The Philadelphia charter school system seems to be in a constant state of uncertainty. For parents thinking about fleeing to the suburbs, or breaking the bank for private school education, here are five (well, technically, six) stellar charter schools that just may make you reconsider.
Franklin Towne Charter Elementary and High Schools
Location: 4259 Richmond St./5301 Tacony St.
Both Franklin Towne Charter Elementary School and Franklin Towne Charter High School are off the charts with approval ratings. After the Bridesburg high school opened its doors in 2000, it was named a MetLife Foundation-NASSP Breakthrough School in 2010, received a National Blue Ribbon of Excellence from the Department of Education in 2014 and a 2015 School Performance Profile score of 91.3, the highest of any charter school in the city. The elementary school opened in 2009, featuring a comprehensive special education program. Both schools provide a number of clubs and leadership programs to their combined 2,000 plus students.
Laboratory Charter School of Communication and Languages
Location: 800 North Orianna St.
This Northern Liberties grade school focuses on a multilingual and culturally diverse curriculum. Top-ranked in terms of PSSA scores, students focus on reading, writing and mathematics, with additional daily instruction in French and Spanish. The two-time national Blue Ribbon School holds a Middle States accreditation and Peer Leader Award from the School District of Philadelphia. Its mission statement pledges to “provide a program that will prepare students to communicate effectively in more than one language and to see the world from three perspectives: global, international and national.”
The Philadelphia Academy Charter School
Location: 11000 Roosevelt Boulevard
Founded in 1999, this grade school incorporates the latest technology, like interactive whiteboards and iPads, to educate students. Offering full-day kindergarten, the school has a strong focus on literacy and math, while providing additional instruction in creative and performing arts, technology, foreign language and physical education. Its extensive musical theater program is tailored for young Hollywood-bound stars. The school boasts a perfect 10 on GreatPhillySchools.org for its safety, and exceptional math instruction.
Freire Charter High School
Location: 2027 Chestnut St.
One of the oldest charter schools in Pennsylvania, Freire, founded in 1998, has catered to about 500 students with a 15-to-1 student to faculty ratio. In 2015, a whopping 96 percent of Freire graduates planned on enrolling in college, earning more than $3 million in scholarships — which averaged to $40,571 per graduate. Freire uses its small class sizes to cater rigorously to student growth and development. While many incoming Freire ninth graders were reported to be at least five years behind their age-based math and reading levels, 86 percent of those students caught up by the end of their freshman year.
MaST Community Charter School
Grades: K -12
Location: 1800 E. Byberry Road
The all-grades school follows its own STREAM (science, technology, robotics, engineering, arts and math) curriculum to help students with problem solving, critical thinking and collaboration. Its library media center features an HD video studio, floor-projection iPad system and 3D printer. A full-size telescope rounds out the astronomy dome on the roof. The tech-forward environment is perfect for budding intellectuals. And the Title I Distinguished School for High Achievement acknowledgement in both 2015 and 2016 doesn’t hurt.