Reading Senior High School (Reading, Pennsylvania)

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Reading Senior High School
Reading High School (PA).jpg
801 North 13th Street
Reading, Pennsylvania, Berks County
United States
Type Public secondary
Motto Reading Senior High School - 2017 State Champs[1]
Established 1927[1]
School district Reading School District
Superintendent Khalid N. Mumin [2]
Principal Eric B. Turman[3]
Grades 10th, 11th and 12th
Number of students 3,165 students (2015-16)[4]
Color(s) Red and black
Athletics Basketball, Football, Baseball, Softball, Field Hockey, Swimming, Water Polo, Track and Field, Cross Country, Wrestling, Cheerleading, Soccer, Bowling, Golf, Marching Band
Mascot Red Knight

Reading Senior High School (colloquially known as "The Castle on the Hill") is home to over 3,000 students from grades 10 through 12 from within the Reading School District. Reading High students complete grades 8 through 9 at Reading Intermediate High School. The school is both ethnically and academically diverse; a broad spectrum of nationalities are represented within the school’s population, and a multitude of unique electives and varied extracurricular activities are offered. In 2011, the school employed 157 teachers, yielding a student teacher ratio of 18:1.[5]

Brief History[edit]

On November 2, 1852, the City Union High School on Fourth and Court streets in Reading,Pennsylvania, opened its doors to boys only. Thirty-five students were enrolled under the direction of Principal William H. Batt, who was paid a salary of $800 a year. The first high school commencement was not held until July 3, 1856, in the high school hall and graduated only four boys.

In September 1857, thirty-eight girls began attending classes in an upper room of the boys’ Academy building. The boys and girls were kept separate for two years until coeducation began in August 1859. Although the radical idea of coeducation was accepted early in the city of Reading, racial segregation continued until 1876, when the academy building opened its doors to students of all races.

When the high school enrollment had reached the figure of 325 in 1881, board members decided to abolish coeducation in the high schools. In the fall of 1881, the boys were transferred to temporary quarters at Eighth and Penn streets, while a new Boys’ High School was being built. The young ladies formed an all-girls high school in the old Academy building. For the next four years, high school boys and girls were to be kept blocks away and taught entirely by instructors of their own sex. Both groups eventually moved into their own buildings on either side of Eighth and Washington streets.

The Girl’s High School building stands today as the Reading School District Administration Building, and the Boys’ High School is now Reading City Hall.

The Reading Senior High School in its present form was not completed until 1927. On September 7, 1927, the coeducational high school at Thirteenth and Douglass streets, with accommodations for 1,800 pupils, received the combined populations of the overcrowded Boy’s and Girls’ High Schools. The original enrollment was 1.577 students, and 166 boys and 165 girls graduated in the first year.

The original faculty of eighty-one members consisted largely of former teachers in the old Boys’ and Girls’ high schools. The campus covered 19 ½ acres of ground and was built to resemble a medieval castle. This profound architecture soon inspired the nickname “The Castle on the Hill.” The initial cost of this single building was $1,650,000.

In February 1929, a combined gymnasium for girls and boys was opened, northeast of the main building. In 1930-1931, an auto shop was constructed behind the main building. In 1939, a practice field and cinder track, with a field house, was constructed on the terrace behind and to the south of the main building. As the high school started to take shape, it adopted the school motto “Dic cur hic” (tell me why you are here).[6]


The Pennsylvania Department of Education lists Reading High School and most other schools in the Reading School District as among the lowest 15% achieving schools for reading and mathematics 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 passed in June 2012.[7]

Graduation Rate[edit]

In 2012, Reading School District’s graduation rate was 61%.[8] In 2011, the graduation rate was 56%.[9] In 2010, the Pennsylvania Department of Education issued a new, 4 year cohort graduation rate. High School's rate was 53.7% for 2010.[10]

According to traditional graduation rate calculations:

Drop out rate[edit]

Reading Senior High School administration reports annual dropout rates.[15]

