Keystone Oaks High School

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

Keystone Oaks High School or KO is a public high school in the suburbs of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States. It is the only high school in the Keystone Oaks School District.


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

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

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

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

Academic achievement[edit]

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

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

College remediation According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, 41% of Keystone Oaks School District graduates required remediation in mathematics and or reading before they were prepared to take college level courses in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education or community colleges.[3] 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.[4] Per the Pennsylvania Department of Education, one in three recent high school graduates who attend Pennsylvania's public universities and community colleges takes at least one remedial course in math, reading or English.

Dual Enrollment[edit]

The high school offers a Dual Enrollment program. This state program permits high school students to take courses, at local higher education institutions, to earn college credits. Students remain enrolled at their high school. The courses count towards high school graduation requirements and towards earning a college degree. The students continue to have full access to activities and programs at their high school. The college credits are offered at a deeply discounted rate. The state offers a small grant to assist students in costs for tuition, fees and books.[5] Under the Pennsylvania Transfer and Articulation Agreement, many Pennsylvania colleges and universities accept these credits for students who transfer to their institutions.[6]

For the 2009-10 funding year, the school district received a state grant of $9,415 for the program.[7]

The Building[edit]

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

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

The High School also contains a planetarium complete with a fully automated Spitz A4 projector. Built in 1969, it languished in disrepair from the mid-1980s into the late 1990s. It was temporarily refurbished, but now once again remains broken. It's housing space is currently being used for desk storage.


The district offers clubs, activities and sports.

By Pennsylvania law, all K-12 students in the district, including those who attend a private nonpublic school, cyber charter school, charter school and those homeschooled, are eligible to participate in the extracurricular programs including all athletics. They must meet the same eligibility rules as the students enrolled in the district's schools.[8]

The Arts[edit]

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

The high school's spring Musical has also annually taken part in the Pittsburgh CLO's Gene Kelly Awards program.

Notable alumni[edit]

  • Comedian Dennis Miller
  • Actor Zachary Quinto (transferred to Central Catholic High School his junior year)
  • Congressman and Presidential Candidate Ron Paul (graduated from Dormont High School, which merged into Keystone Oaks in 1965)


  1. ^
  2. ^ The Rankings: 11th Grade, Guide to Western Pennsylvania Schools, Pittsburgh Business Times. May 15, 2009
  3. ^ Pennsylvania College Remediation Report. January 2009
  4. ^ National Center for Education Statistics
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-10-17. Retrieved 2010-01-26.  Pennsylvania Department of Education - Dual Enrollment Guidelines.
  6. ^ Pennsylvania Transfer and Articulation Agreement. site accessed March 2010.
  7. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education Dual Enrollment Fall Grants 2009-10. August 2009
  8. ^ Home-Schooled, Charter School Children Can Participate in School District Extracurricular Activities, Pennsylvania Office of the Governor Press Release, November 10, 2005