SCHOOL HIGHLIGHT: Bellefonte Area High School

Bellefonte Area School High School, the sole high school in Bellefonte Area School District, is located in the county seat of Bellefonte, about 20 minutes east of State College. This mid-sized, generally rural school district serves nearly 1,000 students in grades 9 through 12, and employs about 70 teachers. That gives the school a 14:1 student-teacher ratio – higher than the national average for public schools.

Students are exposed to a rigorous academic schedule, with all students required to take classes in math, English, social studies, science, physical education, health, driver education theory and personal finance. Additionally, students can opt for a variety of AP classes, which are spread across the school’s course catalogue.

The district also offers a unique cyber education alternative learning program for select students called Bellefonte eLearning Academy. It’s different than a cyber charter school, as the child is still a student at Bellefonte Area High School. This is a great position for a student to be in, as they can achieve their individual learning goals while having the resources of the school district available. These students can participate in most everything in-person students can, like classes, clubs, athletics, fine arts and extracurricular activities.

And speaking of extracurriculars, all students have a wide variety to choose from. Options include baseball, basketball, bowling, cross country, football, golf, soccer, swimming and diving, track and field, wrestling, cheer, gymnastics, softball and volleyball. Additionally, lacrosse is available as a club-level sport.

Some students will have the opportunity to play under the lights at Rogers Stadium, which just received a $7 million renovation. This project included new seating and turf, an eight-lane track, two new fieldhouses, new locker rooms, an additional concessions stand, relocated baseball fields and more.

Even if a student is not interested athletic programs, there’s still plenty of opportunities to get involved. Bellefonte Area High School is highly engaged with the community, with programs throughout the year to strengthen that bond and keep students active. Take Bellefonte Reads, for example, a yearly event that sees a large crowd of students, staff and community members come together to promote literacy and the love of reading.

Another great project spearheaded by faculty at Penn State’s Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications is #IAmDowntownBellefonte, which helps middle and high school students connect with the community where they live through digital storytelling.

The school not only values learning on a hyper-local level, but also on a global level. The school -- and district -- achieves this with a dedication to their world language department, with Chinese and Spanish taught to students as early as kindergarten. This provides students and staff the opportunity to learn and teach on a multiple-dimensional level, and gives staff a chance to enhance their own personal learning on this concept. When students reach middle and high school, even more world language opportunities are provided.

Bellefonte Area High School may be located in a small town, but it provides impressive learning opportunities. Parents of students attending Bellefonte schools can rest assured that their student is receiving a global education, right from the comfort of Happy Valley.

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