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Old 07-01-2007, 02:27 PM
 
Location: Marshall-Shadeland, Pittsburgh, PA
31,438 posts, read 70,442,747 times
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I just returned home from work and read a fascinating article in the Scranton Times-Tribune about the explosive growth occurring in both the North Pocono and Valley View School Districts in terms of new subdivisions, and, more importantly, overcrowding schools.

Here's the text from the article (courtesy of Scranton Times-Tribune):

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ARCHBALD — Empty fields and clusters of trees north of Kennedy Drive could be filled with townhouses, homes and families in a few years — and that’s expected to have important ramifications for Valley View High School nearby.

“We’re expecting much bigger growth,” Superintendent Joseph Daley said, estimating 500 to 600 more students could enter Valley View as the development is phased in over 10 years.

A local developer is working on the first 80-acre phase of a proposed 1,000-unit housing development directly across the road from the school. It would include about 130 townhouses and 105 single-family lots.

More families with children would mean more books, more buses and more classrooms.

For now, the student population in the Valley View School District has remained relatively steady. The 2006-07 population was 2,602 students, a slight increase over 2,589 students in 2005-06 and 2,594 in 2004-05, according to district records.

But about 20 miles away in the North Pocono School District, new development quickly created a need for more space.

The 2006-07 population in the district was 3,273 students, about 60 more students than the prior year, but nine more new housing developments are on the horizon, Superintendent Louis DeFazio said.

Infrastructure improvements made a difference, he explained. The construction of sewers in the area immediately made regions more attractive to live in, he said.

Mr. DeFazio compared the situation to rapidly growing Monroe and Pike counties. “We’re the next growth area,” he said. “We’re going to have an influx of young families, new families with children.”

Fueled by the growth, North Pocono is planning to build a $35.7 million high school in Covington Township.

Growth also involves other factors, like taxes, infrastructure and transportation, Mr. DeFazio said.

“There are a lot of barometers that you must keep your eye on,” he said.

Near Valley View, developments have already been springing up, including Highland Hills, the Hills of Archbald and Wildcat Ridge. So far, the new homes have not significantly affected population, but some families may have children too young for school or may have moved from somewhere else in the district, Mr. Daley speculated.

There is some room for expansion in the intermediate school, which was built to accommodate 16 more classrooms, if needed. The elementary, high school and middle school, however, are already at capacity, Mr. Daley said.

“In the high school, we’re not bursting at the seams, but we’re using all the classrooms,” he said.

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Scranton's tax base continues to dwindle while the suburbs continue to explode with new growth---sounds like NEPA.
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Old 07-02-2007, 08:25 AM
 
Location: Scranton
2,937 posts, read 3,292,186 times
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Default Once again, the lousy state of the overrated Valley View School District...

As a graduate of Valley View schools, I am now going to re-post some of my past posts on how lousy and overrated the Valley View schools are:

6/26/07
You make some valid points, Dan, but this is one in which I disagree with you. Scranton schools are just as good or better than any in the area. I will argue that Scranton schools are better, especially on the elementary/middle school level, since in Scranton we have smaller neighborhood schools, where you know the teachers and principal on a first name basis, as opposed to large megaschools in Abington, where hundreds upon hundreds of kids are bussed to school from as far as 15 miles away. Just because many of Scranton's school buildings may be older and in need of some cosmetic repairs, and Abington has the big new fancy modern buildings, don't automatically assume that means you get a better education in Abington. Abington has more money than Scranton, that doesn't make it better. Don't listen to what real estate ads say when they try to pass of certain school districts, like Abington, as better in order to sell more houses. I went to a school district that the real estate agents and others created a false perception of being a good school...Valley View....and I can tell you first hand, Valley View schools are lousy. The VV school board is more worried about getting teaching jobs for their families and their buddies, and about the football team, than they are about education. And don't think those schools are safer than Scranton either. I know current VV teachers who say that the school has a big drug problem...and drugs are commonplace at affluent schools like Abington and Prep, due to the kids having a lot of money to burn and parents who are more involved in their careers and material pursuits than in raising their children.

Once again, as someone is not a product of Scranton schools, and not even a born-and-raised Scrantonian, I am very pleased so far with my kids experience in Scranton schools.




