a year to conduct local and other union business.[110]

The district administrative costs per pupil were $872.80 in 2008. The district ranked 120th of Pennsylvania's 500 school districts for administrative costs. The lowest administrative cost per pupil in Pennsylvania was $398 per pupil.[111] In June 2008, the school board hired Walter M. Calinger, age 68, as superintendent for 3 years with a beginning salary of $135,000.[112] The Pennsylvania School Boards Association keeps statistics on salaries of public school district employees in Pennsylvania. According to the association, the average salary for a superintendent for the 2007–08 school year was $122,165.[113] Superintendents and administrators receive a benefit package commensurate with that offered to the district's teachers' union.[114]

Woodland Hills spends $8,268 per student[115] $2,210 over the national average of $6,058/student.[116] In 2006, the district reported paying a total of $3,486,079 to 18 charter schools and cyber charter schools for district resident students who have opted to attend these alternative schools. The state reimbursed the district $964,034.

In December 2010, the Pennsylvania Auditor General conducted a performance audit of the District. The findings were reported to the School Board and the District’s administration.[117]

The district is funded by a combination of: a local earned income tax - 1%, a property tax, a real estate transfer tax 0.5%, coupled with substantial funding from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the federal government.[118] Interest earnings on accounts also provide nontax income to the district. In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, pension income and Social Security income are exempted from state personal income tax and local earned income tax, regardless of the level of the individual’s personal wealth.[119]

State basic education funding[edit]

For the 2012-13 school year, the district will receive $14,105,004.[120] The Governor's Executive Budget for 2012-2013 includes $9.34 billion for kindergarten through 12th grade public education, including $5.4 billion in basic education funding, which is an increase of $49 million over the 2011-12 budget. The state also provides $100 million for the Accountability Block grant. The state will also provide $544.4 million for School Employees’ Social Security and $856 million for School Employees’ Retirement fund called PSERS.[121] This amount is a $21,823,000 increase (0.34%) over the 2011-2012 appropriations for Basic Education Funding, School Employees' Social Security, Pupil Transportation, Nonpublic and Charter School Pupil Transportation. Since taking office, Corbett’s first two budgets have restored more than $918 million in support of public schools, compensating for the $1 billion in federal stimulus dollars lost at the end of the 2010-11 school year.

In 2011-12, the district received a $13,778,182 allocation, of state Basic Education Funding.[122][123] Additionally, the Woodland Hills School District received $327,875 in Accountability Block Grant funding. The enacted Pennsylvania state Education budget included $5,354,629,000 for the 2011-2012 Basic Education Funding appropriation. This amount was a $233,290,000 increase (4.6%) over the enacted State appropriation for 2010-2011.[124] The highest increase in state basic education funding was awarded to Duquesne City School District, which got a 49% increase in state funding for 2011-12.[125]

In the 2010-2011 budget year, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided a 2.13% increase in Basic Education Funding for a total of $14,792,351. Among the districts in Allegheny County, the highest increase went to South Fayette Township School District which got an 11.32% increase. One hundred fifty Pennsylvania school districts received the base 2% increase. The highest increase in 2010-11 went to Kennett Consolidated School District in Chester County which received a 23.65% increase in state funding.[126] The state's hold harmless policy regarding state basic education funding continued where each district received at least the same amount as it received the prior school year, even where enrollment had significantly declined. The amount of increase each school district received was set by Governor Edward Rendell and then Secretary of Education Gerald Zahorchak, as a part of the state budget proposal given each February. This was the second year of Governor Rendell’s policy to fund some districts at a far greater rate than others.

In the 2009–2010 budget year the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided a 5.11% increase in Basic Education funding for a total of $14,482,470. Four county school districts received increases of over 6% in Basic Education Funding in 2008–10. Chartiers Valley School District received an 8.17% increase. In Pennsylvania, over 15 school districts received Basic Education Funding increases in excess of 10% in 2009. Muhlenberg School District in Berks County received the highest with a 22.31% increase in funding. The state's Basic Education Funding to the Woodland Hills School District in 2008–09 was $13,778,182.39.[127] The amount of increase each school district receives is determined by the Governor and the Secretary of Education through the allocation made in the budget proposal made in February each year.

