We believe that every student in Philadelphia should have access to a great school. Our website and print guides contain program descriptions and contact information as well as performance data covering academics, safety and student engagement for elementary, middle, and high schools in Philadelphia.
Policy makers and school leaders use all kinds of data in managing schools and systems. While much of this information is publicly available, it is often presented in confusing ways. We have simplified its presentation so that you can more easily research and compare schools. Our numerical ratings can be used to identify schools that deserve a closer look. But before choosing to apply to a school, you should definitely take that closer look.
Keep in mind that every student has different learning needs, so there is no one school that is best for every student. Without question, Philadelphia needs more great school options. But it has many, and some are not enrolled to capacity. We hope GreatPhillySchools will help you find the best choice for your family.
GPS ratings help make it easier to find and compare schools in Philadelphia, but they are not intended to be the only factor families use to judge whether a school is a good fit for a particular student. In the end, a school must be a personal choice made on the basis of a student's needs, capabilities and interests.
As you think about choosing a school, consider what you want the outcome(s) to be for your child. Is it developing a passion for school? College? A career? Use the GPS ratings and the information provided by the schools to see if one might be a likely fit, but don't stop there. Call or visit the school and ask for proof of the outcomes you want for your child.
Finally, keep in mind that GPS ratings only compare schools to one another. Because the city's schools as a whole underperform those in the rest of the state and the nation, an average school here is below average nationally. We hope this won't always be the case, but for now it is the reality.
Some Schools Don't Have Ratings
As you go through this site, you may notice that some schools do not have ratings for some or all of our categories. This is particularly true for many of the private schools listed in this guide. A school may not have ratings because:
• The school is new and data is not available to calculate ratings.
• The school does not administer the Keystone, PSSA, Terra Nova, and/or SAT standardized test exam.
• The school does not report academic, attendance and/or school incident data to GPS.
Additionally, Catholic and private schools do not receive a PVAAS report and therefore are not eligible for the High Academic Growth indicator. This does not mean that Catholic and private schools are not demonstrating significant student growth. Rather, there is not currently a system to reliably compare private school growth to district and charter school growth.
We produce Overall ratings for schools that have ratings in Math, Reading, and at least two of the following categories: School Incidents, Attendance, and College Bound (for high schools). Even if a school doesn't have ratings, that school may still be great, but speaking with the school becomes even more important.
Searching for Schools on GreatPhillySchools.org
Search by Criteria with the Find a School Feature
Using Find a School, you can search for a school by entering the school name in the search bar or by selecting a School Level (K-12 School or Preschool/Daycare) without filling out anything to see all schools in the GPS database. You can also search by location, (input your zip code or use your current location) to display nearby schools.
School Search Results Page
By School Names
The Search By tool is able to do partial name searches with names up to 4 letters or more. You can also type in a school's name as accurately as you can remember it. If you don't get the result you're looking for, try shortening the name. (A search for the John A. Smith school may not return a result for the John B. Smith school, but a search for John Smith will return all schools with John Smith in the name.)
In the Search By tool, you may type in a Philadelphia street address or zip code or click "Use My Current Location." If you want, select a distance to limit search results to those within a specific radius. Click "View on Map" to see K-12 Schools or Preschools/Daycares on a map.
By School Level
From the Search By tool, you are able to select either K-12 Schools, or Preschools & Daycares.
By School Types
There are three kinds of public schools, none of which charge tuition.
• Public district schools generally have open enrollment for students living in the zone around the school.
• Most public charter schools are open to students citywide, and if oversubscribed they must choose students via a lottery that gives all an equal chance at admission.
• Public special-admission schools require applications, and in some cases they have minimum grade and test-score requirements.
• Private schools charge tuition, although many offer full or partial scholarships.
• Catholic schools are the most common type of private school in Philadelphia; they include religious instruction but don't require students to be Catholic.
• Private independent schools can be religiously affiliated or not.
By Grade Level
When searching for schools, you are able to select the specific grades that you would like to be included in your search. For example, if your students are in grades 3 and 7, you can select those specific grades in the Grade filter.
By Open Seats
When searching for schools, you may select what grade levels you are interested in, and are able to see which schools currently have open seats in those grades.
By Overall Rating
In the filter sidebar, you are able to use the slider to indicate what base level you would like the ratings to start at. For example, if you would like to search for schools that are only rated 4 and above, you can move the slider to 4.
In the filter sidebar, you can select what programming you would like the schools to include. For K-12, this includes options such as Before Care, After Care, and Certificate Programs. For Preschool & Daycare, this includes options such as PHLPreK, CCIS Subsidy, and Has Accreditation.
For K-12 Schools, you are able to filter by the languages that you would like the school results to offer. Select as many or few as you would like.
For Preschools & Daycares, you may select which services you would like your program to include, such as Meals Offered, or Multilingual Staff.
How Results Are Sorted
If you search by address, results will be sorted by proximity to the address given. Otherwise, you are able to select via a dropdown menu whether you would like the results organized alphabetically, or by overall rating.
Changing How Results Are Sorted
When looking at a list of search results, you can adjust the "Sorted By" selection to re-sort listings by Rating, Alphabetical, Location, etc.
Viewing School Profiles
Simply click on the name of a school at any time to view that school's full profile page.
Looking for more information on finding a great school? See all articles here.
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