Richland High School was opened in September 1956, which allowed the students who transferred from other schools to spend the final two years of their public education at PRHS, along Bakerstown-Warrendale Road in Richland Township. The first class graduated in June, 1958. The former building closed in 1993 and became Richland Elementary School in 1994. The new high school became Pine-Richland High School, and was opened at its current location in Pine Township in 1993.
The Pine-Richland Stadium was built on the new secondary campus between the middle school and the high school in 2001.
The current building was opened in 1993, with two gymnasiums, a pool, nearly 80 classrooms, office space, and a large auditorium. An addition opened in 2000 with modifications to the original building, plus nearly 30 more classrooms and the new district office. Another addition to the school was completed in October 2012.
Newsweek magazine ranked PRHS 841 out of the top schools in the US in 2009, and PRHS was the fourth highest ranked high school in Pennsylvania.
U.S. News and World Report awarded Pine-Richland High School a Silver Rating, placing it in the top 604 in the nation. Students continuously outperform national standards, particularly in the sciences and math. The school has a graduation rate between 93-98%, depending on the graduating class. A number of students go on to ivy league or equally high caliber schools each year.
In 2015, Pine-Richland's eleventh grade ranked 7th out of 121 western Pennsylvania high schools based on the past three years of student academic achievement in Pennsylvania System of School Assessments (PSSA) in reading, math, writing and three years of science. This includes schools in Allegheny, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Westmoreland, and Washington Counties.
Pine-Richland High School took advantage of a state program called Science in Motion which brought college professors and sophisticated science equipment to the school to raise science awareness and to provide inquiry-based experiences for the students. The program was funded by a state appropriation, and cost the school nothing to participate. Westminster College provided the science enrichment experiences to schools in the region.
According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, 21% of Pine-Richland High School graduates required remediation in mathematics and/or reading before they were prepared to take college level courses in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education or community colleges. Fewer than 66% of Pennsylvania high school graduates who enroll in a four-year college in Pennsylvania will earn a bachelor's degree within six years. Among Pennsylvania high school graduates pursuing an associate degree, only one in three graduate in three years. Per the Pennsylvania Department of Education, one in three recent high school graduates who attend Pennsylvania's public universities and community colleges takes at least one remedial course in math, reading or English.
The Classrooms for the Future state program provided districts with hundreds of thousands in extra state funding to buy laptop computers for each core curriculum high school class (English, science, history, math) and paid for teacher training to optimize the computers' use. The program was funded from 2006 to 2009. Pine-Richland School District applied to participate in 2006-07, receiving $314,383. In 2007-08, the school received $300,000, and in 2008-09 received another $45,413, for a total funding of $659,796.
In Allegheny County the highest award, $835,286, was given to Highlands School District. The highest funding statewide was awarded to Philadelphia City School District in Philadelphia County - $9,409,073. In 2010, Classrooms for the Future funding was curtailed statewide due to a massive state financial crisis.
Pine-Richland High School offers a dual enrollment program. This state program permits high school students to take courses at local higher education institutions, to earn college credits. Students remain enrolled at their high schools. The courses count towards high school graduation requirements as well as towards earning a college degree. The students continue to have full access to activities and programs at their high school. Pine-Richland High School has agreements with the Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC), University of Pittsburgh and LaRoche College. The University of Pittsburgh and LaRoche College-approved courses are taught during the school day by Pine-Richland High School faculty members who are certified as adjunct professors. The college credits are offered at a deeply discounted rate. Initially, the state offered a small grant to assist students in costs for tuition, fees and books. Under the Pennsylvania Transfer and Articulation Agreement, many Pennsylvania colleges and universities accept these credits for students who transfer to their institutions. The grant was discontinued by then Governor Edward Rendell in 2010 due to a multi-billion-dollar state budget shortfall.
For the 2009-10 funding year, Pine-Richland received a state grant of $5,691 for the program.
The Pine-Richland School Board has determined that a pupil must earn 24 credits to graduate. Details on credits and graduation needs may be found on the school's website.
By Pennsylvania School Board regulations, for the graduating class of 2017, students must demonstrate successful completion of secondary level course work in Algebra I, Biology, English Composition, and Literature, for which the Keystone Exams serve as the final course exams. Students' Keystone Exam scores count for at least one-third of the final course grade.
In 2011, Pennsylvania high school students field tested the Algebra 1, Biology and English Literature exams. The statewide results were: Algebra 1 38% on grade level, Biology 35% on grade level and English Lit 49% on grade level. Individual student, school or district reports were not made public, although they were reported to district officials by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
Students may chose to carry eight credits each year and/or take courses during the summer in order to graduate at the end of their junior year. These pupils may choose when to participate in a high school graduation ceremony.
