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School Districts

Are you a parent, looking to move to suburban Philadelphia? Well, I have good news and bad news. The good news is that we have some of the best schools in the country. The bad news is… PA has 500 school districts so choosing a school district can be overwhelming. Moreover?? Many of our towns feed to multiple school districts, which makes online searching difficult at best. It can be a daunting task to figure out which district will best serve your family’s needs, SO! I’m gonna help you dig into it today.

It’s important to understand that your Realtor can’t tell you which school district is “best”. Our Code of Ethics requires that we remain neutral in describing school districts because every family’s needs are different and it’s entirely subjective. We can point you to rankings and websites where you will want to do some research on your own to determine which school district is the right fit for your family. You MIGHT assume that the highest home prices or the highest taxes equate to the best schools but that’s not universally the case. Some of our high-ranking schools are located in Townships with comparatively low prices and tax rates. Conversely, some Townships with higher taxes have lower-ranking schools, sooooo, just don’t use taxes or home prices as your only measure.

When you set out to do your research, you’ll come across many websites devoted to school district rankings, such as, school digger,, the Wall Street Journal, USAToday, Forbes, and the list goes on. Oh… and the federal government has its database of blue ribbon schools. Personally, my two favorites are School Digger and, if you’re looking for some sites where you can get started. These sites are chock full of data as well as reviews from consumers, so check those out. And no, this video is not sponsored.

Just Keep in mind that all of the sites use different criteria and different weighting of that criteria to create their rankings so you will find varying degrees of agreement between these sites, as far as how the schools in our area rank.

That said, the Main Line school districts I’m talking about today, all consistently rank highly on all of these sites.

However, The MOST. IMPORTANT.THING. for you to understand is that in our area, finding a house in your preferred district is complicated. Why?? Because many of our towns cross school district boundaries. Wayne feeds to three school districts, Bryn Mawr feeds to three districts, Ardmore feeds to two districts, etcetera. So you may fall in love with a house in Bryn Mawr and assume that it is in Lower Merion school district, only to discover that it is in fact in the Haverford School District or the Radnor School District. That’s because Bryn Mawr feeds to three different school districts. MANY, no, MOST of our towns feed to multiple school districts, and the price of housing and the taxes can vary from one district to the next. For example, three different houses in Bryn Mawr that are roughly the same size but each one is in a different Township will have a difference in taxes and pricing between them. The major real estate websites are not always transparent or correct with their school district information. It’s certainly fine to start your search there, but you’re going to want to consult with a local realtor (umm, HI!) to make sure you don’t waste your time looking at homes that aren’t in your preferred district.

The Main Line communities are the suburbs closest to Philadelphia. And, while these towns are serviced by 7 school districts, the majority of the Main line is covered by just four school districts, and those are the ones I will discuss today.

The first is Tredyffrin-Easttown School District. This district is comprised of two townships, Tredyffrin and Easttown, hence the clever name, but we refer to it as “TE”. It consists of Devon, Paoli, Berwyn, Malvern, Chesterbrook, and one corner of Valley Forge. This District serves over 7,000 students in five elementary schools, two middle schools, and one high school, Conestoga High School. TE consistently ranks in the top 10 on the school ranking websites and several of the schools have been issued Blue Ribbon awards by the Federal Government. In 2022, School Digger ranked it number 1 in the state, while ranked it number 2 in the state and #27 in the country. Four of the 5 elementary schools rank in the Top 25 in the state, both of the middle schools rank in the top 10, and the high school ranks at number 2. So, it’s hard to go wrong in this district. 97% of students continue to post-secondary education and the Student-teacher ratio is 17:1. Of the four districts we’re discussing today, that’s the highest student-teacher ratio. Thus far, the District has always managed to support the expanding population, and they just completed a 40 million dollar expansion of Conestoga High School, but they are getting to the point where they’re going to have to create more space for the ever-growing popularity of their lower schools as well.

The next one is the School District Haverford Township. This District includes Havertown and parts of Ardmore, Haverford, Bryn Mawr, Drexel Hill, and Wynnewood. This District serves 6,600 students in five elementary schools, one middle school, and one high school, Haverford High School, not to be confused with The Haverford School, which is a prestigious local private school. ranks Haverford Township District #19 in the Greater Philadelphia Area and USA Today ranks it number 23 in the state. Now, I often hear locals looking down on this school district, because it hasn’t recently ranked in the Top 10. But we’re spoiled; we have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to schools. With the other school districts ranking in the Top 10, and Haverford ranking at “only” Number 23, some could be tempted to overlook this District….but you have to keep in mind that the ranking is out of 500 school districts! And, this district can offer some more affordable housing options, while still having a Top 25-ranking, so I’m just sayin, don’t sleep on this one, don’t be quick to discard it. The Haverford Township School District’s stated mission is “to create a caring and supportive community of lifelong learners.” 94% go to post-secondary school and the student-teacher ratio is 15:1.


Do you notice that the student-teacher ratio is getting better as we go?!? Wait ‘til you see the next one! Alright, so last but not least is Lower Merion Township School District.

Lower Merion School District is the largest of the four districts we’re talking about today, serving 8,700 students in Lower Merion Township and the Borough of Narberth. It includes Bala Cynwyd, Gladwyne, Narberth, Merion Station, and portions of Ardmore, Bryn Mawr, Haverford, Wynnewood, and Villanova. The township supports six elementary schools, three middle schools, one of which just opened in 2022, and two high schools. The district also consistently ranks in the Top 10 in the state on any of the school ranking websites. ranks Lower Merion as number 4 in the state and #42 in the country. School Digger ranks the elementary and middle schools in the Top 30 in the state. Lower Merion is the only Main Line area school with two high schools, Lower Merion High and Harriton High. Lower Merion High has the distinction of a slightly (and I do mean slightly, they are neck and neck) higher ranking on the school websites. Harriton is unique in that it offers an International Baccalaureate degree, fewer students, and a slightly lower student/teacher ratio. Harriton placed among the top 10 at the Science Olympiad National Tournament for 21 consecutive years, winning three national championships and 16 consecutive state championships in that timeframe. Attendance at either Harriton or Lower Merion depends on where you live, except for a small area where you get to have your choice of either one. And actually, anyone can attend Harriton, you just might not have bus service to get there, depending on where you live. If you’ve got questions about this, reach out to me and I’ll help you sort it out. The District’s mission statement is… “Committed to excellence and continuous improvements, the Lower Merion School district strives to ensure that all students achieve their highest level of critical thinking and creativity, that they value themselves and the diversity of others, and that they are knowledgeable, contributing citizens capable of excelling in a rapidly changing world.” LMSD is one of only two districts in Pennsylvania to earn Moody’s highest triple AAA bond rating, the other one is West Chester, and this is a reflection of outstanding fiscal strength and stewardship. 94% of graduates in this District go on to postsecondary education and the student-teacher ratio in this district is …are you ready……drum roll please…11:1! That’s the lowest of all of these, despite the district’s comparatively large size, and probably explains, at least in part, its continued popularity and success.

These Four Main Line School Districts have had a monopoly on the Top Spots in Southeastern Pennsylvania for years and years. But some neighboring Districts also rank highly, namely the Wallingford Swarthmore District, the Unionville Chadds Ford District, Great Valley District, Downingtown School District, and the Upper Dublin District. These are a little further away from Philadelphia but certainly worth looking into if you’re moving to our area. Suburban Philadelphia also has a wealth of great private schools, but that’s a topic for another article.

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