The A to Z of SPS

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Welcome to SPS!

From your first cup of coffee after drop-off in the Parlor, to the fall Parents’ Association Welcome Party, we hope you feel instantly embraced by our community.


City Curriculum & Community Engagement


The SPS City Curriculum seeks to expose our students to engaging and uniquely Philadelphia-specific experiences, and weave this in-the-field learning into our classroom work, thus enhancing our content by making it even more relatable and relevant to the real-world.

The Arts

SPS Students explore studio art techniques, learn to play instruments like guitars and handbells, and perform in school productions. Some of the annual events that highlight our robust arts curriculum include our LS and US Talent Shows, All-School Art Show in the Spring, Eighth Grade Play, and US Battle of the Bands. As a way to expand our students’ opportunity for Arts Appreciation, Fifth through Eighth Graders participate in a weekly Arts Block, in addition to their regular arts, music and theater curriculum. Each semester, students select an area of focus in the arts to explore and perform. Chorus, songwriting, visual arts, pottery, and other options are available for each student to choose.


Boat Building Project

The 6th Grade Boat Building Project begins in October, with a team from Philadelphia Waterborne guiding the students through the building process. The students are first introduced to simple machines and the tools they will be using for their project. The students will build two functional 12-feet long rowboats that will be launched at Bartram’s Garden in the spring.


An SPS tradition, Declamation is one of the primary experiences recalled by our alumni. LS and US students practice speaking publicly at monthly Declamations, which are open to all members of the SPS community. Students challenge themselves by selecting, memorizing, and declaiming prominent works of poetry and prose, and US students compete for the Most Mentioned Award.


Grandparents’ & Special Friends’ Day

On Grandparents’ and Special Friends’ Day, which is traditionally the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, Preschool through Eighth Grade students welcome favorite visitors to their classrooms for activities and quality time. Following these immersive classroom experiences, grandparents and special friends are treated to a musical performance by all students.


Enrollment & Financial Aid

Reenrollment, or continuous enrollment, takes place at SPS every January. Families planning to return to SPS the following school year need not sign or return a contract. On the third Friday in January, Smart Tuition bills families for a nonrefundable reenrollment deposit. This deposit is then applied toward tuition. (Families may also submit deposits by check or cash.) Families not planning to return to SPS must request an Official Withdrawal Form during the School’s opt-out period, which begins the first day of the current school year and ends the third Friday in January.



Holding Cultural Awareness as a foundational School Key, we recognize the value and importance of celebrating world cultures in the classroom. We introduce our students to French in Preschool and teach it all the way through Eighth Grade.


Every morning, our Head of School stands outside of the iconic red doors of our Schoolhouse, and greets students and their families along Lombard street. While this long standing tradition had always involved the shaking of hands, a new reality of social distancing to maintain a healthy community has changed this morning ritual for our School. Nonetheless, this daily greeting by our Head of School helps set the tone for our days and fosters a sense of connectedness in our community, while also helping to instill confidence in our younger students.

Handbells US students learn how to play this time-honored musical instrument, exploring pieces of music from traditional folk songs to pop and film score medleys. Performance opportunities include the Celebration of Light concert in December and the Graduation ceremony in June.


ISP/Curiosity Project

The Independent Study Project (ISP) provides students in Grades Five through Eight the opportunity to choose an area of interest and study that topic for a full school year. Every student plans their course of action, finds their own sources, collects and analyzes information, and presents what they have learned to our community in the Spring. While each student is paired with a teacher, this student-led, inquirybased learning program allows our Upper Schoolers to further develop research skills, learn how to take notes, plan and manage their time, learn how to work independently, and gain experience in how to organize and prepare a short presentation.



At St. Peter’s School, we recognize and honor the unique path each child sets forth on when they, and their family, join our community. Throughout this journey we strive to foster an early and lifelong love of learning, cultivate inclusivity and compassion, and instill honesty and respect for self and others.


Character Development; Academic Pursuit, Cultural Awareness, Self Knowledge, Arts Appreciation. Our School Keys are the foundational tenets that are at the core of how we educate our students and what our families should expect to experience while at St. Peter’s School.


Learning Support Team

The Director of Teaching and Learning and our Learning Support Teacher provide support for children demonstrating need in the areas of reading, writing, and mathematics. They push into the classroom and meet with students both one-to-one and in small groups. Extended learning opportunities are available to students seeking enrichment in varying subjects.

