Schools & Housing
Basic Page Sidebar Menu Penn FRC
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.
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?
- 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, http://www.philasd.org/parents/ and click IDEA NOTICE for additional details
- Abington School District
- Camden County City School District
- Cheltenham School District
- Colonial School District
- Delaware County Public Schools
- Haverford Township School District
- Jenkintown School District
- Lower Merion School District
- Springfield School District
- Upper Merion School District
School finding websites:
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
- 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.
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.
- School District of Philadelphia's Resources for Families and The Parent and Family Resource Center: Important information to help you support your child's education.
- MoneyGeek.com's Choosing The Right School for your Children
- After School Activities Partnerships: A local nonprofit that focuses on keeping kids in the city engaged.
- Parent Safety Brochure -Parent tips for Emergency Preparedness & School Safety
- College Readiness: Resources for high school students and families
- Scholarship Monkey -Provides information on scholarships and other financial aid opportunities to counselors, parents, and Philadelphia school students.
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.
The Office of Off-Campus Services can help students with families to find suitable housing, learn more about resources and support.
Students with children can apply for on-campus housing through the Accolade.
However, there are many rental options in Philadelphia and within the tri-state area that are family-friendly.
New and returning students are encouraged to review information about the various neighborhoods in Philadelphia to decide what's best for you and your family.
As you are deciding neighborhoods, it's important to consider the school options based on your local address. You can learn more about local schools, how to find your local public school, and the affiliated geographic catchment zones on the School District of Philadelphia website.