How does TPS Define "Progressive Education"?

Our curriculum and teaching embody the strong scientific evidence that children learn best through active, experiential learning. Our program is designed to provide context and experiences that will expand, develop, and challenge a student’s thinking, understanding, and knowledge. There are many opportunities for children to ask questions, research answers, and experience the consequences of choice.

We give consideration to how a child grows intellectually, creatively, emotionally, socially, morally, and physically. Our practice is informed by child development.  We understand that children perceive the world in different ways at various points in their development.

Faculty regularly incorporate new research about teaching and learning into their classrooms. We are a learning community that fosters love of learning, enthusiasm for meaningful work, and creative and critical thinking. We emphasize compassion, empathy, and respect as essential in shaping the civic leaders of tomorrow.

WHat does it mean to be a nonsectarian school?

The Philadelphia School is not affiliated with or restricted to a particular religious denomination. In addition, we do not practice any religious rituals, celebrate religious holidays, or display religious symbols. This does not mean, however, that we do not respect religious belief and practice. We encourage our students to share with classmates family holiday traditions.  Aware of the role religion has played throughout history, we recognize that examination of the religious beliefs and practices is often key to understanding the essential nature of a culture.

When ShoulD you apply for the preschool program?

Preschool applicants must be four years old as of August 31, 2017, to enroll in the 2017–18 academic year.

We understand that many families begin considering their educational alternatives before their child is old enough to enroll.  If you would like to learn more about The Philadelphia School, we encourage you to attend an open house even if your child is too young to apply. The more time you spend at The Philadelphia School learning about the program, the more educated a decision you will be able to make when the time comes. Feel free to attend an open house two years in a row, or more!

what do children do at the Schuylkill center for environmental education?

The Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education provides a hands-on outdoor experience.  During the fall and spring, K-8 students and their teachers spend a full day a week there, and Preschool students visit twice a year. Our school's long-standing environmental education program had been greatly enhanced by collaboration with the Center's educators.  The observations and interactions at the Schuylkill Center lead naturally to science studies and allow for the integration of other subjects as children write nature-inspired poetry and explore physical education within the natural environment.  The Schuylkill Center, located in the northwest corner of Philadelphia, in the neighborhood of Roxborough, is about a 25-minute bus ride from the school. For more information about the Schuylkill Center, visit their website.

what are the advantages of sending my child to a school that ends at eighth grade?

It is during the elementary years that a child’s academic strengths, interests, and learning styles are developed. It is then that children discover who they are as learners, friends, and community contributors.  It is important to find a school that provides a good fit for their needs at that age.

Experts suggest that the choice of a school in early childhood and the choice of high school should be independent decisions. By the time students are 13 years old, the best “match” for high school is easier to determine, and they can participate in the decision, with the support of our high school advisors.

Older students at TPS lead student government, publish their own yearbook, participate in interscholastic athletic teams, and assume the mantle of leadership as role models for the entire student body. The experience of being among the oldest students of an entire school and of being a leader in that school can be extremely important and positive for a middle school student.  In addition, our middle school students experience age-appropriate activities and events without the influence and pressure of older students.  They can be themselves, often remaining “younger” a bit longer.

According to the statistics, few students begin in kindergarten and graduate as high school seniors from the same school. We believe that nine years is a long time to be in one school, and children are ready for a new venue, new friends, and new challenges.  

TPS graduates are confident, self assured, and well prepared to excel in a variety of academic environments. They have gone on to attend many of the region's finest public, parochial, and private schools. The Philadelphia School has a strong reputation among these schools as an excellent source of talented, well-adjusted ninth graders.

What is the philadelphia school's commitment to diversity?

The core democratic values of freedom, tolerance, justice, and equality are central to who we are and what we do.  We are committed to achieving a diverse student body that reflects ethnic, religious, and social differences and embraces LGBT families, families of adopted children, and single parent families. We expect our students to be open-minded, fair, and tolerant. Within our curriculum we communicate multiple perspectives through the stories and experiences of many different ethnic groups in our society, thereby fostering appreciation of diverse racial, cultural, and historical backgrounds.  We seek to instill in our students a rejection of prejudice, racism, and other pernicious forms of discrimination, oppression, and abuse.

