Norwin High School

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Norwin High School
281 McMahon Drive
North Huntingdon, PA
United States
Type Public
Established 1950
School district Norwin School District
Enrollment 1600[1]
Color(s) Blue & Gold
Mascot Knights

Norwin High School is located in North Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, with a current enrollment of 1748 students in grades 9-12. It enrolls students from North Huntingdon Township, Irwin, and North Irwin. It is part of the Norwin School District. In 1914, the Township of North Huntingdon, and the borough of Irwin and North Irwin signed a Jointure, combining the three schools. The original high school (now Queen of Angels Catholic School) was built in 1916, and was named Norwin Union High School. An Annex was added to the building in 1937, which survives today. The west wing of the building burned in 1944, and severed the jointure between North Huntingdon, Irwin and North Irwin Schools. The remaining annex was turned into North Huntingdon High School. In 1950, a new West Wing was built, and in 1958 the Jointure between Irwin, North Irwin, and North Huntingdon was reinstated. By 1964, the new high school building was being out grown by its students, so the school board approved the purchase of the McMahon Farm. The current high school was built in 1965. The current building underwent a massive renovation which was completed in 2006. Norwin High School's current Principal is Mr. Michael Choby. The Assistant Principals are Timothy P. McCabe and Joseph V. Shigle III.[2][3]

Graduation rate[edit]

In 2010, the Pennsylvania Department of Education issued a new, 4 year cohort graduation rate. Norwin School District's rate was 92% for 2010.[4]

According to traditional graduation rate calculations:

Academic Achievement[edit]

In 2010 the high school improved to achieving AYP. In 2009 the high school was in Making Progress: in School Improvement I due to low student achievement of special education pupils and low income students.[9]

11th Grade Reading

  • 2010 - 81% on grade level (9% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 66% of 11th graders are on grade level.[10]
  • 2009 - 73% (14% below basic), State - 65%[11]
  • 2008 - 77% (10% below basic), State - 65%[12]
  • 2007 - 80% (6% below basic), State - 65%[13]

11th Grade Math:

  • 2010 - 73%, on grade level (12% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 59% of 11th graders are on grade level.[14]
  • 2009 - 69% (14% below basic). State - 56%[15]
  • 2008 - 71% (16% below basic), State - 56%
  • 2007 - 82% (13% below basic), State - 53%

11th Grade Science:

  • 2010 - 56% on grade level (6% below basic). State - 39% of 11th graders were on grade level.
  • 2009 - 55% (9% below basic). State - 40%[16]
  • 2008 - 52%, State - 39%

College Remediation[edit]

According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, 19% of Norwin 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.[17] 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.[18] 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.

Graduation requirements[edit]

The Norwin School Board requires a minimum of 25.5 credits for a student to graduate including: English 4.5 credits, Social Students 4 credits, Science 3 credits, Mathematics 3 credits, Arts/Humanities 2 credits, Health 0.5 credit, Physical Education 2 and Electives 5 credits. Norwin Senior High School awards one credit upon the completion of the 11th grade PSSA Tests, in writing, reading, and mathematics.[19][20] A student must have a four-year average of ninety (94) percent or higher to graduate with honors.

By law, all Pennsylvania secondary school students must complete a project as a part of their eligibility to graduate from high school. The type of project, its rigor and its expectations are set by the individual school district.[21] At Norwin Senior High School the project includes three components: proposal research, product, and presentation. One component is to be completed each year.

By Pennsylvania School Board regulations, for the graduating class 2016, 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.[22]

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.[23] Norwin has Dual Enrollment agreements with Clarion University, Penn State University: Greater Allegheny, Seton Hill University, The University of Pittsburgh: Greensburg, and Westmoreland County Community College.[24] The College in High School Program is sponsored by the University of Pittsburgh and Seton Hill University. This program allows students to earn college credits and a transcript from the University of Pittsburgh and/or Seton Hill University while taking classes in the Norwin High School. 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 $6,488 for the program.[27] In 2010-11 the district received $7,586.

The high school also offers a variety of Advanced Placement courses (AP). Upon completion of the course, students may take an examination administered by the College Board. A score of 1-5 is determined. Students earning a 4 or 5 are awarded college credits by their college of choice. Some colleges offered credit for scores of a 3. A score of 1 or 2 does not earn college credit. Students also earn grades and credit towards graduation from Norwin Senior High School, which is entirely independent from the outcome of the AP exam.


The Norwin Band has won the state championship a record 25 times, most recently winning in 2013.[28] The Norwin band is also the only band in the entire country to win Bands of America regionals in each of the past five decades (1970's-present). They also won the 1982 Bands of America[29] Grand National Championships.[30][unreliable source?]

The school's theater department has received 55 awards within the state for technical theater and performance. The Norwin Theater Club was named "Best in State" for 2007.[31][unreliable source?]

Notable Alumni[edit]

Doug Plank, who attended Norwin, played safety at Ohio State with the Buckeyes. He spent eight years in the National Football League, all with the Chicago Bears. He is now a coach for the Arena Football League's Georgia Force.[citation needed]

Paul Doucette, graduated from Norwin in June 1990, is the rhythm guitarist and former drummer for the band Matchbox Twenty.[32]

Congressman Mark S. Critz, a 1980 graduate, worked as the district office director for Representative John Murtha before succeeding Murtha in 2010. He has served the Pennsylvania 12th Congressional district since then.

