The Philly Home Girls have been exploring the school systems in Philadelphia and the surrounding areas. Once your family drops roots in Philadelphia, falls in love with the city, makes life-long friendships and enjoys deep connections with your neighbors, you just won’t want to move. Living in the suburbs is expensive. The real estate taxes are typically higher, commutes are longer and cost more, there’s not much to do and certainly not as many yummy meals to eat. Instead of schlepping back to the city, the land that you love, only on special occasions on weekends, why not live in Philly every day and make your kids schlep to school. They’ll love their long commutes chock full of quality time with their IPhone. Now that you’ve decided, here is a brief smattering of some quality options….
Bryn Mawr is home to Shipley, the crown jewel of Main Line schools, in some of the PHG’s opinions. This school prides itself on a very tight knight community, close teacher student relationships and its own branded method of learning. It’s a k-12 school with less than 1000 students, 330 in the upper school. Its annual contributions are lower than some, but the money spent per student is higher.
Anges Irwin is an all-girls prep school in Rosemont, PA providing an excellent education for K-12 grades. It was founded in1869 by Miss Agnes Irwin, who was the great-great granddaughter of Benjamin Franklin. They believe in instilling core values of leadership in their students. These values are: empathy, integrity, resilience, independent thinking, and commitment to action. They are so dedicated to their students that they recently opened the Center for Advancement of Girls to further education and empower their students.
Saint Joe’s is an independent catholic school for boys in grades 9-12. This school is located in the city of Philadelphia, not far from the Main Line. It has a serious community, it’s almost like a brotherhood. Students who enroll are set for life as far as a Philadelphia based network goes. There are less than 900 students and annual giving is said to be around $2MM which is higher than most schools located directly in the Main Line. One of our Philly Home Girls sons attend the Prep!
This Friends school was established in 1689 by members of the Religious Society of Friends including William Penn. Guided by Quaker testimonies, Penn Charter is a coeducational, pre-kindergarten through grade 12, college preparatory school committed to enlivening the spirit, training the mind, cultivating the aesthetic, and developing the body. It is located in the East Falls neighborhood of Philadelphia and it’s 47-acre campus is very close to the Mainline, especially Bala Cynwyd. There are around 900 students and under 500 are in the upper school. Where a lot of the schools are grade school heavy, this one is the opposite. Additionally, it has the most faculty with advanced degrees. The only school that trumps the advanced degree faculty numbers is Radnor High School which is a very reputable public school in Lower Merion School District.
Friends' Central School was established in 1845 by the Religious Society of Friends. It’s a coeducational, college-preparatory day school for students in nursery through grade 12. Friends’ Central has been guided by the Quaker testimonies of simplicity, peace, integrity, community, equality, and stewardship. This school has an amazing 41 acre centrally located campus with a Wynnewood address.
The Baldwin School is located in Bryn Mawr. It’s a Pre K-12 all-girls school. The total campus has about 575 students with a class size of 14. 27% of the graduating class of 2015 went on to attend Ivy League Schools, and 40 students committed to top NCAA I and III schools.
Merion Mercy is located in Lower Merion, just a short 1.5 miles from City Line Ave, and is an all-girls college preparatory Catholic high school. There are about 500 students enrolled here, and the average class size is 16 students. Mercy is known for having great athletics and arts and music programs. The school just celebrated its’ 125th birthday! They pride themselves on teaching core values in scholarship, leadership, character, and service to others.
Located in Wayne, PA, Valley Forge Military Academy has both a college prep school and college under its’ roof. The Academy side is an all-boy 7-12 grade school and has about 300 cadets. They teach their cadets based on a 5 cornerstones system. They are academic excellence, character development, personal motivation, physical development, and leadership.
This is the only public school on the list. The school district is one of the best in the area and they also rank very high in the country. This National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence opened in 1926. The campus is stunning and located right in the heart of Haddonfield. The school host around 775 students from grades 9-12. They are known for top academics and athletics.
This co-educational Catholic school is located directly in Haddonfield. It’s hosts just over 1000 students from grades 9-12. More than 40% of the teachers have a Master’s degree or higher. They also boast that 100% of the students take the SAT’s and the average score is 1558. We should also mention that 91% of the students participate in after school programs.
Haddonfield Friends is a small Pre K–8th grade, with only 183 students. The campus is sits on 5 acres right in downtown Haddonfield. Like other friends’ schools they work on Quaker teaching system. This encourages students to become independent, curious learners.
Don’t let the name scare you! Camden Catholic is actually located in Cherry Hill, NJ. It is a college preparatory day and boarding school. It is the oldest Catholic high school in South Jersey, founded in 1887. There are approximately 700 students that come from over 70 communities in South Jersey, Philadelphia and internationally. Students are encouraged to participate in sports and the arts. They also have a cutting edge technology program.
This Catholic college preparatory school sits on 32 acres in Pennsauken, NJ. They pride themselves on small class sizes, only 21 students per class, and they offer 34 Advanced Placement and honor classes. 98% of the students have gone on to attend college and university.
Founded in 1785, MFS is home to 730 students representing over 60 school districts within a 50-mile radius of Moorestown. They claim their Upper School students’ SAT scores are the highest in South Jersey by a significant margin. That’s pretty impressive considering some of the best public schools in the country are nearby.
All of these schools have great academics, small class size, and excellent extracurricular activities. Additionally, they all have strong ties to the community and a focus community service. There’s really no wrong choice. We hope you are enjoying or exploration of the Philadelphia school system and beyond, and we can’t wait to take our next school tour!