What Is the History of Central High School in Philadelphia?


Quick Answer

Central High School in Philadelphia, PA was founded in 1838. At the time, it was only the second public high school in the United States. It initially had four teachers who instructed 63 students. As the school grew, it changed its location several times to accommodate the increased student population. As of 2015, the school has 110 teachers who instruct 2,300 students. It is located on the corner of Ogontz and Olney Avenues.

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Full Answer

Central's first graduating class was the Class of 1842 and was entirely male. Central remained an all-boys' school until August 1983, when federal Judge William Marutani ruled that the school's policy was unconstitutional. Central's first female students enrolled the following year.

Central High School is unique among secondary education institutes in that it may grant its graduates Bachelor of Arts degrees rather than ordinary high school diplomas. An Act of Assembly granted the school this authority in 1849. Students aspiring to obtain their Bachelor of Arts degrees must complete additional requirements.

As a result of this desirable program, Central is a magnet school. Due to a high number of prospective students, the school has instituted admissions requirements for incoming students. Central requires that incoming freshman have all As and Bs for their 7th grade year and score in the 85th percentile or above in both English and math on the city's standardized tests.

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