William Allen High School

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William Allen High School
William Allen High School, Allentown PA.jpg
106 North 17th Street

United States
Coordinates40°36′31″N 75°28′03″W / 40.60871°N 75.46740°W / 40.60871; -75.46740
School districtAllentown School District
PrincipalShannon Mayfield
Faculty124.5 FTEs[1]
Grades9th – 12th
Enrollment2,912 (2016-17)[2]
Student to teacher ratio20.4:1[1][3] 3,705 pupils (2011)[4]
Color(s)Canary and Blue         
Athletics conferenceEastern Pennsylvania Conference
NewspaperThe Canary
YearbookThe Comus
School District region in Lehigh County

William Allen High School is one of three, large urban, public high schools of the Allentown School District located in Allentown, Pennsylvania, in the United States. The school provides grades 9th through 12th. William Allen High School is located at 106 North 17th Street, Allentown. It serves students from center-city to the west side of the city. Allentown's other public high school, Dieruff High School, serves students from the city's eastern and southern parts. Until Dieruff's opening in 1959, William Allen High School was known as Allentown High School. In 2015, the school district opened Building 21 Allentown as an experimental high school which focuses on building passion among students through career exploration.

As of the 2014-15 school year, the school had an enrollment of 2,536 students and 124.5 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 20.4:1. There were 1,656 students (65.3% of enrollment) eligible for free lunch and 169 (6.7% of students) eligible for reduced-cost lunch.[1] The student body makeup is 53 percent male and 47 percent female, and the total minority enrollment is 82 percent.

With 3,705 students in the 2006–2007 school year, William Allen High School was the largest high school in the city of Allentown, the largest high school in the Lehigh Valley region of Pennsylvania, and the third largest high school in the state of Pennsylvania. In 2011, enrollment was reported as 3,115 pupils, with 220 teachers. By the fall of 2013, enrollment had declined significantly to 2,595 pupils. In 2013, 84% of pupils were eligible for a federal free or reduced price lunch due to the family meeting the federal poverty level. Additionally, 19% of pupils received special education services, while 5.7% of pupils were identified as being gifted.

In 2013, Allentown School District administration reported that it had lost 625 pupils to area public charter schools, local private schools and state approved public, cyber charter schools.[5] The local charter schools include: Roberto Clemente Charter School, Lehigh Valley Dual Language Charter School, Medical Academy Charter School, and Lincoln Leadership Academy Charter School.

High school students may choose to attend Lehigh Career and Technical Institute for vocational training in the trades [1]. The Carbon-Lehigh Intermediate Unit IU21 provides the Allentown School District with a wide variety of services like specialized education for disabled students and hearing, speech and visual disability services and professional development for staff and faculty.



William Allen High School was established in 1858 when Mr. R. W. McAlpine took a group of 14 older students to the Garber-Horne Building, formerly the home of the North American Homeopathic School of Healing Arts at South Penn Street, near the present Allentown School District Administration Building.

The first Allentown High School building, opened in 1895. Today the building is known as Central Elementary School. The 1895 building no longer exists as it burned down in late 1967.

This was the beginning of Allentown High School,[6] as up until 1858, primary and secondary education was taught in the same school. The first class was fourteen pupils, equally divided by boys and girls.[7]

In 1859, by a vote of 6 to 2, a separate high school was established, one for boys and one for girls. It was located at the Presbyterian Sunday School. Augustus Armagnac was named teacher for the male students, and Hannah L. Romig for the female students.[6] The first commencement was held in May, 1869 in the Presbyterian Church on North Fifth Street. The first graduating class was three students.[7]

During the period 1859 to 1894 secondary school classes were held separately for boys and girls. The classes for boys were held in the Leh's store building on Hamilton Street, and the girl's classes were held in the Sunday School rooms of the First Presbyterian Church on North Fifth Street.[6] Classes were transferred to the Fourth Ward Wolf Building from 1880 to 1894.[7] Classes were moved in 1895 to a new building built exclusively as a high school erected at the site of the "Old Central School", at Lumber and Turner streets. However, it became overcrowded with students and in 1913 five rooms of the Herbst School Building were used for the freshman class of 1918.[7]

Allentown High School[edit]

The 1917 Allentown High School building. This postcard was made from a photograph taken across the street from the front of the school on Webster Street. Note the grass empty lot on Seventeenth Street before row homes were built on it.
The Little Palestra building, opened in 1930 along with the Annex.

