Springside Chestnut Hill Academy
|Springside Chestnut Hill Academy|
500 West Willow Grove Avenue
|Type||Private, Day, College-prep|
|Head of school||Dr. Stephen Druggan|
|Grades||Pre-K through grade 12|
|Gender||Single sex from Pre-K through Grade 8, then coeducational in high school|
|Campus size||62 acres|
|Athletics conference||Inter-Academic League|
The school—also known as SCH Academy and SCH—has a unique educational model, stemming from its history as two independent, single-sex institutions. The Lower and Middle Schools, grades Pre-K to 8, continue to be single-sex and follow many of their traditions, such as May Day (girls) and Blue and Blue Day (boys), and the Upper School is coeducational.
SCH serves over 1,000 students from more than 100 zip codes, as well as from other countries. 35% of its students identify as people of color.
Springside Chestnut Hill Academy was formed by the 2010 merger between all-girls Springside School and all-boys Chestnut Hill Academy (CHA), private Pre-K–12 schools on adjacent campuses.
Founded in 1861, Chestnut Hill Academy was an all-male Pre-K-12 independent college preparatory school located in northwest Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. CHA was the oldest all-boys school in Greater Philadelphia.
Springside was founded in 1879 by Ms. Jane Bell and Ms. Walter Comegys as a French and English boarding school for young ladies and girls. The school was located on Norwood Avenue in Center City Philadelphia. Springside was initially a boarding school and attracted students from across the northeast, particularly in New England, where most boarding schools were only for boys.
The school will open its new McCausland Lower School & Commons in fall 2019. The learning experience will remain single-sex, with gender- and age-specific classrooms, while leveraging the benefits of shared common and cooperative space and access to outdoor learning areas. The building is perched on 10 acres of SCH woods adjacent to the Wissahickon Watershed.
Academics and Extracurricular Offerings
There are more than 100 electives available to Upper School students, including forensics, architectural design, global economics and multivariable calculus. There are also more than 40 student-led clubs, boards, and activities. SCH teachers have an average of 18 years of experience, and 73% of faculty hold advanced degrees.
According to SCH’s 2014-2018 college matriculation list, the University of Pennsylvania is the most popular school that students attend. In the Class of 2018, 85% of students were accepted into one of their top two college choices.
SCH’s athletic teams play in the Inter-Academic League (Inter-ac) which, since its inception in 1887, remains the nation's oldest interscholastic athletic conference.
Students can choose from 18 sports, 15 of them offering junior varsity and varsity levels. The school offers cross country, field hockey, football, golf, soccer, tennis, volleyball, tennis, crew, basketball, ice hockey, track and field, indoor track, squash, wrestling, life sports and fitness, baseball, lacrosse, and softball.
Sports facilities include nine playing fields, including two turf fields, the longest continuously used baseball diamond in the U.S., 10 squash courts, and an indoor rowing tank. In 2017-2018, SCH won three PAISAA state titles: boys and girls soccer and softball. SCH also won a SEPA championship for girls soccer and three Inter-AC championships for boys soccer, softball, and girls track and field in 2018.
In 2012, SCH Academy established the Sands Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership (CEL) to complement its core curriculum and to cultivate an entrepreneurial mindset. Philadelphia magazine named SCH one of 19 area schools rethinking education in big and small ways for its CEL program in 2018. The center is unique in the nation in that the entrepreneurial curriculum is built into student schedules from Pre-Kindergarten through grade 12.
In addition to its Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, SCH has robotics, global travel, new media, outdoor, and sustainability initiatives programs.
Since 2018, SCH’s high school robotics team has competed in 15 of the last 16 FIRST Robotics World Championships, finishing four times in the top 10 and winning the FIRST Chairman’s Award eight times.
SCH was also one of the first Philadelphia independent schools to offer classes in video production and design and fabrication. Students have won awards in the Greenfield Youth Film Festival, Cappies, Scholastic Art Awards, national DiscoverDesign Competition, Philadelphia Independence Awards, and the WHYY Youth Media Awards.
SCH prioritizes sustainability efforts, including its native arboreta, rain gardens, LEED Gold science and technology center, and rooftop solar panels. SCH was also recognized with a 3-Star Green Restaurant rating for its school cafeterias and a Green Flag Award from the National Wildlife Federation.