Attention Families: The process for the upcoming school year reflects two modifications from last year; the writing assessment used by five schools last year will be eliminated, and the District will resume the use of PSSA test results (which were not available last year) for criteria-based high schools and middle schools. PSSA admission criteria by school will be adjusted this year in light of the learning loss and other challenges our students have experienced. Learn more about these changes HERE.

K-12 School Selection Process

The school selection process allows students currently in pre-kindergarten through 11th grade to apply to attend any school for the 2023-2024 school year with available space other than their catchment school.

The District’s school selection process:

  • uses a centralized lottery and waitlist system,
  • applies school-specific grades and attendance criteria,
  • makes the online application available in 10 different languages.

This application process does not include other charter or tuition-based schools like Catholic or Friends Schools.

School Selection Town Halls

Virtual Town Hall

Thursday, August 25, 2022
5pm – 6pm

This event will be on Zoom and is limited to 1000 seats.
Pre-registration is encouraged, but not required.

In-Person Town Hall

Tuesday, August 30, 2022
5pm – 6pm

Location: 440 North Broad St. Phila, PA, 19130
This event has limited seats available.
Please register to reserve a spot.

Virtual Town Hall

Thursday, September 1, 2022
12pm – 1pm

This event will be on Zoom and is limited to 1000 seats.
Pre-registration is encouraged, but not required.

*Interpretation will be available for Mandarin and Spanish at the 3 town halls.

Application Steps

The Application Process will open on Friday, September 16 at 4:00 PM and close on Friday, November 4 at 11:59 PM

Preparation

Find out where to start based on you current school, research your school options and gather your documents.

You are considered a District student if you are currently attending a school in the School District of Philadelphia for the 2022-2023 school year.

  • If your student is attending a District school, you will need to access the school selection application through the District’s Parent Portal. If you do not currently have a Parent Portal account, click here to create one.
  • If your student is not attending a District school, you will need to create an account on the school selection platform once the application goes live on September 16th.

There are three types of School District of Philadelphia schools

  1. Criteria Based schools (academic criteria based)
  2. City Wide schools (lottery based on space)
  3. Catchment schools (lottery based on space)

Students should not apply to their catchment school through this application. If a student wishes to attend their catchment school, please communicate with your school directly to complete the enrollment process.

Begin gathering these documents you will need for your application.

  •  If you did not attend a District school for the 2020-2021 and/or 2021-2022 school year, you must submit a transcript using the District’s transcript template. This transcript must include the following:
    • The final course grades for the four core subjects (English, math, science, and social studies) for each of the prior years (2020-2021 and/or 2021-2022 school year)
    • The number of unexcused absences for each of the two prior years (2020-2021 and/or 2021-2022 school year)
  • If you attended a District school for the 2020-2021 and/or 2021-2022 school years but are missing a final grade in one of your core subjects (English, math, science, and social studies) , see your school counselor or administrator.

Application

Learn about your choices and how to submit an application.

Consider the following key questions when making your selections:

  • Are your strengths or interests aligned with what the school has to offer?
  • Do you meet the criteria for admission?  This includes, but is not limited to: grades and attendance.
  • Can you attend the school everyday, on time, given the distance from your home?
  • Students and families may log into their application as many times as they wish to view or make changes until the application window closes on November 4th at 11:59 PM.
  • An email address must be added to Guardian Information section in order to receive communications.
  • Incomplete and unsubmitted applications will not be entered into the school selection lottery.  Please note, hard copy documentation is no longer accepted.
  • If you have any questions about the School District of Philadelphia’s school selection process, please contact the Office of Student Enrollment and Placement at 215-400-4290 or via email at schoolselect@philasd.org.
  • If you have started an application and you have questions on how to complete your application, please include your school selection application number in your email along with your question or have it available when contacting the Office of Student Enrollment and Placement.
  • Be prepared to meet any additional requirements for criteria-based schools, like project-based submissions and auditions.
  • Make sure you know where your selected schools are located and any SEPTA routes needed to get there.
  • District students will be able to submit the school selection application using the Parent & Family Portal by creating a new account or logging in to an existing one.
  • Non-District students will be able to create an account and access the school selection application starting September 16th.

