Hanover Area School District

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Hanover Area School District
Map of Luzerne County Pennsylvania School Districts.png
Map of Luzerne County, Pennsylvania School Districts
1600 Sans Souci Parkway

Hanover Township

United States
SuperintendentNathan Barrett
School number(570) 831-2313 Superintendnet
Enrollment2015 students in 2010 [1]
 • Kindergarten154
 • Grade 1160
 • Grade 2148
 • Grade 3136
 • Grade 4151
 • Grade 5150
 • Grade 6157
 • Grade 7163
 • Grade 8161
 • Grade 9157
 • Grade 10163
 • Grade 11152
 • Grade 12163
 • OtherEnrollment projected to be 2242 by 2020
Color(s)Blue and White         
Team name"Hawkeyes"

The Hanover Area School District, is a midsized, public school district located in Wyoming Valley, comprises Hanover Township and the boroughs of Warrior Run, Sugar Notch, and Ashley in Pennsylvania. Hanover Area School District encompasses approximately 22 square miles 30 square miles (78 km2). According to 2000 federal census data, it serves a resident population of 19,048. In 2009, the district residents' Per Capita Income was reported as $16,412 while the Median Family Income was $37,692.[2] According to District officials, in school year 2007-08 the Hanover Area School District provided basic educational services to 2,024 pupils through the employment of 144 teachers, 129 full-time and part-time support personnel, and 14 administrators.

The district operates: a Junior/Senior High School (grades 7-12), Memorial Elementary (grades 4,5,6), Lee Park Elementary Center (grades 2,3), and Hanover Green Elementary Center (Kindergarten,1).


Hanover Area is a comprehensive K-12 school district. The district offers basic and advanced placement courses in several subject areas. With the cooperation of the Wilkes-Barre Area Vocational-Technical School (WBAVTS), the district offers vocational training in building trades, power mechanics, food service, cosmetology and data processing. The curricular offerings at Hanover Area Jr./Sr. High School have been designed to provide a strong core of skills, enhanced by electives oriented towards personal interests and career goals.
The District's curriculum is coordinated by the Superintendent, the Director of Curriculum and building principals. Faculty committees, working under a five-year curriculum development cycle, review, revise, and update the curriculum. Curriculum guides for each planned course assure that the curriculum is consistent throughout the district schools.

Academic achievement[edit]

Hanover Area School District was ranked 357th out of 498 Pennsylvania school districts in 2011 by the Pittsburgh Business Times. The ranking was based on student academic performance based on the PSSAs for: reading, writing, math and two years of science.[3]

  • 2010 - 355th [4]
  • 2009 - 369th
  • 2008 - 360th
  • 2007 - 404th out of 501 Pennsylvania school districts.[5]

In 2009, the academic achievement of the pupils in the district was in the 10th percentile among Pennsylvanian's 500 school districts. Scale (0-99; 100 is state best) [6]

Graduation rate[edit]

In 2010, the Pennsylvania Department of Education issued a new, 4-year cohort graduation rate. Hanover Area Junior Senior High School's rate was 90% for 2010.[7]

According to traditional graduation rate calculations:

  • 2010 - 94% [8]
  • 2009 - 94%
  • 2008 - 93% [9]
  • 2007 - 93% [10]

Graduation requirements[edit]

In order to graduate from the Hanover Area Junior/Senior High School, a student must successfully complete 21 approved credits which include: 4 credits of English, 3 credits of Social Studies, 3 credits of Mathematics, 3 credits of Science, 2 credits of Arts & Humanities, 5 credits of electives and 1 credit of Health & Physical Education. The high school is fully accredited by the Middle States Association.[11]

By law, all Pennsylvania secondary school students must complete a graduation 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.[12] At Hanover Area Junior Senior High School the project consists of four parts: a contract; a journal, a research paper; and an oral presentation.[13]

Beginning with the class of 2016, students must take the Keystone Exams in Literature, Biology 1 and Algebra 1.[14]

