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

Community Service

Academy of the New Church
Co-ed day and boarding, grades 9-12; day tuition $11,348, boarding tuition $16,256. 2815 Huntingdon Pike, Bryn Athyn, 267-502-4200,

An attitude of charity and service is encouraged but not required at this Swedenborgian school, yet students have made Delta Mu, a club dedicated to community service, the most popular on campus. With opportunities ranging from volunteering at Interim House (a residential rehab for women and children) to a Thanksgiving collection for Hope Prison Ministries to spending a work weekend at a Salvation Army camp in the Poconos, there’s virtually no limit to the ways students can begin to make service a part of their daily lives. — Jordan Hickey

La Salle College High School. La Salle students take part in the nationally recognized Community TechServe Program, which helps bridge the digital divide by bringing together families, schools and organizations in need of help with technologically savvy volunteers. Boys-only day, grades 9-12; tuition $14,600. 8605 Cheltenham Avenue, Wyndmoor, 215-233-2911,

Malvern Preparatory School. Through Malvern’s mandatory Christian Service Program, seniors can spend two weeks in the American South — or South Africa — working on community service projects. Boys-only day, grades 6-12; tuition $23,550. 418 South Warren Avenue, Malvern, 484-595-1100,

Moorestown Friends School. Moorestown students engage in service learning projects in locales from Mexico to Tanzania, providing immediate help while also studying root causes and potential solutions. Co-ed day, preK-12; tuition $20,250. 110 East Main Street, Moorestown, 856-235-2900,

Nazareth Academy High School.
Students at Nazareth log a staggering 15,000-plus hours of community service annually, and homerooms compete in a yearly four-week Bread Basketball food drive that nets more than eight tons of staples for the needy. Girls-only day, grades 9-12; tuition $9,000. 4001 Grant Avenue, 215-637-7676,

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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