Students enrolled 3401
School leader Mr Steve Hope
Transportation options Yes
District Penn-Harris-Madison School Corporation

Resources:The Indiana education landscape explained. Learn More »


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56100 Bittersweet Road
Mishawaka, IN 46545

School website
(574) 259-7961
(574) 258-9543
Nearby homes for sale
Map of Penn High School address.

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4 stars
Based on 35 ratings

Let others know what you
think about this school

August 22, 2014
Penn High School is an exceptional school with excelling programs such as marching band, athletics, orchestra, choir, art, and many more. Penn can seem intimidating from the size and number of students, but this school isn't as scary as it seems. The school also has begun using Chromebook laptops (2014-2015 school year), and every student gets their own which is very helpful and gives every student an opportunity to have access to a computer. This school is filled with opportunities for everyone.

- submitted by a student
June 06, 2014
Great school all together. I'm a senior in this school and its been a great four years here! I recommend Penn High School.

- submitted by a student
April 18, 2014
Its would be hard for anyone school to handle so many kids. Penn is not doing all they could do to make the school a safe place to be. Its not a place where the teachers or staff will know who the students are or even try to.I guess if you scored a winning shot on the team you might be recognized but everyone else if left feeling cold.

- submitted by a parent
January 12, 2014
Entering as a freshman who had just experienced cancer, I was worried that I wouldn't be accepted because of my lack of hair. To my surprise, fitting in was natural; and for a fairly keep-to-myself kind of kid, I was glad it worked out that way. The teachers are great (with a few exceptions, of course) and truly care about the students. They'll stay after school or come in early if you need help, which is an incredible thing to do. The security guards are, well, not very intimidating. Generally, their barks are bigger than their bites. And they bark a lot. But security is above average because we have actual police officers in school all day. The sports are competitive and intense and school spirit is contagious. There's really a place for everyone at Penn, whether you're a super sporty kid, an art kid, an intelligent kid, or somewhere in between. My personal experience with guidance counsellor a has been superb and they try to get to know you for an intimate feeling during appointments and scheduling. I'm a current junior and don't regret choosing Penn a bit. It can be hard, but it's worth it!

- submitted by a community member
September 07, 2013
I am an alumnus from 2002. I can't imagine having gone to a school where I would have had more opportunities.

- submitted by a community member
September 07, 2013
When it comes to education Penn does a good job overall at preparing students for the future. However, there are some key issues to keep in mind. Being a part of the alumni and being a multiple state champion while attending, it makes me sad to see the political hold from the boosters dictating who plays. More student athletes quit or are disheartened because of this very issue. Back in my day it was all smash mouth the best athlete will play. Now if you are a granger elite your kid will play. Your child could have all the talent in the world but if that "donation" is made the coaches will not rock the boat and the Elite's Child will play. This isn't only happening at the High School level. It has now spread to the middle-school Jr-high that feeds into Penn. When a coach tells a 5-yr near perfect starter who loves the game "Your just not big enough" (Mind you its Jr-high) there is something wrong with Penn Harris Madison Athletics as a whole. When was the last time the Football Team won State? Let the best players play based on the definition of an athlete and not how big your parents wallet is. So sad.

- submitted by a community member
July 05, 2013
I am a current student at penn and I don't like it here at all. Most, not all, of the teachers didnt really teach and just gave us "busywork" for an hour and a half and then yelled at us for not trying to learn. The schools focus seemed to be targeted towards its sports and music programs more than their actual education. The school is just so big that the security can't control us and that leads to fights happening every week or so. I am a part of the wrestling team and a few other clubs so im not an antisocial kid by any means. If you're looking at schools around this area do your kids a favor and don't send them here.

- submitted by a community member
August 26, 2012
Wonderful experience for my two son's who have graduated. Three more to go. My daughter is a sophmore at Penn now and she loves it. Great education. If you want tough classes, school spirit and great athletics, Penn will meet your expectations.

- submitted by a parent
April 30, 2011
I am a parent of two alums. They were exceedingly well prepared for college. One has now graduated from law school and received a fellowship to Cambridge. The other was accepted into the best music universities in the US. What I appreciated most was the district's commitment to preparing the "whole" child for responsible adulthood. I am also confident that kids who chose to enter the military or delay college have had many opportunities to prepare them as well. Unfortunately, not all students and families take advantage of the many opportunities. Choir, for example sings regularly at Carnegie Hall. High school students have opportunities to travel, participate in state and local academic as well as athletic events because of a commitment to excellence in all endeavors. Whatever decline may have occurred recently is due to a necessary reduction in staff brought on by budget cuts year after year at the state level. Yet, Penn still is recognized as one of the "best buys" by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce.