Hanover Area Junior Senior High School[edit]

In 2010 and 2009 the school is in Corrective Action Level II AYP status due to chronic, low student achievement.[15] The school has been identified by the Pennsylvania Department of Education as a School Improvement Intervention eligible.[16]

11th Grade Reading

  • 2010 - 66% on grade level (16% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 66% of 11th graders are on grade level.[17]
  • 2009 - 64% (19% below basic), State - 65% [18]
  • 2008 - 70% (13% below basic), State - 65%
  • 2007 - 61% (13% below basic), State - 65% [19]

11th Grade Math:

  • 2010 - 51%, on grade level (30% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 59% of 11th graders are on grade level.[20]
  • 2009 - 55% (24% below basic), State - 56%.
  • 2008 - 55% (26% below basic), State - 56%
  • 2007 - 49% (27% below basic), State - 53%

11th Grade Science:

  • 2010 - 40% on grade level. State - 39% of 11th graders were on grade level.
  • 2009 - 44%, State - 40% [21]
  • 2008 - 51%, State - 39%

College remediation[edit]

According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, 28% of Hanover Area Junior Senior High School 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.[22] 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.[23] 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.

Secondary Instructional Support Team[edit]

The primary purpose of the Secondary Instructional Support (SIS) is to provide a classroom climate and approach, where all students achieve success. Secondary Instructional Support provides a vehicle for identifying barriers to student success and for implementing instructional techniques, adaptations, learning strategies, and/or classroom management, as needed, in order to increase student achievement.

Dual enrollment[edit]

The high school offers a dual enrollment program. This state-funded 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.[24] Under the Pennsylvania Transfer and Articulation Agreement, many Pennsylvania colleges and universities accept these credits for students who transfer to their institutions.[25] The Pennsylvania College Credit Transfer System reported in 2009, that students saved nearly $35.4 million by having their transferred credits count towards a degree under the new system.[26]

For the 2009-10 funding year, the school district received a state grant of $16,477 for its dual enrollment program.[27]

8th Grade Reading

  • 2010 - 83% on grade level (6% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 81% of 8th graders on grade level.
  • 2009 - 79% (9% below basic), State - 80%
  • 2008 - 87% (7% below basic), State - 78% [28]
  • 2007 - 86%, State - 75%

8th Grade Math:

  • 2010 - 69% on grade level (15% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 75% of 8th graders are on grade level.[29]
  • 2009 - 74% (14% below basic), State - 71% [30]
  • 2008 - 56% (12% below basic), State - 70%
  • 2007 - 72%, State - 68%

8th Grade Science:

  • 2010 - 57% on grade level (26% below basic). State - 57% of 8th graders were on grade level.
  • 2009 - 58% (21% below basic), State - 55% [31]
  • 2008 - 54%, State - 52% [32]

7th Grade Reading

  • 2010 - 70% on grade level (10% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 73% of 7th graders on grade level.
  • 2009 - 65% (10% below basic), State - 71%
  • 2008 - 67% (16% below basic), State - 70%
  • 2007 - 73% (13% below basic), State - 67%

7th Grade Math:

  • 2010 - 73% on grade level (15% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 77% of 7th graders are on grade level.
  • 2009 - 61% (13% below basic), State - 75%
  • 2008 - 62% (18% below basic), State - 71%
  • 2007 - 67% (15% below basic), State - 67%

Elementary schools[edit]

Special education[edit]

The district administration reported that 430 students or 21% were receiving special education services in 2009.[36][37]

The District affords specialized programs of instruction specifically designed to meet the needs of the District's exceptional students. With assistance from the Luzerne Intermediate Unit 18, exceptional students have access to a complete special education program in such support areas as Learning, Life Skills, Emotional, Speech and Language, Hearing, Visual and Gifted.

