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Table of Contents

Timeline for Choosing an Elementary/Middle School


BONUS! Want a printable version of this timeline? Download this timeline by clicking the file in the top right of this page.



Three Years Before Enrolling in Kindergarten (children ages 2–3)


Two Years Before Enrolling in Kindergarten 

  • Attend elementary school open houses to tour and gain information about the schools. These events are usually held in the spring. 

  • Speak with principals, teachers and current parents of the schools you are researching. Use our guide to school visits to help you.


The Year Before Enrolling in Kindergarten or Changing Schools


  • The district elementary school directory becomes available at the Office of Student Enrollment and Placement (215-400-4290 or philasd.org).



  • Most private school admission and financial aid applications are due during this period.

  • The deadline to submit the district Elementary/Middle School Selection Application for
    the 2014–2015 school year is January 17, 2014. You can get the application online at PhillySchoolApp.


  • Charter schools will have application deadlines during this period. Check PhillySchoolApp for individual deadlines for schools that use the Philadelphia Charter School Common Application.
  • Public charter schools with more applications than spots run lotteries for all applicants. District neighborhood schools run lotteries for transfer applicants.
  • Most private schools release admissions decisions.
  • District school notification letters are sent to students who have been accepted to one or more schools. Families with multiple acceptances have until the end of the month to reach a decision and notify their student’s school counselor or, if not currently enrolled in a district school, the Office of Student Enrollment and Placement.


  • Students on waiting lists for charter schools are notified as they are accepted.
  • After district schools receive decisions from students who have been accepted to one or more schools, letters are sent to all students indicating where they’ve been accepted, rejected or wait-listed.
  • Parents, counselors and principals can advocate on behalf of students originally wait-listed or rejected by district special-admission schools through phone calls and recommendation letters.


  • Registration opens for district public neighborhood schools. The following students need to register:

  • Philadelphia public school students who have moved to another city neighborhood over the summer

  • Children new to Philadelphia

  • Children transferring in from private, parochial and charter schools

  • Kindergarten students who were not preregistered in the spring


  • The district sends out additional letters as late as the last day of September notifying some students of final placements.