3/12/07
So far, we have had no problems whatsoever with Scranton schools. I love the fact that most people are in walking distance of neighborhood schools in Scranton. Not too many kids require bussing. SSD even offers a FREE preschool for 3 and 4 year olds, and let me tell you, it is a great asset to have in preparing kids for school. Myself, I'm a product of the Valley View School District, which I would advise you to avoid like the plague, despite real estate ads bragging about homes being located in Valley View Schools. The only reason VV gets a lot of positive press is because it has one of the most successful football programs in this part of the state....but the reality is, the level of education at VV is subpar, and I was far behind my classmates in college. However, I see no problems whatsoever with Scranton schools. I would go out on a limb and say that Scranton schools overall may be the best schools in the area (in fairness, Scranton has many grade schools, and there are a few that are lacking, but most are excellent schools). My wife is a graduate of Scranton schools, as well as many friends of mine, and I can tell from talking to them and from my child's experiences in the SSD, that the education in Scranton is better than the education received at a so-called great suburban school district in Valley View (which is comprised of Archbald, Eynon, Jessup, Blakely, and Peckville).



5/17/07
Scranton schools are very good. The quality of education in the SSD is much better than at my alma mater Valley View.

I just like the idea of neighborhood elementary schools, rather than kids being bussed 8 miles to some mega school. The fact that Scranton is the only area public school with a Pre-K program is also great.


5/18/07
Scranton School District has 3-year-old and 4-year-old preschool programs in its elementary schools, for all district residents regardless of income. Its not associated with Head Start. 3 year olds attend for a half day 3 times per week, and 4 year olds attend for a half day 5 days per week. Its excellent and kids who attend the preschool are light years ahead when they get to kindergarten.



3/20/07
I live in Scranton now, but I grew up in Archbald and graduated from Valley View HS. Archbald is not a bad town. Its relatively quiet and safe. Valley View School District is another story. The level of education at VV is subpar. Please do not listen to real estate ads that brag about houses located in Valley View Schools. The only reason that VV has some kind of a "good reputation" is that VV is historically one of the best high school football teams in this part of the state, and most of VV's school buildings are nice, new buildings (however, a nice building does not equate to better education). When I started college, I was WAY behind my classmates who graduated from other schools. Comparing my high school education with those of other people I know, I can say for a fact that your children will get a better education in Scranton, Dunmore, and Mid-Valley schools than they would at VV. Not to say that all teachers at VV were bad, since I did have a handful of great teachers, however, a majority were hired because of who they know or are related to. Many of my high school teachers did not teach, rather, they held court with the football players talking about football plays or the big game, while the rest of us just screwed off, played cards or goofed off. As a kid, I didn't mind this, but when I got to college and had to do a lot of catching up to be at the level of my classmates was not fun.

Translation: Archbald would be a good town to move to if you don't have kids. If you have kids, steer clear. My kids attend Scranton schools, and I can vouch that they are better than Valley View (and Lakeland for that matter, where I attended elementary school). Scranton has smaller, neighborhood elementary schools, which I find to be a much better educational environment than the larger elementary schools in districts such as Valley View, where kids from 3 different towns are bussed to a school 6 miles away.





2/26/07
And also, please do not listen to the real estate ads that always try to make the schools to be a positive selling point. Valley View School District is lousy. Nepotism is alive and well, meaning that most of the teachers are there because of who they know, not what they know....not all, but most. I am a VV graduate and was really behind my classmates in college due to the not-so-great education I received at VV. Many of my teachers were more concerned with the upcoming high school football games than they were with education. It seems that the reason that real estate agents try to use VV school district as a selling point are only concerning themselves with VV's reputation as a good football school. The education is subpar. My child receives a better education in Scranton schools than I did at VV. Plus, VV's school taxes are among the highest in the area.

Personally, I would steer clear of VV school district. Archbald is a decent town, but if you have kids, avoid the schools.
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Old 07-25-2010, 07:04 AM
 
5 posts, read 16,080 times
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Your opinion of Valley View schools, Dan, is based on your experience there when you grew up-a long time ago. Why don't you look into things now before you go insulting Valley View. Today, we consistently meet or exceed the PSSA requirements, which I cannot say is true for your precious Scranton schools. As for "overcrowding", sure we are getting a population boom, but we are keeping up with demand. Our schools are NOT overcrowded. We never exceed the state maximum for student/teacher ratio. I know that because I am a teacher there and because I have a child in the district. She had just 23 kids in her KG class which is more than acceptable. If Scranton schools have less, it's because no one wants to live there. Crime rates in Scranton are scary to say the least. I feel very safe in Valley View. It's a beautiful school and a beautiful area.
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Old 07-25-2010, 07:08 AM
 
