The Wyoming Valley West School District is located in Luzerne County in the heart of the anthracite coal fields of Northeastern Pennsylvania. The district is in the Wyoming Valley which stretches along the Susquehanna River and which is 140 miles west of New York City, 120 miles north of Philadelphia and 120 miles northeast of Harrisburg.
The Wyoming Valley is about three miles in width and twenty-five miles in length and cut down the middle by the Susquehanna River, which averages about two hundred yards in width. The mountains on the eastern side of the valley have an average height of one thousand feet while the western range has an average height of eight hundred feet.
The first period of the history of the valley involves the Indian occupation of the land. 1754, agents from the Susquehanna Land Company of Windham, Connecticut purchased the valley from the Iroquois Tribe at Albany, New York. The valley was also claimed by Pennsylvania because of the charter granted to the Penn family in England. A series of clashes known as the Yankee-Pennamite Wars flared up periodically between 1769 and 17856 as a result of these conflicting claims. The dispute was resolved in 1782 when the Decree of Trenton gave Pennsylvania jurisdiction over the land.
The first twenty-five years of the twentieth century have been referred to as the Golden Age of Wyoming Valley. This was the time period when coal was, indeed, king. During the 1940’s and 50’s, the coal became too expensive to mine and the valley hit upon depressed times. Today, however, we have started our trek forward once again as new industries and encouraged to locate in our area.
The Wyoming Valley West School District includes 14.7 square miles of land on the western bank of the Susquehanna River. The district is the result of the merging of nine districts in to one in July of 1966 under the school district reorganization act known as Act 299. The communities comprising the district are Courtdale, Edwardsville, Forty Fort, Kingston, Larksville, Luzerne, Plymouth, Pringle, and Swoyersville. The communities are primarily residential with light industry and retail stores as the district’s tax base. The jointure was mandated to enrich the school curriculum to meet the challenges of the future and to provide a comprehensive program of educational services for all of the children regardless of where they resided on the western bank of the river. In the fall of 1967, the eleventh and twelfth grade students of the jointure moved into the old Kingston High School building while the ninth and tenth grade students reported to the old Plymouth High School for the opening day of class in the new jointure. The Agnes flood of 1972 struck our district and affected every one of our school buildings. The ninth through twelfth grade students were forced to go to school on double sessions in the Kingston High School building while renovations were being performed in the other school buildings. In 1978, a building was constructed on a site in Plymouth to house grades nine through twelve. The old Kingston High School became a middle school housing grades six, seven and eight. Also in 1978, the State Street Elementary Center was erected on the site of the former Larksville High School to house kindergarten through fifth grade students from Courtdale, Edwardsville, Larksville and Pringle. The remaining school buildings are Chester Street, Dana Street, Schuyler Avenue, and Third Avenue.