Eyer Middle School is located in a quiet neighborhood just outside of the Macungie Borough limits in Lower Macungie Township. For over forty years, the school has had a strong history of state and national awards for both excellent education and outstanding accomplishments as it evolved from Eyer Junior High to Eyer Middle School. Eyer combines a rigorous academic program with a strong related arts education component for all students. Each grade receives a strong curriculum in the core subjects accompanied with related arts subjects during two periods per day. Related arts subjects include technology education, family and consumer science, music (including general courses, band, orchestra, and chorus), art, wellness, fitness, and computer applications. Students are provided with exposure to a diverse offering of courses to help them investigate their interests as they grow socially, emotionally, and academically in the middle school years
The planning for Howard A. Eyer Junior High School began in 1971 with the building erected and finished for opening on the "appropriate" date of April 1, 1974 (That's right, April Fool's Day!). Eyer opened as an open-concept school for grades 7, 8, and 9 with a brand new staff, hired specifically for the new junior high school. At that time, Eyer became the second junior high school in the East Penn School District. Along with Emmaus Junior High School, Eyer sent its graduating 9th graders to Emmaus High School in the Emmaus Borough.
The school has undergone many transitions between then and now. Physically, the school experienced a fire on June 11, 1976. Fire started in the Technical Education Room and fortunately was brought under control before the damage became too extensive for school to continue. It took a massive weekend cleanup by the entire staff to clear the soot so that the school could be reopened.
The Eyer Freedom Shrine, added and dedicated on November 5, 1980, remains on display today. It was relocated to the lobby of the school's new addition. In October of 1987, the decision was made to close some of the open-space concept space and install walls which divided the school into “pods” and created a more contained classroom configuration.
In 1998, the grade configuration within the district changed, Eyer Junior High became Eyer Middle School and the school began housing Grades 6, 7, and 8. Each grade level had its own area of classrooms organized into teams or "pods". There were three teams comprised of three teachers in Grade 6. Grade 7 was comprised of 2 teams of 5 teachers per team. Grade 8 was comprised of 2 teams of 4 teachers along with a group of world language teachers who worked with both teams. Special education teachers, remedial aides, and a gifted specialist also worked with the teams to provide for a continuum of services for students.
Over the years, the enrollment grew significantly within the district and efforts to provide for the necessary maintenance and expansion of district buildings was a necessary response. Four portable classrooms were added for use at Eyer during its renovation and building addition project, begun in 2005. At that time, a plan was devised to renovate one grade level of the building's classrooms as well as the office suites. During renovation, that grade, the main office, the guidance office, and the nurse's office were relocated to 12 new portable classrooms which arrived outside of the original Eyer building. The classrooms were located on one end of the Eyer building and the main office staff, nurse, and guidance counselors were clustered at the opposite end, near the new construction. These two clustered portables were located near the parking lot and were actually surrounded by the security fencing. A door was built midway between the office portables and the parking lot and was attached to the security fencing. A security "buzzer" was also installed. The door affectionately became known as the "Door to Nowhere". (After ringing the bell and being approved by the office, one was "buzzed" in. After walking through the door, one would still be outdoors, but on the other side of the fence. After reporting to the office portable, permission to enter the building was granted.) During this same time period, a new building addition was being constructed on the old parking lot's location. This addition provided 29 additional classrooms, an office suite, a guidance suite, and the nurse's office.
The Eyer staff's input into the addition's planning and final building configuration is also noteworthy. They were committed to creating a student friendly, usable space in which students could be provided with a wealth of learning activities as well as movement. After its completion, the building even won design awards at the state level. The architect incorporated many of the staff ideas and models into the design and what resulted is an exemplary facility.
Today's Eyer serves approximately 870 students (08/2017) in grades six through eight. There are two building administrators, over 70 teachers, and over 30 support personnel on the staff. The building houses 70 classrooms for instruction. In addition, Eyer utilizes a full gymnasium, a cafeteria, an auditorium with balconies, and a commons area which connects them all. There is also a courtyard (off of the cafeteria) and an Instructional Media Center on the second floor equipped with a computer lab on the mezzanine above it. Each classroom is equipped with "smartboard" technology and has access to the internet for instructional purposes. In short, Eyer has a newly renovated, innovative, and student friendly environment which allows the staff ample facilities to provide for social, emotional, and academic development for our middle school population.
