Education is the critical step to a better life and a sound long-term investment in a brighter future. Philadelphia public schools are there to help your kid achieve that. With quality programs and support for pupils and students, they do an excellent job of preparing children for college, so there may be no need to spend tons of money on private institutions.
Apart from being one of the oldest municipalities in the country and the so-called Birthplace of America, Philly has evolved into a bustling metropolis with an estimated 1.5 million residents. But moving to Philadelphia is a bit more than industry, nightlife, and Rocky’s stairs. It has also been a scientific and education center ever since the days of Benjamin Franklin. So, if you’re moving with kids, you don’t have to worry about that segment of their upbringing. All you have to do is choose among the best places to live in Philadelphia with the top schools for your offspring.
Different Types of Philadelphia Public Schools and Who’s in Charge
Any system that wishes to function smoothly has to be administered appropriately. This is especially true if it concerns children. The City of Brotherly Love passes that test. The entire public education system in Philly is run by the School District of Philadelphia, with a history that goes back to the mid-19th century. It encompasses hundreds of elementary and secondary institutions and does a great job with them. If you’re interested in the latest news from SDP, you can follow their Twitter account.
More than 200,000 students were attending classes when the current school year began in September 2019. Therefore, if you’re wondering about your kid and how to adjust to a new town, you can be sure making friends in a new city will be a piece of cake for your child.
All in all, SDP has elementaries, middles, and highs under its wing. There are magnet, preps, and charters as well. Whichever institution you choose for your kid, you can be sure that teachers and staff will push them to be the best academic version of themselves.
Low-income families can send their children to preschool institutions for free since that service is subsidized. All in all, even though the overall cost of living in Philadelphia is lower than in other comparable cities, the support that kids receive in school makes Philly one of the best cities in America to raise a family. And after you pick your kid up after classes, you can enjoy a meal in some of the best restaurants in Philadelphia.
Different Teaching Tools Philadelphia Public Schools Use
The district encourages institutions under its control to develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Most classrooms are equipped with laptops, and all teachers have received training to use them in lessons. Of course, the emphasis is on STEM subjects – science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
There is also more traditional equipment but in modern versions. Blackboards and chalks are retired, to be replaced with whiteboards, markers, and video presentations. Another kind of learning method is occasional field trips across the city and the state. In that, as in everything else, the key is in cooperation with the community and parents.
What Should You Look For in a School
Every school should have a couple of things going for it to land a spot on your shortlist. The first one is also the easiest – it has to be relatively close to your home. As a parent and employed person, the last thing you need in a new city is to spend even more time commuting every morning than necessary to get to work.
The next point is safety. And by that, we mean not only a security system set up to protect the pupils and teachers from outside threats. What is extremely important is that the institution is free from bullying, or at least that the cases are sporadic and handled promptly and adequately. Also significant is the support system for students, including, but not limited to, free meals.
Then come the academic criteria. A school should have a good ranking on students’ tests as well as high numbers in college admissions and graduations. Teachers should be experienced and well-rated, and an innovative approach is a welcome bonus. You should also look at the student-to-teacher ratio because it gives a clue on how much time the teacher has to dedicate to each student and their individual needs.
The level of digitalization is also something to think about, as is how clean the place is, how tied it is with the community, are parents heavily involved in PTAs, etc.
Another vital aspect is sports. Good sports programs and a competitive academic team can, with a dose of talent and hard work, provide an edge in acquiring an athletic scholarship.
If those conditions are met, you can leave a large part of anxiety about moving to another state behind, knowing that your child’s future is in good hands.
Two Philly Schools Ranked Among the Best in the State and Country
In 2019, a renowned company US News & World Report did a comprehensive study and ranked secondary educational institutions all around the country. When the results came in, two Philly schools were ranked highly on the list of more than 17,000 counterparts.
Central High School ended up on the 275th place nationwide and fifth in Pennsylvania. Even better was the result of Julia R. Masterman Secondary – 16th on the overall list and number one in the state. Pupils at Masterman scored 100 percent in mathematics and reading proficiency. Also, 93 percent of all attendees took an AP exam.
