Our Schools 2014

Public, private, charter, cyber — which type of high school is best for your child? We do the homework to help you compare and evaluate options in and around Pittsburgh.



(page 1 of 4)


Photos by Martha Rial
 

 

Good news: You don’t have to sign up your 2-year-old for acting or football lessons to ensure a place in line for a turn as Hamlet in the high-school play or a future starting spot under stadium lights. But in a new century for education, parents need to start asking questions and thinking about plans for high school earlier than ever.
There was a time when, for most folks, the choice would’ve been a no-brainer — the neighborhood public school, or perhaps a nearby parochial or religious-affiliated institution. Times have changed, however, and so has the educational landscape in Pittsburgh and across the nation.

Some long-established brick-and-mortar public and private high schools have closed. Others have evolved, expanded and flourished. New alternatives have emerged — particularly in the realm of charter and cyber schools — with a new vocabulary to define them and new agencies to regulate them. Parents may seek learning options with flexible schedules, heightened focus on arts or other disciplines, or built-in religious teachings. Negotiating that landscape can be confusing for parents who want to consider the latest information on test scores, class sizes, graduation rates and other significant data.

Choices abound, and great schools of all types are found in many communities in and around Pittsburgh — and that’s a good thing. But let’s be honest: It can also be overwhelming. Odds are that many parents know where to look for data or whom to ask about public or private schools in their backyards. They may be less certain about assessing other potential options.

Enter Pittsburgh Magazine’s high-school primer. Our one-stop shop consolidates information about the region’s public, non-public and licensed private high schools, using public-school data compiled from the Pennsylvania Department of Education and our comprehensive survey of religious, private, charter and cyber high schools. In our survey, we’ve gathered information from dozens of western Pennsylvania high schools recognized by the Department of Education about topics ranging from SAT scores to sports, graduation rates to bus transportation. We’ve also assembled a performance snapshot of public schools in Allegheny County.

A footnote: Not every school we contacted responded to our survey, and some get an incomplete grade for not answering every question, despite numerous and repeated efforts to obtain that information. But for a thorough report card on how students at your school and others in the region are faring, read on.



 

Independent Schools

 

Full Info


The Ellis School
6425 Fifth Ave., Pittsburgh PA 15206
412/661-5992
theellisschool.org

≠ Founded: 1916
≠ Application Deadline: Rolling
≠ Total Enrollment: 400

≠ Annual Tuition: $9,000-$26,960
≠ Receiving Financial Grant: 35%

≠ Avg. Faculty Experience: 20 years
≠ Student-Teacher Ratio: 6 to 1

≠ AP Courses: European History, U.S. History, U.S. Government and Politics, English Literature and Language, Calculus AB, Calculus BC, Chemistry, Physics C (Mechanics), Biology, Art History, Studio Art, Latin: Vergil, French, Spanish
≠ Academic Awards: Ellis academic awards include a prize from each academic department (English, History, Mathematics, Modern Languages, Performing Arts, Science, Technology, Visual Arts), for Sportsmanship and for Highest Academic Average. Also awarded are the Head of School Prize, the Benjamin R. Fisher Award, Augustus K. Oliver Cup, The Fato Snyderman Latin Award, The Foster Art Award, the Virginia P. Stevenson Award and the Callomon Underclassman Award.
≠ Music/Arts Courses: Acting, Technical Theater, Orchestra, Silver Strings Ensemble, Glee Club, Dance, The Arts in Society, Clayworks, Digital Video, Studio, Photography, Advanced Photography, Art Now, AP Survey of Art, AP Studio Art, Independent Studies in Visual Arts
≠ Sports: Cross Country, Field Hockey, Soccer, Tennis, Basketball, Swimming, Crew, Softball, Lacrosse, Track, Tennis

≠ Dress Code: Multiple configurations: White, dark-green, navy, red or black polo shirt, blouse, or turtleneck. Legwear in solid dark-green, white, gray or black. Athletes may wear team shirts. Midway through senior year, as a privilege, seniors are no longer required to wear uniforms.
≠ Bus Transportation: Yes. School districts within 10 miles of Ellis receive free bus transportation. Van and carpools available from numerous communities.

The Kiski School
1888 Brett Lane, Saltsburg, PA 15681
724/639-8022
kiski.org

≠ Founded: 1888
≠ Application Deadline: Jan. 31
≠ Total Enrollment: 202

≠ Annual Tuition: $48,300
≠ Receiving Financial Grant: 52%

≠ Avg. Faculty Experience: 8 years
≠ Student-Teacher Ratio: 8 to 1

≠ AP Courses: Language and Composition, Literature and Composition, Calculus AB, Calculus BC, Statistics, Chinese, Spanish, Modern European, U.S. History, Psychology, Physics, Biology, Chemistry
≠ Academic Awards: Cum Laude Society, Subject Area Award
≠ Music/Arts Courses: Visual Arts, Fine Arts/ Music, Fine Arts/ Theatre, Architectural, Digital Media, Industrial Art and Design, Jewelry and Metalsmithing, Survival Art, Studio Art, Studio in Drawing, Painting and Illustration, Studio in Sculpture, Advanced Theatre, Film Studies, Dramatic Productions, Double Quartet, Instrumental Music
≠ Sports: Soccer, Football, Cross Country, Golf, Basketball, Wrestling, Swimming, Hockey, Tennis, Lacrosse, Baseball, Track & Field