In 1917 the current main building at 17th and Turner was completed, and Allentown High School was moved and consolidated into its current building. With the opening of school, it housed grades 9-12 until 1928.[6][8]

In September 1929 the A. Jack Coffield Stadium was opened in the field directly west of the main building. Named for A. Jack Coffield, a high school football player who died during a football practice on 26 September 1928. Interscholastic football had begun at Allentown High School in 1896, the team playing on any open field that was available.[9] The 15,000 seat capacity Coffield Stadium was the first permanent home for the football team. Over a six-year period from 1941 to 1946, the AHS teams went 60-3-3, outscoring the opposition 1,801 points to only 239. Forty of the sixty wins were by shutouts.[9]

The next year in 1930, the Annex and Little Palestra were built to provide additional classroom space as well as an indoor gymnasium and swimming instruction.[6] After World War II, additional expansion was made with the acquisition of the Mack and Farr buildings, which were located across Seventeenth Street on the South Side of Linden. These were two late Nineteenth Century Victorian homes. The Mack building was used for Business Education classes, while the Farr building taught various home economic classes.[10] The Hunsicker Building, located in the 300 Block of North Sixth Street, was used for Honors classes;[10] the Nineteenth Street machine-welding shop was leased by the ASD for Industrial Arts training.[10]

In 1948, Coffield Stadium was replaced by the larger Allentown School District Stadium. The Coffield facility became an athletic field for the high school until 1971.[9] In 1949, the Vocational Annex, called the St. Cloud Street building was opened which provided room for masonry and auto body repair training. Those classes were moved in 1957 to the new Brick and Auto Body building was opened at the location of the unused Coffield site, which the seats were removed in 1955 to be the visitor's stand on south side of the ASD stadium along Linden Street. The St. Cloud building was then used for several chemistry labs. Also in 1957, the Linden Street Wing was opened on part of the old Coffield site with the Hunsicker and the Nineteenth Street machine-welding shop classes being moved into it, along with additional classroom space.[10]

William Allen High School[edit]

With the opening of Louis E. Dieruff High School in East Allentown in 1959, students basically living east of Seventh Street were assigned to the new high school. The students living west of Seventh Street remained assigned to Allentown High School. It was renamed William Allen High School in 1961 to honor William Allen, who was the Chief Justice of the Province of Pennsylvania and former mayor of Philadelphia. He founded the city of Allentown, Pennsylvania in 1762.

In 1972 the Mack and Farr buildings were closed and torn down the next year. Also that year the Coffield athletic field was redeveloped and the new Wiliam Allen High School gymnasium/natatorium was erected on the site. In 1975, a Library-Science Center was built on the site of the Little Palestra that was torn down in 1973.

The Coffield Stadium seats that were moved to the ASD stadium in 1955 were torn down in 2002 as part of the renovation of J. Birney Crum Stadium.[11][12] In 2010 a new 9th grade center was built on the former St. Cloud Building site, at the corner of Linden and St. Cloud streets. It was then dedicated as the "Clifford S. Bartholomew Building".

In 2010 and 2011, the largest and most expensive renovation in the schools' history took place to 7 other campus buildings. These renovations were made while maintaining the architectural features in the older structures. All of the remaining buildings were gutted, and each one receiving new; walls, ceilings, floors, windows, paint, doors/ stairwells, and air conditioning throughout all 7 buildings. New dance studios were constructed on the first floor of the Annex Building 2 with proper floors/mats. Art rooms, chorus and band facilities, were constructed in the Linden Building 6 and 7. Art Labs were equipped with proper tables, lighting and tech. In the other buildings, renovations include, up graded science lab equipment, new tables in the cafeterias, a multimedia center, and upgrades in the black box theater, and hundreds of new and refurbished class room spaces, also, elevators were put in buildings that were without and accessible facilities were created for the disabled.

As part of this major renovation, $1 million was spent on the auditorium. "To give students access to the most advanced stage equipment and to restore it to the beauty and class it exhibited when it was first built." From new curtains, new seating, and restoration done to the imported Stretched Oil on Canvas Portrait situated above the stage. Along with restoration to historic plaster work that adorns the walls and ceilings. A 15 ft stage extension was also built. Lighting and sound upgrades consist of a "state of the art" ETC Lighting Console along with 2 dimming cabinets and 20 led color changing border light alternatives, and, a Custom integrated Simple and Front of House sound system with an independently dedicated SFX system and Yamaha Ls9 console with iPad for remote mixing. As one patron said, "Parkland may have a nice theater, but this is class".

