Julia R. Masterman School

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Julia R. Masterman School
Type Special Admission
Motto "Dare to be excellent"
Principal Jessica Brown
Grades 5-12
Enrollment Approx. 1200 (800 Middle School, 400 High School)
Campus type Urban (One building)
Color(s)                Blue and white. Alternate: Orange.
Newspaper Middle School: MasterNews. High School: Voices.
As Philadelphia High School for Girls
Masterman School Philly.JPG
Julia R. Masterman School is located in Philadelphia
Julia R. Masterman School
Julia R. Masterman School is located in Pennsylvania
Julia R. Masterman School
Julia R. Masterman School is located in USA
Julia R. Masterman School
Location Seventeenth and Spring Garden Sts., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Coordinates 39°57′49″N 75°09′57″W / 39.9635°N 75.1657°W / 39.9635; -75.1657Coordinates: 39°57′49″N 75°09′57″W / 39.9635°N 75.1657°W / 39.9635; -75.1657
Built 1848
Architect Irwin T. Catharine
Architectural style Classical Revival
MPS Philadelphia Public Schools TR
NRHP Reference # 86003302[1]
Added to NRHP December 4, 1986

The Julia Reynolds Masterman Laboratory and Demonstration School is a middle and secondary school located in Philadelphia. It is a magnet school, located in the Spring Garden neighborhood. Prior to 1958 the school building was used by the Philadelphia High School for Girls and the building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places under that name in 1986.[2]

Masterman is ranked first in the School District of Philadelphia and in the state of Pennsylvania.[3] It is considered one of the best college-preparatory public schools in the country. The school has twice been named a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence.[4][5] U.S. News & World Report ranked it as the top public school in Pennsylvania since 1996, and 46th in the nation in 2016.[6] The acceptance rate for the middle school is approximately 7%. Acceptance for the high school is approximately 3%, making it one of the most difficult schools to get into in the country.[7]


The Julia R. Masterman Laboratory and Demonstration School was established in September 1958 as an academic magnet school for elementary school students in grades 4, 5 and 6. A junior high school program was initiated in 1959, and a senior high school was added in 1976. In 1990 Masterman was re-organized as a middle school (grades 5-8) and a high school (grades 9-12). Masterman is located in the former Philadelphia High School for Girls building.

Students are admitted from all areas of Philadelphia based on academic performance, and staff members are selected based on professional expertise. The mission of the school is the pursuit of excellence in both teaching and learning. The high school is a preparatory school for select students of superior ability.

The school was named for Julia Reynolds Masterman. Mrs. Masterman was instrumental in establishing the Philadelphia Home and School Council and served as its first president. The Masterman family still participates in school events and contributes awards at commencement.

In 2007, Masterman was a filming location for the 2008 M. Night Shyamalan film The Happening starring Mark Wahlberg.[8] The film shows interior shots of a science lab on the fourth floor, the auditorium, and the main corridor of the first floor hallway, along with various other shots of the school.

In 2010, President Barack Obama chose Masterman as the site of his second annual back-to-school speech, which was broadcast nationally. There, he spoke about how the core of America's future is represented by the students of this generation.[9]

In 2014 Jessica Brown, a Masterman alumna who had previously worked as a principal intern there, became the school principal.[10]

Dress code[edit]

The current dress code states that students must wear clothing which is appropriate, acceptable and not offensive in any way.[citation needed] Jeans are allowed, but cannot be ripped in inappropriate places. Flip-flops, crop-tops, and tank tops are not allowed.[11]

Beginning in 2001 the School District of Philadelphia required all schools to enact school uniforms or strict dress codes. To comply with the district-wide policy, the administration of Masterman banned shirts with logos and emblems.[12]

Recent sports championships[edit]

  • Girls Volleyball Philadelphia Public League Champions (8) 2007-13, 2015
  • Boys Cross Country Philadelphia Public League City Champions (8) 2007-14
  • Boys Cross Country PIAA District 12 A Champions (6) 2006, 2008, 2010-3
  • Boys Volleyball Philadelphia Public League Champions (5) 1995, 2002-3, 2005-6
  • Boys Soccer PIAA District 12 A Champions (3) 2010-2
  • Girls Cross Country PIAA District 12 A Champions (2) 2008, 2010
  • Girls Tennis Philadelphia Public League Champions (2) 2013-4
  • Boys Cross Country Runner-Up PIAA A State Champions (1) 2013
  • Girls Cross Country Philadelphia Public League Champions (1) 2013
  • Boys Tennis Philadelphia Public League Champions (1) 2006
  • Girls Swimming Philadelphia Public League Champions (1) 2016

Notable alumni[edit]

Masterman Hymn[edit]

We pledge our hearts to honor and loyalty
Hold high the unfurled colors blue and white
Cherish the ideals of excellence and dignity
Keep our standards high, our traditions true and bright.

Masterman's name be praised.
Standards and honors raised.
We'll ever faithful be,
throughout eternity.
Knowledge will light our way
Through every coming day.
Thy name be ever praised—Masterman School.
Thy name be ever praised—Masterman School.

External links[edit]


  1. ^ National Park Service (2007-01-23). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  2. ^ B. Mintz, Pennsylvania Historic Resources Survey: Richardson L. Wright School. Harrisburg: Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, July 1986. Accessed 2010-09-30. To access this file type "public" as your ID and "public" as your password.
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ http://www2.ed.gov/programs/nclbbrs/list-1982.pdf
  5. ^ http://www2.ed.gov/programs/nclbbrs/list-2003.pdf
  6. ^ http://www.usnews.com/education/best-high-schools/pennsylvania/rankings
  7. ^ http://www.mastermanschool.org/pages/Masterman_Julia/General_Information/Applying_to_Masterman
  8. ^ IMDb Locations http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0949731/locations
  9. ^ Graham, Kristen A. (September 14, 2010). "President Obama to welcome U.S. students back to school with speech at Masterman in Philadelphia". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved September 14, 2010. 
  10. ^ Medina, Regina. "Masterman's new principal feeling right at home" (Archive). Philadelphia Daily News. September 23, 2014. Retrieved on November 29, 2015.
  11. ^ School Uniform Requirements
  12. ^ Giordano, Rita. "Shift to mandatory dress policy fairly seamless in Phila. schools Students are nattily attired. Parents are just tired." (Archive). Philadelphia Inquirer. September 7, 2001. Retrieved on November 28, 2015.
  13. ^ Leila Josefowicz - The Official Website
  14. ^ http://www.philly.com/philly/entertainment/20151227_Leslie_Odom_Jr___Being_Burr_in__Hamilton__like_falling_in_love.html