CONTEXT OF THE SCHOOL
The Crestwood School District rests on the western edge of the Pocono Mountains midway between the cities of Hazleton and Wilkes-Barre. The nine municipalities - the townships of Fairview, Wright, Dorrance, Slocum, Rice, and Dennison; and the boroughs of Nuangola, Penn Lake Park, and White Haven – cover an area of 109.5 square miles and have a combined population of 23,130.
Within the boundaries of the District, there exist several outdoor scenic and recreational areas. The rolling mountainous terrain is a spectacle of beauty throughout the seasons of the year. Individual spots, like the secluded, pleasant atmosphere of Lake Nuangola or the rugged terrain which invites white-water rafting and trout fishing as the Lehigh River runs through White Haven, display the opportunities of nature.
Outside the boundaries of the district, the cities of Scranton, Hazleton and Wilkes-Barre provide a wider spectrum of cultural and entertainment attractions. In addition to dinner theater, the Kirby Center for the Performing Arts, the Wachovia Arena, and the PNC Stadium attract high profile entertainment and exciting athletic events. Plus, the Interstate Highways Routes 80 and 81 and the Pennsylvania Turnpike offer convenient links to larger cities.
The school district itself is the result of a jointure of the previously mentioned political entities during the school year 1961-1962. The High School was opened in 1962, consisting of the principal’s office, the cafeteria, the gymnasium/auditorium, and the first and second halls. The first major renovation occurred in 1967 which included the south wing and third hall, the present auditorium, and the music suite. From 2000-2004, a 4.5 million dollar renovation plan was completed to update specific school facilities such as high school floors, heating system, hall lockers, locker rooms in the building and artificial turf and lighting outside for the stadium. In this same time, the greater Mountain Top Community experienced a “growth spurt” with a flurry of new single family homes built in family developments through the previously mentioned nine municipalities. Due to the revitalization of our area’s downtown section, Crestwood School District began a formal feasibility study in the Winter of 2006-2007.
Currently the district consists of four schools: Fairview Elementary, Rice Elementary, the Middle School, and the High School. The elementary schools are located in townships for which they were named after, while the adjacent Middle School and High School are located on Route 309, also called South Mountain Boulevard. The elementary schools house grades Kindergarten through six, and the Middle School houses grades seven and eight. Also within the district, the parochial school, St. Jude’s Elementary School, includes grades kindergarten through eight and contributes students to the ninth grade.
The geographic size of the community suggests a diversity of socio-economic groups, and the variety of housing developments demonstrates this diversity. Houses range from below $100,000 to well above $500,000. In addition, homes throughout the district that have been inhabited for generations also demonstrate a wide range of value. Obviously, employment opportunities are not limited to the district lines, so many people are employed in nearby locations. However, within the district, the Crestwood Industrial Park provides employment opportunities from the level of executive to semi-skilled worker. Major plants include: Mission Foods, Inc., Certainteed, Office Depot Distribution Center, Quaker Oats and Cornell Iron Works. In 2002-2003, discussions began to capitalize on the presence of productive and vibrant business/industry partners. In the Fall of 2006, preparations were realized with our first cohort of students experiencing a structured job shadowing experience. In conjunction with this initiative, CHS has partnered with the Northeastern Pennsylvania Tech Prep Consortium and Luzerne County Community College (LCCC) to join the Pennsylvania Plastics Initiative. The discussions that culminated in this unique partnership resulted in the creation of a formal internship portfolio and future plans to create Capstone internship (paid) experiences in the Health Sciences, Business Education, Family & Consumer Sciences and Technical Education. CHS maintains the overall goal of creating a comprehensive career development framework to propel well rounded, well educated students into post-secondary transition, bolstering our local economy and ultimately make substantive contributions to society. Finally, with the growth of the area, the service industry and retail stores provide opportunities for employment. Data from the US Census Bureau reports that the Median Household Income for the Mountain Top Area was $51,655., the Full Market Property Value was $215,130, and that the percentage of Low Income Households was 14.5%.
