Back to School 

Q: When is the first day of school?

A: Tuesday September 3rd!

Q: What time does my school start?

A: Every school determines their exact start time so check with your school. You can check their website or call their front desk.

Q: What is the school uniform at my child’s school?

A: Every school has different rules for uniforms. Find your school on this list, or, contact your school directly by visiting their website or calling their front office.

Q: What schools supplies does my student need?

A: The school supplies for each school should be listed on their website or sent home to families via backpacks. If you’re not sure where to find them, check your school site or call the school’s front office.

Q: Will my child get a transpass? When will that be available?

A: Please visit the The School District of Philadelphia’s Office of Transportation to learn information on your students eligibility for transportation.

Q; When is my school’s orientation?

A: Each school will have a different schedule for new student orientation. Please check your schools website or call their front desk.

Q: How can I find out which immunizations we’ll need to have for this school year?

A: www.philasd.org/vax

Q: What if I still need to register, for kindergarten or 1st through 12th grade?

A: You can still register your student at the neighborhood school. Please see the below link to assist with the registration.



Q:  What do I need to register my child into school?

A:  Families need to provide proof of the child’s age, a copy of the child’s immunization report, two (2) proofs of address and a valid picture identification card that has the address in which the family is currently living.

Q:  How long can my child attend school?

A:  Students have a legal right to attend the school that is associated with their home address and until the age of 21, unless they have completed a program through graduation or have been validly expelled from the school.  Students who wish to return to their neighborhood school must be permitted to enroll or re-enroll in regular daytime classes.


Charter Transition Process 

Q: If my charter school closes, what options do I have for my child to attend a School District school?

A: Families have the right for their child to attend the neighborhood school of the primary residence in which the student is residing. Neighborhood school information can be found using the “Find my school” option on the School District of Philadelphia’s website or by clicking on the link below.


Q: What do I need to enroll my child in my neighborhood school?

A: To enroll in your neighborhood school, parents or guardians are required to bring two (2) documents proving your primary residence, your student’s immunization records and a document proving your student’s age, such as a birth certificate, baptismal record, passport, etc. Although not required, parents and guardians are strongly encouraged to bring photo ID to the registration as well.

Note: While photo ID is not required for enrollment, parents and guardians must present and have ID on file in order to remove their student from school or access student specific information from the school.

Q: What if I do not want my child to attend my neighborhood school?

A: The Office of Student Enrollment and Placement will provide a Charter Transition application to all families interested in their child attending a Philadelphia School District school that is not their  neighborhood school. This application will allow families to apply to a predetermined amount of schools for consideration.

Q: Is there a deadline for this application?

A: Yes. The specific dates and time for this application will be published on the websites for both the Office of Student Enrollment and Placement and the Charter Schools Office.

Q: Is my student guaranteed a seat in the school(s) to which they apply?

A: No. If the student is applying to a school with no admission criteria, students will be offered seats based on space availability. If a student is applying for a school with admission criteria, students will be offered seats based on the student meeting the established criteria and on space availability.

Q: What are my options if my student is not selected to any of the schools I choose on the Charter Transition application?

A: Students who do not receive an approval for any of the selected schools on the Charter Transition application will have the ability to enroll at the neighborhood school.

Q: Can I use the Charter Transition application to enroll in a charter school?

A: No. This process is only available for the listed School District of Philadelphia schools. All other schools, including charter schools, must be contacted directly to obtain information on enrollment.


Types of Schools and Transferring  (School Selection Process) 

Q:  What is a Neighborhood School?

A:  A neighborhood school has an attendance boundary, which gives admission 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

Q:  What is a City Wide School?

A:  These schools do not have an attendance boundary.  City Wide Schools offer specialized courses or area of study that may concentrate on academics or career and technical programs.  All students admitted to these schools are selected through a computerized lottery only after applying through the Selection Process, having met specific entrance requirements, along with space being available at the school.

Q:  What is a Special Admission School

A:  These schools do not have an attendance boundary either and students must apply through the Selection Process too.  Special Admission schools are “magnet schools” which offer a rigorous, enriched curriculum that 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 those students for admission who best meet its entrance criteria.  Parents/students are encouraged to review the set of admission criteria for each school and the student’s scholastic record prior to applying.

Q:  How do I apply to a school of my choice?

A:  Through the Selection Process

Q:  How are students selected for admission through this process?

A:  Neighborhood Schools— For students who live outside a particular school’s attendance boundary, admission is based upon available seats and selection is made by computerized lottery.  Citywide Admission Schools—Admission into Elementary/Middle School is based upon seat availability and being selected by the computerized lottery.  For High School admission, students who are eligible for the lottery must meet competitive entrance requirements (attendance, punctuality, behavior, and grades).  The computerized lottery will then complete the process until all available seats are filled.  Special Admission Schools—They have competitive entrance requirements based on attendance, punctuality, behavior, grades and standardized test scores.  Each school’s admissions review team selects and approves students who best meet their admissions criteria.  Some of the Special Admission Schools require students to perform an audition or participate in an interview.  However, the student must meet admissions criteria first, then is granted or invited to participate.

