Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions
Who is eligible to apply? All students, including those receiving special education or chapter 15 services and those who are ESOL/English Language Learners (ELL) are eligible.
How can I get my child into the school of my choice? Because of the limited number of spaces available, and the great number of students who are applying, there is no guarantee that you your child will be accepted to any school. However, to be considered, you must complete the appropriate application within the specified time frame. Parents should be aware that most openings are at the entry-level grades for elementary, middle and high schools.
What is the policy regarding sibling preference? Sibling preference is only offered for elementary school transfers. A sibling lottery is conducted only for students who have brothers or sisters in the same household who already attend the school to which they are applying. Because of the limited number of spaces available and the great numbers of requests for sibling preference there is no guarantee that siblings will be placed in the same school.
How are students selected for transfers/admission? Placement of students through the voluntary Transfer Program: Computerized lotteries are conducted to ensure that all children have an equal chance to be accepted to schools with open admission or criteria-based admission. The names of all applicants are entered into the computer, and the computer randomly selects students to fill available spaces for each grade at a schools or program with open admission (no criteria for admission). In order to be included in the lottery for schools/ programs with admissions standards a student must meet standardized admissions criteria related to attendance, punctuality, behavior, and grades. Students are not selected by lottery for Special Admission Schools. Special Admission schools select and approve those students who best meet their established criteria for admission. Decisions regarding admission are made by a selection committee from each Special Admission School.
Please note: All qualified applicants will not be admitted to Special Admission Schools due to space limitations.
Placement of students under the NCLB School Choice Program is based on the District’s established prioritized rank order for available seats. The District gives priority for placement to the lowest achieving students from low-income families. In addition, since available spaces are insufficient to serve all eligible children, the District also uses a cut-off score based on the Terra Nova Test to determine each child’s rank order.
What is a Special Admission School? Special Admission schools are “magnet schools” which offer a rigorous, enriched curriculum and may concentrate on a particular discipline or area of study, such as mathematics, natural sciences, engineering, humanities; social sciences or fine and performing arts. They have competitive entrance requirements related to attendance, punctuality, behavior, grades and standardized test scores. These schools select and approve for admission those students who best meet its admission criteria. Parents/students should review the set of admission criteria for each school and the student’s scholastic record prior to applying (available in the high school directory).
What is a Citywide School? These are magnet schools offering specialized courses or area of study that may concentrate on academics, career or technical programs. Admission to citywide admission high schools is based upon some elements of competitive entrance requirements, space availability and selection by computerize lottery (available in the high school directory). Admission to citywide admission elementary or middle schools is based upon space availability and selection by computerize lottery.
What is a Neighborhood School? A neighborhood school has an attendance boundary which gives priority to those students who live within that particular boundary. Students who live within the attendance boundary of a school do not need to submit an application to apply to that school, however, parents must be able to provide appropriate proof of residency for enrollment. Students who live outside of the neighborhood attendance boundary are required submit an application in order to be considered for acceptance.
*There are Three (3) Neighborhood Schools that have Magnet Programs:
Where can I get an application? Parents of Philadelphia public school students can obtain applications from their child’s school. Applications are also available at the Office of Student Enrollment and Placement or online by clicking below.
How do I apply? Use the Voluntary Transfer Program Application
These forms are used to apply to neighborhood, citywide admission, and special admission schools. You may identify up to five schools or programs that meet your child’s needs/interests. Be sure to list them in preference order on the application form. Philadelphia Public School Students should return their application to the School Counselor. Non-School District of Philadelphia Students should submit the completed application to:
THE SCHOOL DISTRICT OF PHILADELPHIA
Important: An official Student Data Transcript must also be sent to each school with admissions criteria listed on the transfer application.
When do I apply? Applications may be submitted, beginning the third Monday in September through the last friday in October of the current school year for admission of the following school year.
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