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Allentown School District

The History of Allentown School District

1774      Francis Turner is known as Allentown’s first teacher; records show his purchase of an “A, B, C Book” from a local store.
1824      First free schools established; Pennsylvania state legislation requires all residents must be provided an education.
1839 First female teacher hired.
1858      Allentown High School, the first high school in Allentown, is established in a building on South Penn Street. The first class is composed of 14 students.
1866      First meeting of Allentown School District (ASD) Board of Controllers. An Act establishing ASD and Board of Controllers provides for a board of six directors in each of the five wards, which grew as the borough grew. Thirty classes and eight mills are established.
1867      Robert K. Buehrle, A.M., Ph.D., is elected first Superintendent of Schools.
1869      Three Allentown High School students graduate at first commencement ceremony at First Presbyterian Church.
1870      Sheridan Elementary School opens.
1879      Allentown High School moves to a building on Lumber and Turner streets.
1883      Cleveland Elementary School opens, the ninth school in ASD.
1886      McKinley Elementary School opens.
1893      Central Middle School opens and later becomes an elementary school.
1896      Allentown High School begins an interscholastic sports program. There is no stadium, so sports are played in any available open fields.
1897      Washington Elementary School opens with only four classrooms.
1900 Lincoln Elementary School opens.
1910      Jefferson Elementary and Roosevelt Elementary Schools open.
1910      Jackson Elementary School opens.
1911      The section boards and the ASD Board of Controllers are abolished and a board of nine school directors is established, with six-year terms.
1914      Wilson Elementary School opens.
1914      The first Romper Day takes place. Romper Day was founded by Harry Trexler, Allentown’s foremost city father, and is a community celebration of the summer parks program in Allentown. About 4,000 children from numerous Allentown park programs come together once a summer to take part in traditional events, such as the Maypole dance and the flag drill.
1916      Allentown High School moves to its present location of 17th and Turner streets.
1917      Mosser Elementary School opens. The largest Romper Day was also held this year. 7,500 children participate in the event.
1921      Allentown High School has its first undefeated football season.
1923      Francis D. Raub Middle School opens.
1924      Donald Miller, founding publisher of the Morning Call, graduates fromAllentown High School.
1925      Harrison-Morton Middle School (left) and Ritter Elementary Schoolopen. Sixteen rooms are added to Roosevelt Elementary School during renovations.
1925      J. Birney Crum is hired as Allentown High School’s head football, basketball and baseball coach.
1927      Allentown adopts a 6 – 3 – 3 (elementary, junior high, senior high) grade system.
1928      Muhlenberg Elementary School opens.
1929      The Jack Coffield Stadium is built for sports in the Lehigh Valley.
1940      Cost of education estimated to be $0.68 per day per student.
1945-1947           Allentown High School basketball team wins three state championships in a row under Coach J. Birney Crum.  Coach Crum is chosen as Allentown's Outstanding Citizen for 1945 by the Rotary Club.
1946      Ardath Harter Rodale (who died in 2009), chairman of the board of Rodale Inc., graduates from Allentown High School.
1948      Lehigh Parkway Elementary School opens.
1948      Midway Manor Early Childhood Center and Allentown High School Stadium open.
1949      First Parent Teacher Association is organized.
1949      Dr. John McHugh graduates from Allentown High School.  He later becomes principal of William Allen High School; he passed away in September 2010 after serving as a Lehigh County commissioner for many years.
1949      Irwin Greenberg, retired president of the former Hess’s Department store, graduates from Allentown High School.
1951      South Mountain Middle School opens.
1951      Lee Butz, chief executive officer of Alvin H. Butz Inc., graduates fromAllentown High School.
1955      Union Terrace Elementary School opens.
1955      Last major renovations to Cleveland Elementary completed.
1956      Hiram Dodd Elementary School opens. It is the first Allentownelementary school to house complete facilities for children with disabilities.
1959      Louis E. Dieruff High School opens on the east side of town; AllentownHigh School’s name is changed to William Allen High School.
1959      Lincoln Elementary School is rebuilt to enroll more students.
1962      Allentown School Board issues two bonds, totaling $7 million together. The money is spent adding a planetarium and other facilities to DieruffHigh School, an addition and renovations to Dodd Elementary School, and renovations, including a library and a cafeteria, to Raub Middle School.
1966      Allentown School District celebrates centennial.  ASD is reported to enroll 18,000 students this year.
1966      Trexler Middle School opens.
1966-1969           Dieruff High School basketball team, coached by Dick Schmidt, wins District XI Championship four years in a row.
