The FeedEditionsJobsDonateJune Event
Philly Education News + Views Independent. Reader-Supported.
Philly Education News + Views
Independent. Reader-Supported
Special Admission

Central High School

Mission Statement:
To prepare each student for the rigors of higher education. Building upon the school’s diversity, we aim to prepare students to contribute and thrive in a heterogeneous world. We will enable students to develop problem-solving skills, a lifelong passion for learning, and aspirations to be thoughtful leaders of their generation.
Accredidations and Awards:
Governor’s Award for Excellence in Academics, 2012-13; only National Blue Ribbon high school in Pennsylvania, U.S. Department of Education, 2011; Title I School of Excellence, Pennsylvania Department of Education; Inspiration Award, College Board; honored for excellence by Philadelphia magazine and Redbook; recognition by Newsweek and U.S. News & World Report for all years in program
Points of Pride:
Student diversity; accomplishments of students, including most recent graduating class generating $21 million in scholarships; full International Baccalaureate program; full partnership with alumni – Barnwell Library construction; extensive extracurricular opportunities; excellent staff and involved/supportive parents; special days: International, Women’s, Earth, and Career
AP Courses:
Art History, Biology, Calculus AB, Chemistry, Chinese Language & Culture, Computer Science A, English Language & Composition, English Literature & Composition, Environmental Science, European History, French Language & Culture, Government & Politics, Human Geography, Italian Language & Culture, Latin, Macroeconomics, Microeconomics, Music Theory, Physics B, Physics C, Psychology, Spanish Language, Statistics, Design, Drawing, U.S. History, World History
Other Special Academic Offerings:
Victorian Literature, Creative Writing, TV Production, Asian Studies, New American Studies, Constitutional Law, Materials Science, Genetics, Pharmacology, Organic Chemistry
Foreign Languages:
Chinese, French, Italian, Latin, Spanish
Parent Involvement:
Home & School Association; School Advisory Council; chaperones for trips; committee participants; assisting in special events such as International Day, participation in the Freshman Tea
Arts Activities and Classes:
Vocal music classes or ensemble; choir; instrumental music classes; jazz band; orchestra; theater instruction; visual arts instruction; choir; drill team; school play or musical(s); film
Activities and Special Programs:
Extensive club program includes at least 80 different interests, which allows students to pursue activities before and after school; extensive music and art program (traveling to many different countries, winning multiple awards); science research program; creative writing opportunities, including yearbook, newspaper, Mirror and Mosaic literary magazines; student-run broadcast network; video; drama; debate; mock trial; departmental and student-supervised tutoring options; class and schoolwide governmental activities
Boys Sports:
Baseball, Basketball, Bowling, Cross Country, Field Hockey, Football, Golf, Indoor Track & Field, Lacrosse, Soccer, Softball, Swimming & Diving, Tennis, Track & Field, Volleyball, Wrestling, Intramurals*
Girls Sports:
Basketball, Golf, Lacrosse, Indoor Track & Field, Soccer, Swimming & Diving, Tennis, Volleyball, Track & Field, Cheerleading*, Intramurals*
Septa Routes:
6, 8, 16, 18, 22, 26, 55, L, Broad Street subway
Contact Information
1700 W. Olney Ave., 19141
Timothy J. McKenna, President
Enrollment and Demographics
Type of School: Special Admission
2014-2015 Enrollment: 2,338
Grades Served: 9-12
Admission Reqs: As and Bs, with the possible exception of one C, in major subjects on most recent final report card; 88th percentile or above on standardized tests; excellent attendance and punctuality; no negative disciplinary reports; writing sample required
ELLS: 2%
Special Education: 1%
Receiving free or reduced priced lunch: 59%
Waiting List? Yes, 85
Racial Demographics: African American – 30% Latino – 9% Asian – 33% White – 24% Other – 5%

Become a member

Support local journalism

Watch our video interviews with students talking about their journeys to the U.S.

Click here