Students attending CHS have a number of academic, athletic, and co-curricular programs to choose. In general, the curriculum offered includes: humanities, mathematics and science, business, fine arts, and vocational-technical education. Within these offerings, students may prepare for two or four year colleges, the workforce, or military service. Those students who want to pursue college are given a demanding academic load and offered advanced placement courses or Dual Enrollment at Wilkes University, King’s College, or Luzerne County Community College. Students who want to enter the business field are offered a variety of courses that will prepare them both for the work force and college work. All students have access to two modern computer laboratories including a lab that is designed specifically for mathematics and reading remediation. Students who are training in technical fields have options both at Crestwood and at Wilkes-Barre Area Vocational-Technical School, located thirteen miles north in Plains Township. Students in grades ten through twelve have the opportunity to pursue their interests by attending Crestwood for most academic classes and then traveling to the Wilkes-Barre Area Vocational & Technical School for courses in specific fields. In addition, students have opportunities to pursue interests’ specific to Tech Ed at Crestwood or through articulation agreements with Penn State and Luzerne County Community College. Also, students are afforded the availability of the woodshop and our state of the art pre-engineering program sponsored by NE PA Tech Consortium in collaboration with local colleges. Finally, the Special Education Department offers Learning Support classes and Emotional Support for identified students, as well as, special services such as, speech/language, physical, occupational therapy and vision support.
The success of the academic program is driven by our adopted academic mission. All stakeholders point back to motivated students, committed faculty and staff lead by an Administration that works toward common educational goals. Key educational factors detailed by Standards & Poor’s Report include: exceptionally above-average student-teacher ratio, exceptionally below-average proportion of classes with 20 or fewer students, well above-average classes with 30 or more students, well above-average proportion of graduating students intending to pursue a college degree.
The athletic tradition at Crestwood is well known. Every athletic team was competitive with boy’s basketball winning their fifth District Championship in six years, while advancing to the State Quarterfinals. Field hockey and baseball competed in the district final with both teams losing to the eventual State Champions. Our sports programs have continuously performed at a high level with numerous Regional and District Champions in field hockey, wrestling, track and field, basketball, tennis, golf, and baseball. Our field hockey team has won four state titles (1988, 1999, 2003 and 2004), the second most in the state of Pennsylvania. Individually, the 2008/09 school year saw accolades go out to a district champion in girls’ tennis, a state 3rd place in wrestling, a state 3rd place in the 1600m run, and a state 3rd place in the pole vault in track and field.
More importantly, is the pursuit of academic excellence for our student-athletes. The 2008/09 school year was representative of past years as student-athletes will continue their academic careers at elite colleges while participating in athletics. Student-athletes will attend prestigious colleges from the Ivy and Patriot Leagues; such as Cornell, Columbia, Lehigh, and Lafayette, to name a few.
The emphasis on student-athlete is clearly evident by the 58 percent of National Honor Society members participating in at least one sport in grades 10-12 with 38 percent of senior student-athletes maintaining a 3.7 or higher grade point average.
Co-curricular activities provide students with varied avenues to develop and display talents and skills. The Science and Mathematics Departments encourage many students to participate and excel in the Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science. The School newspaper, The Comet Connection, the English Department’s, Literary Magazine and the annual school play provide students with means of expression. The Music Department has both vocal and instrumental year-long programs. In addition to traditional roles of the marching band at football games and parades, there are the Concert Band and the Jazz Band. The choral group performs at two concerts annually and has singers selected to perform in regional and state chorus, annually. School social events are well supported by the student body.
Crestwood School District brings students together from the various little communities and developments that make up the district and forms a school community of which the students, parents, faculty, administration, and staff can be proud. The successes are apparent not only in the programs and test scores, but also in the graduates of the school. The alumni of the school lists doctors, lawyers, mechanics, teachers, nurses, and business persons; professional and non-professional leaders and workers; members of the military and members of the clergy; and members of the community and members of society at large. This demonstrates the success of the school over the last four decades. To continue this success, the professional staff and administration recognize the need to address the challenges of the twenty-first century and the challenges of meeting the needs of the students every day. By meeting the small and large challenges, the district can accomplish its mission statement.
The Pennsylvania State Data Center. Census 2000 Summary File, (SF3), Socio-Economic Profiles. September 25, 2002. Retrieved June 3, 2003, from http://pasdc.hbg.psu.edu/pasdc/census_2000/index.html
Standard & Poor’s.School Evaluation Services. 2006. Retrieved October 8, 2006, from http://www.schoolmatters.com/