Currently, 36 percent of our students are students of color. The diversity effort is supported by committees of parents, faculty and staff, and board members who seek to enrich the school community with a variety of multicultural activities, to help with recruitment of families and faculty of color, and to raise funds for students who might otherwise be unable to attend TPS. 

Read more about our school's diversity initiatives.

what programs does tps offer before and after school?

The Philadelphia School has a supervised before-school program called "Early Risers," which runs from 7:30 to 8 a.m.

For most of our students, a day at TPS does not end at dismissal time. After school programming includes after school care and enrichment, a wide variety of clubs, chess, Middle School interscholastic sports, and music lessons.  Read more about our auxiliary programming.

what role can parents play at tps?

The Philadelphia School encourages active parent involvement. As a school founded by parents, TPS truly values parental support of our mission and educational program.

We have a very active parents association, TPSA (The Philadelphia School Association), whose mission is to support TPS families by facilitating communication, providing enrichment and outreach opportunities, and sponsoring community-building events. TPSA meets monthly and all parents and guardians are invited to attend and participate in planning and conversation.  Another parent-led group, Family Diversity @ TPS, plans and orchestrates parent education events and organizes student and parent participation in diversity and equity activities offered around the city.  

Parents chaperone trips and lend their expertise in the classroom. Many participate on the Board of Trustees and its committees. The Philadelphia School is grateful for the involvement of parents in the life of their children's school.

how does the financial aid process work?

In 2015-16, the school budgeted $1.4 million for financial aid. Families submit financial information to the School and Student Service for Financial Aid (SSS), an independent agency to which many independent schools throughout the US subscribe.  SSS does a comprehensive assessment of the financial data provided to determine a family’s estimated financial need.  The Philadelphia School’s Financial Aid Committee then confidentially reviews each family’s need.  Funds are allocated based on the school’s financial aid policy and available funds.

 Admission decisions are made on a need-blind basis.  Admission decisions are typically made before financial aid awards are granted. Financial aid awards are communicated to new families in mid-February and to current families in early March.

 A financial aid application must be submitted each year.  The school does attempt to provide a consistent level of support each year, assuming that there are no significant changes in the family’s financial situation.

 For a full description of our financial aid program, click here.

what are the next steps for tps graduates?

Admission directors consider our students assets to their high school programs. Our graduating students are valued as flexible thinkers, skillful writers, independent learners, talented athletes and artists, and collaborative team members. Here are the schools at which the Class of 2016 has enrolled:  

Public: Academy at Palumbo, Central High School, Harriton High School, Philadelphia High School for the Creative and Performing Arts (CAPA), Science Leadership Academy, and Strath Haven High School.

Private and Parochial: Friends’ Central School, George School, Germantown Friends School, La Salle College High School, Roman Catholic High School, St. Andrew’s School, St. Joseph’s Preparatory School, The Shipley School, and Springside Chestnut Hill Academy.

Some of the colleges and universities chosen by the Class of 2012 are Brown University, Bryn Mawr College (2), College of William and Mary, Cornell University, Drexel University, Hampshire College, Ithaca College, La Salle University,  The New School, New York University, Oberlin College,  Ohio Wesleyan University, Stanford University, Temple University (2), the University of Miami, the University of Michigan, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Texas (Austin),  Ursinus College, Washington College, and Yale University.

Learn more about our high school process.

what neighborhoods do students come from?

In 2013–14, students who attended The Philadelphia School came from more than 40 different neighborhoods. Many of our students come from Center City, but we also have a number of students coming from West Philadelphia, South Philadelphia, North Philadelphia, Germantown, and Mount Airy. TPS students also reside in Montgomery County.