Upper Darby Township, a residential suburb of over 82,000 residents, covers 8.3 square miles in Southeast Delaware County, Pennsylvania. In this community of neighborhoods, residents reflect a great diversity of socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds. There are over 60 birth countries and 70 home languages represented by the students of Upper Darby School District. The wide ranges of housing options in the township include apartment complexes, townhouses, duplexes, and single- family homes. The community may be characterized as essentially middle income with occupational representation at the semi-skilled, technical, and professional levels.
Upper Darby School District serves the residents of Upper Darby Township, Clifton Heights Borough, and Millbourne Borough. Upper Darby is one of the largest school districts in Pennsylvania, with approximately 12,000 students and over 960 professional staff and 840 support personnel. The district has 14 schools – 1 high school, 2 middle schools, 10 elementary schools and a Kindergarten Center. The District's mission is to provide “a comprehensive and challenging educational program which encourages all learners in a safe environment to respect others, value education, and appreciate and contribute to their community as confident, independent thinkers.”
The School District enrolls over 800 students served in its English Language Learner program, 1,300 students in its special education programs, and over 100 high school students attend career and technical programs in two county-level schools. The District has a budget of over $165 million, with a millage of approximately 33.815 and an average assessment of $100,000.
Upper Darby School District has a long and distinguished history in providing public education to its residents. The district was established in 1834 and its first School Board President was Dr. George Smith. According to A History of Upper Darby (1972), Dr. Smith was a “botanist, an educator, a farmer, a geologist, an historian, a physician, a Judge, a scientist, a senator, and servant of his friends and neighbors.” In 1836, Dr. Smith was Chairman of Pennsylvania’s State Senate Education Committee and drafted the final version of Pennsylvania’s Free Public School Act. The Act, approved on June 13, 1836, overcame years of opposition to the concept of free education for all children, and authorized state funding for local school districts. For more information about Dr. Smith see the Upper Darby Historical Society website at: http://www.udhistory.org.
Upper Darby School District works closely with the Upper Darby Township, the Upper Darby Township and Sellers Memorial Free Public Libraries, the Upper Darby Police Department, the Upper Darby Fire Department, civic and faith-based entities to enhance the quality of life for all students, families and residents. In 2010, the District was awarded the Great Place to Work Award through the Philadelphia Inquirer.