Community Impact

Since moving to its current location in 1976, four years after its founding, The Philadelphia School (TPS) has been a vital part of its Center City West neighborhood and the City of Philadelphia. The school has provided an excellent educational program to hundreds of young Philadelphians.

As the sole progressive pre-secondary school in downtown Philadelphia, it represents a distinctive educational option for families committed to living and working in the city. Ninety-seven percent of our students live in Philadelphia. Over the years many parents have reported that it was the availability of The Philadelphia School that was the main reason that they remained Philadelphia residents rather than relocating to the suburbs.

Members of The Philadelphia School community – parents, faculty, staff, students, and trustees – regularly contribute both time and financial resources to area service organizations, cultural and educational institutions, and businesses. Our parents play vital roles in the life of our city as medical professionals, social workers, public servants, artists, musicians, journalists, entrepreneurs, developers, architects, lawyers, law enforcement professionals, professors, school teachers, and business executives, to name just some of their occupations. Many of our alumni live in Philadelphia, working in such fields as business, education, government, journalism, law, medicine, music, and technology.

Tps contributes to the local economy

Our 79 full-time and 20 part-time employees contribute more than $175,000 in local wage taxes. Seventy-three percent of our teachers live in the City of Philadelphia, paying local real estate and school taxes. School employees receive more than $5 million in payroll and benefits; much of this income in turn becomes revenue for local businesses, generating sales and other tax revenue for the city.

With the recent expansion of our program, growing enrollment by approximately 25 percent in the past several years, we have created more than 25 new jobs.

In 2012-2013 the school purchased more than $2 million in goods and services from Philadelphia businesses. The school paid over $11,000 for its own trash pick-up and recycling. (TPS has a robust composting and recycling program.)

Tps provides students with more than $1.8 million of financial aid

In 2016-2017 our school provided $1.4 million in financial aid to 24% of its students; of those receiving aid, more than 90% live in Philadelphia. The Philadelphia School works closely with the Steppingstone Scholars program.  We work to help families access funds for tuition assistance through the Black Alliance for Educational Options and Children's Scholarship Fund of Philadelphia.  TPS is also the first school in the region to have formed a partnership to place middle school students from A Better Chance, a national diversity access organization.

Tps relieves Pennsylvania and Philadelphia of educational expenses

Nearly all of the 474 students enrolled at The Philadelphia School are residents of Philadelphia. If these students were enrolled in public school, it would cost the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania more than $2 million to educate them. In addition, the parents of these students pay City of Philadelphia school income taxes.


TPS IS AT THE FOREFRONT of Environmental Education

Since its founding in 1972, The Philadelphia School has been in the forefront of environmental education. We are grateful that our founders were early environmental educators. From the beginning, our program has empowered students as stewards of the natural world. Each week in the fall and spring, students travel to the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education in Philadelphia's Roxborough section to complement their classroom curriculum. 

Study of environmental issues has always been integral to the academic program. TPS families organize an annual Earth Day celebration and play active roles in the school’s comprehensive recycling and composting program. Our environmental education program has received national awards and grants, including  a National Wildlife Foundation Eco-Schools Bronze Award, the President’s Environmental Award, and an Environmental Protection Agency education grant.

Philadelphia is an extension of our classrooms

The rich resources of our city serve as primary sources for our learners. Our youngest students learn about the complexity of urban life by studying their own neighborhoods. They connect directly with America's past by walking the city's streets and visiting its museums. Our middle schoolers learn about and use the resources of the Free Library of Philadelphia. Collaborative projects have included creating an online exhibition about Benjamin Franklin with the Rosenbach Museum & Library and designing plans for the development of the Delaware River waterfront with the Independence Seaport Museum. Special exhibits of student artwork have been mounted in the Schuylkill Center's gallery.

Our students regularly visit the city’s museums, theaters, and historic sites. In addition to supporting these venues financially, the school strives to imbue students with a lifetime appreciation for our city’s cultural and historic treasures.

Students learn about the civic ideals and practices of citizenship in a democratic society

The eighth grade cultural studies curriculum is devoted to a year-long exploration of the United States Constitution. "Monthly Constitutionals," when local scholars, attorneys, and civil rights activists meet with the students to discuss issues related to the Bill of Rights and later amendments, reinforce classroom discussions and reading. Eighth graders research constitutional issues of interest and present as experts on their topics, often to an audience of local, state, or federal policymakers. 

Service projects are ongoing at TPS

Classroom community service projects have served local and international organizations, including the Nationalities Services Center, Reach Out and Read, and Heifer International. At the Schuylkill Center, students help maintain trails, remove invasive species, and water plants. The Student Council, made up of children in grades 1-8, organizes fund raisers for a variety of worthy causes. Middle School research projects include service components.

Our Parent Association organizes community service projects to meet expressed needs of social service agencies, including the Bethesda Project, Project HOME, and Trinity WinterShelter. Our students make sandwiches each week for the residents of My Brother’s House, a shelter at 15th & South Streets. Almost the entire school community participates in the school's Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service, preparing sandwiches and desserts for more than 600 residents of local shelters.  

The Philadelphia School supports community events

TPS is a member of the Center City Residents Association and the Friends of Schuylkill River Park (FSRP). The school helped fund the installation of the park's playground equipment and pays toward the upkeep of the field.

The school also sponsors the Imagination Playground at Sister Cities Park, as well as a Taney Baseball League team. Our a cappella group has performed at community events, including annual appearances at the Fitler Square Fair.

Tps makes its facilities available at little or no cost to the community

The Taney Baseball and Basketball leagues hold clinics at TPS. The school makes its facilities available for community meetings when school is not in session. Most recently, the school provided space for community meetings regarding Lombard Street bike lanes and Children's Hospital's research facility on Schuylkill Avenue. In 2012 the school became a polling station, serving Philadelphia residents in two divisions in the 30th Ward.

Our faculty and staff serve a variety of nonprofit organizations

Faculty and staff members have served on boards and volunteer at civic organizations and educational nonprofits throughout the city, including Mighty Writers, the Rosenbach Museum & Library, the Parent Infant Center, A Better Chance, Mission Relief Services, the Hebrew Immigrant Society, PSPCS, Ronald McDonald House, the People's Emergency Shelter, 100 Women, the Jubilee School, and many other museums, parks, homeless shelters, and religious institutions in the city.

Tps trains future teachers

Each year several faculty members serve as cooperating teachers for undergraduate and graduate students training to be teachers. Our teachers have supervised student teachers from Temple University, the University of Pennsylvania, Swarthmore College, Bryn Mawr College, Drexel University, Community College of Philadelphia, and the University of the Arts. Teachers trained at our school have joined the faculties of public and private schools.

Tps is a good neighbor

Located in a mixed-use neighborhood, TPS strives to be a good neighbor. Staff members streamline the flow of drop-off traffic to ease congestion on 25th Street. Snow is shoveled promptly, and we often shovel neighbors’ sidewalks as a courtesy. Eco-friendly and attractive landscaping is an ongoing important consideration.

We invite you to learn more about The Philadelphia School

It would be a pleasure to arrange a tour for you so you can learn more about our school. Call Frances Hoover, Director of Institutional Advancement,  at 215-545-5325.