≠ Dress Code: Formal
≠ Bus Transportation: Yes

Linsly School
60 Knox Lane, Wheeling, WV 26003
304/233-3260
linsly.org/admissions

≠ Founded: 1814
≠ Application Deadline: Rolling
≠ Total Enrollment: 440

≠ Annual Tuition: Day Students: $15,590, Boarding: $32,170
≠ Receiving Financial Grant: 30%

≠ Avg. Faculty Experience: 16 years
≠ Student-Teacher Ratio: 10 to 1

≠ AP Courses: Biology, Language and Composition, Psychology, Government, Calculus AB, Calculus BC, Literature and Composition, Physics, U.S. History, Latin, Chemistry, Human Geography and French
≠ Music/Arts Courses: Music Appreciation, Art Appreciation, Studio Art, Advanced Art, Ceramics, Stage Band, Chorus, Theatre Dance Speech (TDS)
≠ Sports: BOYS: Football, Soccer, Basketball, Hockey, Track, Swimming, Wrestling, Lacrosse, Cross Country, Golf, Baseball, Tennis. GIRLS: Soccer, Basketball, Volleyball, Cross Country, Swimming, Golf, Softball, Track, Tennis, Cheering

≠ Dress Code: Navy blazer with Linsly patch, girls’ and boys’ ties, white collared shirt, uniform pants for boys, skirts for girls
≠ Bus Transportation: Yes, round-trip from Washington, Pa., location

Oakland School
362 McKee Place, Pittsburgh, PA 15213
412/621-7878
theoaklandschool.org

≠ Founded: 1982
≠ Application Deadline: Open
≠ Total Enrollment: 40

≠ Annual Tuition: $10,000
≠ Receiving Financial Grant: 40%

≠ Avg. Faculty Experience: 16 years
≠ Student-Teacher Ratio: 6 to 1

≠ AP Courses: U.S. History, English Language/Literature
≠ Music/Arts Courses: Studio Art

≠ Dress Code: Casual
≠ Bus Transportation: Yes, via eligible home school district



 

Sewickley Academy
315 Academy Ave., Sewickley, PA 15143
412/741-2230
sewickley.org

≠ Founded: 1838
≠ Application Deadline: Feb. 7 for Grades 1-12, March 1 for financial aid
≠ Total Enrollment: 720

≠ Annual Tuition: $14,200-$23,935
≠ Receiving Financial Grant: 20%

≠ Student-Teacher Ratio: 7 to 1

≠ AP Courses: Italian Language and Culture, Mandarin Language and Culture, Spanish Language, Statistics, Calculus AB, Calculus BC, Physics: Mechanics, Physics: Electricity and Magnetism, Biology, Chemistry, European History, U.S. History, Computer Science
≠ Academic Awards: $2,000 grant from the Whole Kids Foundation Garden Grant Project for the academy’s Secret Garden; 52 students received AP Scholar Awards in 2013; in the last four years, more than 50 percent of academy graduates have been recognized as AP Scholars; the 2012 Senior School literary arts magazine received silver ranking from the Pennsylvania Scholastic Press Association and “excellent” rating from the National Council of Teachers of English, as well as First Place with Special Merit from the American Scholastic Press Association; for the first time in school history, two WPIAL Scholar-Athlete Awards in 2013.
≠ Music/Arts Courses: Chorus, Orchestra, Jazz Ensemble, Concert Band, Chamber Singers, Musical Theatre Performance, Theater Dance, Jazz/Hip Hop, Digital Storytelling-Narrative,  Digital Storytelling-Documentary, Ballet/Modern Dance, Tap II, Fundamentals of Digital Storytelling, Theater Dance II, Advanced Stage Makeup, Intermediate Acting 2, Technical Theater 3-Props and Costumes,  Intermediate Acting 3, Intermediate Acting I, Beginning Acting 1, 2 and 3, Technical Theater 2-Lights and Sound,  Technical Theatre 1-Fundamentals and Carpentry, Public Speaking, Digital Photography, Basic Photography, Advanced Photography
≠ Sports: BOYS: Golf, Soccer, Baseball, Field Hockey, Cross Country, Tennis, Basketball, Ice Hockey, Swimming, Bowling, Lacrosse, Track & Field. GIRLS: Tennis, Cross Country, Golf, Soccer, Basketball, Bowling, Swimming, Lacrosse, Softball, Track & Field

≠ Bus Transportation: Yes

Shady Side Academy
423 Fox Chapel Road, Pittsburgh PA 15238
412/968-3000
shadysideacademy.org

≠ Founded: 1883
≠ Total Enrollment: 941

≠ Annual Tuition: $8,500-$27,875 (five-day boarding available for grades 9-12 for an extra $11,050 fee)
≠ Receiving Financial Grant: 17%

