Thomas Jefferson High School (Jefferson Hills, Pennsylvania)

Thomas Jefferson High School is an American public secondary school located in Jefferson Hills, Pennsylvania. It is a part of the West Jefferson Hills School District which includes West Elizabeth, Jefferson Hills and Pleasant Hills. These communities have a combined population of 15,000. It is a suburban high school located nine miles southeast of Pittsburgh.

Thomas Jefferson High School
830 Old Clairton Road
Jefferson Hills, PA 15025

United States
EstablishedJuly 15–18, 1957; first graduating class June 1960
School districtWest Jefferson Hills School District
PrincipalPete Murphy
Enrollment889 (2016-17)[1]
WebsiteWest Jefferson Hills School District


As of 2015 the school district is designing a new building for the school. It will be a red brick building modeled off of Monticello, with an initial estimated cost of $100 million.[2]

Graduation rate

In 2010, the Pennsylvania Department of Education issued a new, 4-year cohort graduation rate. West Jefferson Hills School District's rate was 93% for 2010.[3]

According to traditional graduation rate calculations:

  • 2010 - 98% [4]
  • 2009 - 98%
  • 2008 - 97%
  • 2007 - 97% [5]

Academic achievement

The high school achieved AYP status in 2009 and 2010.

The high school's 11th grade ranked 23rd out of 123 western Pennsylvania high schools based on three years of results in PSSAs on: reading, math writing and one year of science.[6]

PSSA Results
11th Grade Reading
  • 2010 - 81% on grade level. In Pennsylvania, 66% of 11th graders on grade level.[7]
  • 2009 - 78%, State - 65%
  • 2008 - 78%, State - 65%
  • 2007 - 63%, State - 64%
11th Grade Math:

\grade level. In Pennsylvania, 59% of 11th graders are on grade level.[8]

  • 2009 - 61%, State - 56% [9]
  • 2008 - 67%, State - 56%
  • 2007 - 73%, State - 53%
11th Grade Science:
  • 2010 - 56% on grade level. State - 39% of 11th graders were on grade level.
  • 2009 - 54%, State - 40%
  • 2008 - 44%, State - 39% [10]

College remediation rate

According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, 31% of the Thomas Jefferson High School's 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.[11] Less 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.[12] 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.

Dual enrollment

The Thomas Jefferson High School does not offer the Pennsylvania Dual Enrollment program which permits students to earn deeply discounted college credits while still enrolled in high school. The program is offered through over 400 school districts throughout Pennsylvania, with the assistance of a state grant.

The school permits early graduation for outstanding juniors who are headed to college. They also offer 10 AP courses. Students are responsible for paying the exam fees charges by the College Board.

Alternative education programs

Steel Center Vocational Technical Facility is an option for students from tenth through twelfth grades for trade instruction as mechanics, electricians, butchers and beauticians. It is also one of the few technical facilities which offers students a chance to "major" in "law". Job placement from this facility is very high and students can expect to receive professional training in their trade while still attending school to be able to graduate with a high school degree.

Graduation requirements

The West Jefferson Hills School Board has determined that a student must earn 22.5 credits to graduate including: English 4 credits, Math 3 credits, Social Studies 3 credits, Science 3 credits, Computer .5 credits, and Health 1 course, Physical Education 1 course per year, Arts/Humanities 2 credits, and 5.5 electives.[13]

By law, all Pennsylvania secondary school students must complete a project as a part of their eligibility to graduate from high school. The type of project, its rigor and its expectations are set by the individual school district.[14] The students at Thomas Jefferson High School are required to complete a project that communicates and exhibits significant knowledge. The presentation must also include a technology component approved by their graduation project teacher.[15]

According to Pennsylvania State School Board regulations, beginning with the graduating class in 2016, 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 shall count for at least one-third of the final course grade.[16]

Extracurricular activities

The high school offers a variety of clubs and activities. Eligibility to participate is determined through school board policies.[17][18]

By Pennsylvania law, all K-12 students in the district, including those who attend a private nonpublic school, cyber charter school, charter school and those 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.[19]

The Thomas Jefferson American football team won the WPIAL Class AAA Championships in 1980 at Pitt Stadium and in 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2019 at Heinz Field. In 2004, 2007, 2008 and 2019, the team won the PIAA State Championship in Hershey.[20]

The school newspaper is called the Statesman.[21] The yearbook is titled the Monticello and the literary magazine is named the Spectrum and features fictional submissions written and submitted by actual students and teachers.

Thomas Jefferson's band consists of almost 200 instrumentalists: saxophones, flutes, trombones, trumpets, piccolos, clarinets, drumline, tubas, majorettes, and colorguard each year. The band is led by James Mirabella of Steubenville, Ohio, originally from West Virginia. The band was featured as the WPXI Band of the week in 1998. The band was also featured at the half time show of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens AFC divisional playoff in 2011.

The theater program is also highly lauded, winning Gene Kelly Awards[22] in 1993 and 1995.

Other activities


  1. "Thomas Jefferson HS". National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved July 22, 2019.
  2. Hacke, Stephanie (2015-11-12). "New TJ High School building project under way". Retrieved 2017-10-19.
  3. Pennsylvania Department of Education (March 15, 2011). "New 4-year Cohort Graduation Rate Calculation Now Being Implemented".
  4. Pennsylvania Department of Education (2010). "West Jefferson Hills School District AYP Report Card 2010 data table". Archived from the original on 2012-09-30. Retrieved 2011-07-01.
  5. Pennsylvania Partnership for Children (2008). "PA High School Graduation Info by School District 2007". Archived from the original on 2012-11-05.
  6. Pittsburgh Business Times (May 15, 2009). "The Rankings: 11th grade,".
  7. Pennsylvania Department of Education (2010). "2009-2010 PSSA and AYP Results".
  8. Pennsylvania Department of Education (2010). "Thomas Jefferson High School Academic Achievement Report Card 2010" (PDF).
  9. Pennsylvania Department of Education (2009). "2009 PSSAs: Reading, Math, Writing and Science Results".
  10. Pennsylvania Department of Education (August 2008). "Report on Science PSSA 2008".
  11. Pennsylvania Department of Education (January 2009). "Pennsylvania College Remediation Report".
  12. National Center for Education Statistics
  13. West Jefferson School Board. "Thomas Jefferson High School Graduation Requirements" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on September 29, 2011. Retrieved July 1, 2011.
  14. "Pennsylvania Code §4.24 (a) High school graduation requirements".
  15. Thomas Jefferson HighSchool Administration. "Thomas Jefferson High School student handbook" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-09-29. Retrieved 2011-07-01.
  16. Pennsylvania Department of Education (September 2011). "Pennsylvania Keystone Exams Overview". Archived from the original on 2014-02-23.
  17. West Jefferson Hills School Board (August 2010). "Co-Curricular Activities Policy 122". Archived from the original on 2011-07-17.
  18. West Jefferson Hills School Board (August 2010). "Interscholastic Athletics Policy 123". Archived from the original on 2011-07-17.
  19. Pennsylvania Office of the Governor Press Release, (November 10, 2005). "Home-Schooled, Charter School Children Can Participate in School District Extracurricular Activities,". Archived from the original on October 23, 2014.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
  20. Pittsburgh Live Archived 2007-01-11 at the Wayback Machine, November 25, 2006
  21. TJ Statesman
  22. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-02-19. Retrieved 2007-02-19.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
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