In all the William Allen Campus is finally equipped to provide students with a proper 21st century education in the schools Academic and Arts Academies of Study.


Graduation Rate[edit]

In 2013, Allen High School’s graduation rate was 57.80%.[13] In 2012, Allen High School’s graduation rate was 62.37%.[14] In 2011, the graduation rate was 61.82%.[15] In 2010, the Pennsylvania Department of Education issued a new, 4-year cohort graduation rate. Allen High School's rate was 62.37% for 2010.[16]

According to traditional graduation rate calculations
  • 2010 – 70.5% [17]
  • 2009 – 70% [18][19]
  • 2008 – 69% [20]
  • 2007 – 68%[21]
  • 2006 – 68%
  • 2005 – 67%
  • 2004 – 60%
  • 2003 – 56%
  • 2002 – 62% [22]

Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit program[edit]

In July 2012 and 2013, the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) released a report identifying seventeen Allentown School District schools as among the lowest achieving schools for reading and mathematics in 2011 and 2012. Allentown High School was among the 15% lowest achieving schools 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.[23] The scholarships are limited to those students whose family's income is less than $60,000 annually, with another $12,000 allowed per dependent. Maximum scholarship award is $8,500, with special education students receiving up to $15,000 for a year's tuition. Parents pay any difference between the scholarship amount and the receiving school's tuition rate. Students may seek admission to neighboring public school districts. Each year the PDE publishes the tuition rate for each individual public school district.[24] Fifty-three public schools in Allegheny County are among the lowest-achieving schools in 2011. According to the report, parents in 414 public schools (74 school districts) were offered access to these scholarships. For the 2012–13 school year, eight public school districts in Pennsylvania had all of their schools placed on the list including: Sto-Rox School District, Chester Upland School District, Clairton City School District, Duquesne City School District, Farrell Area School District, Wilkinsburg Borough School District, William Penn School District and Steelton-Highspire School District.[25] Funding for the scholarships comes from donations by businesses which receive a state tax credit for donating.

AYP history[edit]

In 2012, William Allen High School declined to Corrective Action II 6th Year Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) status, due to a low graduation rate and chronic, low academic outcomes.[26] In 2011, the High School declined to Corrective Action II 5th Year, due to chronic low academic achievement and a low graduation rate.

  • 2010 – declined to Corrective Action II 4th Year level in AYP status due to chronically low student achievement for the past five years.[27] The Pennsylvania Department of Education identified the school as Persistently Low Performing in its application for the 2010 federal School Improvement Grant funding.
  • 2009 – declined to Corrective Action II 3rd Year AYP status[28]
  • 2008 – declined to Corrective Action II 2nd Year AYP status[29]
  • 2007 – declined to Corrective Action II first Year AYP status[30]
  • 2006 – declined to Corrective Action I AYP status
  • 2005 – declined to School Improvement II AYP status
  • 2004 – declined to School Improvement I AYP status
  • 2003 – declined to Warning AYP status

2013 school performance profile[edit]

William Allen High School achieved just 53.1 out of 100. The score reflects on grade level reading, mathematics skills and science achievement. In reading/literature – 47% of the pupils were on grade level. In Algebra 1, 33.98% showed on grade level skills. In Biology, just 15% showed on grade level science understanding.[31] 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, they now take the Keystone Exams at the end of the associated course.

PSSA results[edit]

PSSAs are NCLB related examinations which were administered in Pennsylvania high schools from 2003 through 2012. Four exams were given to 11th graders in the spring, including: reading, math, science and writing. 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.