  • 2011 - 13.19%, Berks County - 1.89%, PA - 1.28%
  • 2010 - 9.61%, Berks County - 2.13%, PA - 1.49%
  • 2009 - 10.0%, Berks County - 2.20%, PA - 1.60%
  • 2008 - 8.10%, Berks County - 2.00%, PA - 1.70%
  • 2007 - 7.50%, Berks County - 1.90%, PA - 1.60%

AYP Status[edit]

In 2012, Reading Senior High School declined School Improvement II AYP status due to missing 12 of 14 academic metrics measured. In 2011, Reading Senior High School was in School Improvement Level 1 AYP status due to missing 13 out of 14 metrics measured.[16] Under the federal No Child Left Behind Act, the school administration was required to notify parents of the school's poor achievement outcomes and to offer the parent the opportunity to transfer to a successful school within the District. 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 for additional tutoring for struggling students.[17] The High School is eligible for special, extra funding under School Improvement Grants which the school must apply for each year.[18]

PSSA results[edit]

11th Grade Reading:

  • 2012 - 36% on grade level, (37% below basic). State - 67% of 11th graders are on grade level.[19]
  • 2011 - 41% (36% below basic). State - 69.1% [20]
  • 2010 - 42% (38% below basic). State - 66% [21]
  • 2009 - 37% (36% below basic). State - 65% [22]
  • 2008 - 32% (45% below basic). State - 65% [23]
  • 2007 - 37% (44% below basic). State - 65% [24]

11th Grade Math:

  • 2012 - 29% on grade level (48% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 59% of 11th graders are on grade level.[25]
  • 2011 - 26% (48% below basic). State - 60.3% [26]
  • 2010 - 25% (54% below basic). State - 59% [27]
  • 2009 - 28% (49% below basic). State - 56%.[28]
  • 2008 - 22% (58% below basic). State - 56% [29]
  • 2007 - 21% (59% below basic). State - 53% [30]

11th Grade Science:

  • 2012 - 8% on grade level (46% below basic). State - 42% of 11th graders were on grade level.[31]
  • 2011 - 13% (45% below basic). State - 40% [32]
  • 2010 - 12% (42% below basic). State - 39%
  • 2009 - 11% (43% below basic). State - 40% [33]
  • 2008 - 11% (43% below basic). State - 39% [34]

College Remediation Rate[edit]

According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, 68% of the Reading 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.[35] 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.[36] Per the Pennsylvania Department of Education, one in three recent high school graduates who attend Pennsylvania's public universities and community colleges takes at least one remedial course in math, reading or English.

SAT Scores[edit]

In 2012, 410 Reading Senior High School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 397. The Math average score was 395. The Writing average score was 375. The statewide Verbal SAT exams results were: Verbal 491, Math 501, Writing 480. In the USA, 1.65 million students took the exams achieving scores: Verbal 496, Math 514, Writing 488. According to the College Board the maximum score on each section was 800, and 360 students nationwide scored a perfect 2,400.

In 2011, 446 Reading Senior School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 402. The Math average score was 398. The Writing average score was 357.[37] Pennsylvania ranked 40th among states with SAT scores: Verbal - 493, Math - 501, Writing - 479.[38] 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.[39]

Graduation requirements[edit]

Among Pennsylvania's 500 public school districts, graduation requirements widely vary. The Reading School Board has determined that a pupil must earn 23 credits to graduate, including: English 4.00 credits, Mathematics - 4.00 credits, Science - 3.00 credits, Social Studies 3.00 credits, Physical Education 1.32 credits, Wellness .50 credits, Safety/First Aid .18 credits, Computer/Career Awareness .50 credits, and Electives - 6.50 credits.[40]

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.[41] Effective with the graduating class of 2017, the Pennsylvania Board of Education eliminated the state mandate that students complete a culminating project in order to graduate.[42]

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.[43][44][45] 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.[46] Individual student, school or district reports were not made public, although they were reported to district officials by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Students identified as having special needs and qualifying for an Individual Educational Program (IEP) may graduate by meeting the requirements of their IEP.

