Class Acts

Top-notch academics? That’s pretty much a given at Philly’s private high schools. It’s special programs — inside and outside the classroom — that make a certain place stand out as the perfect choice for your child. From advanced science and technology offerings to international exchange and in-depth community service, here’s an honor roll of schools that excel in eight major areas

Exchange/International Programs

Country Day School of the Sacred Heart
Girls-only day, preK-12; tuition $14,400. 480 Bryn Mawr Avenue, Bryn Mawr, 610-527-3915,

Bryn Mawr’s Sacred Heart may be a close-knit community — there are fewer than 400 girls total in grades pre-K through 12 — but students have a national campus at their fingertips through an internal exchange program with 20 other Sacred Heart schools around the country. If your teen wants to study marine biology, off she goes for a six-week term on the beaches of Miami. If her heart is set on politicking, the D.C.-area program will put her front and center for all things political. While away, students live with host families or, if possible, relatives. Thanks to this national network of schools, Sacred Heart also offers a leadership conference in Texas, community service projects in Chicago, and, among many other coast-to-coast opportunities, the chance for citified gals to spend a week on a Sacred Heart farm in upstate New York. “This world really isn’t that big,” says Laurie Nowlan, director of admissions. “We’re closely connected. It’s very enriching.” — Jenna Bergen

Kimberton Waldorf School. Your travel-hungry 10th-grader can be swapped with a student from another Waldorf school around the globe — think Spain, France or New Zealand — for two to six months. A bonus: Almost all students return fluent. Co-ed day, pre-K-12; tuition $17,530. 410 West Seven Stars Road, Phoenixville, 610-933-3635,

The Hill School.
Through a partnership with School Year Abroad, students here have the opportunity to spend an entire year immersed in another country’s native tongue, whether it’s the romance languages of Europe or the Mandarin dialect in China. Co-ed day and boarding, grades 9-12; day tuition $29,000, boarding $42,000. 717 East High Street, Pottstown, 610-326-1000,

The Hun School of Princeton. Let your child reap the benefits of exchange without the long plane ride. Each year, the Arthur Rozas International Student Program brings about 40 students — a significant portion of Hun’s boarding population — to the school’s classrooms. Co-ed day and boarding, grades 6-12; day tuition $28,390, boarding $41,265. 176 Edgerstoune Road, Princeton, 609-921-7600,

Wilmington Friends School. Students at Friends, the other area partner of School Year Abroad, can live and study for a year in China, France, India, Italy or Spain. Co-ed day, preK-12; tuition $19,775. 101 School Road, Wilmington, 302-576-2900,