The 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. To identify students who may be eligible for special education, 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 Instructional Support Team. 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 Supervisor of Special Education.[38]

In 2010, the state of Pennsylvania provided $1,026,815,000 for Special Education services. The funds were distributed to districts based on a state policy which estimates that 16% of the district's pupils are receiving 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.[39]

Hanover Area School District received a $1,186,722 supplement for special education services in 2010.[40]

Gifted education[edit]

The District Administration reported that 21 or 1.04% of its students were gifted in 2009.[41] By law, the district must provide mentally gifted programs at all grade levels. The primary emphasis is on enrichment and acceleration of the regular education curriculum through a push in model with the gifted instructor in the classroom with the regular instructor. This approach permits such specialized instructional strategies as tiered assignments, curriculum compacting, flexible grouping, learning stations, independent projects and independent contracts. Students identified as gifted attending the High School have access to honors and advanced placement courses, and dual enrollment with local colleges. 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.[42][43]

Bullying policy[edit]

The school district administration reported there were no incidents of bullying in the district in 2009.[44][45]

All Pennsylvania schools are required to have an anti-bullying policy incorporated into their Code of Student Conduct. Hanover Area School District has posted a Bullying/Cyberbullying Policy 249.[46] The policy must identify disciplinary actions for bullying and designate a school staff person to receive complaints of bullying. The policy must be available on the school's website and posted in every classroom. All Pennsylvania public schools must provide a copy of its anti-bullying policy to the Office for Safe Schools every year, and shall review their policy every three years. Additionally, the district must conduct an annual review of that policy with students.[47] The Center for Schools and Communities works in partnership with the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime & Delinquency and the Pennsylvania Department of Education to assist schools and communities as they research, select and implement bullying prevention programs and initiatives.[48]

Education standards relating to student safety and antiharassment programs are described in the 10.3. Safety and Injury Prevention in the Pennsylvania Academic Standards for Health, Safety and Physical Education.[49]

Budget and taxes[edit]

The District Budget comprises revenue derived from local sources (taxes), state funding, and federal projects. The approximate percentages of these revenue sources are 56% local, 40% state and 4% federal.

In 2008, the district reported a deficit of -$1,479,756 in an unreserved-undesignated fund balance. The designated fund balance was reported as zero.[50]

In 2007, the district employed over 124 teachers. The average teacher salary in the district was $48,873 for 184 days worked.[51]

In 2009, the district reported employing over 160 teachers with a salary range of $35,157 to $99,400 and a median teacher salary of $56,872.[52][53] Teachers work 7 hours per day with a 30 min lunch period and a daily prep period. In addition to salary, the teachers' compensation includes: health insurance, life insurance, paid funeral leave, 10 paid sick, 2 personal days, and reimbursement for college courses. At retirement, teachers receive $40 per unused sick day up to 200 days and can receive district funded health insurance. Teachers receive extra compensation for additional duties and for extracurricular advising and sports coaching.[54]

In 2008, Hanover Area School District reported spending $10,869 per pupil. This ranked 404th among the 500 school districts, in the commonwealth.[55]

Hanover Area School District administrative costs per pupil in 2008 was $801.81 in 2008. This ranked 199th in Pennsylvania public schools. The lowest administrative cost per pupil in Pennsylvania was $398 per pupil.[56]

In 2009, the district reported having over $21 million in outstanding debt in General Obligation bonds and over $5 million in other long term debt.[57]

In April 2011, the Pennsylvania Auditor General conducted a performance audit of the district. Significant findings were reported to the school board and the school district administration [58]

The district is funded by a combination of: a local earned income tax, a property tax, a real estate transfer tax of 0.5%, coupled with substantial funding from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the federal government. Grants can provide an opportunity to supplement school funding without raising local taxes. 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 individual's level of wealth.[59]

State basic education funding[edit]