Q:  What school will my child attend if he/she is not selected for admission at any of the requested schools?

A:  What happens really depends on your situation.  Typically, if a student applies and is not selected to attend a school of their choice, your child will remain at the current school provided a non District option isn’t sought.  However, students in exiting grades will be assigned to the feeder/neighborhood school provided a non District option isn’t sought.

Q:  Are Students Guaranteed Admission into one of the Schools Listed on Their Application?

A:  Unfortunately not.  A school cannot physically accept all the students who apply.  However, to be considered for admission, the parent must complete and submit the appropriate application with supporting documentation within the specified time frame.

Q:  What is the Wait List policy?

A: In School Selection, a student can receive one of three Dispositions; Approval, Disapproval or a Waitlist.  Students who have been placed on a school’s wait list may remain there until the school contacts them indicating space has become available.  When space becomes available, the school will reach out to the student and or family to notify them and offer a seat at that school.  Students can remain on a schools wait list up until NEW process begins in September.  After that, the wait list will dissolve and students on the wait list will have to re-apply for the following school year.

Q:  What is the policy regarding transferring siblings to the same school?

A:  Preference is given to elementary school transfer requests for siblings of a student who is currently enrolled in the requested school (children living in the same household).  This is done only if there is available space in the appropriate grade at the requested school.  A sibling lottery is conducted to select siblings until all available seats are filled.  Because of the limited number of spaces available and the enormous amount of requests for sibling preference, there is no guarantee that siblings will be placed in the same school.

Q:  How do I return to my neighborhood school?

A:  Parents are encouraged to maintain their child in the school to which they have transferred.  However, if it becomes necessary for a child to return to the neighborhood school, their current school will recommend the childs’ return for the following school year.

Q:  Will my child receive transportation if approved through the Elementary/Middle or High School Selection Process?

A:  The School District of Philadelphia is continuing to adjust our services and programs in response to significant reductions in state funding for K-12 education.  Beginning in September 2006, several budget decisions resulted in changes to the student transfer transportation practices.  Students eligible for free transportation has been categorized in the following ways:

1.  Students (grades K-5) who are selected and approved for transfer through the school selection process are no longer eligible to receive transportation services.  If your child is selected for a school, he/she will have the option to attend that school, however, the parent/legal guardian will be responsible for the transportation of the student to and from the school daily.

2.  Students (grades 5-12) who are selected and approved for transfer through the school selection process to a Special Admission School only are eligible for free tranpasses, provided they live one and a half miles or further from their assigned school.  Otherwise, the Transportation Policy isn’t effective for students until they are in grade 7.  The Office Transportation Services will determine those who are eligible to receive free transpasses.  If your child is eligible for a free transpass, Transportation Services will send notification by US mail prior to the start of the new school year (usually late August).


Renaissance Charter School Questions

Q:  Can my neighborhood Renaissance Charter School deny enrollment of my student?

A:  Since the school is a Renaissance Charter School, the school has grade and space limitations. If the school exceeds its threshold, the school may not be able to enroll your student. However, the school MUST allow you to place your student on the school’s waiting list for future enrollment once space becomes available.

Q:  What do I do if my neighborhood Renaissance Charter School does not have space for my student?

A:  After placing your student on the school’s waiting list, please come to the Office of Student Enrollment and Placement located at 440 N. Broad Street, Suite 111. Once there, the Office of Student Enrollment and Placement will provide you with an alternate placement for your student in a Philadelphia School District school.

Q:  Does my child have to attend my neighborhood Renaissance Charter School?

A:  No. You may choose to opt-out of your neighborhood Renaissance Charter School. The Office of Student Enrollment and Placement will provide you with an alternate placement for your student in a Philadelphia School District school.

Q:  What do I need to bring to complete this process?

A:  The legal parent or guardian will need to bring Valid Photo Identification and two (2) proofs of address

Q:  How long does the process take?

A:  Typically, placement will occur within the same day. However, given the volume of request as well as the needs of the student, the process could take longer.

Q:  What about students with special needs?

A:  If your student requires specific educational programs that are only available in specific schools, the Office of Student Enrollment and Placement will work with the Office of Specialized Services to make an alternate placement.

Q:  Do I get to pick the school?

A:  The Philadelphia School District has several different alternate schools for students who need to be assigned. These schools were determined based on a number of different factors including but not limited to proximity and space availability.

Q:  Is transportation provided?

A:  Transportation will be provided to students based on the existing Philadelphia School District transportation guidelines.