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.