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Fall Guide 2013 Vol. 21 No. 2 Focus on Looking Ahead to High School

Choosing a high school: New twists in the process

Photo: Harvey Finkle

Student protests like this one in June have decried the elimination of most District counseling jobs.

By by Dale Mezzacappa

Under the best of conditions, applying to high school in Philadelphia can be a trying exercise.

In this extraordinary year, the process will have new wrinkles, in large part because of unprecedented budget cuts and staffing shortages. There are some changed procedures and requirements, and several gaps caused by the funding crisis:

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Choosing a high school: Frequently asked questions

By by Dale Mezzacappa


I am excited about going to high school. How do I get started? 

Talk to the adults in your life, including teachers, counselors, and parents or guardians. Read this guide and the District’s high school directory, which this year is available only online. Students can use these directories to develop a list of schools that align with their interests and future goals. Seventh and 8th graders should attend the high school fair scheduled for Nov. 16 in the Armory at Drexel University.

Students can obtain an application on the District’s website or at their current school. This year, the District is asking all 8th-grade students, even those who intend to go to their neighborhood high school, to participate in the high school selection process. Applications will be accepted from Oct. 7 until the deadline of 5 p.m. on Dec. 6. 

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Finding a different track to graduation

By by Monika Zaleska

Ann Ceron-Hernandez has dreams of going to college to study to become a nurse. But without a high school diploma, she knows those dreams could be derailed. 

So last February, the 21-year-old mother of three, who had dropped out of Bok Technical High School in the 9th grade after having her first child, decided that she would go back.  

Like many dropouts, she wasn’t sure what to do, so she asked a former teacher and a neighborhood church group about how to return to school. They told her that she could re-enter through the District’s alternative education system. 

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Immigrants confront extra challenges in enrollment

By by Sonia Giebel

In January 2013, Aron and Mussie Tesfay had just arrived in Philadelphia from a refugee camp in Uganda. They needed to find a school. Neither they nor their parents had any idea what to do.

The 17-year-old twin brothers arrived in a city where the help available to settle them in school is scattershot, and where the cultural and linguistic barriers are hard to navigate. This is especially true for older students who need to find a high school.

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