For the 2010-11 school year, the state basic education funding to Hanover Area School District was increased 2.66% for a total of $7,468,682. The highest increase in Luzerne County was awarded to Hazleton Area School District at 12,61%. Sixteen Pennsylvania school districts received an increase over 10%. One hundred fifty Pennsylvania school districts received the base 2% increase. Among Pennsylvania school districts, the highest increase in 2010-11 went to Kennett Consolidated School District in Chester County which received a 23.65% increase in state funding.[60] The amount of increase each school district receives is determined by the Governor and the Secretary of Education through the allocation set in the state budget proposal made in February each year.[61]

For the 2009-2010 budget year the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided an 8.37% increase in Basic Education funding for Hanover Area School District a total of $7,275,177. The state Basic Education Funding to the district in 2008-09 was $6,713,359.84. The highest increase in BEF for the school districts in Luzerne County was awarded to Hazleton Area School District at a 13.36% increase. The highest increase in Pennsylvania went to Muhlenberg School District of Berks County which received an increase of 22.31 percent. Sixteen school districts received an increase in funding of over 10 percent in 2009.[62]

In 2009, the district reported that 1,079 students were eligible for a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to low family income.[63]

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 Hanover Area School District applied for and received $354,556 in addition to all other state and federal funding. The district used the funding to provide all-day kindergarten for the seventh year.[64][65]

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 Hanover Area School District received $49,432.[66]

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 2006-2009. Hanover Area School District did not apply for funding in 2006-07. In 2007-08, it received $106,608. The district received $45,413 in 2008-09 for a total funding of $152,021.[67]

Federal Stimulus grant[edit]

Hanover School District received an extra $2,300,865 in ARRA - Federal Stimulus money to be used only in specific programs like special education and meeting the academic needs of low-income students.[68]

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 over $1 million in additional federal dollars for improving student academic achievement.[69] 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. Pennsylvania was not approved for the grant. The failure of a majority of school districts to agree to participate was cited as one reason that Pennsylvania was not approved.[70]

Common Cents state initiative[edit]

The Hanover Area School Board decided to not participate in the Pennsylvania Department of Education Common Cents program. The program called for the state to audit the district, at no cost to local taxpayers, to identify ways the district could save tax dollars.[71] After the review of the information, the district was not required to implement the recommended cost savings changes.

Real estate taxes[edit]

The school board levied a real estate tax of 16.2283 mills in 2010-11.[72] 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. On the local level, Pennsylvania district revenues are dominated by two main sources: 1) Property tax collections, which account for the vast majority (between 75-85%) of local revenues; and 2) Act 511 tax collections, which are around 15% of revenues for school districts.[73]

  • 2009-10 - 15.5892 mills [74]

In 2008, Luzerne County conducted a county wide property value reassessment. The previous county wide assessment had been done in 1965[75]

  • 2008-09 - 295.0000 mills [76]

Act 1 Adjusted index[edit]

The Act 1 of 2006 Index regulates the rates at which each school district can raise property taxes in Pennsylvania. Districts are not allowed to raise taxes above that index unless they allow voters to vote by referendum, or they seek an exception from the state Department of Education. The base index for the 2011-2012 school year is 1.4 percent, but the Act 1 Index can be adjusted higher, depending on a number of factors, such as property values and the personal income of district residents. Act 1 included 10 exceptions, including: increasing pension costs, increases in special education costs, a catastrophe like a fire or flood, increase in health insurance costs for contracts in effect in 2006 or dwindling tax bases. The base index is the average of the percentage increase in the statewide average weekly wage, as determined by the PA Department of Labor and Industry, for the preceding calendar year and the percentage increase in the Employment Cost Index for Elementary and Secondary Schools, as determined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the U.S. Department of Labor, for the previous 12-month period ending June 30. For a school district with a market value/personal income aid ratio (MV/PI AR) greater than 0.4000, its index equals the base index multiplied by the sum of .75 and its MV/PI AR for the current year.[77]

The School District Adjusted Index for the Hanover Area School District 2006-2007 through 2011-2012.[78]