1973      New classrooms and a school library are added to Union Terrace Elementary School.
1974      Coach J. Birney Crum inducted into Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame.
1978      The Honorable Charles Dent, Pennsylvania State Senator of the 16th District, graduates from William Allen High School.
1979      Dieruff High School football team, coached by Bruce Trotter, wins East Penn Conference Championship after an undefeated football season (10-0-1).
1980      Washington Elementary School built due to increasing enrollment and the deterioration of the old building.
1982      Allen High Stadium is renamed J. Birney Crum Stadium in honor of its esteemed coach.
1986      New Sheridan Elementary School built. It remains Allentown’s newest and most modern educational facility until 2010.
1987      The Honorable Jennifer Mann, Pennsylvania State Representative of the 132nd District, graduates from William Allen High School.
1990      Additions to Central Elementary completed.
1992      Diane Scott, Ed.D., becomes ASD’s 14th Superintendent, and the first female leader of the district.
1992      Romper Day is renamed Allentown Playground Celebration Day.
1992      Dieruff High School football team wins East Penn Conference Championship.
1999      ASD initiates the “Closing the Gap” program, which is a comprehensive training program designed for teachers in urban environments to standardize curricula and to better reach students in an increasingly diverse environment with increased levels of poverty.
2000      Commonwealth of Pennsylvania cites ASD as distressed and places it as the 12th district on the State’s Empowerment list. Below basic scores hit 53.8%.
2001      Fifteen out of 23 ASD schools win PSSA Progress awards.
2001-2002ASD's cost of education is estimated to be approximately $7,400 per student, well below the state average.
2002      Karen S. Angello, Ph.D., is appointed ASD’s 15th Superintendent.
2002      Standard and Poor’s School Evaluation Services recognizes Muhlenberg Elementary, Sheridan Elementary, and Harrison-Morton Middle schools as “better performing” on standardized tests compared to other Pennsylvania schools.
2002-2007J. Birney Crum Stadium undergoes vast renovations, including new track and field facilities.
2003      Five schools meet No Child Left Behind Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) hurdles: Hiram Dodd, Jefferson, Lehigh Parkway,  Muhlenberg and Ritter Elementary Schools.
2004      ASD officially removed from the State’s Empowerment list
2005      The Board approves a six-year strategic plan for improvement.
2006      ASD receives Making Progress designation towards meeting Adequate Yearly Progress. Seventeen of 20 schools meet mathematics targets.
2006-2007 A statewide “costing out” study for Pennsylvania public education is implemented, thanks to a collaboration of ASD leaders, state legislators and “Education 2010!,” and it determines that in 2006-2007, ASD spent an average of $9,215 per student.
2007      ASD receives Corrective Action I AYP designation.
2007-2008           ASD spends an average of $10,375 per student.
2008      ASD receives Corrective Action II AYP designation.
2007-2009           No school property tax increases for three years.
2009-2010           ASD spends an average of $8,528 per student.
2009      The Foundation for Allentown City Schools is established.
2009      Progress in PSSA scores is significant, but not keeping pace.  ASD receives Corrective Action II AYP designation.  The district’s elementary program continues to witness the highest academic achievement.
2010 Phase I of comprehensive facilities improvement plan completed.
The new Luis A. Ramos Elementary School opens and renovations and additions to the following schools are completed:
Roosevelt Elementary School
South Mountain Middle School
Trexler Middle School
Louis E.Dieruff High School
William Allen High School
Total capital cost: $155,000,000
2010      Former PA Secretary of Education, Gerald L. Zahorchak, D.Ed., is elected ASD’s 16th Superintendent.
ASD receives Corrective Action III AYP designation.
Ten schools receive Made AYP or Making Progress designation.
Center for American Progress rates ASD lowest spender of all Districts in PA: $5,881/student.
2011 Eleven schools receive Made AYP or Making Progress designation.
2012      On January 26, C. Russell Mayo, Ed.D., is appointed Superintendent by the ASD Board of School Directors, effective July 1, 2012.
2015      District opens a new high school in September - Building 21 Allentown - at 265 Lehigh Street, Allentown. This innovative high school offers students a unique approach to their academic experience through a competency-based educational model that incorporates project-based and experiential learning.
The District opens the Allentown Re-Engagement Center in collaboration with Communities In Schools, Lehigh Valley. This center is designed to bring the students who have dropped out of school back into the educational setting so they can earn their diploma or GED.
The field at J. Birney Crum Stadium is named Andre Reed Field after the 1981 Dieruff graduate and NFL Hall of Fame honoree.
2017   January 12, the Allentown School Board of Directors approved the hiring of Thomas Parker as the District’s new Superintendent beginning July 1, 2017.