Your child’s age is your first indicator of his or her eligibility for beginning school. Philadelphia’s compulsory school age is 6. This early age requirement does not apply if you plan to conduct a home education program for your child and file a notice of this with the superintendent of your local school district.see more >
Proof of home address (for example, a rental agreement or tax statement)
Paying some fees is a part of public education, though it is primarily a free education. Students are expected to supply their own basic school supplies such as paper, pencils, and notebooks. Each district has a list of approved expenditures for students. Fee waiver forms can be requested from the school if there is a situation that prevents a family from being able to pay for required materials or events.
Some typical items on that list include:
Student parking passes (high school)
Late or lost library books
Special class-required fees (e.g., science lab fees)
Public Charter Schools
What are Charter Schools?
Charter Schools are tuition-free public schools operated by independent, non-profit governing bodies.
Parents, teachers, and community leaders sign a “charter” or contract with a school district or state agency to create a charter school and give students more educational options than their assigned school. Charter schools have flexibility over classroom hours, curriculum, and employment policies, but are subject to periodic reviews based on student performance. In Pennsylvania, public charter school students are measured against the same academic standards as students in other public schools. Local boards of education monitor the academic and financial performance of charter schools, and, can revoke or refuse to renew a school’s charter.
Most charter schools do not have attendance zones. If you are interested in applying for your child, you must apply directly to the school. The application and selection process can be quite complicated. Make sure to contact the school early to determine the correct next steps to applying.
Virtual Public Schools
In Pennsylvania, children attend school online in virtual classrooms with state certified teachers. Some virtual programs are open to in-district students only, while others have enrollment open to students across the state.
Here is a list to the Cyber Charter Schools available in PA.
Private schools charge tuition, and many have a religious mission. Some private schools offer families assistance to make tuition payments. Click below for the complete list of over 300 private schools across the state.
The mission of The Children’s Scholarship Fund of Pennsylvania is to ensure a quality education is available to all children in Pennsylvania. Since 1998, The Children’s Scholarship Fund has raised over 13.7 million dollars and has awarded over 12.4 million dollars. Over 95% of contribution dollars received have been awarded as scholarships for families in our region. The Children’s Scholarship Fund awarded 716 scholarships in 2016/2017 school year to 539 families attending 31 schools in 15 Pennsylvania counties.
AAA Scholarship Foundation works with schools in each of our scholarship states to make Academic Achievement Accessible. We can not do that without excellent schools for families to choose from.
Each state has individual guidelines determined by the laws of that state and the accountability guidelines of the AAA Scholarship Foundation. Please choose your state to view details on school participation.
The Philadelphia BAEO K-5 Scholarship Program provides Philadelphia’s low-income public-school students with an opportunity to attend a private school. It also benefits students from low-income families what are already in private schools. This scholarship program is unique in that it requires students to maintain high academic standards and parents to be active participants in their child’s education. Awards are presented based on family income, parent involvement and student achievement. Priority is given to families who are members of BAEO, who have an annual income of less than $30,000 and whose children currently attend public schools.
For more information and for a listing of other scholarship opportunities call 215-851-1795 or visit their web site.
The Children’s Jubilee Fund exists to provide K-12 educational scholarships for low-income urban children to attend Christian Schools. Our fund directly impacts K-12 students in our member school network Philadelphia, Norristown, Camden and Chester-Upland. Schools in the Delaware Valley who meet the standards adopted by the Board apply for and are received into membership. Scholarship funds are disbursed to Member Schools who select the recipients of the scholarships and administer the funds, according to the policies of the Board.
We are a non-profit scholarship organization that receives scholarship donations in order to help Pennsylvania parents send their children to the school of their choice. We operate under the State of Pennsylvania’s Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) Law. We also participate in the new Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit (OSTC) program.
In order to apply…
Families must be residents of the State of Pennsylvania.
Families with one dependent child must make no more than $72,000 a year with an increase of $12,000 allowed for each additional dependent child.
Students in Pre-K must be enrolled in an EITC Eligible Pennsylvania private Pre-Kindergarten Program.
Students in grades K-12 must be enrolled in a Pennsylvania private school.
