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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:
City leader, overall School Progress Report score, School District of Philadelphia, 2014-15; ranked the most diverse public high school in America, niche.com, 2016; Chairman's Award winner, Mid-Atlantic Robotics District Championship, 2014-15, 2015-16; Governor's Award for Excellence in Academics, 2013-14; only 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 Newsweek magazine and U.S. News & World Report for all years in program
Points of Pride:
Most recent graduating class earned more than $22 million in scholarships, prizes, and awards; most of professional staff holds master's degree or higher; world-renowned music department; Science Research Team participated in six national and local science fairs, earning 81 awards; more than 20 students recognized for their accomplishments and leadership in the visual and performing arts; full International Baccalaureate program; extensive extracurricular opportunities; International, Women's, Earth and Career Days
AP Courses:
Art History, Biology, Calculus AB, Calculus BC, Chemistry, Chinese Language & Culture, Design, Drawing, English Language & Composition, English Literature & Composition, Environmental Science, European History, French Language & Culture, Government & Politics, Human Geography, Italian Language & Culture, Latin: Vergil, Macroeconomics, Microeconomics, Music Theory, Physics B, Physics C, Psychology, Spanish Language & Culture, Statistics, 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
Measures for Positive, Safe Learning:
The school is committed to sustaining an environment free of harassment, bullying, and discrimination. It promotes a positive school culture that encourages interpersonal and intergroup respect among students and between students and staff.
Parent Involvement:
Home & School Association; School Advisory Council
Arts Activities and Classes:
Vocal music classes or ensemble; choir; instrumental music classes; jazz; orchestra; other instrumental classes; theater instruction; school plays; school musicals; visual arts instruction; drill team; film
Activities and Special Programs:
Extensive club program includes at least 80 different interests, and students can 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, Diving, Field Hockey, Football, Golf, Indoor Track & Field, Lacrosse, Soccer, Softball, Tennis, Track & Field, Volleyball, Wrestling
Girls Sports:
Basketball, Cheerleading, Diving, Golf, Indoor Track & Field, Lacrosse, Soccer, Tennis, Track & Field, Volleyball
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: 2,246
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: 1%
Special Education: 1%
Receiving free or reduced priced lunch: 59%
Waiting List? Yes, 85
Racial Demographics: African American – 27% Latino – 9% Asian – 35% White – 24% Other – 6%

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