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

Athletics

Malvern Preparatory School
Boys-only day, grades 6-12; tuition $23,550. 418 South Warren Avenue, Malvern, 484-595-1100, malvernprep.org

The Malvern Prep Friars make it look almost too easy. With 95 percent student participation in athletics, the Friars won league championships in baseball, golf, cross country, football, swimming, lacrosse and track this past school year, tallying a record 61 points in interleague play and garnering the Inter-Academic League’s all-sport Heyward Cup for the second year in a row. To help the school’s young superstars reach their potential, a certified specialist oversees their workouts at an 8,000-square-foot strength and conditioning center. The school even houses indoor rowing tanks, where last year’s undefeated varsity quad trained before taking first place at nationals. Malvern Prep, however, doesn’t deserve a jock-school image, says communications director Jim Mack — athletics here serve to “balance an excellent academic tradition.” — B.S.

The Baldwin School. This fall, Baldwin is boosting its already impressive commitment to girls’ athletics: Its brand-new sports facility comes complete with squash courts and a state-of-the-art fitness center. Girls-only day, preK-12; tuition $24,775. 701 West Montgomery Avenue, Bryn Mawr, 610-525-2700, baldwinschool.org.

The Episcopal Academy. Fulfilling the “body” part of its “mind, body, and spirit” credo, Episcopal unveils extensive new athletic facilities this fall as part of its move to Newtown Square. Co-ed day, preK-12; tuition $25,400. 1785 Bishop White Drive, Newtown Square, 484-424-1400, episcopal-academy.org.

Germantown Academy. The baseball squad defeated nationally ranked Malvern Prep 9-3 to win the state title last year, and the school enjoys an annual all-sports showdown with William Penn Charter on GA/PC Day — or is that PC/GA Day? Co-ed day, preK-12; tuition $24,280. 340 Morris Road, Fort Washington, 215-646-3300, germantownacademy.net.

William Penn Charter School. They may attend the world’s oldest Quaker school, but Penn Charter’s athletes have plenty of fight in them; the football program trained this year’s highest-drafted quarterback, Matt Ryan, before he hit the big time. Co-ed day, K-12; tuition $23,220. 3000 West School House Lane, 215-844-3460, penncharter.com.

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  • Debbie

    Mount St. Joseph Academy in Flourtown has been a top performing school for 150 years, how did you over look them on this list? They produce typically 9 National Merit finalist each year and have a tremendous community outreach program as well as athletic state champs in many sports programs. I feel that the intern who wrote this article perhaps didn't have quite enough education himself to report the facts correctly! Next time leave it to a seasoned professional to do the reporting of major articles that impact the community.

  • Jen

    The tuition at these schools, save Girard, is more than my college tuition was, and I finished my Bachelor's degree in 2007 (from a public college in NJ). My family could never have afforded to send me to these schools. The one school they could have afforded, Girard, would nat have accepted me because I have two parents, still married. Are kids from stable two parent families with modest incomes going to loose their edge in life because they don't have mountains of either cash or emotional hardship?

  • Michael

    I found the article "Class Acts" edited by Timothy Hass full of bias and elitism. As a former teacher in both public and private institutions, I would like to know why Mr. Haas advertised only the outstanding academic departments of private schools and ignored public schools. It is interesting to note that no mention was made of the relatively few elite students private school educate as opposed to the number of students in the fifty top public schools. Why was the measurement criteria "Bang for the Buck" only reserved for comparing public institutions? My guess is that after one pays private school tuitions of between $26.000.00 to $39,000.00 per year, you need to find a place to live that squeezes every cent out of the public school taxes so they remain low as possible. The follow up article by Tom McGrath makes some excellent points about how we need to prepare young people for the world of the 21st century. Mr. McGrath concludes his article stating that Bill Gates' "educational

  • Kathleen

    Philadelphia Magazine has consistently ignored Mount Saint Joseph Academy, despite the fact that it outperforms many of the other schools listed. The fact that Philadelphia Magazine bases it's private school ratings on "buzz" rather than objective criteria seriously decreases it's credibility in my eyes.

  • chris

    I love this school its a little pricey but its worth it