Washington School District

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Teaching computer skills has become an important part of school
Teaching computer skills has become an important part of school
Photo credit: Pixabay

With under 2,000 students, the Washington School District is a small urban school district.

It serves families in the City of Washington & East Washington, PA.

The Washington School District believes in a hands-on, traditional classroom for its students. The student/teacher radio is better than the statewide average – there are fewer students per teacher. Its teachers, support personnel & administrators operate four Washington, PA schools.

Students attend Primary School at Washington Park from kindergarten through second grade. They’re assessed three times a year as part of their learning experience. It is located at 801 East Wheeling Street, Washington, PA 15301.

Classes for grades 3 through 6 are held at the Intermediate School, where students are encouraged to learn at their own pace. The Intermediate School is at 801 East Wheeling Street, Washington, PA 15301.

Washington Park Junior High, located at 201 Allison Avenue, Washington, PA 15301, prepares 7th & 8th grade students for high school & a lifetime of learning.

Washington High School, at 201 Allison Avenue, Washington, PA 15301, celebrates “the accomplishments of our students in the classroom, on the playing field, & in the arts,” according to the High School principal, Chet Henderson, in an open letter on the school district website. Students attend from ninth grade until graduating 12th grade.

Along with classroom learning, the district offers clubs, activities & sports. Students, including people who attend private schools, cyber schools or charter schools, or who are home schooled, may participate.

Students can learn skills to get well-paying jobs by taking classes at the Western Area Career Technology Center (WACTC). WACTC provides training in construction as a carpenter, electrician, HVAC technician or mason, in automotive fields as a mechanic or collision repair specialist, as a police officer, firefighter or EMT, a nurse or health assistant, as a chef or cook, and in cosmetology, welding and machine shop technologies, computer networking, automation and robotics.

Americans pride themselves on a high literacy rate. Yet one in five Americans – two-thirds of whom were born in the United States – have difficulty completing tasks that require comparing & contrasting information, paraphrasing, or making low-level inferences, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, which is part of the U.S. Department of Education. Those are tasks that anyone who finished high school can be reasonably expected to be able to do.

Educators have looked at ways to better measure the percentage of students who complete high school. The graduation cohort concept measures how many entering ninth graders graduate within four or five years with a traditional diploma. Across the country, the true graduation rates for all schools has proven to be much lower than people originally thought. In 2010, the Pennsylvania Department of Education reported that the 4-year cohort graduation rate of Washington High School was 47%.

About 1 in 6 pupils of Washington School District receive special education services. 3% of students are considered to be gifted. The average teacher salary is $54,000 compared with a median family income in Washington of about $38,000.

The Prexie Cyber Academy is an online option for Washington School District students to complete their lessons while they learn online. The school district’s teaching staff monitors their work & assists as needed. Around 100 full-time students were enrolled in the academy during the 2019-2020 school year.

School closed early in the coronavirus pandemic of 2020. Many students shifted their learning to the Prexie Cyber Academy. More teachers were trained in online learning.

The Washington School District put on a Clap Parade to recognize 2020 graduating Washington High School Seniors. Principals, teachers & staff rode around the city to show their support. Residents were asked to stand outside to cheer on the parade as it rode by.

Social distancing guidelines kept students from attending school in person on a daily basis when is reopened in the fall. In a “hybrid model”, students attended school in person two days a week and learned online three days a week. Because of all the changes, the 2020-2021 school year started three weeks late.

The Washington School District is overseen by a 9-member School Board. Members serve four-year terms. The district office is located at 311 Allison Avenue, Washington, PA 15301.