Status Monitoring

Families and students are encouraged to closely monitor their application’s activity in the portal to ensure timely and accurate responses.

  • All application notifications regarding the School Selection process will be through email sent from the School Selection system. It will come from the email address: bouncebacks+philadelphia
    @smartchoicetech.com
    . This is a no-reply email address.
  • The email address displayed on the Guardian Information section step will receive all communications.
  • Please check your spam or junk folders if you do not see the emails in your inbox. It is important to monitor your email inbox throughout this process as there will be time-sensitive actions required.

The School District of Philadelphia provides parents with an opportunity to appeal a School Selection “Ineligible” decision. Appeals may only be submitted for the following reasons:

  • There is a significant disruption during the time the student(s) is presenting their project based presentation , or audition.
  • There is a request for a required accommodation, pursuant to an IEP, 504, or an English Learner’s level, that is alleged to have not been provided while taking the required assessment.
  • A student was isolated as a result of their positive COVID-19 status and was unable to participate in a required audition or a project based presentation.
  • A student was unable to participate in a required activity to be entered into the lottery as a result of an excused absence.

The appeal along with any relevant documentation must be submitted to the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities.

Lottery Results

Families and students will receive email notifications when lottery results are available on January 13, 2023 through the end of the waitlist process on February 2, 2023.

There are 3 basic categories of results: Eligible and Offered, Eligible and Waitlisted, and Ineligible.

  • It is recommended that students confirm at least one offer even if the student was accepted to only one school by the end of the Student Response phase on January 18, 2023.
  • If no action is taken during the Student Response phase, all school selection offers will be automatically declined.
  • An offer can be rescinded by the School District of Philadelphia if the student is not promoted by the end of the school year.
  • If no action is taken during the Student Response phase, all school selection offers will be automatically declined.
  • Once an offer is declined, students will not be placed on the waitlist or offered a seat after the Student Response phase ends.
  • All students will see their waitlist status (numeric order on the waitlist).
  • If a student is waitlisted for any school, no action is required unless a seat is offered.
  • A student will remain on the waitlist even if they accept an offer from a school other than a waitlisted school. Waitlisted students will be offered a seat at the waitlisted school if one becomes available.
  • If a student is offered a seat at one of their waitlisted schools, an email notification will be sent out and students will have 3 business days from the day that the notification was sent to respond. Otherwise, the offer will automatically be declined.
  • If a student is waitlisted at more than one school, they may only accept one waitlist offer. Once a student accepts a waitlist offer, they will be removed from the waitlists of the other schools.

Criteria-Based Schools

Eligibility Criteria

The final course grades for the four core subjects (English, math, science, and social studies) for each of the prior years (2020-2021 and/or 2021-2022 school year)

The number of unexcused absences for each of the two prior years (2020-2021 and/or 2021-2022 school year)

Students currently enrolled in a District school (excluding charters) who did not take the PSSA last year, and students enrolled in charter, private, parochial or other school districts that do not participate in the PSSA, may submit the results of an equivalent assessment before the close of the application window on Friday, November 4th.
Acceptable alternative assessments are:

  • TerraNova
  • Educational Records Bureau CTP4
  • the California Achievement Test
  • the Independent School Entrance Examination
  • the Secondary School Admission Test

The Office of Assessment will determine and communicate PSSA admission criteria by school and equivalent criteria for any other assessments used during the school selection process by the end of September 2022.

School Specific Eligibility Criteria

To learn about each elementary and middle school option, please click below:

To learn about each high school program and their admission requirements, please click below:

Zip Code Considerations

The following zip codes will be prioritized by select criteria-based schools for the 2022-2023 School Selection Process. Please note, students MUST still meet the established criteria before being marked eligible for the lottery.  The six zip codes, which have the smallest percentages of students accepted into those four criteria-based schools over the last four years, are: 19140, 19134, 19132, 19121, and 19133 (all of which are the same as last year) and 19139 (new this year).

