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Using the school profiles

This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.

Here you can find profiles of nearly 90 public high schools open to students in Philadelphia. The information can help you decide which schools are a good fit for you.

The profiles are organized by the type of high school – see the descriptions below. Review the profiles to find schools with offerings that match with your interests. Do you want strong arts programs? Lots of Advanced Placement (AP) courses? Many sports teams? Each profile spells out the academic programs, extracurricular activities, and other offerings of each school.

Don’t forget to check the admissions requirements to get an idea of whether you would qualify – and consider where the school is located. The profiles also include statistics about enrollment and student characteristics, obtained from reports compiled by the School District or the state.

The profiles are based on a survey completed by each school during summer 2012, which gives them the chance to tout their offerings and accomplishments. We edit the responses to avoid repetition and correct errors; in some cases, we remove claims about school performance that conflict with publicly available data. If a school had no response to an item, that item does not appear. A few schools failed to complete the survey.

The Notebook does not independently verify that all of the programs described are currently in place, nor can we verify their quality.

This year the school profile survey was administered by the Notebook in collaboration with the Philadelphia School Partnership, which is developing a school choice information website to launch this fall at

a list of all of the public high schools in Philadelphia.

Four types of high schools

The profiles are organized by type of high school:

Special admission high schools These 17 District-run high schools have specific – and generally tough – admissions requirements in the areas of test scores, grades in core subjects, and attendance and behavior. But any student can apply using the School District’s application form.

Citywide admission high schools These 11 District high schools also accept students from across the city. Each has its own admissions requirements for grades, attendance, and behavior – though generally not as tough as the special admission schools. All applicants who meet the criteria are entered into a lottery run by the District.

Neighborhood high schools These 26 District schools have geographic boundaries; students are guaranteed admission if their school for grade 8 falls within the feeder pattern. Those living outside of the feeder pattern may also apply, but admission is based on available space and determined through a lottery.

Charter high schools There are now 35 charters serving the high school grades. Each functions as an independent school district and has its own admission procedures. Several charters serve a specific neighborhood catchment area and must first admit those students. But any Philadelphia student may apply to any charter school. Charters are required to choose students by lottery if there are more applicants than slots.

Key to the school profiles

  • NR = Not reported by the school

  • AP = Advanced placement
  • AYP = Adequate Yearly Progress
  • CTE = Career and Technical Education
  • PIAA = Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association
  • * = These sports are not authorized for PIAA competition
  • † = These CTE programs are not state-approved

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