“The mission of the Redbank Valley School District community is to instill the knowledge, attitudes, and skills needed for each student to achieve at his or her highest potential while providing a safe, disciplined, and inviting environment.”
Redbank Valley School District provides education services for the 165 square mile area of New Bethlehem and Hawthorn Boroughs, and the townships of Mahoning, Madison, Porter, and Redbank of both Clarion and Armstrong Counties. The two elementary schools in New Bethlehem and Hawthorn and the high school in New Bethlehem are well maintained, clean, and present a pleasant educational environment. Redbank Valley students feel safe in their schools, and the lack of graffiti and vandalism is an indicator of the pride the students and community have in their school. Graduates report that the education they received has prepared them for their post-secondary endeavors. The district curriculum and technology play an important role in that success. The entire Redbank Valley community has ownership and pride in the school district. Their commitment and support is evident.
Redbank Valley School District had its beginning in 1950 when a jointure was formed and a Board of Directors was organized. The official name of Redbank Valley Joint Schools was adopted. The area and its education system was going to experience some major changes. The jointure would combine the 9 separate school boards of the area and many of the 17 rural community schools that each village claimed. In 1957, the newly built high school received its first students. The New Bethlehem High School had been closed approximately 2 years earlier and students were temporarily educated in the fire hall, the Stahlman Garage building, and other facilities. Eventually, five elementary schools would serve the area’s younger students. Porter Township Elementary School was the oldest, constructed in 1935. Madison Township and Mahoning Township elementary schools were built in 1959. Redbank-Hawthorn Elementary and New Bethlehem-South Bethlehem elementary schools were built in 1960 and 1962, respectively.
Following a 1986 tornado, which caused a great deal of damage to Madison Elementary, the building was closed. Porter Township was also closed in a reorganization plan, which spurred other building renovations and additions to accommodate the school closings. Several renovation projects continued for the next 10 years. In 1996, the high school was being renovated and added to when Redbank Creek overflowed its banks. July 19, 1996. is now a date the entire community will remember. Approximately 4 feet of water filled the high school classrooms and hallways, leaving mud and destruction in its wake. The high school was repaired as the town recovered and moved forward. Then, in 2011, Mahoning Township was also closed as the district reorganized once again into the tight-knit group of schools that it is today.
The 1996 flood took its toll on the town, school district, and the community. This unfortunate experience, along with the tornado and the historic development of the school district, has made Redbank Valley and the community strong. Today, the school district continues to maintain and improve the district’s three facilities and education programs. Along with the maintenance and improvements, technology has become an integral part of the district’s operation and education programming.
Redbank Valley School District is located in the rolling hills of rural northwest Pennsylvania along the Redbank Creek. Redbank Valley, and specifically New Bethlehem, is approximately an hour and a half north of Pittsburgh on Route 28; 15 miles southeast of U.S. Route 80, exit 64 at Clarion, via State Route 66; and 17 miles southwest of U.S. Route 80, Exit 78 at Brookville, via State Route 28. This area is a primary north-south corridor for travelers.
Recreation and Activities
The rural setting in the Allegheny Plateau offers a number of recreational activities within a radius of one-hour driving time. Hunting, fishing, sightseeing, and other outdoor activities are available at Cook Forest, Allegheny National Forest, Mahoning Lake, Crooked Creek Park and Lake, Clarion River, Allegheny River, Moraine State Park and Lake, and Tionesta Lake. The large amount of wooded and open field areas present a natural scenic beauty for special activities, such as the very popular Autumn Leaf Festival held in Clarion each October. In September, New Bethlehem holds its annual Peanut Butter Festival. The Clarion County Fair is also held in July at the Redbank Valley Municipal Park.
Equal Opportunity Educational Institution
Redbank Valley School District is an equal opportunity educational institution and will not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or handicap in its activities, programs, or employment practices as required by Title IV, Title IX, and Section 504. For information regarding civil rights or grievance procedures, contact the Superintendent, Title IX and Section 504 Coordinator at 920 Broad Street, New Bethlehem, PA 16242. For accessibility and use of the building by handicapped persons, contact any building administrator.