How were the zip codes determined?

The Office of Research and Evaluation again analyzed the data of students attending the four schools – Masterman, Central, Palumbo, and Carver – and determined the prioritized zip codes for the 2022-2023 school selection process. The enrollment data for the last four years for the four schools – Masterman, Central, Palumbo, and Carver, including the enrollment decisions from the 2021-2022 school selection process confirmed the zip codes with the lowest residential representation of students in the freshmen class are: 19121, 19132, 19133, 19134, 19140 and 19139. Five of the zip codes remain the same; 19139 was added and 19135 is no longer one of the 6 zip codes with the lowest residential representation among qualified students attending the four schools.

School Selection Resources

Application for District Students

The School District of Philadelphia’s Parent & Family Portal gives District families access to valuable information about their child’s education and school, including the school selection application. If your student is attending a District school, you will need to access the school selection application through the District’s Parent Portal. If you do not currently have a Parent Portal account, use the button to register now.

Application for Non-District Students

Non-District students have to submit the online application in addition to uploading all of the necessary academic records, in order to be considered for admission into a criteria-based school. The application is through a different portal. Families should be prepared to upload electronic copies of the records which include, but is not limited to grades, attendance, special education, english learner or 504 accommodation information.

TERMMEANING
District StudentStudent who currently attends a School District of Philadelphia school
Non District StudentStudent who currently attends a Charter, Tuition-based, non-Philadelphia public school
Catchment SchoolSchool that connects to a home address
City Wide SchoolSchool that does not have a catchment area/attendance boundary or admissions criteria
Criteria Based SchoolSchool has specific grades, attendance, and standardized test score requirements
Enroll SystemThe system in which students can submit an application for the School Selection Process
AuditionActivity that is conducted and scored by performing arts schools (Arts Academy at Bejamin Rush, CAPA, Franklin Learning Center, and GAMP) to determine if a student meets requirements in the area of Vocal, Theatre/Drama, Instrumental Music, or Visual Arts
Project Based PresentationActivity that is conducted and scored by Science Leadership Acadmemy (Beeber and Center City) to demonstrete a student's inquiry-driven approach to science
Transcript TemplateA School District of Philadelphia form where student grades, attendance, and PSSA scores are recorded by the sedning school administrator
PSSAPennsylvania System of School Assessment is a standardized assessment given to students in grades 3 to 8 in English language arts and mathematics
Unexcused AbsencesAbsences that are not counted as excused by the school
Final GradesGrades the student earned at the end of any given school year
LeGareAn advocacy process for students who have a support IEP (Individualized Educational Program), a 504 Plan, or are English Learners and are applying to the 9th grade in criteria-based schools
IEPIndividualized Educational Program is a plan or program developed to ensure that a child who has a disability identified under the law and is attending an elementary or secondary educational institution receives specialized instruction and related services.
504Section 504 requires school districts to provide Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) to children with disabilities, who may benefit from public education, within the individual district's jurisdiction
ELEnglish Learners are students who use another language in addition to or other than English
WaitlistStudents who are eligible for the school and were included in the lottery but were not selected by the lottery due to the space availble at the school
Waitlist StatusThe numeric order on the waitlist for the school or program
Sibling PreferencePreference given to students who are applying to the same school in which one or more of their siblings currently attend
AppealThe action in which parents may take to dispute the decision made on their child's eligibility to criteria-based schools
Performance SchoolA criteria-based school that requires an audition or project-based presentation

The School District of Philadelphia offers thousands of programs and services across hundreds of schools.
One of the most exciting parts of your education in Philadelphia is how you can customize your learning experience, by choosing a school that’s right for you. Every student is assigned a catchment school, from K-12, based on where they live. But, if you are interested in any other school in the District, all you have to do is apply!


