Westmont Hilltop High School
|Westmont Hilltop High School|
|200 Fair Oaks Drive
Johnstown, Pennsylvania 15905
|Motto||Scientia fons Veritatis
"Knowledge is the Source of Truth" (English translation)
|School district||District VI|
|Superintendent||Dr. Timothy P. Williams (contract November 1, 2016 to June 30, 2021)|
Dr. Timothy P. Williams, Superintendent
Joseph P. Molnar, Director of Technology
|Principal||Mr. Thomas R. Mitchell|
35 teachers (2013)
|Number of students||
|• Grade 9||131 (2012), 153 (2010)|
|• Grade 10||139 (2012), 148|
|• Grade 11||145 (2012), 147|
|• Grade 12||137 (2012), 139 (2010)|
|Color(s)||Red and Gray|
|Athletics||The Hilltoppers & The Lady Hilltoppers|
|Athletics conference||Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference|
|Website||WHHS main page|
Westmont Hilltop High School is a small suburban, public high school. It is the sole high school operated by the Westmont Hilltop School District. Westmont Hilltop High School is located in Upper Yoder Township, Cambria County in the western suburbs of Johnstown, Pennsylvania. The School serves the populations living in Upper Yoder Township, Westmont Borough, and Southmont Borough, Cambria County.
In 2014, Westmont Hilltop High School enrollment was reported as 524 pupils in 9th through 12th grades, with 23% of pupils eligible for a free lunch due to family poverty. Additionally, 9.9% of pupils received special education services, while 5.5% of pupils were identified as gifted. The school employed 35 teachers. Per the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of the teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under the federal No Child Left Behind Act in 2014. Westmont Hilltop High School is not a federally designated Title I school.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2012, Westmont Hilltop High School reported an enrollment of 552 pupils in grades 9th through 12th, with 126 pupils eligible for a federal free or reduced price lunch due to the family meeting the federal poverty level. In 2012, the School employed 34.5 teachers yielding a student-teacher ratio of 16:1. According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.
WHHS students may choose to attend Greater Johnstown Career and Technology Center for training in the construction and mechanical trades. The Appalachia Intermediate Unit IU8 provides the District with a wide variety of services like specialized education for disabled students and hearing, background checks for employees, state mandated recognizing and reporting child abuse training, speech and visual disability services and professional development for staff and faculty.
- 1 History
- 2 Graduation rate
- 3 Academics
- 4 College Remediation Rate
- 5 Dual enrollment
- 6 Graduation requirements
- 7 Challenge Program
- 8 SAT scores
- 9 AP Courses
- 10 Tuition
- 11 Classrooms for the Future grant
- 12 Alma Mater
- 13 Extracurriculars
- 14 References
- 15 External links
The high school was founded when Westmont School District merged with Upper Yoder School District to form Westmont-Upper Yoder School District in 1919. The high school became its current entity when Southmont School District merged with Westmont-Upper Yoder School District in 1956, forming Westmont Hilltop School District. The current high school building opened in 1961 and was renovated in 1996.
The high school was originally located on Diamond Blvd, Southmont Borough. The former high school became the Westmont Hilltop Middle School. The School District closed the Middle School in June 2016.
Grades 5-6 were moved to leased space adjacent to the Elementary School at 675 Goucher Street. Grades 7-8 were moved to the High School campus.
Work is well underway, at the Diamond Avenue site, to build a new complex and relocate the Elementary School for the 2017-18 School year.
It is intended to close the existing Elementary campus at that time.
In 2014, Westmont Hilltop School District’s graduation rate was 95%.
- 2013 - 96%
- 2012 - 97%.
- 2011 - 92%.
- 2010 - 92.14%%, the Pennsylvania Department of Education issued a new, 4-year cohort graduation rate.
- According to traditional graduation rate calculations
- 2014 School Performance Profile
Westmont Hilltop High School achieved 75 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, mathematics and science achievement. In reading/literature - 94% were on grade level. In Algebra 1, 82% showed on grade level skills. In Biology, 80% demonstrated on grade level science understanding at the end of the course. Statewide, the percentage of high school students who scored proficient and advanced in Algebra I increased to 39.7% to 40.1%. The percentage of high school students who scored proficient and advanced in reading/literature declined to 52.5%. The percentage of high school students who scored proficient and advanced in biology improved from 39.7% to 41.4%.
