Germantown Academy in Fort Washington has distinguished itself by being "first" in several areas - formerly single sex school in the area to embrace co-education, develop a culture of community service, establish curricular technology, develop a state-of-the art counseling program, create innovative curricular options like the Academy Scholars Program, install the “House System” in the Upper School, and step forward as an educational leader by founding the Community Partnership School.
GA will also be the first in Whitemarsh Township to construct a LEED-certified building. In May 2008, The Board of Trustees announced the approval of a multi-phase Campus Master Plan (Click here to view the Campus Master Plan), which would further take advantage of the expansive campus and the Wissahickon Creek and develop a state-of-the-art learning environment. At the same time the design maintains many of the classic elements of the stone architecture, to include the Administration building with its iconic belfry which is a replica of the original school house and serves as a symbol of the school’s origins in Germantown.
This plan is driven primarily, of course, by our need to provide more space for our growing program and to upgrade aging facilities. But, it is also driven by GA’s culture of innovation. Transforming necessity into opportunity has been one of our leadership traits since the move from Germantown."
James W. Connor 1760, Head of School
The Abramson Lower School, which consists of Leas Hall and McLean Hall, houses classes for grades Pre-K - 5th. Classes in the Lower School range from 12 to 18 students, and full-time assistant teachers are employed in every classroom from grades Pre-K - 3rd, while 4th and 5th Grades share assistant teacher support. In addition to academics, students take part in music, art, gym, and Spanish. All classes support experiential learning; the philosophy that hands-on teaching promotes the greatest understanding. All Lower School students use computers extensively, and all classrooms now have Smart Boards; interactive “blackboards” where students and teachers “write” using a computer stylus.
The Alter Middle School will house students in grades 6 - 8. The average class size is 15 to promote class participation. In addition to small class size, each student becomes part of an advisory where teachers provide thoughtful support. Children in Middle School begin to think abstractly, to reason, argue, and make connections. All departments develop their courses to match the maturity of the students.
Many Upper School faculty emphasize student discussion by utilizing Harkness tables - large round tables - to stimulate class talks and debates. Students truly come into their own and discover what they love and in what areas they excel. Courses in literature, science, language, mathematics, photography, and sculpture, theater, film production, and writing are just some of the opportunities afforded to Upper School students. More than 15 AP courses are offered every year.
Germantown Academy offers more than academics. Interscholastic athletics is a major part of GA student life. Patriots' teams consistently bring home titles in the Inter-Ac and PA Independent School Leagues. Sports are offered at various levels on a sport by sport basis. Some sports only have a varsity level while others may offer three teams in the Upper School and several teams in the Middle School. This is determined by the program, space available, staff available, and student interest.
The award-winning Arts program at GA is introduced to the youngest students in Pre-K. The 520-seat professional theater hosts such events as musicals by the award-winning Belfry Club like Thoroughly Modern Millie, a 70-member performance by the Singing Patriots international-touring choir, and student and community concert programs. The theater is located in the Arts Center which also houses beautiful daylight studios for sculpture, photography, digital media, and more.