William Allen High School results

11th grade reading[edit]

  • 2012 – 34% on grade level, (42% below basic). State – 67% of 11th graders are on grade level.[32]
  • 2011 – 39% (41% below basic). State – 69.1%[33]
  • 2010 – 51.6% State – 67% [34]
  • 2009 – 46%, State – 65%[35]
  • 2008 – 42%, State – 64% [36]
  • 2007 – 44%, State – 65% [37]
  • 2006 – 42%
  • 2005 – 42%
  • 2004 – 39%
11th grade math:
  • 2012 – 25% on grade level (56% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 59% of 11th graders are on grade level.[38]
  • 2011 – 27% (49% below basic). State – 60.3% [39]
  • 2010 – 35.5% on grade level. State – 59%
  • 2009 – 32%, State – 55%
  • 2008 – 39%, State – 56% [40]
  • 2007 – 29%, State – 53% [41]
  • 2006 – 25%, State 52%
  • 2005 – 26%, State – 51%
  • 2004 – 22%, State – 49%
11th grade science:
  • 2012 – 10% on grade level (57 below basic). State – 42% of 11th graders were on grade level.[42]
  • 2011 – 10% (59% below basic). State – 40%[43]
  • 2010 – 12%, State – 39%
  • 2009 – 13%, State – 40%[44]
  • 2008 – 14%, State – 36%

Science in motion William Allen High School took advantage of a state program called Science in Motion which brought college professors and sophisticated science equipment to the school to raise science awareness and to provide inquiry-based experiences for the students. The Science in Motion program was funded by a state appropriation and cost the school nothing to participate.[45] Cedar Crest College provided the science enrichment experiences to schools in the region.

College remediation rate[edit]

According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, 48% of the Allentown School District 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.[46] 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.[47] 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 Allentown Area School Board has determined that a student must earn 22.5 credits to graduate, including: English 4 credits, Math 3 credits, Social Studies 3.5 credits, Science 3 credits, Arts and Humanities 2 credits, Physical Education 0.8 credits, Health .5 credits, Computer application .5 credits, graduation project .2 credits and electives 5 credits.[48]

For the Graduating Classes of 2012–2014, students must demonstrate PSSA (Pennsylvania System of School Assessment) proficiency in reading, mathematics, and writing. A student who does not attain proficiency on the 11th grade PSSA tests in reading, mathematics, and writing will graduate if he/she successfully completes one of the alternatives: pass the retest of the PSSAs; score at least 900 as a combined total of the verbal and mathematics sections on the SATs; obtain a senior year grade point average (GPA) of at least 2.0; or achieve the level of proficiency determined through their IEP process.[49]

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.[50] At Allentown School District the requirements include a written paper to be completed by the first semester of the student’s senior year and an oral presentation to be given during his/her senior year. 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.[51]

By Pennsylvania 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 Keystone Exams.[52] The exam is given at the end of the course. Keystone Exams replace the PSSAs for 11th grade.[53]

Students have several opportunities to pass the Keystone Exams. 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.[54][55] 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.[56] 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.[57] 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 William Allen 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.[58] Under the Pennsylvania Transfer and Articulation Agreement, many Pennsylvania colleges and universities accept these credits for students who transfer to their institutions.[59] Under state rules, other students that reside in the district, who attend a private school, a charter school or are homeschooled are eligible to participate in this program.[60] In 2010, Governor Edward Rendell eliminated the grants to students, from the Commonwealth, due to a state budget crisis.

For the 2009–10 funding year, the school district received a state grant of $34,122 for the program.[61]

SAT scores[edit]

In 2013, William Allen High School students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 457.89. The Math average score was 451.93. The Writing average score was 440. 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.[62]

In 2012, 201 William Allen High School students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 431. The Math average score was 434. The Writing average score was 416. 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, 246 William Allen High School students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 456. The Math average score was 456. The Writing average score was 428.[63] Pennsylvania ranked 40th among states with SAT scores: Verbal – 493, Math – 501, Writing – 479.[64] 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.[65]

The Pennsylvania Department of Education compared the SAT data of students in rural areas of Pennsylvania to students in urban areas. From 2003 to 2005, the average total SAT score for students in rural Pennsylvania was 992, while urban students averaged 1,006. During the same period, 28 percent of 11th and 12th graders in rural school districts took the exam, compared to 32 percent of urban students in the same grades. The average math and verbal scores were 495 and 497, respectively, for rural students, while urban test-takers averaged 499 and 507, respectively. Pennsylvania’s SAT composite score ranked low on the national scale in 2004. The composite SAT score of 1,003 left Pennsylvania ranking 44 out of the 50 states and Washington, DC.[66]

The Pennsylvania Department of Education reported that 71 percent of students in rural areas of Pennsylvania chose to continue their education after high school in 2003, whereas 79 percent of urban high school graduates opted to continue their education.