Students have access to a wide variety of AP Courses. They have the option of taking these College Board-approved courses and then taking the College Board's examination in the spring. Students who achieve a 3 or better on the exam may be awarded college credits at US universities and colleges. Each higher education institution sets its own standards for what level of credits are awarded to a student based on AP exam scores. Most give credits for scores of 4 or 5; some also give credits for scores of 3. High schools give credits towards graduation to students who take the school's AP classes. In 2013, 100% of Pine-Richland School District students who took an AP course scored a 3 or better on the exams.
In 2011, Pine-Richland School District achieved the College Board's AP District of the Year Award. This honor roll consists of the 388 US public school districts that simultaneously achieved increases in access to AP courses for a broader number of students and also maintained or improved the rate at which their AP students earned scores of 3 or higher on an AP exam.
Students who live in the Pine-Richland School District's attendance area may choose to attend one of Pennsylvania's 157 public charter schools. A student living in a neighboring public school district, or a foreign exchange student, may seek admission to Pine-Richland School District. In these cases, the Pennsylvania Department of Education sets an annual tuition rate for each school district. This is the amount the public school district pays to a charter school for each resident student that attends the charter, and it is the amount a nonresident student's parents must pay to attend the district's schools. The 2012 tuition rate was $7,927.55 for the high school.
Pine-Richland School Board established a district wellness policy in 2010. The policy deals with the nutrition of school meals, the control of access to some foods and beverages during school hours, age-appropriate nutrition education for all students, and physical education for students K-12. The policy is in response to state mandates and federal legislation (P.L. 108 – 265). The law dictates that each school district participating in a program authorized by the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1751 et seq) or the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 (42 U.S.C. 1771 et seq) "shall establish a local school wellness policy by School Year 2006." Most districts identified the superintendent and school foodservice director as responsible for ensuring local wellness policy implementation.
The legislation placed the responsibility of developing a wellness policy at the local level so the individual needs of each district can be addressed. According to the requirements for the Local Wellness Policy, school districts must set goals for nutrition education, physical activity, campus food provision, and other school-based activities designed to promote student wellness. Additionally, districts were required to involve a broad group of individuals in policy development and to have a plan for measuring policy implementation. Districts were offered a choice of levels of implementation for limiting or prohibiting low nutrition foods on the school campus. In final implementation, these regulations prohibit some foods and beverages on the school campus. The Pennsylvania Department of Education required the district to submit a copy of the policy for approval.
Pine-Richland High School offers both a free school breakfast and a free or reduced-price lunch to children in low-income families. All students attending the school can eat breakfast and lunch. Children from families with incomes at or below 130 percent of the federal poverty level are provided a breakfast and lunch at no cost to the family. Children from families with incomes between 130 and 185 percent of the federal poverty level can be charged no more than 30 cents per breakfast. A foster child whose care and placement is the responsibility of the State, or who is placed by a court with a caretaker household, is eligible for both a free breakfast and a free lunch. Runaway, homeless and migrant youth are also automatically eligible for free meals. The meals are partially funded with federal dollars through the United States Department of Agriculture.
In 2013, the USDA issued new restrictions on foods in public schools. The rules apply to foods and beverages sold on all public school district campuses during the day. They limit vending machine snacks to a maximum of 200 calories per item. All snack foods sold at school must meet competitive nutrient standards, meaning they must have fruits, vegetables, dairy or protein in them, or contain at least 10 percent of the daily value of fiber, calcium, potassium, and Vitamin D. In order to comply with the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 all US public school districts are required to raise the price of their school lunches to $2.60 regardless of the actual cost of providing the lunch. In 2014, President Obama ordered a prohibition on advertisements for unhealthy foods on public school campuses during the school day.
Pine-Richland School District provides health services as mandated by the Commonwealth and the federal government. Nurses are available in each building to conduct annual health screenings (data reported to the PDE and state Department of Health) and to dispense prescribed medications to students during the school day. Students can be excluded from school unless they comply with all the State Department of Health's extensive immunization mandates. The school's nurse monitors each pupil for this compliance. District nurses also monitor each child's weight.
Pine-Richland School District participated in Highmark Healthy High 5 Health eTools for Schools, which enabled mobile data collection of pertinent health and physical fitness screening data on students K-12 in a database held by InnerLink, Inc. in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Health eTools for Schools also provided interdisciplinary research-based curriculum in nutrition, physical education and physical activity to participating districts. The program was discontinued in 2013.
The Pine-Richland School District administration reported there were zero incidents of bullying in the school in 2012. There were 10 incidents involving local police including a bomb threat and weapons in the school. Each year the school safety data is reported by the district to the Safe School Center, which publishes the reports online.
