Getting into Masterman

For many parents, getting a child into Masterman is a dream. The high school is considered among the best in the country and, because it's a public school, it's free.

Admission is largely based on test scores, and to get into the high school, children generally need to get into Masterman's 5th grade first. Last year, only a handful of Masterman’s 110 9th grade seats went to students who were not already enrolled in the middle-school program, according to this article by Benjamin Herold in The Philadelphia Public School Notebook.

Even if your child gets into 5th grade, admission to the high school is far from guaranteed.

So how do you get your child into Masterman? It helps to go to Meredith Elementary, Penn Alexander or Independence Charter School, the Notebook says. Those names are no surprises, one reason it's virtually impossible to get into them if you don't live within the boundaries for those schools or nab a lottery spot at Independence.

But who would have expected to find Solis-Cohen Elementary on the list? Maybe that's well-known, but I, at least, had never heard of that school, which sent 15 children to Masterman from 2009 through 2011. You can find the list of the 12 elementaries most likely to send graduates to Masterman in the Notebook article.

Of course, teasing out cause and effect is impossible in a situation like this. Are the schools that The Notebook identified as "Masterman feeder schools" really better, or do they tend to have more children from upper-income families, a big factor in predicting test scores?