Since September 2003, the Foundation has committed millions in scholarship money statewide. Working with committed, forward thinking companies, the Bravo Foundation has created solid public-private partnerships throughout the state to improve education for children. The EITC program is the truest example of a public-private partnership. It gives parents a choice — and children a chance.
Bridge Educational Foundation is an independent non-profit organization that provides scholarship opportunities to Pennsylvania’s low-income families. We partner families and schools with businesses and philanthropic leaders to provide scholarships that allow children to attend the school that best meets their educational needs.
Pennsylvania – Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit Program
Pennsylvania’s Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit Program, enacted and launched in 2012, offers corporations tax credits for their donations to Opportunity Scholarship Organizations (OSOs) that provide private school scholarships. Students who meet the zoning and income requirements can receive those tax-credit scholarships. Learn more about the program, including funding, eligibility and rules, on this page.
Pennsylvania – Educational Improvement Tax Credit Program
The Pennsylvania legislature enacted and launched the Educational Improvement Tax Credit Program in 2001. The program offers corporations tax credits for donating to organizations that provide low- and middle-income families private school and prekindergarten scholarships, as well as organizations that support innovative public school programs. Learn more about this program’s funding, eligibility and regulations on this page.
For more information on policy change or to get involved in the school choice movement in Pennsylvania visit EdChoice.
Private Virtual Schools
George Washington University Online High Schoolis an online college preparatory academy for motivated students who are willing to be challenged to become the best students and persons they can be. Combining award-winning curriculum with small class sizes and intensive college counseling, students receive a flexible, individualized education attuned to their own needs and goals.
International Academy is a K12, Inc accredited, online private school for grades K–12. Students earn a U.S. high school diploma while using award-winning K¹² curriculum
They offer extensive, individualized academic and counseling support keep students on track. The flexibility allows students to explore their passions. Full-time and part-time options are available.
International Connections Academyis a fully-accredited, online, college preparatory private school serving K–12 students worldwide. The program combines a top-rated curriculum with talented teachers, cutting-edge technology, the flexibility to learn at home, and direct family involvement to ensure each student realizes his or her full potential.
The Keystone Schooloffers flexible education programs for high school and middle school students. Whether your student wants to study full-time or just needs individual classes, they offer more than 170 courses from credit recovery to world languages and AP. Students can enroll at any time.
In Pennsylvania, you have several legal options under which you may choose to operate your homeschool program. Follow the steps listed below the option you wish to use:
Homeschooling under the homeschool statute:
Ensure that you have the required qualifications to teach.
File a notarized affidavit.
The name of the parent/supervisor, name and age of child, address, and telephone number
Assurance that subjects are taught in English
Outline of proposed education objectives by subject area
Evidence of immunization
Evidence of health and medical services required by law
Certification that the home education program will comply with 24 P.S. § 13-1327.1
A certification that the supervisor, all adults living within the home, and persons having legal custody of the children have not been convicted of certain criminal offenses within the past five years.
Provide the required days/hours of instruction and teach the required subjects.
180 days or 900 hours at the elementary school level and 180 days or 990 hours at the secondary level.
Maintain a portfolio, including required testing.
Have your child evaluated by a qualified evaluator and submit the evaluator’s certification to the superintendent by June 30.
Homeschooling with a private tutor:
Utilize a private tutor with the required qualifications.
The tutor must file a copy of his or her certification.
Enrolling your child in a satellite of a religious day school:
You may teach your children at home if your home is an extension or satellite of a religious day school. To qualify as a day school, the school must do the following:
Provide the required days, hours, and subjects listed above.
See “Option 1: Homeschooling under the homeschool statute,” item #3, above.
File an affidavit of compliance with the law.
Report the names and residences of all enrolled children.
Enrolling your child in a satellite of an accredited day or boarding school:
You may teach your children at home if they are enrolled in an extension or satellite of a day or boarding school that is accredited by an accrediting association approved by the State Board of Education.
Here is what to do if you have a student who has been identified under the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) as needing special education services (not including those identified as gifted and/or talented):You must have your home education program approved by a state-certified special education teacher or a licensed clinical or certified school psychologist. The written approval must be submitted with your notarized affidavit.
Note: The Pennsylvania Department of Education has taken the position that if you terminate your child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP), the requirement for approval of your child’s home education program no longer applies, and the school district will not provide services.