Understanding Accelerated Schools

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In Philadelphia, “accelerated” schools are for students up to age 21 who have not completed high school on a traditional path and want to earn a diploma in less than 3 years.

Accelerated schools only take students who are considered “at risk” of not graduating. They offer classes designed especially for students who have dropped out or fallen far behind, and they provide extra help, tutoring and career and other types of counseling.


There are 11 accelerated schools in the School District of Philadelphia. Students can earn credits toward their high school diploma or a GED. All are public schools, and there is no cost to attend. To learn more, visit the District’s Re-Engagement Center.

Philadelphia also offers a Gateway to College program with the Community College of Philadelphia (CCP). This program is open to students who have dropped out of school and wish to earn their high school diploma and college credit at the same time. Applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Must be between the ages of 16 and 21

  • Must have no more than 21 high school academic credits

  • Must have the ability to complete requirements for graduation before the age of 22

  • Must demonstrate reading ability at an eighth-grade level or higher

  • Must live in Philadelphia

  • Must have dropped out of a School District of Philadelphia school at least three months prior to enrolling

  • Must attend an orientation session at CCP and complete an application

YouthBuild Philadelphia Charter School serves as another option for Philadelphia students who want to return to school and earn their diploma. Applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Must be at least 18 years old, but not older than 20 on the first day of enrollment

  • Must be a resident of Philadelphia

  • Must have formally dropped out of public high school (transfer students and post-graduates are not eligible)

More Information

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