Accountability Block Grants[edit]

Beginning in 2004-2005, the state launched the Accountability Block Grant school funding. This program has provided $1.5 billion to Pennsylvania’s school districts. The Accountability Block Grant program requires that its taxpayer dollars are focused on specific interventions that are most likely to increase student academic achievement. These interventions include: teacher training, all-day kindergarten, lower class size K-3rd grade, literacy and math coaching programs that provide teachers with individualized job-embedded professional development to improve their instruction, before or after school tutoring assistance to struggling students. For 2010-11, the district applied for and received $$889,933 in addition to all other state and federal funding. The district uses the funding to provide full-day kindergarten.[128][129]

PreK Counts grant[edit]

Woodland Hills School District receives state funding to provide preschool at two of the District's elementary schools. For the 2011 school year, Pre-K Counts was funded at the 2010 levels of $83.6 million statewide in Gov. Tom Corbett`s proposed budget,. The state also supplements the federal Head Start preschool program with an additional $37.6 million. Pre-K Counts funding was initiated during the Rendell administration. In 2007-08 the state funded Pre-K Counts at $75 million. Woodland Hills School District received funding in 2007-08.[130] In 2009-10 the district received $268,600 to provide preschool to 36 children.[131][132]

Classrooms for the Future grant[edit]

The Classroom for the Future state program provided districts with hundreds of thousands of extra 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 to 2009. The Woodland Hills School District did not apply to participate in 2006-07 or in 2007-08. The district received $188,223 in 2008-09.[133] In Allegheny County the highest award was given to Highlands School District. The highest funding state wide was awarded to Philadelphia City School District in Philadelphia County - $9,409,073. In 2010, Classrooms for the Future funding was curtailed statewide due to a massive state financial crisis.

Education Assistance grant[edit]

The state's EAP funding provides for the continuing support of tutoring services and other programs to address the academic needs of eligible students. Funds are available to eligible school districts and full-time career and technology centers (CTC) in which one or more schools have failed to meet at least one academic performance target, as provided for in Section 1512-C of the Pennsylvania Public School Code. In 2010-11 the Woodland Hills School District received $381,958.[134]

Literacy grant[edit]

Woodland Hills School District was awarded a $807,940 competitive literacy grant. It is to be used to improve reading skills birth through 12th grade. The district was required to develop a lengthly literacy plan, which included outreach into the community. The funds come from a Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy grant, also referred to as the Keystones to Opportunity grant It is a five-year, competitive federal grant program designed to assist local education agencies in developing and implementing local comprehensive literacy plans. Of the 329 pre-applications by school districts reviewed by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, School District was one of only 148 entities that were invited to submit a full application. In County 5 school districts and one charter school were awarded funding for one year.[135] The funds must be used for teacher training, student screening and assessment, targeted interventions for students reading below grade level and research-based methods of improving classroom instruction and practice. Districts must hire literacy coaches. The coaches work with classroom teachers to enhance their literacy teaching skills. Pennsylvania was among six other states, out of the 35 that applied, to be awarded funding. Pennsylvania received $38 million through the federal program. The Department of Education reserved 5% of the grant for administration costs at the state level.

Federal Stimulus Grants[edit]

The district received an extra $4,246,377 in ARRA – Federal Stimulus money to be used in specific programs like special education and meeting the academic needs of low-income students.[136][137] The funding was limited to the 2009-10 and 2010-2011 school years.[138] Due to the temporary nature of the funding, schools were repeatedly advised to use the funds for one-time expenditures like acquiring equipment, making repairs to buildings, training teachers to provide more effective instruction or purchasing books and software.