The Pine-Richland School Board has provided the district's anti-bullying policy online. All Pennsylvania schools are required to have an anti-bullying policy incorporated into their Code of Student Conduct. The policy must identify disciplinary actions for bullying and designate a school staff person to receive complaints. The policy must be available on the school's website and posted in every classroom. All Pennsylvania public schools must provide a copy of its anti-bullying policy to the Office for Safe Schools every year, and shall review their policy every three years. The district must conduct an annual review of that policy with students. The Center for Schools and Communities works in partnership with the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime & Delinquency and the Pennsylvania Department of Education to assist schools and communities as they research, select and implement bullying prevention programs and initiatives.
Education standards relating to student safety and anti-harassment programs are described in section 10.3. Safety and Injury Prevention in the Pennsylvania Academic Standards for Health, Safety and Physical Education.
On September 12, 2016, the Board of Directors of Pine-Richland School District voted 5 to 4 to preventing transgender students from using the bathroom facility of their expressed gender identity, in opposition of Federal Title IX protections. At least one student left school after being a victim of bullying following the change, stating she "no longer felt safe around her fellow students at school". Members voting for this change were Greg DiTullio, Therese Dawson, Holly Johnston, Steven Stegman, and Virginia Goebel. Voting against this change were Jeffrey Banyas, Dennis Sundo, Marc Casciani, and Peter Lyons.
The Pine-Richland School District offers a wide variety of clubs, activities and an extensive, costly sports program. Eligibility for participation is determined by school board policy and in compliance with standards set by the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA). The district charges a year fee of $80 for students who participate in extracurriculars.
By Pennsylvania law, all K-12 students residing in the district, including those who attend a private nonpublic school, cyber charter school, or charter school, or are homeschooled, are eligible to participate in the extracurricular programs, including all athletics. They must meet the same eligibility rules as the students enrolled in the district's schools.
Pine Richland offers a Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps program that stresses honor and commitment.
Art displays and exhibitions occur year round during the school year. These include photography, drawings, paintings and self-portraits. The Annual Pine Richland Art Show takes place at the beginning of May, featuring portfolios of Advanced Placement art students and alumni. The school is considered to have an above average art/music program compared to the surrounding schools.
The band course contains both a fall/winter marching band section and a later year ensemble experience. The Pine-Richland Rams Marching Band has a yearly repertoire consisting of an "opener," a tuba feature, a band dance (during which the drumline is featured), a colorguard feature, a dance team feature, a closer, and various other songs. The second part of the band course, the ensemble band, focuses on musical ability. Jazz Ensemble provides a venue where well-performing students can play jazz and blues music. Each year the school features a musical for which students must try out, including music from a selected pit orchestra.
The school also has a musical each year in the spring, which are consistently considered some of the best high school musicals in the greater Pittsburgh area. The school competes at the Gene Kelly Awards each year, an award ceremony for local high schools in the greater Pittsburgh area.
Started only in 2009, the high school began its own chapter of the International Thespian Society. Each fall, the club sponsors a fall production entirely run by students, with minimal help from adult supervisors. Aside from the fall production, the club aims to help students explore the arts of theatre with workshops and sponsored talks.
Pine-Richland also has an award-winning video production program that is offered to all grades. Students can broadcast the school news every morning, along with film, and various after -chool activities and events. In February 2014 the video program made the school's first ever "lip dub" video. This was an internet sensation, receiving hundreds of thousands of views, giving the club much recognition in the media.
The Pine-Richland High School's mascot is the Ram. The Rams baseball, girls soccer, hockey, gymnastics, and volleyball teams were all state champions in the 2005-2006 school year. There were five state championship teams in 2006: women's volleyball, women's soccer, baseball, men's tennis doubles, and women's gymnastics. In 2005 the girls' soccer team defeated the number one ranked team in the nation to win their first PIAA state title. In 2006, the Pine-Richland wrestling team were section champions. Pine Richland's competition cheerleading team won 3rd in the nation in the 2012-2013 school year. In November 2014, the football team won the AAAA WPIAL Championship against defending champion Pittsburgh Central Catholic. In December 2014, the football team was the PIAA state championship AAAA runner-up. In 2016, Themistocles Balouris was pancaked on national television.Varsity
In 2014, Pine-Richland High School saw viral success with their lip dub of American Authors' song "Best Day of my Life." The short film was directed by David Randolph, Ian Murrin, and Luke Regan, and edited by Alex Lynch of Slidefuse Media. It was featured on local news outlets and seen across the world on Yahoo! Sports. As of January 2016 the video had nearly 300,000 views on YouTube.
The second annual lip dub (produced by Whitney Linn and Elliot Clay) hit the web the following year and featured the song "All Star" by Smash Mouth.Jeff Calhoun (1978) - Tony Award-winning choreographer
Stephen Frick (1982) - astronaut
Meghan Klingenberg (2007) - midfielder for the Houston Dash and the United States women's national soccer team
Blake Lalli (2001) - minor league baseball player
Kevin McCabe (2002) - football player
Brandon Saad (2010) - left winger for the Columbus Blue Jackets
Neil Walker (2004) - second baseman for the New York Mets