|Greater Johnstown High School|
222 Central Avenue
|School district||Greater Johnstown S.D.|
|Color(s)||Black & Columbia blue|
|Feeder schools||Greater Johnstown|
|Athletic Director||Kerry Pfeil|
Greater Johnstown High School is a public high school in the eastern United States, located in between the neighborhoods of Moxham, 8th Ward, and Hornerstown in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. It is the only high school operated by the Greater Johnstown School District. In 2014, enrollment was reported as 813 pupils in 9th through 12th grades, with 77% of pupils eligible for a free lunch due to family poverty. Additionally, 20.9% of pupils received special education services, while 2.3% of pupils were identified as gifted. The school employed 77 teachers. The high school is on the state's lowest achievement schools list permitting students to get scholarships to attend other schools.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2012, Greater Johnstown High School reported an enrollment of 849 pupils in grades 9th through 12th, with 624 pupils eligible for a federal free or reduced price lunch due to the family meeting the federal poverty level. In 2012, the school employed 70 teachers, yielding a student-teacher ratio of 12:1. According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 13 teachers were rated "Non‐Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.
In 2014, the district's graduation rate was 83%.
Each school year since 2013, Greater Johnstown High School has been 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. 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.
Greater Johnstown High School achieved 54.7 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, mathematics and science achievement. In reading/literature - 55.8% were on grade level. In Algebra 1, 41% showed on grade level skills. In Biology, 17.9% 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%.
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 2,134 of 2,947 Pennsylvania public schools (72 percent of Pennsylvania public schools), achieved an academic score of 70 or higher. Fifty-three percent of schools statewide received lower SPP scores compared with last year's, while 46 percent improved. A handful were unchanged.
Compared with last year, the percentage of schools that earned below 60 declined by nearly 1 percent per Secretary of Education Carolyn Dumaresq. She reported that this is an indication that student achievement is improving as school resources are being used better.
Greater Johnstown High School achieved 62.4 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, mathematics and science achievement. In reading/literature - 66% were on grade level. In Algebra 1, only 50% showed on grade level skills. In Biology, 38.8% showed on grade level science understanding at the end of the course. 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.
Effective with Spring 2013, the Pennsylvania Department of Education discontinued administering the PSSA's to 11th graders.
In 2012, Greater Johnstown High School declined again to School Improvement I Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) status, due to low academic achievement in reading and mathematics. Under the federal No Child Left Behind Act, the school administration was required to notify parents of the school's poor achievement outcomes. 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 district must pay for additional tutoring for struggling students. The High School is eligible for special, extra funding under School Improvement Grants which the school must apply for each year.
Greater Johnstown High School has been eligible for special, extra funding under School Improvement Grants which the school must apply for each 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:
11th Grade Math:
11th Grade Science:
According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, 17% of the Greater Johnstown 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.
The Greater Johnstown 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. 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 district, who attend a private school, a charter school or are home schooled are eligible to participate in this program. For 2009-10 school year, the HIgh School received $7,996. In 2010, Governor Edward Rendell eliminated the grants to students, from the Commonwealth, due to a state budget crisis.
Among Pennsylvania's 500 public school districts, graduation requirements widely vary. The Greater Johnstown School Board has determined that a pupil must earn 26 credits to graduate, including: a required class every year in math, English, and social studies, science 3 credits, Health & Wellness 1 credit, Strategic Reading / Composition & Writing 1 credit, Intro to Engineering & Business Technology Communication Skills 1 credit, Physical Education and 8 electives which must include a Personal Finance course.
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.
In 2014, 75 Greater Johnstown School District students took the SAT exams. The district's Verbal Average Score was 438. The Math average score was 449. The Writing average score was 412. 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, 101 Greater Johnstown School District students took the SAT exams. The district's Verbal Average Score was 430. The Math average score was 429. The Writing average score was 399. 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, 94 Greater Johnstown School District students took the SAT exams. The district's Verbal Average Score was 418. The Math average score was 426. The Writing average score was 401. The statewide Verbal SAT exams results were: Verbal 491, Math 501, Writing 480. In the US, 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, 99 Greater Johnstown School District students took the SAT exams. The district's Verbal Average Score was 427. The Math average score was 432. The Writing average score was 389. 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.
The Center for Rural Pennsylvania, a research arm of the Pennsylvania General Assembly, 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.
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.
In 2014, Greater Johnstown High School offered 1 Advanced Placement (AP) courses at a higher cost than regular courses. The fee for each AP Exam is $91 (2014). The school normally retains $9 of that fee as a rebate to help with 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 Greater Johnstown High School 5% of students who took an AP course earned a 3 or better on the exam.
Greater Johnstown School Board established a district wellness policy The policy deals with nutritious meals served at school, the control of access to some foods and beverages during school hours, age appropriate nutrition education for all students, and physical education for students K-12. The policy is in response to state mandates and federal legislation (P.L. 108 – 265). The law dictates that each school district participating in a program authorized by the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1751 et seq) or the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 (42 U.S.C. 1771 et seq) "shall establish a local school wellness policy by School Year 2006." Most districts identified the superintendent and school foodservice director as responsible for ensuring local wellness policy implementation.
The legislation placed the responsibility of developing a wellness policy at the local level so the individual needs of each district can be addressed. According to the requirements for the Local Wellness Policy, school districts must set goals for nutrition education, physical activity, campus food provision, and other school-based activities designed to promote student wellness. Additionally, districts were required to involve a broad group of individuals in policy development and to have a plan for measuring policy implementation. Districts were offered a choice of levels of implementation for limiting or prohibiting low nutrition foods on the school campus. In final implementation these regulations prohibit some foods and beverages on the school campus. The Pennsylvania Department of Education required the district to submit a copy of the policy for approval.