DateActivity
September 16, 2022School Selection Application Opens at 4:00 PM
October 14 - 15, 2022High School Fair
November 4, 2022School Selection Application Closes at 11:59 PM
November 7, 2022Evaluation Phase Begins (for schools and programs with admission criteria)
November 16, 2022LeGare Review Begins
November 16, 2022Eligibility for Performance Schools Communicated to Families at 5:00 PM
November 17-23, 2022Schedule Auditions
November 18, 2022Appeals Window Open for Performance and Project-based Schools
November 21, 2022Auditions and Project-based Presentations Begin
November 30, 2022Appeals Due for Students Applying to Performance and Project-based Schools
December 2, 2022Evaluation Phase Ends (for schools and programs with admission criteria)
December 7, 2022Eligibility for Non-Performance/Other Criteria-based Schools Communicated to Families at 5:00 PM
December 8, 2022Appeals Window Open for Non-Performance/Other Criteria-based Schools
December 12, 2022Appeals Final Decisions for Performance and Project-based Schools
December 15, 2022Appeals Due for Students Applying to Other Criteria-based Schools
December 16, 2022LeGare Review Ends
December 19, 2022Auditions and Project-based Presentations Begin for Students with LeGare Review or Appeals
December 23, 2022Auditions and Project-based Presentations End
January 5, 2023Appeals Final Decisions for Other Criteria-based Schools
January 13, 2023Lottery Results Communicated to Students and Families at 5:00 PM (Students and parents can view their post lottery school options in student and parent portals)
January 18, 2023Last Day to Confirm Offers (If no action is taken, all offers will automatically be declined)
January 30, 2023Waitlist Offers Made to Fill Available Seats (Students and parents can view their waitlist offers in student and parent portals)
February 2, 2023Final Communication (Students and parents can view their final ottery results and acceptances in student and parent portals)

For students who have a support IEP, Medical 504 Plan, or are an English Language Learner, they automatically qualify for LeGare.  This is an advocacy process that allows students an equal opportunity to apply and attend a criteria-based high school.  This advocacy process is only applicable to 8th graders who are headed into 9th grade and applying to a criteria-based high school.

Please know that LeGare does not guarantee admission into a criteria-based high school.  Students must still meet or come close to the advertised admissions criteria and the school must be able to provide reasonable accommodations for the student to be successful without substantially altering the way the curriculum is delivered.

Specific questions can be directed to the school counselor where your child attends or to the LeGare Committee using the email address found in the contact support section.

In Spring 2022, the Office of Research and Evaluation (ORE) published a series of reports on the 2021-22 School Selection process.

To get answers to the frequently asked questions about the school selection process, please click below:

Appeal Process & Procedures

Appeal:

The School District of Philadelphia provides parents with an opportunity to appeal a School Selection “Ineligible” decision. Appeals will only be conducted for students who have not received a status of “submitted and eligible” for any of their selected schools.

Appeals may be submitted for the following reasons:

  • There is a significant disruption during the time the student(s) is presenting their project based presentation , or audition.
  • There is a request for a required accommodation, pursuant to an IEP, 504, or an English Learner’s level, that is alleged to have not been provided while taking the required assessment.
  • A student was isolated as a result of their positive COVID-19 status and was unable to participate in a required audition or a project based presentation.
  • A student was unable to participate in a required activity to be entered into the lottery as a result of an excused absence.

Appeal deadlines:

  • The School District of Philadelphia provides parents with an opportunity to appeal a School Selection “Ineligible” decision. Appeals will only be conducted for students who have received a status of “Ineligible” for any of their selected schools.
  • All appeal requests for students applying to performance or project-based schools must be submitted between November 18th, 2022 and November 30th, 2022. Appeal decisions will be finalized for these students by December 12th, 2022
  • All appeal requests for students applying to other criteria-based schools must be submitted between December 8th, 2022 and December 15th, 2022. Appeal decision will be finalized by January 5th, 2023.

Contact Us

Office of Student Enrollment and Placement
Phone#: 215-400-4290
Email: schoolselect@philasd.org

LeGare Committee
Email: LeGare@philasd.org

For Appeals
Email: appealsoffice@philasd.org

Family Tech Support
Phone: 215-400-4444
Email: familytechsupport@philasd.org