AP courses[edit]

In 2013, William Allen High School offered 15 Advanced Placement (AP) courses at a higher cost than regular courses. 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 William Allen High School just 15% of students who took an AP course earned a 3 or better on the exam.[67]


Students who live in the Allentown 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 Allentown 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 2012 tuition rate at William Allen High School is $9,858.67.[68]

Past academic honors[edit]

  • 2005:
  • In its annual ranking of the nation's "Top Public High Schools," Newsweek magazine ranked Allen High School the ninth best public high school in Pennsylvania and the 924th best in the nation.[69]
  • 2003:
    • Second Place, Odyssey of the Mind, State Finals Kevin Acevedo, Nicole Mease, Christian Bolt
    • Fifteenth Place – Odyssey of the Mind, World Finals
  • 2001:
  • 1992:
  • 1991:
  • 1988:
    • Second place, Scholastic Scrimmage (losing to Parkland High School in the finals).[73]
    • Pennsylvania State Champions, Odyssey of the Mind ("structural problem").[74]
    • World Finals – Fourth place, Odyssey of the Mind ("structural problem").[75]
  • 1987:
    • Pennsylvania State Champions, Odyssey of the Mind ("structural problem").[76]
    • World Finals – Second place, Odyssey of the Mind ("structural problem").[77]
  • 1986:
    • Pennsylvania State Champions, Odyssey of the Mind ("structural problem").[78]
    • World Finals – 16th place, Odyssey of the Mind ("structural problem").[79]

School safety and bullying[edit]

The Allentown School District administration reported there were twenty three (23) incidents of bullying in the William Allen High School, in school year 2012–13. Additionally, there were 160 Incidents involving Local Law Enforcement, with 15 arrests. There were 22 incidents of assault on a student, 61 cases of harassment and 16 incidents of sexual misconduct.[80][81] Each year the school safety data is reported by the district administration to the Safe School Center which publishes the reports online.

In 2011–12, the ASD administration reported there were forty four (44) incidents of bullying in the William Allen High School, in school year 2012–13. Additionally, there were 76 Incidents involving Local Law Enforcement, with 12 arrests. There were 47 incidents of assault on a student, 52 cases of harassment and 13 incidents of sexual misconduct.[82]

The Allentown School Board has provided the district's antibully/cyberbullying policy online.[83] All Pennsylvania schools are required to have an anti-bullying policy incorporated into their Code of Student Conduct. 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.[84] 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.[85][86]

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.[87]

In April 2014, three Allen High School students were charged with harassment and ethnic intimidation after a video of the incident was posted on Facebook.[88]

School improvement grant[edit]

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced in March 2012, that the first-year data suggest student achievement is improving at campuses that participated in the federal School Improvement Grant program. He reported that at nearly 60 percent of SIG schools, more students are demonstrating proficiency in reading and math. Nearly a quarter of those schools reported math improvement in the double digits, and close to 20 percent of schools saw double-digit gains in reading.[89]

In the summer of 2011, the District administration did not apply for School Improvement Grant funding, from the federal government (over $9.9 million available). The high school was eligible for funding due to chronic low achievement. The grant stipulates the funds be used for improving student achievement using one of four federally dictated strategies. The strategies are: transformation, turnaround, restart with new faculty and administration or closure of failing schools.[90] The Pennsylvania Education Secretary awarded $66 million to reform Pennsylvania's lowest achieving schools in August 2011. The funding is for three years.[91]

For the 2010–11 school year, Allentown School District administration applied for a School Improvement Grant. William Allen High School was eligible for funding due to the chronic, low achievement at the senior high school as were five other Allentown School District schools.[92] William Allen High School received $350,000 in a school Transformation grant.