Perhaps, along with solid academic achievement from our students, we are most proud of the culture of our school. The culture at Eyer has its roots sprouting early in the 70's when teachers were hired to work in an open space, requiring collaboration, cooperation, and an ability to involve students in learning-enhanced projects and activities. Over the years, traditions such as our permanent student art collection (the first picture hanging took place in June 1975) have been started. Now the halls are filled with student art, which is student-donated to the permanent Eyer collection. Eyer's art collection was carefully preserved during the school's renovation and remounted within our new facility. New art pieces are added every year. The Howard A Eyer Award, started back in 1976, is awarded to the Eyer student who best exemplifies academic success coupled with school involvement.
Eyer offers over forty different after school clubs and activities, musical groups, and PIAA sports teams for 7th and 8th graders. Clubs are sponsored by staff members with efforts made to create a diversity of offerings so there is something of interest available to every student. In fact, when students sometimes offer ideas for a new club, the staff will make every effort to provide someone who can sponsor that club. There is also a student reinforcement initiative known as PAWS (Positive Attitudes Will Succeed) which recognizes positive contributions by students and provides incentive activities throughout the school year to those students we "catch doing the right things". Every three years, our students experience a WOW year. Our WOW year includes a theme and an over-the-top welcome back week. Recent themes have included Pirates, Eyerwood, and Olympics. Many former students who visit recall their WOW year as one of their most memorable experiences at Eyer.
Our school culture fosters respect for all members of our school community. Also contributing to the school culture is our Eyer Connection parent group. This group of parents helps in providing community information to families new to the area, runs fundraisers to provide each student with an assignment book, provides Eyer attire for student purchase, provides cookies for students wearing school colors on Spirit Days, helps to decorate the commons area of the school, and provides volunteers to help with a wide variety of school activities as well as the all-school picnic, usually held at Macungie Park, at the end of the year.
They also provide funding for new outside equipment and an author's visit to the school. Another parent group known as Angel Network has provided a wealth of school supplies as well as holiday meals to families within our school community who are experiencing hard times. The Angel Network also provides the conduit for some of our families to donate school supplies or money anonymously. The goal is to have every Eyer student experience success because they have the resources they need to do so. Eyer's 2016-2017 Video Yearbook highlights many of the things that makes Eyer a positive and successful learning environment.
In 2013, along with several other schools in the East Penn School district, Eyer served as a "host" school for the National School Boards Association (NSBA) technology visit. During this visit, educators from all over the nation came to visit Eyer classrooms and see the unique ways in which teachers and students integrate technology into the learning process.
In 2017, Eyer was fortunate to host Pennsylvania Secretary of Education, Pedro Rivera, as part of his Schools that Teach tour. During his visit, a group of students, teachers, administrators, and board members had the opportunity to sit and discuss the successes and challenges which exist in our schools. Mr. Rivera was very impressed with the engagement and innovation that he observed during his visit to Eyer.
Eyer continually builds upon its strong history of community events, traditions, and philanthropy. We have hosted programs including author visits, artist-in-residence programs, Chili Cook-Off, spelling bees, geography bees, trivia contests, junior scholastic scrimmage teams, science fair and history day award winner recognitions, just to name a few. Our students also engage in helping charitable causes including National MS Society, American Cancer Society, the Justin Jennings Foundation, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and supporting Seeing Eye companion and therapy dogs. Perhaps the most notable fundraising event is our annual Rock-a-Thon. During this event, students participate in teams and spend twelve hours rocking, dancing, and competing in an effort to raise funds for the Justin Jennings Foundation, which provides a beach house for families of children with cancer. From 2012-2017 alone, Eyer students raised over $100,000 to support this worthy cause.