- submitted by a parent
October 09, 2010
I just graduated in May, and I believe that Penn is one of the best schools in Indiana. I am now a music education major, and during my time at Penn, I learned so much, and they prepared me so well for what I am doing now. From an academic standpoint, I was challenged greatly. I was involved in numerous honors and AP classes that most people don't even have the chance to take. Penn provides people with some of the best resources to learn. I was also involved in many extra curricular activities that would not be available at most other school. I was in marching band, concert band, Salt and Light (a Christian group), SADD, and many others. It was a great experience, and I wouldn't trade it for anything.

- submitted by a student
no rating March 16, 2010
I have had four children go through Penn. Sadly, I think that it has changed a great deal in the last ten years and what used to be one of the most progressive academic schools in the area has become one of the worst schools in the area. It used to be a place that was known as a 'community of caring learners.' Now they have placed two security towers in the front door and have hired rent-a-cops to 'improve' safety. They used to have an advisory system that helped to reduce annonymity and increased learning opportunities. Now they have large study halls of 80 to 100 in which they just 'warehouse' kids. Learning does not seem to be the focus. The curriculum is now a joke created out of a philosophical mindset stuck in the 1980's. Penn is riding on its past laurels. Don't be fooled. Send your kids elsewhere.

- submitted by a parent
September 17, 2009
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- submitted by a parent
no rating August 13, 2009
I transfered to Penn last year and wasnt really happy with the activty I saw. Sports are the main thing they care about. Penns not for a student that wants to interact with the whole school. three thousand kids are way too much for one school...there are local colleges that are not even that big. Im transferring to Jimtown this year because of the nonsense penn is.

- submitted by a student
no rating April 08, 2009
I love penn so much! i was so scared at first because the school was so big to me, but know i don't even relize it. All the teachers i've had so far are really wonderful and truly care about each students. The guidance conselers are so easy to talk to and they well do every thing it takes for you to feel confortable and happy! as i said before i love penn high school

- submitted by a student
December 01, 2008
I think that penn is one of the best school in the state, if not the country. Their academic and extra-curricular programs far surpass the quality of other schools in the area. This is the school to go if you are looking for opportunities and college-prep. While its true that some kids may not like it there because of its size, i loved it there- and i transferred there from a tiny school with only 9 kids in my class. There is so much to do there, and making friends is easy as long as you get involved with something- which isn't hard to do at all. Most of the teachers are great and will do what they can to help you out. It's not a perfect school for everyone, but i'd sure send my kids there.

- submitted by a student
no rating October 17, 2008
I'm a current student at Penn and I think it's the best school ever. The teachers are great, and there are so many opportunties available for people to enjoy. We have great academic and athletic programs that can open the door for so many people. Lot's of people think we are a party school because a bunch of kids from here get caught drinking and whatnot but that's just a few out of all the 3,200 kids that attend. As a school in general, Penn is the best. Compared to other schools around here, I'd rather go here than anywhere else. They have so much to offer; and I don't know why people are saything that Penn is so strict about ID's.. because they're not. It's a safe school too. If i have the chance when I get older I want to send my kids to Penn.

- submitted by a student
June 24, 2008
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- submitted by a parent
May 30, 2008
I feel I had an excellent education at Penn, especially now that I have seen other parts of the country and the low standards at many schools. I felt I was challenged at Penn and was able to succeed because of it. Penn prepared me for college and was the reason the transition was so smooth. I was not there for the ID issues, but I never felt unsafe. The extra curricular activities were unbelievable. Anything you wanted to do you could do, practically. I just wish I could convince my husband to move back into the area so that my children could attend.

- submitted by a student
February 12, 2008
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- submitted by a parent
February 05, 2008
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a student
February 05, 2008
I am extremely pleased with the quality of education my daughter is receiving at Penn. The counselors and teachers have helped my daughter make good choices about the courses she needs to take to make it into the college of her choice. There are many opportunities for students to be involved in school activities.

- submitted by a parent
January 18, 2008
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a student
January 11, 2008
I am currently a student at Penn. It seems hard to fit in without getting involved in the party scene.