  • 2006-07 - 5.4%, Base 3.9%
  • 2007-08 - 4.7%, Base 3.4%
  • 2008-09 - 6.1%, Base 4.4%
  • 2009-10 - 5.7%, Base 4.1%
  • 2010-11 - 4.1%, Base 2.9%
  • 2011-12 - 1.9%, Base 1.4%

The Hanover Area School Board did not apply for any exceptions to exceed the Act 1 index for the budget in 2011.[79] In the Spring of 2010, 135 of 500 Pennsylvania school boards asked to exceed their adjusted index. Approval was granted to 133 of them and 128 sought an exception for pension costs increases.[80]

Property tax relief[edit]

In 2010, the Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief from gambling for the Hanover Area School District was $201 per approved permanent primary residence. In the district, 4,422 property owners applied for the tax relief.[81] In 2010 within Luzerne County, the highest reported amount went to Wilkes-Barre Area School District set at $210 per approved homestead. The property tax relief was subtracted from the total annual school property tax bill for each property. 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 (40,000 m2) and must be the primary residence of the owner. Farmers can qualify for both the homestead exemption and the farmstead exemption. Pennsylvania awarded the highest property tax relief to residents of the Chester-Upland School District in Delaware County at $641 per homestead and farmstead in 2010.[82] CUSD was given $632 in 2009. This was the second year they were the top recipient.

  • 2010 - $203 for 4374 properties [83]
  • 2009 - $205 for 4334 properties [84]

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%).[85]


Thirty school buses, owned and operated by Churnetski Transportation, transport elementary students who live beyond 1.5 miles (2.4 km), and secondary students who live beyond 2 miles (3.2 km). Other students may qualify for busing because they live along routes declared hazardous by the PA Department of Transportation. The district also provides bus transportation to students of the Bear Creek Community Charter School.


In 2009, Anthony Spinozza, a member of the school board, plead guilty to taking bribes to award school district contracts. Spinozza had served on the Hanover Area board since 1999.[86]

Extracurricular Activities[edit]

At Hanover Area School District there are two levels Junior Varsity for 7th and 8th graders and Varsity for 9th-12th grade. A student is only allowed to compete on a varsity level for four years of their academic career. Some fall sports include: Cheerleading, Boys and Girls Cross Country, Girls Tennis, Girls Field Hockey, Boys Soccer, Girls Volleyball and Boys Football. The Spring Sports provided include: Boys and Girls Swimming and Diving, Boys and Girls Track and Field, Girls Soccer, Boys Volleyball, Girls and Boys Basketball, Boys Wrestling, Girls Softball, Boys Baseball.

Academic competition[edit]

Students are encouraged to enter various local, state, and national competitions. Hanover Area students have demonstrated their accomplishments in the Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science (PJAS), the Voice of Democracy Contest, National History Day, Mock Trial, Youth Salute, Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA), and most recently, the Marching Band captured the title of Atlantic Coast Champions for 1993, 1995 and 1996.


There are various after-school clubs that meet during the week.

  • Key Club
  • Leo Club
  • Junior (7th-9th) and Senior (10th-12th) Honor Society
  • Drama Club
  • Yearbook (9th-12th)
  • Student Council (9th-12th) and Junior Student Council (7th-8th)
  • Fusion and Concert Band
  • Junior (7th-8th) and Senior Chorus (9th-12th)
  • Art Club
  • Mock Trial
  • Business Club/FBLA (9th-12th)

The musically-oriented groups put on several shows a year. Two of the most popular are the Christmas Concert (generally taking place in late December) and the Spring Concert (late April/early May). Fusion, additionally, performs at all of the football games as a more "rock and roll" alternative to the traditional marching band. Due to the sedentary nature of such instruments as drums and keyboards, they do not actually march, though they do also include clarinets, saxophones, and trumpets.

Drama Club puts on plays that are often popular with the student body because they are cheap and entertaining to watch. Additionally, many of the club's talented young actors and actresses take part in many of the theater-oriented senior projects.


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