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Springside School

School rating 4.2 / 5 by

8000 Cherokee Street Philadelphia PA 19118 United States
Boarding
None to None
Day
PK to 12th
Gender
Girls only

Academic

Springside School review by .

Springside School is a private pre-K through 12 day school. Students are transitioned well between grade levels and divisions, and taught holistically in the lower grades. In retrospect, I believe that lower school is academically intense, though a child would never realize it--things are taught methodically so that the girl does not realize she is learning, but always goes home with a great amount of new knowledge. Middle school is basically an extended preparation for the upper grades. Students learn the basics of language study in "Prima Lingua" in 5th and 6th grade, and learn how to study and read critically in the combined history and English course, "Civilizations," know to students as "Civ." Honors math is available from sixth grade on, and by eighth grade honors history is an option. Middle school honors classes are serious preparation for all upper school courses--the workload is demanding and the reading materials are challenging. In upper school, most courses have between 13 and 20 students, depending on the department. Faculty members are extremely well qualified and will always let a student know if there is cause for concern. Part of Springside's academic philosophy is that classroom socialization needs to happen at the right time, and, in ninth grade, the first year of upper school, Springside's girls share art and music classrooms with Chestnut Hill Academy's boys. This is a great introduction to the coordinate program, as students are introduced to one another in a less stressful environment, and are able to see how members of the opposite sex think. In eleventh and twelfth grades, most classes are co-ed (with the exception of some math and science classes, and all physical education programs). CHA offers a great resource to Springside, as most of Springside's own teachers are female--exposure to smart, sensitive male teachers is a fantastic advantage for girls. The history and English departments at both schools are exceptional. History courses are both academically and emotionally challenging, and students should not expect to do well without careful reading and annotation of the texts every night or close attention and active class participation. The math and science departments are also strong, though more focused on developing students who care about facts and details than on students who can understand and explain concepts. The "physics first" program, which makes "Intro to Physics" mandatory for all freshmen, is admirable, but puts girls interested in taking the AP Physics course as seniors or becoming engineers at a great disadvantage, as the boys at CHA have a complete physics course during their junior year. The school is definitely not an "exam factory," instead striving to teach each girl how to learn and develop a life long love of learning. A Springside student can expect to spend at least three hours on course work every evening, and most need to use free periods during the school day to work in the library.

College Counseling

The college counseling staff at Springside is well-meaning but conflicted. The school has not decided....

Sample insights on college counseling

  • They have contacts at most of the major universities and feel perfectly comfortable picking up the phone and advocating for a student to get accepted somewhere they feel is a good fit for that student. However, these counselors are certainly not magic bullets. They cannot guarantee that a student will get into an Ivy League university...
  • For those wishing to move on to Oxford or Cambridge, the provision is second-to-none. In the months running up to application and interview, every subject faculty offers classes (often run by former Oxbridge tutors) exploring further areas of their subject as well as offering advice on personal statements, interview technique and more...

Admissions - Getting Accepted

Springside requires an IQ test and a basic behavioral report for each applicant for lower....

Sample insights on admissions

  • For the interview, dress conservatively. Try to be very clean and put together. Also, I was a tour guide for two years and at the end of every tour, we were asked to evaluate the candidate so if you think the tour is not apart of the process, you are very wrong. Ask questions and be interested. Also, tip for the parents: the kids speak on the tour. Do not ask their questions for them...
  • Most younger siblings have an easy time in the admissions process. I can only think of one case of a younger sibling not being admitted. About half of the students who entered with me had come from public schools. The remainder came from private K-6 schools, or had transferred from other New York private schools The Elizabeth Morrow School and St. Bernard were two of the larger feeder schools...

School Life

Springside students can expect a better-than-average quality of life. The school is culturally diverse and open, and Springside girls are free and safe to learn who they are during their school years. The cafeteria has a nice atmosphere and clean facilities, but the food leaves something to be desired. The salad bar is often a bit dried up and flavorless, and the daily meals offer few choices for vegetarians. The school's ban on most nut-related products to accommodate a few students with severe peanut allergies has permanently affected the quality of food Springside has to offer. Food is drastically overpriced and....

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