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Germantown Academy is America's oldest nonsectarian day school, founded on December 6, 1759 (originally named the "Germantown Union School"). Germantown Academy is now a K-12 school in the Fort Washingtonmarker suburb of Philadelphiamarker, having moved from its original Germantownmarker campus in 1965. Additionally, the school shares the oldest continuous football rivalry with the William Penn Charter Schoolmarker, which celebrated its 120th anniversary in 2006. For the 2008-2009 school year 1,122 students are registered as matriculating (592 male students and 530 female students) with 250 faculty and staff employed by the institution. The Academy plans to undergo a complete reconstruction during the 2010-2011 school year, the year after its 250th anniversary.

Lower School

The Lower School consists of three main buildings: Leas Hall (constructed in 1960), McLean Hall (constructed in 1964), and the Abramson Lower School (constructed in 1999). Leas Hall comprises the Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten classrooms, while McLean Hall contains 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade classrooms. The Abramson Lower School has two 3rd grade classrooms, science rooms, and music classrooms.

The Lower School program strives for a school environment wherein children are respected as individuals, while also learning to be a part of a team. A progression of classroom expectations and curricular demands has been developed to address the varying needs of children who cover a broad span of ages and abilities.

While the basic skills of reading, writing, and arithmetic are the principle work in all of the classrooms, teaching in the Lower School requires that children are active learners. Opportunities for social interaction are of paramount importance in the classrooms. There are currently 376 students in the Lower School, and a student-to-teacher ratio of 14:1.

Middle School

The Alter Middle School was established in 1997. There are currently 261 students in the Middle School, and a student-to-teacher ratio of 8:1.

Upper School

The Upper School curriculum, according to the mission statement of the school, promotes curiosity, reasoning and questioning, imagination and aesthetics, understanding of others and oneself, clear communications, broad applications of knowledge, and satisfaction in learning. Students are required at minimum, five credits per year and at least four years of English, three years of Math, Science, History, two years of Language, and one year of Art. Classrooms are generally characterized by a significant degree of informality, and the school prides itself on the close relationship between the teachers and the students. There are currently 485 students in the Upper School. The student to teacher ratio is currently 8:1 in the Upper School.

Conduct in the upper school is governed by the Honor Code, a system where students agree to a set of rules, and where, in the case of an infraction, students are judged by an honor council consisting of teachers and peers.


Mission statement

"Germantown Academy, a coeducational college preparatory school, offers strong academic and extracurricular programs that enable students to acquire the knowledge, confidence and judgment needed to become good citizens and productive leaders in a global society. The school seeks students and teachers from all economic, ethnic, religious and national backgrounds who will challenge themselves and contribute to the life of the school. Germantown Academy is an academic community committed to the following:

  • Trust, responsibility and kindness;

  • High standards for effort, behavior and achievement;

  • Close working relationships among students, teachers and parents;

  • A curriculum that promotes curiosity, reasoning and questioning, imagination and aesthetics, understanding of others and oneself, clear communications, broad applications of knowledge, and satisfaction in learning;

  • Talented teachers who enjoy young people and model for them what it means to be a continuing learner and mature individual;

  • Encouragement for students’ emerging identities, learning styles, talents and interests;

  • Student leadership and service to others;

  • Respect for the environment;

  • Good sportsmanship, fitness and health:

  • Regular evaluation and adjustment of programs to fulfill the school’s mission."

Alma mater

Notable alumni

Further reading


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