- 2013 School Performance Profile
Westmont Hilltop High School achieved 75 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, mathematics and science achievement. In reading/literature - 84% were on grade level. In Algebra 1, 75% showed on grade level skills at the end of the course. In Biology, only 61% showed on grade level science understanding. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 2,181 public schools (less than 73 percent of Pennsylvania public schools), achieved an academic score of 70 or higher. Pennsylvania 11th grade students no longer take the PSSAs. Instead, beginning in 2012, they take the Keystone Exams at the end of the associated course.
In 2012, Westmont Hilltop High School achieved Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) status. In 2010 and 2011, Westmont Hilltop High School achieved AYP status. From 2003 through 2009, Westmont Hilltop High School achieved AYP status each school year.
Pennsylvania System of School Assessments, commonly called PSSAs are No Child Left Behind Act related examinations which were administered from 2003 through 2012, in all Pennsylvania public high schools. The exams were administered in the Spring of each school year. The goal was for 100% of students to be on grade level or better in reading and mathematics, by the Spring of 2014. The tests focused on the state's Academic Standards for reading, writing, mathematics and science. The Science exam included content in science, technology, ecology and the environmental studies. The mathematics exam included: algebra I, algebra II, geometry and trigonometry. The standards were first published in 1998 and are mandated by the Pennsylvania State Board of Education. In 2013, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania changed its high school assessments to the Keystone Exams in Algebra 1, Reading/literature and Biology1. The exams are given at the end of the course, rather than all in the spring of the student's 11th grade year.
11th Grade Reading:
- 2012 - 77% on grade level, (6% below basic). State - 67% of 11th graders are on grade level.
- 2011 - 78% (9% below basic). State - 69.1%
- 2010 - 82% (7% below basic). State - 66%
- 2009 - 82% (7% below basic). State - 65%
11th Grade Math:
- 2012 - 71% on grade level (12% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 59% of 11th graders are on grade level.
- 2011 - 56% (18% below basic). State - 60.3%
- 2010 - 73% (9% below basic). State - 59%
- 2009 - 71% (8% below basic). State - 56%
11th Grade Science:
- 2012 - 54% on grade level (3% below basic). State - 42% of 11th graders were on grade level.
- 2011 - 51% (8% below basic). State - 40%
- 2010 - 62% (11% below basic). State - 39%
- 2009 - 57% (3% below basic). State - 40%
College Remediation Rate
According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, 13% of the Westmont Hilltop 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. 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. 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.
Wetmont HIlltop 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 cost of college credit is exclusively at the student’s expense. The student must earn a ‘C’ or greater in order to receive graduation credit for the dual enrollment course at Westmont Hilltop High School. Initially, the state offered a small grant to assist students in costs for tuition, fees and books. Under the Pennsylvania Transfer and Articulation Agreement, many Pennsylvania colleges and universities accept these credits for students who transfer to their institutions. Under state rules, other students that reside in the Westmont Hilltop School District, who attend a private school, a charter school or are home schooled are eligible to participate in this program. In 2010, Governor Edward Rendell eliminated the state grants to students due to a state budget crisis.
Among Pennsylvania's 500 public school districts, graduation requirements widely vary. The School Board has determined that a pupil must earn 26 credits to graduate, including: a required class every year in English and social studies, Math - 3 credits, science 3 credits, Arts/Humanities - 2 credits, Physical Education/Health - 1.5 credits and electives - 8.5 credits. Seniors with a deficiency of greater than 2 credits at the end of the second semester may not participate in their class’s commencement ceremonies.
The High School has a mandatory Summer Reading Program for students in both regular and honors English classes in grades nine through twelve. The assignment includes: reading journals and formal responses, Participation is worth ten percent (10%) of the overall English course grade at each grade level. The English Department provides a list of acceptable reading materials.
For nearly two decades, all Pennsylvania secondary school students were required to 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. Effective with the graduating class of 2017, the Pennsylvania State Board of Education eliminated the state mandate that students complete a culminating project in order to graduate.
By Pennsylvania State School Board regulations, beginning with the class of 2017, public school students must demonstrate successful completion of secondary level course work in Algebra I, Biology, and English Literature by passing the respective Keystone Exams for each course. The exam is given at the end of the course. Keystone Exams replace the PSSAs for 11th grade.