May Day

On the first Friday of every May, the School welcomes spring at our annual May Day celebration, an SPS tradition with Old English roots that features customary Morris, sword, and garland dancing by our US students and contemporary dances by ECD and LS students. At the center of this colorful celebration is a maypole, and following the conclusion of May Day, students are dismissed to picnic with their families on Wiggins Field.


News & Information Stay in the SPS loop by tuning into the following communications channels: SOCIAL MEDIA

Follow us on Instagram and Facebook for stories and snapshots of day-to-day life at SPS!


Visit for information about admissions and tuition assistance, to view our school calendar, and to read recent announcements. KIOSK

Check out our lobby kiosk for news, fun photos, and birthday wishes! FAMILY RESOURCE HANDBOOK

This booklet is produced and distributed each fall and contains the Family Directory, Faculty Directory, the School Year Calendar, and other important SPS policies, procedures and detailed information about the dress code. IMPORTANT DATES

Refer to the Important Dates list, available on the Calendar web page, for key dates, including Parent/Teacher Conferences, faculty professional development days, and school breaks. TEXT MESSAGE ALERTS

Sign up for text message alerts and receive the most up-to-date, urgent announcements regarding weather-related delays, early dismissals, and school closings. CLASS PARENT EMAILS

Look for communications from your child’s Class Parent(s) regarding opportunities to contribute and volunteer in your child’s classroom.


Oh, the Places You’ll Go! Secondary School Placement

At St. Peter’s School, we recognize the importance of selecting a secondary school that will best fit the needs of each of our graduates. Our Secondary School Placement Director works closely with Upper School students and their families to guide them through this critical process. The Placement Program begins with a Secondary School Information Night held each spring for current Sixth and Seventh Grade families and is attended by representatives from independent day and boarding schools who are on hand to share about their respective schools.



Play (Recess & Sports)

Many educational studies underscore the important role of play in the developmental life of children, supporting the value of free and unstructured play in the lives of students. SPS curriculum is designed to allow for students in Preschool through Fourth Grades to enjoy two periods of outdoor recess daily, and Upper Schoolers one recess per day, as well as significant opportunities for “Choice” or “Free” play by the younger students in the Early Childhood Division. Additionally, the School’s athletic program offers competitive and non-competitive options, introducing students to a variety of sports while placing an emphasis on developing skills and sportsmanship.

Questioning in the Classroom Our SPS teachers focus on the types of questions we ask our students in order to enhance their learning. One question can assist o ur teachers in differentiating instruction which leads to greater engagement and a deeper level of understanding.


The SPS after school program is more than just an afterthought to the school day. We REACH a little higher! After a long day of learning in the classroom, we honor the richness of childhood with structured play and recreation. In addition to exercising their bodies, their education is supplemented by enrichment classes, which challenges their minds, promotes cultural awareness, and sparks their creativity and appreciation of the arts. While safety is our top priority, we think after-school care means more than just providing protection. We care for the whole child by continuing their character development after they leave the classroom. Ever mindful of their academic pursuits, we make sure they always have a space for study and homework help.

Recording Studio The SPS Recording Studio is equipped with the industry standard Pro Tools software, condenser microphones, and a MIDI keyboard. The studio is used by students in our Recording Studio Club, and for a variety of projects, such as the Eighth Grade’s National History Day research project, in which many of them record audio for their own documentaries.


Teacher Connections Keep in touch with your child’s teacher and abreast of your child’s progress throughout the school year with these teacher touchpoints:


All faculty have unique SPS emails in the following format: John Doe – BACK TO SCHOOL NIGHTS

Held every September, Back to School Nights allow families of students in ECD, LS, and US to meet their child’s teacher(s), ask questions, and learn about curriculum, classroom routines and expectations, field trips, and special events PARENT/TEACHER CONFERENCES


SEL & DEI Social, Emotional Learning; Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Daily best practices and our commitment to carrying out the School’s Mission and Community Code are supplemented with a schoolwide Social Emotional Learning (SEL) program to practice skills for social awareness, develop interpersonal intelligence, and learn responsible decisionmaking, led by the School’s full-time counselor and LPC, who also implements the School’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) efforts. These include discussions and activities around monthly themes like Respect and Inclusion, participation in a regional Diversity Day for our older students, and ongoing conversations in the classroom around adversities and injustices in a developmentally appropriate way.