≠ Avg. Faculty Experience: 13 years
≠ Student-Teacher Ratio: 8 to 1

≠ AP Courses: AB/BC Calculus, AP Computer; Level 5 Spanish, French and German
≠ Academic Awards: Shady Side Academy holds a Prize Day each spring to give awards in all academic disciplines. A Cum Laude Society induction ceremony is held each spring.
≠ Music/Arts Courses: Visual Arts: Studio Art 2-D and 3-D. Advanced Level Offerings in Ceramics, Digital Imaging, Drawing, Glass, Metal, Painting, Photography, Printmaking. Music: Concert Choir, Chamber Choir, Concert Band, Symphonic Band, Jazz Ensemble, String Orchestra, Electronic Sound Studio, Music Technology, Music Theory, Contemporary Music, Poetry. Theater: Intro to Acting, Advanced Acting: Scene Study, Stage Craft, Technical Theatre.
≠ Sports: BOYS: Cross Country, Golf, Football, Soccer, Basketball, Ice Hockey, Squash, Swimming, Wrestling, Baseball, Lacrosse, Tennis, Track & Field. GIRLS: Cross Country, Golf, Football, Soccer, Basketball, Ice Hockey, Squash, Swimming, Wrestling, Baseball, Lacrosse, Tennis, Track & Field

≠ Dress Code: Yes
≠ Bus Transportation: Yes

University School
5711 Howe St., Pittsburgh, PA 15232
412/361-7182
theuniversityschool.org

≠ Founded: 1911
≠ Application Deadline: Open
≠ Total Enrollment: 18

≠ Annual Tuition: $18,500

≠ Avg. Faculty Experience: 15 years
≠ Student-Teacher Ratio: 3 to 1

≠ AP Courses: Upon request in science, social science, math and literature
≠ Academic Awards: National Merit Scholars
≠ Music/Arts Courses: Studio Arts

≠ Dress Code: Appropriate Attire
≠ Bus Transportation: Yes

Winchester Thurston
555 Morewood Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15213
412/578-7500
winchesterthurston.org

≠ Founded: 1887
≠ Application Deadline: Dec. 15
≠ Total Enrollment: 663

≠ Annual Tuition: $7,400-$26,200
≠ Receiving Financial Grant: 30%

≠ Avg. Faculty Experience: 12 years
≠ Student-Teacher Ratio: 7 to 1

≠ AP Courses: English Language and Composition, English Literature and Composition, European History, American History, Economics, French, Spanish, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Calculus I, Calculus II, Statistics, Computer Science, Art History
≠ Academic Awards: Malone Scholars School, Edward E. Ford Foundation Grant Recipient
≠ Music/Arts Courses: Varied Course Offerings in Visual and Performing Arts
≠ Sports: BOYS: Soccer (co-ed), Golf, Crew, Fencing, Tennis, Squash, Lacrosse, Basketball, Track, Cross Country. GIRLS:     Field Hockey, Soccer (co-ed), Tennis, Golf, Basketball, Crew, Fencing, Squash, Lacrosse, Track, Cross Country

≠ Dress Code: Yes
≠ Bus Transportation: Yes


Hot Reads

From Field to Fork

From Field to Fork

We put together this dynamic guide to help you find and engage with the region’s sustainable producers of meat, honey, alcohol, fruits and vegetables.
Review: Café Zinho

Review: Café Zinho

Seasoned chef and entrepreneur Toni Pais continues to impress folks who dine at his longstanding Mediterranean establishment, Café Zinho.
Sometimes Your Best Friends in Life Aren't on Facebook

Sometimes Your Best Friends in Life Aren't on Facebook

PittGirl wonders if it's still possible to raise kids to be big-hearted people in an age of self-obsession.
City Guide: 200+ Fun Things to Do (No Matter Where You Are)

City Guide: 200+ Fun Things to Do (No Matter Where You Are)

We explore every inch of Allegheny County (and beyond) for a look at the communities where we live, work and play.

Choose a category







Hot Reads

From Field to Fork

From Field to Fork

We put together this dynamic guide to help you find and engage with the region’s sustainable producers of meat, honey, alcohol, fruits and vegetables.
Review: Café Zinho

Review: Café Zinho

Seasoned chef and entrepreneur Toni Pais continues to impress folks who dine at his longstanding Mediterranean establishment, Café Zinho.
Sometimes Your Best Friends in Life Aren't on Facebook

Sometimes Your Best Friends in Life Aren't on Facebook

PittGirl wonders if it's still possible to raise kids to be big-hearted people in an age of self-obsession.
City Guide: 200+ Fun Things to Do (No Matter Where You Are)

City Guide: 200+ Fun Things to Do (No Matter Where You Are)

We explore every inch of Allegheny County (and beyond) for a look at the communities where we live, work and play.
6 More Things You Might Not Know About Pittsburgh

6 More Things You Might Not Know About Pittsburgh

PittGirl's at it again — this time with a list of a half-dozen fun facts you'll want to mention at your next cocktail party.
'Which Neighborhood Should I Live In?'

'Which Neighborhood Should I Live In?'

We pick the perfect neighborhood for six breeds of ’Burgher.