Students have several opportunities to pass the exam. Schools are mandated to provide targeted assistance to help the student be successful. Those who do not pass after several attempts can perform a project in order to graduate. For the class of 2019, a Composition exam will be added. For the class of 2020, passing a civics and government exam will be added to the graduation requirements. 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. 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.
The Challenge Program offers $250.00 cash incentives to Westmont Hilltop High School students who excel in the categories of: Academic Improvement, Attendance, Community Service and Academic Excellence. The program partners with businesses to motivate students both in and out of the classroom by encouraging good habits in students that will last throughout their education and into their future careers. The top 10% of students in each of the categories were eligible to win $250.00.
In 2014, 115 Westmont Hilltop School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 519. The Math average score was 521. The Writing average score was 500. Statewide in Pennsylvania, Verbal Average Score was 497. The Math average score was 504. The Writing average score was 480. The College Board also reported that nationwide scores were: 497 in reading, 513 in math and 487 in writing. In 2014, 1,672,395 students took the SATs in the United States.
In 2013, 107 Westmont Hilltop School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 508. The Math average score was 513. The Writing average score was 508. The College Board reported that statewide scores were: 494 in reading, 504 in math and 482 in writing. The nationwide SAT results were the same as in 2012.
In 2012, 113 Westmont Hilltop School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 495. The Math average score was 498. The Writing average score was 472. 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, 108 Westmont Hilltop School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 497. The Math average score was 525. The Writing average score was 487. Pennsylvania ranked 40th among states with SAT scores: Verbal - 493, Math - 501, Writing - 479. 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.
In 2014, Westmont Hilltop High School offered 3 Advanced Placement (AP) courses at a higher cost than regular courses. The fee for each AP Exam is $91 (2014). The local school normally retains $9 of that fee as a rebate to cover administrative costs. In 2012, the fee was $89 per test per pupil. Students have the option of taking College Board approved courses and then taking the College Board's examination in the Spring. Students, who achieve a 3 or better on the exam, may be awarded college credits at US universities and colleges. Each higher education institution sets its own standards about what level of credits are awarded to a student based on their AP exam score. Most higher education give credits for scores of 4 or 5. Some schools also give credits for scores of 3. High schools give credits towards graduation to students who take the school's AP class. At Westmont Hilltop School District the AP courses are weighted at 1.10 credits. Less than 10% of Westmont Hilltop High School students who took an AP course earned a 3 or better on the exam.
Students who live in the Westmont HIlltop School District's attendance area may choose to attend one of Pennsylvania's 157 public charter schools. A student living in a neighboring public school district or a foreign exchange student may seek admission to Westmont Hilltop School District. For these cases, the Pennsylvania Department of Education sets an annual tuition rate for each school district. It is the amount the public school district pays to a charter school for each resident student that attends the charter and it is the amount a nonresident student's parents must pay to attend the District's schools. The 2013 tuition rate was Middle and High School - $9,534.31.
Classrooms for the Future grant
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 Westmont Hilltop School District did not apply to participate in 2006-07. In 2007-08 the district received $94,326. The district received $45,413 in 2008-09. Among the public school districts in Cambria County, the highest award was given to Greater Johnstown School District which received $463,166. The highest funding statewide was awarded to Philadelphia City School District in Philadelphia County - $9,409,073. The grant program was discontinued by Governor Edward Rendell as part of the 2009-10 state budget.
The Alma Mater of Westmont Hilltop is:
"Dear Alma Mater we sing to you. We glory in your name, your works to view, dear Alma Mater, we sing to you. Dear Alma Mater we sing to you, pledging our loyalty our vows renew. Your name we’ll ever love, your precepts true. Dear Alma Mater, we sing to you. "
The Alma Mater was written by Willard E. Ackley, the supervising principal from 1934 to 1954.
Westmont Hilltop School District offers a wide variety of clubs, activities and an extensive, publicly funded sports program. Eligibility for participation is determined by school board policy and in compliance with standards set by the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA). The District is noncompliant with state law, due to failing to post its Interscholastic Athletic Opportunities Disclosure Form on its website.
By Pennsylvania law, all K-12 students residing in the Westmont Hilltop School 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.