Many factors were taken into account to compile the list. Among the academic criteria were, besides reading and math proficiency and performance, college readiness and graduation rate. Student diversity, student participation in meal programs, and school enrollment were also factored in.
The Best and Not-So-Good Learning Institutions Near Your Home
Whether you live in one of the best neighborhoods in Philadelphia or somewhere else, your concerns as a parent stay the same. Only the best is good enough for your kid. Luckily, Philly’s district has more than a fair share of excellent educational institutions. And we picked two – one good and one not so much – to tell you more about and familiarize you with some aspects of their work.
Julia R. Masterman Is Ranked as the Best Institution in the District
As we said before, Masterman was ranked as the best secondary school in the district and the State of Pennsylvania. It is located in Philly’s Spring Garden, a neighborhood that’s usually rated as good for families, and the building was put in the National Register of Historic Places in 1986. Among those who had attended it at some point are actors Will Smith and Kevin Bacon, while director M. Night Shyamalan used its building to shoot his movie The Happening.
Anyone who ever attended this institution will tell you that it strives to make its pupils successful. The average graduation rate is 95 percent, and it is considered one of the best preparatory institutions in the US. Therefore, it’s not that easy to get into, since the acceptance rate is low. It may be worthy of notice that teachers, too, are hired only on the basis of experience and professional expertise.
The student to teacher ratio in Masterman is 22:1, with almost 1,200 attendees. It is a diverse institution, with pupils from all backgrounds. Therefore, it is essential to note that all pupils get meals, either for free or at a reduced price.
When it comes to daily life in it, the huge majority of pupils and their parents agree that lessons are engaging and that teachers really care for the kids and encourage them to be competitive and creative, while still maintaining control over the classroom. Still, that pushing of pupils to meet the standards and expectations can sometimes be perceived as tough on the kids. But, as the old saying goes, no pain, no gain, and most of the attendees of Masterman strive to end up in prestigious colleges. Masterman also sports many clubs and student organizations in which both boys and girls are encouraged to participate in.
Overall, this institution is much liked by the attendees. It is regarded as a safe space, with rare cases of absenteeism. Also, the number of suspensions and expulsions is very low. The dress code prohibits any clothes that can be deemed inappropriate or offensive. Anything a student brings there, be it a piece of clothing or some other personal property, cannot contain references to drugs and alcohol, swear words, and slurs. Also banned, in accordance with district policy, are shirts with logos or emblems.
Among the few things that people complain about is the state of the building itself. But that, in the end, comes down to funding, which isn’t great. Having said that, we can say with certainty that Masterman does a great job with resources at hand.
Martin Luther King High School Is Getting Better With Every New Day
On the other end of the scale is the institution named after the greatest of all civil rights movement leaders, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Located in the West Oak Lane neighborhood, it is a school deeply rooted in the community. Kids from West Oak Lane and Germantown neighborhoods need not apply to be accepted.
Once ridden with numerous problems regarding discipline and safety, MLK moved a bit forward in recent years, offering education and support to local children. Still, by all accounts, it falls short of decent educational standards if the rate of college admissions and tests passed are to be taken as a criterion. Both are very low.
The student to teacher ratio is 13:1, which is one thing that goes in favor of MLK. Another is sports. Martin Luther King has football, basketball, and cheerleading teams. Their football team won one Philadelphia Public League championship after Germantown High closed in 2013, and most athletes from there came to MLK. There is also a Junior Reserve Officers Program and programs for business and computer technology.
All in all, not the best place for the start of a more serious academic career, but we can’t say that won’t change in the near future.
Quality Programs for a Small Budget
All in all, if you wish a bright academic and professional future for your offspring, there are plenty of institutions that can help in that quest. If you’re hesitant about hiring long-distance Philly movers with professional moving services to take you to the City of Brotherly Love because of concerns in that department, you can relax. Philly teachers and district that stands behind them worry about complicated stuff, so you and your little ones can enjoy all things to do in Philadelphia once the classes are over.