Frequently Asked Questions

Many answers to your questions can be found on the School District of Philadelphia's website, Penn Alexander School's website, and on the website for Office of Family and Community Engagement (FACE).  If you are unable to find your answers, see below for whom to contact.




  • Where can I find out about school closures and half days? SDP Academic Calendar
  • What is the dress code? Dress Code
  • What is my child's schedule? School Schedule
  • Is breakfast and lunch offered to all students for free? Yes. For breakfast, arrive no later than 8:20 AM.
  • What is the breakfast and lunch menu? Food Services
  • What should I do in case of bad weather? Inclement Weather
    • For arrival on inclement weather days, students who are eating breakfast should report to the lunchroom no earlier than 8 AM. Students who are not eating breakfast should report to the locations below at 8:25 AM. Mrs. Talbert will direct students to the correct location. Teachers will pick up their classes from these locations:
      - KGR: drop-off at lunchroom doors and staff will assist them to the gym.
      - 1-3GR: lunchroom
      - 4GR: hallway outside lunchroom
      - 5-8GR: atrium steps via main entrance door
    • For dismissal on inclement weather days, students will line up in the locations listed below. Mrs. Talbert will direct parents and students to the correct location. Students attending afterschool programs report to the atrium steps.
      - KGR: hallway outside lunchroom
      - 1-3GR: lunchroom
      - 4GR: hallway outside lunchroom
      - 5-8GR: main entrance fire tower stairs
  • Why is attendance really important? Attendance & Truancy
  • What specials are offered? PAS Specialists
  • Where can I find information about my child's Chromebook? Student Chromebooks
    • Students should bring in their Chromebooks everyday, unless told otherwise by the teacher.
  • What behavior is expected of my child? Student Code of Conduct
  • What school supplies does my child need? School Supply List
  • Where do I go if I need to pick up my child early? Head to the Main Entrance and buzz. No early dismissals are allowed after 2:45 PM.
  • How can I receive the ePony communication? Sign Up for an account.

Choosing Your School

  • Where can I find information about enrolling my future kindergartener? Kindergarten Enrollment
  • How can I find out if I live in the Penn Alexander School catchment? Catchment Zone
  • What if I have a question about enrollment or the waiting list? Call the office at 215-400-7760
  • Where can I find information about choosing a school outside of my catchment zone? School Selection
  • For whom is Penn Alexander School named? Read about Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander and The Penn Partnership


Safety Concerns

Health Concerns

Literary Resources

  • What literacy curriculum does my teacher use? Wit & Wisdom® helps your student meet the expectations of the new standards while celebrating the joy of reading and writing. 
  • Where can I find information on how to support my child at home? Wit & Wisdom
  • Where is the closest library? Free Library of Philadelphia
  • What are good book recommendations for my child? A Book a Day
  • Where can I access digital books? Get Epic!
  • What is the summer reading list? Summer Reading
  • What is a good resource for multicultural and social justice books? Social Justice Books

Mathematics resources

  • What is this “new math” that is being taught? Released in 2010, the research-based Common Core standards have shifted how math is taught and learned in schools. Read this article or watch this video or watch School-Based Teacher Leader for Math Ms. Umberger's 1/9/23 Math @ PAS presentation to learn more.

  • What math curriculum does my child’s teacher use? Illustrative Mathematics

  • Is the math curriculum set up to meet the needs of my child? EdReports has evaluated the Illustrative Math curriculum and found it fully meets the expectations for focus, coherence, rigor and mathematical practices. You can read the reports here: K-23-5, and 6-8.

  • What opportunities for math enrichment are available? We have various after school clubs related to math including UPenn Coding Club, Multiplication with Ms. Ashley, and MathCounts. Please reach out to Mrs. Talbert at for more information on after school clubs. Also check out Root2Success for free middle school math enrichment.


  • Do you have suggestions for local afterschool activities? Neighborhood Afterschool & Extracurricular Programs
  • Do you have suggestions for summer camp options? Great Philly School Camp List or Philadelphia School District
  • Are there any free or low-cost homework help or enrichment opportunities?
  • Does Penn Alexander offer student clubs? Penn Alexander offers student clubs sponsored by PAS teachers three times a year (Fall Cycle, Winter Cycle and Spring Cycle). The purpose of student clubs is to provide enriching activities to students in a small group setting. 
    • 10-16 clubs are offered each cycle for grades K-8. The number of clubs offered is dependent on teacher availability.
    • Clubs are limited to 15 students each in order to adhere to funding guidelines set by the federal government. A lottery is conducted.
    • Typically clubs are held once a week for 10 weeks.
    • Clubs run either 7:30am to 8:20am or 3:10-4:30pm.
    • Afterschool snack is provided.
    • Registration opens prior to each club cycle when teachers announce the clubs they can offer.
    • For more information about clubs, contact Assistant Principal Tiffany Talbert at

Community & School Resources

Penn Alexander Groups

What is the difference between Equity Circle vs. SAC vs. HSA? 

  • Equity Circle: for making sure PAS is inclusive and supportive to all families
  • School Advisory Council (SAC): for supporting school improvement and academic achievement
  • Home & School Association (HSA): for communicating, fundraising, and volunteering in order to support and celebrate the PAS community