Race to the Top grant[edit]

School district officials did not apply for the Race to the Top federal grant which would have brought the district millions of additional federal dollars for improving student academic achievement.[139] Participation required the administration, the school board and the local teachers' union to sign an agreement to prioritize improving student academic success. In Pennsylvania, 120 public school districts and 56 charter schools agreed to participate.[140] Pennsylvania was not approved in the first round of the grant. The failure of districts to agree to participate was cited as one reason that Pennsylvania was not approved. A second round of state RTTT application judging will occur in June 2010.[141]

Technology grant[edit]

In 2010, the district was eligible for a federal Enhancing Education through Technology grant.[142] The district received $65,000.[143]

Real estate taxes[edit]

Property tax rates in 2008–2009 were set at 24.6500 mills.[144] A mill is $1 of tax for every $1,000 of a property's assessed value. Irregular property reassessments have become a serious issue in the commonwealth as it creates a significant disparity in taxation within a community and across a region.

In 2009, the Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief from gambling for the Woodland Hills School District was $184 per approved permanent primary residence. In the district, 12,027 property owners applied for the tax relief. The relief was subtracted from the total annual school property tax bill. Property owners apply for the relief through the county Treasurer's office. Farmers can qualify for a farmstead exemption on building used for agricultural purposes. The farm must be at least 10 contiguous acres and must be the primary residence of the owner. Farmers can qualify for both the homestead exemption and the farmstead exemption. In Allegheny County, 60% of eligible property owners applied for property tax relief in 2009.[145]

Additionally, the Pennsylvania Property Tax/Rent Rebate program is provided for low income Pennsylvanians aged 65 and older; widows and widowers aged 50 and older; and people with disabilities age 18 and older. The income limit is $35,000 for homeowners. The maximum rebate for both homeowners and renters is $650. Applicants can exclude one-half (1/2) of their Social Security income, so people who make substantially more than $35,000 may still qualify for a rebate. Individuals must apply annually for the rebate. This can be taken in addition to Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief.

Property taxes in Pennsylvania are relatively high on a national scale. According to the Tax Foundation, Pennsylvania ranked 11th in the U.S. in 2008 in terms of property taxes paid as a percentage of home value (1.34%) and 12th in the country in terms of property taxes as a percentage of income (3.55%).[146]

Extracurricular activities[edit]

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.[147]

Sports[edit]

Woodland Hills High School's athletics department sponsors almost thirty varsity sports. Woodland Hills competes in the AAAA division of the WPIAL.

Varsity sports include Baseball, Boys/Girls Basketball, Boys/Girls Bowling, Boys/Girls Cross Country, Field Hockey, Boys Golf, Rifle, Boys/Girls Soccer, Softball, Boys/Girls Swimming, Boys/Girls Tennis, Boys/Girls Track, Boys/Girls Volleyball, Wrestling, Rugby, and Ultimate.

The Wolvarena is the football stadium for the Woodland Hills Wolverines. It has been named one of the top 10 places to watch high school football in the country. The Wolverines very rarely lose a home game, losing only 2 out of 40 since 1993.[148] Its most successful varsity team is its football team led by head coach George Novak, which won the regional AAAA championship in 1996, 1999, 2001, 2002, and 2009. Since 1987, Woodland Hills has sent 50 players to Division I schools[148]

The Woodland Hills boys track and field team tied for first place for the WPIAL section 4A championships in 2001. The team was coached by former Olympian Lindel Hodge.

Performing arts[edit]

Woodland Hills High School prides itself in its yearly staging of popular musicals each spring and has won several Gene Kelly Awards for its performances. In April 2007, WHHS students performed in the student version of Les Misérables. Woodland Hills also has a Marching Band for students in the high school. Every year the spring musical receives nominations from the Gene Kelly Awards for outstanding Pittsburgh-area high school performances.

*Denotes Gene Kelly Award for Best Musical

Other events include the winter show done by the Performing Arts Class. Recent productions have included "The Dining Room," "Disney's High School Musical" and "Chicago."

Notable Alumni[edit]

References[edit]

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Coordinates: 40°25′12″N 79°50′27″W / 40.41990°N 79.84073°W / 40.41990; -79.84073