5 posts, read 16,080 times
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Furthermore, look at the Times Tribune "grading our schools", our taxes are NOT high at all. We are one of the lowest in per-pupil spending, yet me provide our students with new/newer facilities, etc. Our kids are lacking nothing.
Furthermore, we hire the best candidates for the job. Many of our teachers have NO local connections at all. I was a Bishop O'Hara grad, not VV. Many of my co-workers went to school elsewhere. As for Scranton teachers, they're from other places because people who grew up in Scranton are far-too-aware of how bad Scranton is, they know enough to steer clear of it. Valley View grads are proud of their school and want to continue to be part of it.
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Old 07-25-2010, 07:13 AM
 
Location: Sheeptown, USA
3,233 posts, read 6,118,373 times
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I would much rather send my kids, if I had any, to Abington, North Pocono or Valley View. I would steer clear of Scranton schools, I've heard bad things about them and nothing but good things about the others. Yet another reason to move away from Scranton.
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Old 07-25-2010, 07:14 AM
 
5 posts, read 16,080 times
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As far as bussing goes, no where in our district is 6-8 miles away from our schools. We cover a very small area. Our kids are on the bus for only a few minutes a day.
Do some research about Valley View TODAY before you go dissing us. Like I said, look at the "grading our schools" insert every June in the Times Tribune. We far exceed Scranton, Lakeland and Mid-Valley in all categories. Furthermore, we have updated our technology recently and all high school classrooms have laptops for each student. We have laptop carts available for use in all the other schools, as well as computer labs. We have Smart boards, etc. Our kids are WELL-prepared for college.
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Old 07-25-2010, 07:19 AM
 
5 posts, read 16,080 times
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Also in regard to buses, there was an article in the newspaper not too long ago with Scranton students explaining how hard it is for them to get to school. The Scranton High School is very far away from neighborhoods like South Scranton and Scranton provides NO BUSES. So kids either have to jump on a public bus or they just skip school. We don't have that problem at Valley View. Our attendance rate is at 99% and our graduation rate is the same.
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Old 07-25-2010, 07:23 AM
 
Location: Sheeptown, USA
3,233 posts, read 6,118,373 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by giamia13 View Post
Also in regard to buses, there was an article in the newspaper not too long ago with Scranton students explaining how hard it is for them to get to school. The Scranton High School is very far away from neighborhoods like South Scranton and Scranton provides NO BUSES. So kids either have to jump on a public bus or they just skip school. We don't have that problem at Valley View. Our attendance rate is at 99% and our graduation rate is the same.
I agree with you 100 percent. That poster might have changed his tune, since this thread is over 3 years old. Scranton schools have declined greatly since then with the influx of gangs and undesirable ghetto types that have moved here since then. The crime rate for the whole city is going up and it's starting to slowly creep into the schools.
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Old 07-26-2010, 07:20 AM
 
Location: NE PA
7,932 posts, read 14,424,319 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by giamia13 View Post
Do some research about Valley View TODAY before you go dissing us.

You expect people to take you seriously about education, and you use the word "dissing??"

My opinion of Valley View has not changed, its one of the last schools in the area I would ever send my children. More emphasis on football than on academics. I graduated from there, in academic classes, and was WAY behind my classmates in college...which included students from Scranton, Mid-Valley, Lakeland, Dunmore, etc etc.

Valley View teachers have no local connections??? Hahahahaha....most were VV grads and have the right Italian last names.
And you can fail all of your classes at VV, but if you play for "Da Cougars," you'll still pass with flying colors. They might even let you have a couple-two-tree beers at St Ubaldo!
Not to mention there's a snootiness at VV, to the point where, when I was in high school, kids from Abington Heights thought VV was a snob school. And its probably gotten even worse with all of the McMansion developments that have popped up in Archbald.

Last edited by Mr Yuk; 07-26-2010 at 07:56 AM..
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Old 07-26-2010, 07:23 AM
 
Location: NE PA
7,932 posts, read 14,424,319 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NYRangers 2008 View Post
I would much rather send my kids, if I had any, to Abington, North Pocono or Valley View. I would steer clear of Scranton schools, I've heard bad things about them and nothing but good things about the others. Yet another reason to move away from Scranton.
I've had no problems in Scranton schools so far. Granted, not all Scranton schools are good, and there are some that should be avoided, but we haven't had any problems yet. Pretty much, the West Side schools are all good except for Lincoln-Jackson.
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