Greater Johnstown High School offers both a free school breakfast and a free or reduced-price lunch to children in low income families. All students attending the school can eat breakfast and lunch. Children from families with incomes at or below 130 percent of the federal poverty level are provided a breakfast and lunch at no cost to the family. Children from families with incomes between 130 and 185 percent of the federal poverty level can be charged no more than 30 cents per breakfast. A foster child whose care and placement is the responsibility of the State or who is placed by a court with a caretaker household is eligible for both a free breakfast and a free lunch. Runaway, homeless and Migrant Youth are also automatically eligible for free meals. The meals are partially funded with federal dollars through the United States Department of Agriculture.
In 2013, the USDA issued new restrictions to foods in public schools. The rules apply to foods and beverages sold on all public school district campuses during the day. They limit vending machine snacks to a maximum of 200 calories per item. Additionally, all snack foods sold at school must meet competitive nutrient standards, meaning they must have fruits, vegetables, dairy or protein in them or contain at least 10 percent of the daily value of fiber, calcium, potassium, and Vitamin D. In order to comply with the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 all US public school districts are required to raise the price of their school lunches to $2.60 regardless of the actual cost of providing the lunch. The Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 mandates that Districts raise their full pay lunch prices every year until the price of non-subsidized lunches equals the amount the federal government reimburses schools for free meals. That subsidy in 2013-2014 was $2.93.
In 2014, President Obama ordered a prohibition of advertisements for unhealthy foods on public school campuses during the school day. The Food and Drug Administration requires that students take milk as their beverage at lunch. In accordance with this law, any student requesting water in place of milk with their lunch must present a written request, signed by a doctor, documenting the need for water instead of milk.
Greater Johnstown School District provides health services as mandated by the Commonwealth and the federal government. A nurses is available in the high school building to conduct annual health screenings (data reported to the PDE and state Department of Health) and to dispense prescribed medications to students during the school day. Students can be excluded from school unless they comply with all the State Department of Health's extensive immunization mandates. School nurses monitor each pupil for this compliance. Nurses also monitor each child's weight.
The Greater Johnstown School District participated in Highmark Foundation's Healthy High 5 Health eTools for Schools grant which enabled mobile data collection of pertinent health and physical fitness screening data on students K-12 in a database held by InnerLink, Inc. in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Health eTools for Schools also provided interdisciplinary research-based curriculum in nutrition, physical education and physical activity to participating districts. The program was discontinued in 2013.
The Greater Johnstown High School administration reported there were zero incidents of bullying in the high school in 2013. Additionally, there were no sexual incidents involving students. The local law enforcement was involved in two incidents at the school.  Each year the school safety data is reported by the district to the Safe School Center which then publishes the compiled reports online. Nationally, nearly 20% of pupils report being bullied at school.
The School Board has not provided the district's antibully policy online. 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. 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.
Education standards relating to student safety and anti harassment programs are described in the 10.3. Safety and Injury Prevention in the Pennsylvania Academic Standards for Health, Safety and Physical Education.
Project 720 was a high school reform program implemented for three years under the Rendell administration. The intent was to increase academic rigor and improve the instruction of teachers in the Commonwealth's high schools. Teachers were expected to use data driven instructional practices and to meet the needs of diverse learners. The 720 in the name referred to the number of days a student was in high school in ninth through 12th grades. High school's applied for funding and were required to agree to report to the PDE their plans, their actions and the outcomes. In 2007-08 budget year, the Commonwealth provided $11 million in funding. Greater Johnson School District was one of 161 PA public school districts to apply, receiving $100,000 funding over three years. For 2010-11, Project 720 funding was decreased to $1.7 million by Governor Rendell. The grant program was discontinued effective with the 2011-12 state budget.
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 Greater Johnstown School District applied to participate in 2006-07 receiving $117,753. In 2007-08, the district received another $300,000. Greater Johnstown School District received a final funding of $45,413 in 2008-09. Among the public school districts in Cambria County, the highest award was given to Greater Johnstown School District. 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 first recorded alumni of the school are listed as graduating in 1882. Over 50,000 students have graduated from this high school. The former Secretary of Education for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Gerald Zahorchak, was a 1975 graduate of Johnstown High. Other notable graduates include: CFL all-time receptions leader Geroy Simon, Saturday Night Live actor Tim Kazurinsky, actress Carroll Baker, former Pittsburgh Steeler Pro-Bowler Carlton Haselrig, current Pittsburgh Steeler LaRod Stephens-Howling and Spider-Man comics co-creator Steve Ditko. In the 1930s, dancing legend Gene Kelly was the choreographer for the Johnstown High School Musicals.
Great Johnstown 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).
By Pennsylvania law, all K-12 students residing in the 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.
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.
Greater Johnstown High School's competitive groups compete on the NJA/TOB Circuit. The Marching Band and Indoor Percussion ensembles are directed by Eric Pfeil and Jon Donath, and the Indoor/Outdoor Color Guard is directed by Jackie Willnecker.
Johnstown participates in high school athletics as a member of the Laurel Highlands Athletics Conference (LHAC). The school is located in PIAA District 6. Coaches receive compensation as outlined in the teachers' union contract. When athletic competition exceeds the regular season, additional compensation is paid.
Article XVI-C of the Public School Code requires the disclosure of interscholastic athletic opportunities for all public secondary school entities in Pennsylvania. 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.
Johnstown appeared in the 2005 PIAA Class AAA Boys' Basketball state title game before falling to Steelton-Highspire High School. the Team also won the class AAA district 6 title in Football and Boys' Basketball in 2009.