Dual enrollment[edit]

The Reading Senior 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 offered a small grant to assist students in costs for tuition, fees and books.[47] Under the Pennsylvania Transfer and Articulation Agreement, many Pennsylvania colleges and universities accept these credits for students who transfer to their institutions.[48]

For the 2009-10 funding year, the school district received a state grant of $79,544 for the program.[49]

AP Courses[edit]

Reading High School offers an extensive AP course program which permits successful students to earn college credits when they achieve score of 3 or better on the final examination offered by the College Board.[50]

TV Studio[edit]

The school has received a great deal of broadcasting and recording equipment from Bob Seidel, Vice President of CBS Engineering and Advanced Technology, who is an alumnus of Reading High School. Students who are members of Knight Life, the school's television club, produce live morning announcements and a live, twice-a-month, two-hour-long television show on a local Public-access television channel. They also participate, along with several other county schools, in a show called Bridging the Generation Gap, co-produced with Berks County Television (BCTV). Besides the Monday night Knight Life shows, Knight Life members also take part in recording the spring and winter music concerts, the school show and live coverage of boys and girls basketball, wrestling, volleyball and soccer.


The German American Exchange Program provides a yearly activity that affords Reading High School students the opportunity to travel to Germany and live in the culture for two weeks and then reciprocate in the spring when the German students come to Pennsylvania for two weeks.

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 Reading School District received $407,573 in 2006-07. In 2007-08, the High School received $558,533. The district received another $328,391 in 2008-09.[51] In Berks County the highest award was given to Reading School District - $1,294,497. The highest funding statewide was awarded to Philadelphia City School District in Philadelphia County - $9,409,073. In 2010, Classrooms for the Future funding was curtailed statewide by then Governor Edward Rendell, due to a massive state financial crisis.


The Reading School District offers a variety of clubs, activities and ancostly, extensive sports program. Eligibility for participation is determined by school board policy and the regulations of the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association.

By Pennsylvania law, all K-12 students residing 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.[52]


The District funds:

According to PIAA directory [53]

Notable alumni[edit]

  • Constantine "Gus" Yatron – Politician – Yatron represented the 6th congressional district of Pennsylvania for twelve terms, from 1969 until his retirement in 1993[54]
  • Thomas Caltagirone – Politician – Pennsylvania House of Representatives[55]
  • Donyell Marshall – Retired NBA Player
  • Stu Jackson – NBA Executive, and former head coach of the New York Knicks and Vancouver Grizzlies.
  • Lenny Moore – Hall of Fame Professional Football Player with the Baltimore Colts.
  • Stephen Mull – Ambassador to Lithuania.
  • James Bryant – Retired Professional Football Player
  • Albert Boscov - Businessman, Philanthropist and former Chairman of Boscov's, LLC
  • Percy "Lee" Powers - Retired Department of Defense (DOD) Analyst. Decorated US Army Veteran. Military Intelligence/Special Operations Command - Korea (SOC-K).


