Districts make top 200 list in Pa.

Hollidaysburg, Everett among best; other area schools noted for safety

Two area school districts are in the top 200 in the Niche.com 2019 rankings of the best school districts in the state.

Hollidaysburg ranked 97 of 498 school districts in Pennsylvania, and Everett Area ranked 200.

In addition, several area schools ranked in the top 200 when it comes exclusively to being the safest schools in the state — Everett Area (19) State College (60), North­ern Bedford (99), Spring Cove (103), Central Cambria (140), Williamsburg Community (145), Hollidaysburg Area (147) Portage Area (166) and Bellwood-Antis (204).

“We make a very concerted effort to be proactive in equipping our schools with safety equipment and providing our students with a wide range of supports, including student assistance programs and mental health and substance abuse counseling,” Spring Cove Superintendent Betsy Baker wrote in an email.

Over the last two years, Spring Cove has secured more than $100,000 in grant funding for various school safety measures, and for 2018-19, the district has already applied for grant funding exceeding that amount in hopes of further addressing school security, Baker said.

“Knowing that our schools are safe and that we are prepared for the various hazards or emergencies that could arise in our school community at any time, allows our staff and students to focus on teaching and learning so that we can achieve our mission of inspiring and equipping all students to become responsible, respectful, and productive contributions to our local and global communities,” Baker said.

The Niche website states it is a small Pittsburgh-based team of data scientists, engineers and parents.

The best schools’ rankings are based on factors including state assessment proficiency, SAT and ACT scores, teacher salary, absenteeism and state test results, racial and economic diversity, chronic student absenteeism, suspensions, expulsions, staffing and survey responses on facilities from students and parents, and clubs and activities.

Factors considered in the safety ranking were: Parent and student surveys on health and safety, expenses per student, National Center for Education statistics, student absenteeism, in-school suspensions, out-of-school suspensions, expulsions, law enforcement referrals and arrest rates for school-related incidents.

Mirror Staff Writer Russ O’Reilly is at 946-7435.