Alaskan crab fishing Captain "Wild" Bill Wichrowski of Deadliest Catch fame graduated from Norwin in 1975.[33]

Vocational School[edit]

Students at Norwin, who want to attend a vocational school, go to Central Westmoreland Career and Technology Center, or C.W.C.T.C.


The secondary schools in the Norwin School District offer a wide variety of extracurricular activities. Eligibility to participate is determined by school board policy. Loss of student privileges for some disciplinary reasons (including attendance, tardiness and behavior) include the privilege to participate in athletic activities. Any student suspended four times in a school year forfeits the privilege to participate in athletic activities for the rest of that school year.


Nineteen (19) varsity level sports are provided including: Baseball, Softball, Lacrosse Boys, Basketball Boys & Girls, Soccer Boys & Girls, Cross Country Boys & Girls, Swimming Boys & Girls, track Boys & Girls, Golf Boys & Girls, Volleyball Boys & Girls, Tennis Boys & Girls, Field Hockey, Football and Wrestling. Bowling and Ice Hockey are club sports.


The Norwin High School Marching Band has held a tradition of excellence for numerous decades. The band is currently directed by Timothy Daniels, with assistance from Greg Ondayko, Brandon Kandrack, as well as several other staff members. They frequently compete at Bands of America competitions at both the regional as well as the national level. The band is a twenty-six-time Bands of America (BOA) Regional Championship champion, being the only band in the Bands of America circuit to win at least one regional title in each of the past five decades. The band has also won the 1982 Bands of America Grand National Championship. In 2015, the band placed first in class 6-Open in the USBands Open Class National Championships in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Norwin's World Guard also has a tradition of excellence, placing in the World Guard International (WGI) Scholastic World Class Finals four times. In addition, the band competes at the state level in the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Marching Band Association (PIMBA) circuit, enjoying multiple state championships. Norwin's Wind Ensemble has received superior ratings at the annual Pennsylvania Music Educators Association (PMEA) Music Performance Assessment for the past 9 consecutive years, and The Norwin Concert Band has received superior ratings for the past seven consecutive years. In 2017, the Norwin Wind Ensemble was selected to perform at the 2017 NAfME Eastern Division Conference. Through dedicated students and staff as well a supportive community and school administration, the band continues to be an educational and successful organization as they look to carry the tradition and dignity of the organization from generation to generation.


  1. ^ Norwin School District report, Enrollment and Projects by LEA, Pennsylvania Department of Education, July 2010
  2. ^ - Retrieved: June 4, 2007
  3. ^ Norwin High School Yearbooks 1936,1937,1944,1950,1951,1958,1964,1965,1999,2000,2001,2002
  4. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (March 15, 2011). "New 4-year Cohort Graduation Rate Calculation Now Being Implemented". 
  5. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (2010). "Norwin School District Academic Achievement Report Card 2010" (PDF). 
  6. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (2010). "Norwin School District AYP Report Card 2010 data table". 
  7. ^ The Times Tribune (June 25, 2009). "Westmoreland County HIgh School Graduation Rate 2008". 
  8. ^ Pennsylvania Partnership for Children (2008). "PA High School Graduation Info by School District 2007". 
  9. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (2010). "NORWIN SHS - School AYP Overview". 
  10. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (2010). "2009-2010 PSSA and AYP Results". 
  11. ^ The Times-Tribune. (September 2009). "Grading Our Schools database, 2009 PSSA results,". 
  12. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (August 2008). "2007-2008 PSSA and AYP Results". 
  13. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (2007). "PSSA Math and Reading results". 
  14. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (March 2011). "Norwin Senior High School Academic Achievement Report Card 2010" (PDF). 
  15. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (2009). "Norwin Senior High School Academic Achievement Report Card 2009". 
  16. ^ The Times-Tribune. (2009). "Grading Our Schools database, 2009 Science PSSA results,". 
  17. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (January 2009). "Pennsylvania College Remediation Report". 
  18. ^ National Center for Education Statistics - IPEDs 2009
  19. ^ Norwin School Board Graduation Requirements Policy 217
  20. ^ Norwin School Board and Administration (2010). "Norwin Senior High School Student Handbook 2010" (PDF). 
  21. ^ "Pennsylvania Code §4.24 (a) High school graduation requirements". 
  22. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (September 2011). "Pennsylvania Keystone Exams Overview". 
  23. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (2010). "Dual Enrollment Guidelines". 
  24. ^ Norwin School District (2010). "Norwin Senior High School Dual Enrollment Program". 
  25. ^ Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (March 2010). "Pennsylvania Transfer and Articulation Agreement.". 
  26. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (April 29, 2010). "PA College Credit Transfer System Makes Higher Education More Affordable, Accessible,". 
  27. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (August 2009). "Dual Enrollment Fall Grants 2009-10.". 
  28. ^ "PIMBA 2013 scores". Retrieved 11/03/13.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  29. ^ "L.J. Hancock". Retrieved 11/03/2013.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  30. ^ - Retrieved: June 5, 2007
  31. ^ - Retrieved: June 5, 2007
  32. ^ Pedersen, Brad. "Matchbox 20 drummer had beginnings in North Huntingdon". Retrieved 2016-06-06. 
  33. ^

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°19′29″N 79°43′24″W / 40.3247°N 79.7234°W / 40.3247; -79.7234