- submitted by a student
November 29, 2007
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a parent
November 06, 2007
Penn is a good school. There are just some things that need to be worked on. The ID rules are way to strict when they need to focusing on other things. The classes are good and really are not that hard... if only the kids would pay attention. The extra stuff with the school is an amazing experiance if you get the chance to get involved in. Teachers are amazing and many of the deans and staff know me by name. Just take your time and be sure of what you are doing. and try to get involved in everything you can. It will be helpful.

- submitted by a student
July 19, 2007
I didn't really like my experience at Penn. It was just too big, and kids are just numbers. The deans and counselors don't know the students at all, so they assume all students are troublemakers. I have to say that Penn had some wonderful teachers who really did care about their students, and that was the best aspect of Penn. Otherwise, the school was just too big and full of stupid, pointless rules that overlooked bigger problems like bullying. The music and sports programs were great, but a student had to be top notch to be recognized. Penn did prepare me well for college, but I honestly wasn't happy there.

- submitted by a former student
March 21, 2007
This school was not great at all. My daughter often complained of not feeling safe. The only discipline the school ever enforced were the ID rules. Also, she was often teased by other students, but not much was done about it. Also, I tried to call about her struggle in Math, but I always got the run around, and could never get a hold of anyone. There is a lot of focus on sports also, and not enough on education.

- submitted by a parent
January 03, 2007
Generally the discipline was too strict on things such as ID violations, and not strict enough on everything else. While most of the teachers were very nice and would help when asked, there were always the ones that would not help, and sometimes barely 'taught' at all. Parking is terrible, and in a ' lake-effect' region, walking/sliding miles to get to the door is horrible.

- submitted by a parent
April 11, 2006
Great schools! My three children attended and are now in college. Great music programs. Robotics program is one of the best in the country. Great parent support and involvement. Safe school and area.

- submitted by a parent
January 31, 2006
Penn, while not the worst school by any standards, tended to be crowded to a fault, and I'm sure it's only more true now that I've graduated and am in my second semester of college. The teachers were great, but as far as 'discipline,' the only thing that anyone ever got punished for was not wearing an ID. By no means am I suggesting that it was so safe that nothing else happened. It was more so that nothing else was very often punished in a just manner.

- submitted by a former student
January 31, 2006
Penn is a very large school, totalling about 3000 when I attended. Generally the discipline was too strict on things such as ID violations, and not strict enough on everything else. While most of the teachers were very nice and would help when asked, there were always the ones that would not help, and sometimes barely 'taught' at all. The honors programs are definitely very good, but extracurricular activites were in fact very difficult to get involved in because of the sheer number of students. The marching band, for example, was 220 students.

- submitted by a former student
March 22, 2005
Not-so-lovingly labeled 'Penn University,' Penn High School is huge, crowded and impersonal. While they do have a challenging honors program that can help prepare students for college, the sheer size of the high school makes most extra-cirricular programs (sports, academic teams, band, choir, drama)exclusive and incredibly political. It is easy for students to fall through the cracks and get overlooked. Students are often out of touch with the happenings of the school, and lack school spirit because they don't feel connected to the school, they just feel like another number in the system.

- submitted by a former student
March 15, 2005
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- submitted by a former student
March 15, 2005
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- submitted by a former student
March 04, 2005
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- submitted by a parent
December 16, 2004
Penn is definitley one of the best schools in indiana if not the usa! They standards are challenging and the kids handle them so well! Penn High School of Mishawaka, IN should be recognized everywhere for its undivided talent.

- submitted by a student
April 28, 2004
I loved Penn. The teachers are wonderful and always there to help when needed. School spirit is exceptionally high and the students love to be involved in events within the school. Though there is a large student body, the only problem you will incur is crowded hallways. The students are bright, smart individuals when it comes to academics and tests prove that. Penn has been awarded the Blue Ribbon of Excellence many years in a row. My experience there was incredible and I hope to be back in the PHM system, teaching the new generations of students coming into the high school.

- submitted by a former student
August 22, 2003
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- submitted by a former student
August 10, 2003
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- submitted by a parent
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Penn High School
56100 Bittersweet Road, Mishawaka, IN  46545
(574) 259-7961
Last modified Penn High School is a Public school that serves grades 9-12. It has received a GreatSchools rating of 8 out of 10 based on academic quality.
Penn High School Rating: 4 out of 5 based on 39 reviews. Top