Back to School

Philadelphia has many schools to offer its residents, but navigating the school selection and enrollment process — along with supporting your child’s education — can feel overwhelming. Use the curated collection of resources below to choose a school, enroll, find out about options for students living with homelessness, get homework help, and more.

Steps to Enroll in a Philadelphia School

  1. Select a school.
  2. Gather registration documents.
  3. Register at the school.

1. Select a School

There are a few different types of schools in Philadelphia:

  • District schools — these public schools are assigned based on where you live. Use the School Finder tool to find out what your neighborhood schools are.
  • Charter schools — these are publicly funded schools that are operated independently and often offer specialty academic or extracurricular programs. The application deadline for most schools is in January of the year in which your student will start school. There are two types of charter schools in Philadelphia:
    • Renaissance Schools only enroll students in their neighborhood. The School Finder tool will indicate if there is a Renaissance School in your neighborhood.
    • Non-Renaissance Schools enroll students citywide, not dependent on where you live.
  • Citywide and special admissions schools — these are public schools in Philadelphia that have extra admissions requirements and are often more academically rigorous. There are two types:
    • Special admissions schools – admit based on academic criteria
    • Citywide schools – admit based on both criteria and a lottery

More School Selection Resources

The School Selection Process: Spanish and English videos from the School District of Philadelphia detailing how to select a school, submit an application, and navigate next steps.

School Profiles: Search for a school and find out school progress scores, attendance rates, 4-year graduation rates, and other statistics for every Philadelphia school.

2. Gather Registration Documents

Once you have selected a school, gather all the documents you will need to register your student.

Documents You Need: This page includes a video and a list detailing all the necessary documents:

  • Proof of your student’s age (e.g. birth certificate)
  • Two documents showing your address (e.g. lease, utility bills)
  • Immunization records
  • Parent/guardian photo ID (not mandatory)

3. Register at the School

Finally, once you have your registration documents, you’re ready to register.

Register at the School: This page includes a short video explaining how to register your student. Call ahead to make sure someone will be at the school and bring all your documents. This process will take about 30-45 minutes.

Print Registration Documents: If you want, you can print all registration forms and fill them out before bringing them to the school.

Back-to-School Resources

Philadelphia School District Parent and Family Portal: Access your student’s grades, attendance records, test results, and more, online. This page features video tutorials about how to register and use the portal and links you to the portal log-in page.

Office of Education for Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness: Students living in emergency housing or without an adequate home qualify for educational assistance, including education resources, transportation help, and uniform assistance. If you are a student experiencing homelessness, you can choose whether you want to remain in your school of origin or attend the school closest to your temporary home. Visit this page to learn more about your rights as a student experiencing homelessness or to contact this office to request assistance.

Uniform Information: Look up your Philadelphia school to see what uniform is required.

LEAP Afterschool Program: Did you know that the Free Library of Philadelphia offers daily, after-school homework help for students in grades K-12? This is a free, drop-in program. Visit this page to find the drop-in hours for library branches across the city. The Free Library also offers Homework Help Online, an online tutoring program.

Children’s Scholarship Fund Philadelphia: Want to opt for a private school? Try applying for a scholarship from the Children’s Scholarship Fund. Depending on your household income, the Scholarship Fund may cover up to 75% of your student’s tuition.

Get Your Child Organized for School: A resource for parents with advice on how to help your child stay organized and focused on schoolwork.

Back to School Pro Tips: Nine things a parent can do to start the school year off right and provide the best learning environment for their student.

Beating Homework Hassles: A 1-minute video on setting up homework routines to help you or your student stay on track with homework.