  1. ^ a b "Reading High School - History". Retrieved 2012-07-18. 
  2. ^ "2013-14 Reading School District Annual Report". issuu. 2014-07-21. Retrieved 2014-08-13. 
  3. ^ "New RHS principal aims to boost graduation rates". Reading Eagle. Retrieved 2011-06-28. 
  4. ^ "Public School Enrollments 2015-2016". Pennsylvania Department of Education. Retrieved 2016-08-20. 
  5. ^ National Center for Education Statistics, Common Care Data - Reading Senior High School, 2011
  6. ^ Reading High School Website. "RHS History". 
  7. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (July 2012). "Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit Program". 
  8. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (September 21, 2012). "Reading School District AYP Data Table 2012". 
  9. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education, Reading School District AYP Data Table 2011, September 29, 2011
  10. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (March 15, 2011). "New 4-year Cohort Graduation Rate Calculation Now Being Implemented". 
  11. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education, Reading School District Academic Achievement Report Card Data table 2010, October 20, 2010
  12. ^ The Times-Tribune (June 27, 2010). "PA School District Statistical Snapshot Database 2008-09". 
  13. ^ The Times-Tribune (June 25, 2009). "County School Districts Graduation Rates 2008". 
  14. ^ Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children (2008). "High School Graduation rate 2007" (PDF). 
  15. ^ Reading High School Administration (2011). "Reading High School Snapshot 2011" (PDF). 
  16. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education, Area High School AcYP Overview 2012, September 21, 2012
  17. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (2012). "Pennsylvania Accountability System Frequently Asked Questions". 
  18. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (September 21, 2012). "School Improvement Grant". 
  19. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (September 29, 2012). "2011-2012 PSSA and AYP Results". 
  20. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (September 29, 2011). "2010-2011 PSSA and AYP Results". 
  21. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (2010). "2009-2010 PSSA and AYP Results". 
  22. ^ The Times-Tribune (September 14, 2009). "Grading Our Schools database, 2009 PSSA results". 
  23. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (August 15, 2008). "2007-2008 PSSA and AYP Results". 
  24. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (2007). "PSSA Math and Reading results". 
  25. ^ Pittsburgh Post Gazette (October 15, 2012). "How is your school doing?". 
  26. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education, Reading Senior High School Academic Achievement Report Card 2011, September 29, 2011
  27. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education, Reading Senior High School Academic Achievement Report Card 2010, October 20, 2010
  28. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education, Reading Senior High School Academic Achievement Report Card 2009, September 14, 2009
  29. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education, Reading Senior High School Academic Achievement Report Card 2008, August 15, 2008
  30. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education, Reading Senior High School Academic Achievement Report Card 2007, 2007
  31. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (September 21, 2012). "Reading Senior High School Academic Achievement Report Card 2012" (PDF). 
  32. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (September 29, 2011). "2010-2011 PSSA results in Science". 
  33. ^ The Times-Tribune (2009). "Grading Our Schools database, 2009 Science PSSA results". 
  34. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (2008). "Report on PSSA Science results by school and grade 2008". 
  35. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (January 20, 2009). "Pennsylvania College Remediation Report,". 
  36. ^ National Center for Education Statistics, IPEDS Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, 2008
  37. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (2011). "Public School SAT Scores 2011". 
  38. ^ College Board (September 2011). "SAT Scores State By State - Pennsylvania". 
  39. ^ "While U.S. SAT scores dip across the board, N.J. test-takers hold steady". September 2011. 
  40. ^ Reading School Board, Reading Senior High School Graduation Requirements 2011, 2011
  41. ^ Pennsylvania State Board of Education. "Pennsylvania Code §4.24 (a) High school graduation requirements". 
  42. ^ Pennsylvania State Board of Education, Proposed changes to Chapter 4, May 10, 2012
  43. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (2010). "Keystone Exam Overview" (PDF). 
  44. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (September 2011). "Pennsylvania Keystone Exams Overview". 
  45. ^ Pennsylvania State Board of Education (2010). "Rules and Regulation Title 22 PA School Code CH. 4". 
  46. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (2011). "Keystone Exams". 
  47. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (2010). "Dual Enrollment Guidelines". 
  48. ^ Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (March 2010). "Pennsylvania Transfer and Articulation Agreement". 
  49. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (2009). "Pennsylvania Dual Enrollment Allocations to school districts for 2010-11". 
  50. ^ Reading School District Administration, Reading High School Snapshot, 2012-13
  51. ^ Pennsylvania Auditor General (December 22, 2008). "Classrooms for the Future grants audit" (PDF). 
  52. ^ Pennsylvania Office of the Governor Press Release, (November 10, 2005). "Home-Schooled, Charter School Children Can Participate in School District Extracurricular Activities". 
  53. ^ Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletics Association (2013). "PIAA School Directory". 
  54. ^ "Congressional Biographical Directory". 
  55. ^ "The Pennsylvania House of Representatives – Rep. Thomas R. Caltagirone Biography". 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°20′52″N 75°54′39″W / 40.3477°N 75.9107°W / 40.3477; -75.9107