In 2010, Pennsylvania received $141 million from the federal – US Department of Education, to turn around its worst-performing schools. The funds were disbursed via a competitive grant program.[93] The Pennsylvania Department of Education has identified 200 Pennsylvania schools as "persistently lowest achieving," making them eligible for this special funding.[94] Pennsylvania required low performing schools to apply or provide documentation about why they had not applied. The funds must be used, by the district, to turn around schools in one of four ways: school closure, restart – close the school and reopen it as a charter school. The other two options involve firing the principal. One would require at least half the faculty in a chronically poor performing school be dismissed. The second involves intensive teacher training coupled with strong curriculum revision or a longer school day.[95]

District statewide ranking[edit]

The Allentown School District was ranked 486th out of 498 Pennsylvania school districts by the Pittsburgh Business Times in 2013.[96] The ranking was based on student academic achievement as demonstrated on the last three years of the PSSAs for: reading, writing, math and science.[97] The PSSAs are given to all children in grades 3rd through 8th and the 11th grade in high school. Adapted examinations are given to children in the special education programs. Writing exams were given to children in 5th, 8th and 11th grades.

  • 2012 – 485th
  • 2010 – 482nd[98]
  • 2009 – 481st
  • 2008 – 480th[99]
  • 2007 – 485th[100]


William Allen is one of 18 high schools that compete in the East Pennsylvania Conference. The school plays its home football and some of its soccer games at J. Birney Crum Stadium. Most of its indoor athletics are played in the school's J. Milo Sewards Gymnasium. The school's primary athletic rivalry is with cross-town Dieruff High School.

Athletic honors[edit]


  • 2010–2011:
  • 2009–2010:
  • 2007–2008:
    • PIAA District XI AAAA Girls Basketball Champions.[101]
  • 2005–2006:
  • 2003:
    • Second place, PIAA District XI AAAA Boys Basketball.
  • 2002:
    • First place, PIAA District XI AAAA Boys Basketball.
  • Historical:
    • Five-time Pennsylvania State Boys Basketball Tournament Champions.
    • One-time Pennsylvania State Girls Basketball Tournament Champions.
    • 7th in Pennsylvania History for all time Boys Basketball wins 1,588


  • 520 overall wins
  • 21 Conference Championships
  • District 11 champions 1992[102]
  • Eight undefeated teams (1929, 1930, 1931, 1941, 1944, 1946, 1953, and 1957).


Arts Academy[edit]

In 1994, a group of teacher-artists at William Allen High School decided to link their strong existing programs in visual art, music theatre, also adding a dance element.

One year later, the Allentown Academy of the Arts (AAA) at William Allen High School was established to provide a quality arts education to talented students.

The academy program provides students with concentrated study in their  area and integrates it with state academic standards. This combination helps students grow creatively and intellectually as artists and people.

Studies have shown that the arts promote creative thinking and problem solving that transcend individual specialties and carry over into science, business  industry.

The advisory board for the Allentown Academy of the Arts Alliance was established in 1999 and is composed of art advocates, arts professionals  college and business representatives.[103]

William Allen Theater Department[edit]

The William Allen Theater Department do an annual fall drama and spring musical.

Notable alumni[edit]

Alma mater[edit]

William Allen High School's Alma mater was written by Dorothy Newhard Knoff in 1912, and was set to music composed by Dr. Warren F. Acker in 1900.[111]

All hail our Alma Mater dear,

Our voice of praise and glory hear
To whom all reverence we bear,
Of you forgetful we'll be ne'er.
We shall forever for you yearn
And cherish all that we may learn
Through future days of life,
'Mid joy and strife;
True may we stand, both to you
And Canary and Blue.

Throughout the land of you we'll sing,
Loud will our praises ever ring,
Of days that have passed by,
Fond memories of dear old high.
Oh Alma Mater, hear our praise;
To you all honor we do raise;
Through future days of life,
'mid joy and strife;
True may we stand, both to you

And Canary and Blue.


  1. ^ a b c School data for William Allen High School, National Center for Education Statistics. Accessed December 12, 2016.
  2. ^ "William Allen HS". National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved August 29, 2019.
  3. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (October 4, 2013). "School Performance profile Fast Fact – William Allen High School".
  4. ^ "Pennsylvania Department of Education: 2006–2007 Public Enrollment by County, LEA, School, and Grade". Retrieved 2007-11-11.[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ Colin McEvoy (October 17, 2013). "Allentown School District student exodus to charter schools continues". The Express-Times.
  6. ^ a b c d e Allentown PA Bicentennial - Lehigh Country Sesquicentennial 1962 Commemorative Book, pp 113-115
  7. ^ a b c d 1918 Allentown High School Yearbook, History of Allentown High School, pp12-13
  8. ^ Allentown School District, History of William Allen High School Archived December 16, 2014, at the Wayback Machine
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