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Announcing Our Model 21st Century Schools and Open School Selection – The School District of Philadelphia

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Dear Parents and Families of the School District of Philadelphia,

As we approach the first month of the 2022-23 academic year, I am writing to share two updates aligned with our commitment to providing full and rewarding academic experiences for students at everything schools.

Model of 21st century schools

The school district is excited to launch a new 21st Century Schools model at three neighborhood high schools for the 2023-24 school year, with the goal of expanding the model to additional neighborhood high schools in future years. ! The 21st Century Schools model pairs neighborhood high schools with Philadelphia businesses and nonprofits to help prepare students for success in high-demand industries after graduation:

  • Bartram: Transportation and logistics industry programming, including auto mechanics, supply management, and warehousing.
  • Overbrook: Entertainment industry programming, including digital design, film, television and music production, and entertainment management.
  • west philadelphia: Urban development industry programming, including real estate, information technology, entrepreneurship, and arts and cultural studies.

After choosing an industry-based career path, students at these schools will be immersed in an integrated, career-focused curriculum, receive side-by-side classroom instruction and on-the-job experience, earn applicable certifications from industry and more. They will also have increased access to internships each year and employment opportunities upon successful completion of the program.

Over the coming months, we will provide regular updates on the implementation of the 21st Century Schools model. In the meantime, learn more about our work preparing students for college and careers HERE.

School selection

As a reminder, the school selection process for the 2023-24 school year opens tomorrow, Friday, September 16, at 4:00 p.m. and will end on Friday, November 4, at 11:50 p.m. The school selection process allows students currently in pre-K through 11 to apply to attend any school with available space outside of their neighborhood or catchment area for next school year.

Be sure to visit to learn more about the school selection process, including school-based admissions criteria, and to access resources such as the high school directory or the next high school fair.

Over the coming weeks and months, I will share with you my thoughts and ideas on how together we can make the Philadelphia School District the fastest improving urban school district in the nation to achieve good outcomes for all students. I look forward to our collaborative efforts in the future.


Dr Tony Watlington