Peters
Township
School District
631 East McMurray Road
McMurray, PA 15317
Phone: 724-941-6251
Fax: 724-941-6565
View Peters Township School District
Our History

First School Opens

In the 1800's, the first school opened in Peters Township in a log cabin farm residence. Two other schools also operated sporadically in the area. All three schools were supported by the parents of the children who attended and provided the most basic education.

The first schools in the township were established on farms in the area, the first being on the Blackmore farm. Because of the emphasis on farming in the first half of the 19th century, not much emphasis was placed on education. The object of these schools was to mold good citizens for contemporary Peters Township. Lessons on morals and citizenship were an important part of the classroom work.

Free Public Education Introduced

It was not until 1835 that free public education was introduced to the farmers of Peters Township, resulting in the establishment of four one-room school houses including The Bowers House (at Bower Hill), the Townsend House (now the Turkeyfoot School), the Calahan House (the first Pleasant Valley School), and the Dennison House (located east of Thompsonville.)

In the latter half of the 1800's there were 5 schools and more than 300 students. The County supervised the development of the schools and had newer schools built. A graded system and a system of hiring teachers was developed. Schools were added to meet growing population needs until the turn of the century. By 1917, as the economy and culture of the township changed, the township boasted 10 local one room schools and a high school, established in 1902. In fact, Peters Township High School celebrated its first 100th year graduation in 2003. Visit 100 Years

As children began to migrant more to urban areas, the township's populace recognized the need to educate its youth. In 1929 the high school was moved from its original Bebout Road site to East McMurray Road (the site of the present day Middle School). The red brick structure now provided a four year high school education with agriculture being a formal topic of study. The school attracted newcomers to the very rural community.

Enhancements in transportation and a change in the public's attitudes toward living in rural/suburban communities brought growth to Peters Township and its schools. The number of one room schoolhouses was consolidated and became privately owned and are still standing such as: Bower Hill, Turkeyfoot, Pleasant Valley and Thompsonville. Brick structures were built to house the increase in students including Venetia School (established in 1929, now owned by the Venetia Heritage Society), McMurray Elementary School (circa 1950) presently housing the District Administrative Offices), Elm Grove Elementary School (circa 1959, razed in 1993 and converted to a park), and Pleasant Valley Elementary School (1963). The student population swelled to 3,000 in 1968.

Grade Levels Reorganized

To meet current educational needs, the grade level organizations were reorganized and the high school was converted to a grades 6-8 middle school. A new grades 9-12 high school was built at its present location on East McMurray Road and opened in 1968.

In May of 1984, the Peters Township Middle School and the McMurray Elementary School suffered extensive damage due to mine subsidence. These two buildings were removed and the ground stabilized. The new Peters Township Middle School opened in the fall of 1988. Elementary students from McMurray were absorbed into the remaining three elementary facilities, bringing their enrollments near capacity.

District Building Projects

The steady increase in enrollment has prompted the District to undertake ambitious building projects. During the 1993-1994 school year, the District proudly opened a state of the art, all weather physical education and recreation facility to serve both students and community at the High School. These projects also included the construction of a new McMurray Elementary School opening in 1993, renovations to the Pleasant Valley Elementary facility during the 1993-1994 school year, the construction of the Bower Hill Elementary School in 1999 and the High School addition/renovation project in 2000-2001. At McMurray Elementary 6 additional classrooms and an auxiliary gym were added in 2004-2005.

The Peters Township School District has grown along with the community it serves. The District now meets the educational needs of over 4,000 students in Grades K-12. The District operates three elementary facilities. The Bower Hill Elementary School and the Pleasant Valley Elementary School are primary elementary schools each housing students in Grades K-3. The McMurray Elementary School is an intermediate elementary building for Grades 4-6 . The Peters Township Middle School operates a Grades 7-8 educational program targeted toward the changing needs of young people entering adolescence. Educational programming at Peters Township High School serving students Grades 9-12 strives to meet the diversified needs of the secondary student through a wide variety of academic and extra-curricular opportunities. The District also maintains joint membership in the Western Area Career and Technology Center and the Washington County Alternative Education School. For more information about our facilities, visit Building, Grounds and Transportation

The Peters Township Heritage Book

This summary history utilizes some information from the book, Peters Township Heritage by Barbara Turner Williams, copyright 1976. This book can be found in the Community's Library. Visit the Peters Township Public Library

Peters
Township
School District
Peters Township School District
631 East McMurray Road
McMurray, PA 15317
Phone: 724-941-6251
Fax: 724-941-6565
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