Schools & Housing

The public school system is run by the School District of Philadelphia and is the 8th largest school district in the nation.

Visit the School District's website for details about the school selection, links to area schools, information about enrollment, application procedures and deadlines, and special services.

School District of Philadelphia

Need help identifying your neighborhood school?

Visit School Finder, enter your address and the neighborhood schools in your catchment area will be identified.

How do I enroll my child?

Required Documentation:

  • Students entering K-12 need to be 5 years old by September 1st, no exceptions
  • Visit the School District of Philadelphia's Enrollment page to find online applications
  • ESL/ESOL-International families need to contact the school district directly 215-400-6361 for assessment and placement
  • Charter schools must be contacted directly for registration and enrollment details
  • A child should be permitted to attend school on the next school day after the day on which the child is presented for enrollment, and in all cases within five (5) business days of the school district's receipt of the required documentation. 22 Pa. Code 11.11(b).
    • 1) Proof of child's age
    • 2) Immunization Record
    • 3) Proof of Address
    • 4) Parent Registration Statement (Included in the EH40 Student Registration Form provided by the school)
    • 5) Home Language Survey (Included in the EH40 Student Registration Form provided by the school)

How do I enroll my child in a public school that's not in my neighborhood?

A parent wishing to enroll a child in a public school other than the neighborhood school must complete an Elementary and Middle School Selection Application between Monday, October 21st and Friday, January 17th for the following school year. The Elementary and Middle School Selection Application must be completed and submitted to the Office of Student Enrollment and Placement located at 440 N. Broad Street, Suite 111.

Need information about the academic school year?

View the School District Academic Calendar

Does your child need special services?

Visit the Office of Specialized Services for children with disabilities and special needs. The Philadelphia Public Schools and the Philadelphia Intermediate Unit (IU26) provide special education and related service to resident children with disabilities who are ages three through twenty-one.

Visit the website for details about:

*ESL/ ESOL programs are available for international students, families need to contact the school district directly 215-400-6361 for assessment and placement.

  • The types of disabilities that might qualify the child for such programs and services
  • The special education program and related services that are available
  • The process by which the public schools screen and evaluate such students to determine eligibility
  • The special rights that pertain to such children and their parents or legal guardians.
  • Click on the link, and click IDEA NOTICE for additional details


What is a Magnet School?

There are 22 magnet schools in Philadelphia, unlike charter schools or private schools, a magnet school is part of the local public school system. According to the Magnet Schools of America, the unique quality of a magnet school is that they usually have a special curricular focus. Common themes include STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), the arts, college prep, and vocational or career paths. While schools may have a general theme, students still study a complete range of subjects. Each subject is aligned to local, state or national standards of learning (i.e. Common Core).

Does my family have to live in a certain area to attend a Magnet School?

Magnet schools are schools of choice--children are enrolled based on their interest in the school's theme, not based upon where they live.

How does my child get into a Magnet school?

If you have decided that a magnet school is right for your child, the first thing you need to do is research the enrollment criteria for that school.

Admission to a magnet school is usually based on one of the following factors:

  • Special admissions criteria, such as standardized test scores and grade requirements
  • First-come, first-serve applications
  • Lotteries
  • Percentage set-asides for neighborhood residents


Philadelphia is home to 87 brick-and-mortar charter schools, serving approximately 70,000 students. The Charter Schools Office (CSO) monitors performance for those schools, and helps families who are exploring their public school options make informed decisions.

What Are Charter Schools?

Charter Schools are independently operated public schools that are funded with federal, state and local tax dollars. These schools are established to provide families with more educational alternatives for their children. Charters are non-profit, non- sectarian, organizations that are approved by the local Board of Education (the "authorizer") or the State Appeal Board. Each charter has its own Board of Trustees and administrative staff and operates as a separate, independent local educational agency (LEA) within Intermediate Unit 26 (IU 26). The Pennsylvania Charter School Law - Act 22 of 1997 - set up charters to operate free of many of the local and state requirements that apply to traditional public schools.

How to enroll your child in a charter school

Since charter schools operate independently of the School District of Philadelphia and of each other, with few exceptions, you must contact the charter schools directly.

Charter School Directory 

What is PVA?

The School District of Philadelphia Virtual Academy (PVA) is a full-time, cost-free option for students residing within the School District of Philadelphia who will complete fifth grade by September 1 and are looking to pursue a quality online education for grades 6-12. PVA classes begin in September and end in June, with enrolled students receiving all of their school instruction in a virtual setting for the entire school year. 

PVA students will receive a brand new Macbook Air laptop computer, reimbursement for internet access and a Pennsylvania Department of Education-approved curriculum taught by state-certified, highly qualified teachers. In addition, students will have access to drop-in learning centers for academic support, and the ability to participate in District athletics and extracurricular activities. PVA offers an excellent online homeschool experience coupled with academic supports and opportunities for face-to-face interactions.

Philadelphia Virtual Academy (PVA)

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia runs the Parochial School System and encompasses 141 Catholic elementary schools and high schools in  the Greater Philadelphia Area.

The Catholic School system is tuition based and enrollment varies by school.

Find a Catholic School

There are over 1,200 private schools in the area. Visit the Pennsylvania Associate of Independent Schools website for school profiles, enrollment information, student/teacher ratio, and tuition information.

You may also find the information and rankings from Great Schools, Philadelphia School Directory and Great Philly Schools to be helpful. This nonprofit organization collects, manages, and freely distributes information about private and public area schools with parents as the primary audience.

Students with spouses/partners can apply for campus housing in Sansom Place. There is currently no campus housing for students with children; however the Office of Off-Campus Services can help students with families to find suitable housing. You should also review information about the various neighborhoods in Philadelphia to decide what's best for you and your family.

Office of Off-Campus Services