Held every October and March, Parent/Teacher Conferences allow families and faculty to sit together and reflect on the school year. In addition to these designated conference days, SPS teachers are available to meet with families as requested. REPORTS

Faculty across all divisions write reports about students’ progress that are mailed home at the end of each trimester. ACADEMIC CHECK INS (ACI)

US faculty communicate with US famlies regarding student progress every four weeks. STEP UP MEETINGS

Held every Spring, Step Up Meetings allow families to gather and hear from their child’s future teacher(s) about what to anticipate the following school year.



Children in Preschool and Prekindergarten do not wear uniforms. They should instead wear practical, washable clothing that may get dirty. Uniforms for students in Kindergarten through Eighth Grade may be purchased from Lands’ End, Flynn & O’Hara, or any store carrying the School’s uniform options. Fall/Spring Uniforms are worn from the first day of school through October 31 and from April 1 through the last day of school. Winter Uniforms are worn November 1 through March 31. The SPS Family Handbook further outlines the School’s dress code and is updated annually to reflect the most recent changes.


Volunteers and the Parents’ Association

Our many celebrated traditions, special events, and fundraisers would not be possible without the considerable help of our parent volunteers. Throughout the school year, numerous opportunities arise for family members to give their time, energy, and expertise to SPS, including Harvest Festival, Holiday Sale, and Scholastic Book Fair, Teacher Appreciation Program, and our Spring Auction. Held off campus, the annual Spring Auction presents families with a wonderful opportunity to come together and enjoy an evening of food, drink, and conversation, all while generously supporting the School. Families can choose to participate in the Live Auction, Silent Auction, and Paddle Raise, purchase tickets from the 100 for 100 Raffle, and donate items for bidding! The Spring Auction would not be possible without the extensive efforts of our Auction Chairs and Committee.


Winter Mural

The Winter Mural is an opportunity for all students and faculty to contribute artisitcally to one single community project, expertly assembled by the Eighth Grade class, that helps celebrate the season and festively decorates our main parlor space on the hallway leading to our ECD, as we approach the holiday break in December.

Wiggins Field The Sally Wiggins Field, the green space and playground adjacent to our Schoolhouse, bordered by Lombard and 4th Streets, is the backdrop for so many wonderful moments of play, laughter and joy in the lives of our students. Accessed either directly through the ECD or through a secured gate along Lombard street, Wiggins Field, named for the late Sally Wiggins in 2013 to commemorate a gift from her husband, Dwight Wiggins GP’19, is the site for twice daily recess for our ECD and LS students, once daily recess for US students, al fresco lunches in the warmer months, the Parent’s Association Welcome Party each September, the fall Color War festivities and a wonderful resource for our after school REACH program and Summer Camp.


Why Does Your Gift Matter? SPS depends on the generosity of its many constituents to meet annual budget goals, and thus provides families with numerous yearly giving opportunities through the following programs:


The Annual Fund provides immediate and flexible funding to support important initiatives such as enhancing academic, athletic, and leadership programs. Tuition and endowment revenue alone does not provide the funds necessary to cover the costs associated with supporting these opportunities for advancement. EITC/OSTC

The Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) is a great option for giving to SPS and receiving a tax credit for your business simultaneously. Instead of giving corporate tax dollars to Pennsylvania, companies can make a majority of their tax payment in the form of a contribution to a qualified scholarship organization, like SPS. OSTC is EITC’s sister program and operates by earmarking funds for low-income students applying to SPS from failing schools. Businesses can apply for both programs simultaneously, and the benefits for the School are substantial. FUNDRAISERS

The Spring Auction, Holiday Sale, and Scholastic Book Fair represent fantastic opportunities for families to give to SPS through their attendance, support, and contributions.


XC Team

Who says a school in the city can’t have a Cross Country team? Students who are interested in participating in the sport can run and compete during the fall months, using the Society Hill cityscape as a training ground. Practices take place in locations from Washington Square Park to the Delaware River, and the XC team races against other Independent Schools in our area.


Zen & Mindfulness

As part of the broader Social Emotional Learning curriculum, our students are exposed to techniques to help achieve states of Zen and Mindfulness, including “Zones of Regulation” to teach impulse control and calming strategies and yoga classes for our ECD students. In the Upper School, students meet in Advisory groups and engage in more student-driven and teacher-guided SEL conversations, and participate in meditation exercises.


To honor the richness of childhood, foster mastery of academic principles, and educate students to be generous and committed citizens of their communities and the world.


Be kind, compassionate, and inclusive. Be respectful of and honest with yourself, your work, and others. Be your best self.

Preschool (Age 3) through Eighth Grade 319 Lombard Street, Philadelphia, PA 19147 | 215.925.3963 |

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