The Brandywine Heights Area School District is located in the northeastern quadrant of Berks County, about ten miles from the City of Reading. The district borders Lehigh County and is within commuting distance of the Allentown/Bethlehem metropolitan area. The district encompasses approximately 52.2 square miles and is comprised of four municipalities: the Borough of Topton and the townships of District, Longswamp, and Rockland. The Borough of Topton, which is central to our district and where our administrative offices are located, is approximately 6 miles from the nearby community of Kutztown. Kutztown houses Kutztown University, the campus of a local branch of the state college system. The school district has strived to capitalize on the proximity to the University and in such has developed a strong collaboration.
Within easy driving range of the larger metropolitan areas of Allentown/Bethlehem and Reading, Topton is a relatively rural area with a borough population of approximately 2000. Topton is perhaps best known for being the home of the Topton Lutheran Home, an assisted living and skilled nursing community for the elderly. The largest commercial industry in the Topton area is East Penn Manufacturing, associated with the manufacture and shipping of Deka automotive and marine batteries. The close proximity of two larger cities provides opportunities for employment in any number of occupations that would not normally be available in a small community.
The Brandywine Heights Area School is comprised of one elementary building, one intermediate and middle school building, and one high school, serving approx. 1450 students. Brandywine Heights Elementary serves 400 students in five full-day kindergarten classes, five first grade classes, five second grade classes, and four third grade classes. The Brandywine Heights Intermediate School was developed in 2011 as an age appropriate building which transitions students from a very supportive primary elementary school environment to a supportive environment with emphasis on independence and the development of greater responsibility. The Intermediate School houses approximately 220 students in fourth and fifth grade. The Middle School is comprised of 340 students in grades sixth, seventh and eighth grades. Coupled with a rich academic program, there is a strong emphasis on peer collaboration and interpersonal skills. The High School, which was recently constructed in 2000, accommodates our ninth, tenth, eleventh, and twelfth grade students. The school instructs approximately 500 students with a rich academic program.
The district offers Advanced Placement courses in English, World History, United States History, Calculus AB, Calculus BC, United States Government and Politics, Art History, Music Theory, and Statistics. The high school participates in High Schools That Work and is a Career Pathways school. Thirty five career areas are available to Brandywine Heights students at the Berks Career and Technical Center, with two campuses, one at Oley and one in Hamburg. Brandywine Heights High School, in cooperation with Reading Area Community College and Alvernia University, offers students the opportunity to obtain college credit for courses taken at BHHS. We currently offer 15 dual enrollment courses.
In 2006-2007 the high school introduced Project Lead the Way, a college recognized pre-engineering program designed to introduce students to the career of engineering. This program prepares students for the types of engineering classes they will be taking in college. Students planning to major in engineering can benefit by completing the entire program, or just by taking one of the classes. The program is comprised of three foundation courses, a specialization course, and a capstone course. Currently, four courses are being offered: Introduction to Engineering Design (IED), Principles of Engineering (POE), Digital Electronics Specialization Course (DE), and Civil Engineering & Architecture (CEA).
The district is one of 18 public school districts that comprise the Berks County Intermediate Unit (#14). There is a close working relationship among the member districts, with Superintendents, Curriculum Coordinators, Human Resource Directors, Principals, Reading Supervisors, etc. from the various districts meeting on a monthly basis with their counterparts to collaborate, share best practices, and problem solve.
Our curriculum provides students with an integrated and comprehensive course of study, along with opportunities for exploratory learning. The instruction is provided by 100% highly qualified teaching staff who are skilled at engaging students and providing a rich educational experience. The school district also embraces technology and believes that we must enhance our instruction with these tools to compete and prepare our students for a global economy. In 2010, the school district developed a virtual academy that provides a blended opportunity for education for students. Students can choose to participate fully in a cyber-education or engage in a blended approach where they attend school for some courses and partake in others virtually in their home. The program has been extremely successful and has grown to service over 80 students.