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Using the high school profiles

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

These pages contain profiles of 90 public high schools open to students in Philadelphia. The information can help you find schools that are a good fit for you.

The profiles are organized by the type of high school – see our 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 lists academic offerings, extracurricular activities, and other programs at the school.

Check the admissions requirements to get an idea of whether you would qualify. Consider where the school is located. The profiles also include statistics about enrollment and student characteristics, as reported by the School District or the state.

Then check out our information on school and student performance. You will find statistics like SAT scores, graduation and suspension rates, and more. There are big differences among schools in how they perform on these indicators. Using all this information, you can whittle down your list of schools.

The profiles draw from a survey of principals during summer 2014, which gives them the chance to tout their offerings and accomplishments. We edit the responses to avoid repetition and correct errors; we may remove claims about school performance that conflict with publicly available data. If a school had no response to a category, that category 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 assess their quality.

The school profile survey was administered by the Notebook in collaboration with the Philadelphia School Partnership and its school choice information website Great Philly Schools.

Types of high schools

The profiles are organized by type of high school:

Special admission high schools

These 19 District-run high schools have specific – and generally tough – admissions requirements in the areas of test scores, grades, and attendance and behavior. But any student can apply using the School District’s application form.

Citywide admission high schools

These 9 District high schools also take students from across the city. Some have a vocational focus. They have 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 District-run lottery.

Neighborhood high schools

These 24 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; admission is based on available space and determined through a lottery.

Charter high schools

There are now 38 charters serving the high school grades. Each functions as an independent school district with its own admission procedures. Several charters serve a specific neighborhood catchment area and must first admit those students. Any Philadelphia student may apply to any charter school. Charters are required to choose students by lottery if there are more applicants than slots. They cannot screen students based on academic performance or behavior.

Changing requirements and programs

Schools can change their admissions requirements and add or remove programs. For the final admissions requirements in applying for District schools for 2015, check the District’s Office of Student Placement.

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