School Highlight: Penns Valley Area High School

When choosing a school for your child, proven educational achievement within a district is important. But other factors, such as a supportive and trusting learning environment for all students, can make a huge difference as well.

The rural Penns Valley Area School District aims to provide exactly that environment – one where students strive. The district is dedicated to the well-being of each student, with a goal to produce engaged and motivated life-learners who will become contributing members of a global society.

Serving southeastern Centre County and all of Penns Valley, this district’s sole high school, Penns Valley Area High School, is located about 25 minutes from State College and Penn State, and enrolls about 670 students in grades 7th through 12th. This quality school employs about 50 teachers, all who were rated as “highly qualified” under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

Not only are there high-performing teachers here, but students as well. The most recently available SAT scores reflect on the school favorably, with the school’s average scores in each category generally at or higher than many Pennsylvania schools.

The Pennsylvania School Performance Profile, which assigns academic scores to public, charter and cyber-charter schools, gave a score of 92.1 out of 100 to the high school. Only five percent of Pennsylvania’s 2,033 schools included in the performance profile scored a 90 or better. The school has improved this score in each year of available data.

A great option for the school’s high-achieving students are AP courses, which provide the opportunity for students to earn college credits at select universities. Students also have the option to attend classes at the Central Pennsylvania Institute of Science and Technology, a regional vocational school that serves both local high school students and adult learners.

Courses in the arts like band and chorus are offered, along with marching band and a spring musical. In athletics, students can choose from baseball, cheerleading, cross country and track, football, golf, softball, soccer, swimming, volleyball and wrestling.

Many student athletes will have the chance to compete in freshly renovated facilities, as the high school recently completed an $18 million renovation. It includes a new 1,200-seat gymnasium along with updates to the older gym. The new facility includes a concessions area, LED score table and a video board.

Other areas of the high school have seen upgrades, too. Guidance counselors and school nurses have received new offices, and a new band room has been constructed. Also, dressing rooms have been added for theater productions, and a new stage, ceiling and seats have been installed in the auditorium.

The library has received a complete renovation as well, including more space for cooperative learning and small-group instruction. Other improvements include school-wide air conditioning, locker upgrades, improved vestibule security and more.

Just recently, additional renovations have been announced, aimed at improving safety and public traffic access to the high school and other district facilities.

These renovations are just a small part of what makes Penns Valley Area School District great. With dedicated personnel and a clear plan for success, it has a lot to offer prospective students.

Most important, perhaps, is a culture of continuous improvement that furthers achievement for all students.

It’s the kind of environment that creates life-long learners … and makes students feel right at home.

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