The high school's mascot is the Hilltopper. The school's official colors are red and gray, with white and/or black often appearing in athletics uniforms. Westmont Hilltop High School is a member of the Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference for most sports. The interlocking "WH" that currently appears on the school's team uniforms and helmets was originally designed by Darren Trebel (Class of '85) in 1982 at the request of Vice Principal Jack Yoder. The design was implemented in time for the school's football team to take part in filming for "All the Right Moves" in Fall, 1983 (see Cultural References below).
On four occasions Westmont Hilltop sports teams have advanced to the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) or equivalent state championship finals; however, no WHHS team has ever won a state championship. The first team to do so was the 2002 men's soccer team, which was defeated in sudden death double overtime. The second team was the 2003 men's hockey team, which advanced to the state championship, but also lost by one goal. The women's basketball team were state runners-up in 2005 and 2006.
Coaches receive compensation as outlined in the teachers' union contract. When athletic competition exceeds the regular season, additional compensation is paid. According to PA Child Abuse Recognition and Reporting Act 126 of 2014, all volunteer coaches and all those who assist in student activities, must have criminal background checks. Like all school district employees, they must also attend an anti child abuse training once every three years.
All school entities with grades 7-12 are required to annually collect data concerning team and financial information for all male and female athletes beginning with the 2012-13 school year and submit the information to the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Beginning with the 2013-14 school year, all non-school (booster club and alumni) contributions and purchases must also be reported to PDE.
According to Pennsylvania’s Safety in Youth Sports Act, all sports coaches, paid and volunteer, are required to annually complete the Concussion Management Certification Training and present the certification before coaching.
According to PIAA directory July 2015
Arts and music
Westmont Hilltop High School has a strong music program and consistently sends many students to participate in the PMEA District 6 and Region 3 Honors Choruses, Bands, Orchestras, and Jazz Festivals. Westmont Hilltop sends students to the All-State Festivals as well. Similarly, the school has recently sent students to the All-State Jazz Chorus Honors Festival. Many students also participate in a variety of other honors festivals. Westmont Hilltop has also sent representatives to the ACDA All-Eastern Honor Choir, and to the ACDA National Honor Choir.
The Westmont Hilltop Marching band and Indoor Percussion and Guard ensembles currently compete in the Atlantic Coast Championships yearly. The ensembles have won numerous awards and have performed in front of large crowds. Westmont Hilltop High School band appeared in the Tom Cruise movie, All the Right Moves.
Westmont Hilltop has a rich history of musical theater. The first musical was performed in 1962 and one has been performed every year since. In 2006, Westmont Hilltop's musical How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying won many accolades from the inaugural Isaac Awards. Westmont Hilltop won the Best Production, Best Musical Number for "Coffee Break," Best Actor, Jeff Howanek, in a Leading Role, and Best Actress, Sarah Sahlaney, in the Leading Role awards. Westmont Hilltop also had nominees for Best Actor in Supporting Role and Best Actress in Supporting Role. In 2007, Westmont Hilltop performed a production of Guys and Dolls. Jade Stager was awarded Best Actress in a Leading Role, and also won an award for Best Musical Number. Westmont presented Grease in 2008, and West Side Story in 2009. Westmont Hilltop presented Anything Goes in 2010. In 2011, the program performed Godspell and in 2012, the performance was The Pirates of Penzance for the 50th annual musical. In 2013, the school performed Into the Woods. Broadway, TV and Film actor Jeff Skowron is a graduate and began acting in the Westmont Hilltop musicals.
Westmont Hilltop's academic teams are two of the most valued and successful teams at the school. The Scholastic quiz team, led by their advisor, John T. Wood III, who is also the high school's chemistry teacher, consistently performs well on the local, regional, and state levels. In 2009, Westmont's Scholastic Quiz team won the local championship and then went on to win the Regional championship over Altoona. They competed in the state tournament in April 2009, losing in a close match to the eventual State Champions from Wilson High School, in the semifinal round.
The Forensics team coaches are Angela Sloan and Billie Kisko. Westmont has gone on to Regional, State, and National tournaments nearly every year. In 2010, two of Westmont's competitors were regional champions in their categories, and the team won the District Championship. In 2013, the Forensics team won both District and Regional tournaments.
2013 marks the start of the Westmont's FIRST Robotics team.
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