At a Glance


At a Glance

Principal: Joanne Beaver

Phone: 215-400-8230
Fax: 215-400-8231

Student Enrollment: 628

2136 W. Ritner Street
Philadelphia, PA 19145

SEPTA Routes:
7, 37, G, C, Broad St. Subway

Mission & Approach to Learning

The Girard Academic Music Program (GAMP) is a college preparatory school that provides a unique educational environment focusing on college and career readiness while allowing all students in grades 5 through 12 to pursue music as a major subject. As a community that strives for academic and musical excellence, we are committed to the continued development of an educational environment in which all students succeed. Reflecting on our own collective knowledge and research on the best instructional practices, we will provide an educational environment that will be cooperative, interactive, rigorous in standards, and responsive to the diverse needs of learners.

What We Offer

Courses & Program Highlights

  • Advanced Placement Courses: Statistics, Literature, Language and Composition, Biology, History, Environmental Science, Music Theory, US History
  • Honors Courses: Algebra, American History, English, and Chemistry.
  • Elective Courses: Literature, Science, Technology, Social Sciences, Communications and all aspects of the school’s extensive music curriculum, including piano lab, music technology, music business, and modern music composition.

Extracurricular Activities

  • Music/Performance:
    • All City Choir, Band, Orchestra
    • Jazz Band
    • Marching Band/Color Guard
    • Musical Theatre production
    • Stage Crew
    • Tech crew
  • Special Interest:
    • Creative Writing Club
    • Environmental Awareness Club
    • Mock Trial
    • Poetry Out Loud
    • WHYY Film Club
    • Yearbook

Sports Teams

  • Baseball—Boys
  • Basketball—Boys
  • Cheerleading—Co-ed
  • Cross Country—Co-ed
  • Softball—Girls
  • Tennis—Co-ed


  • The Philly Pops
  • Academy of Vocal Arts Collaborative Initiatives
  • Allegro Music Consultants
  • Pennsylvania Ballet
  • The Philadelphia Orchestra

Approach to Learning

GAMP will:

  • Involve parents, advocates for children, and concerned educators in the community in the decisions affecting the education of their children.
  • Promise a culturally supportive, developmentally appropriate curriculum with adults who hold high expectations for all children.
  • Provide integrated, heterogeneous, constructivist classrooms responsive to different learning styles and the multiple intelligences of children.
  • Develop a wide range of supportive services that address individual student needs. Children are entitled to equal educational opportunities supported by the promise of greater resources to schools serving students that are needy.
  • Influence the pursuit and use of best instructional practices by encouraging professional growth for all members of the school family.
  • Mobilize our resources so that children will attend a school that is safe, attractive, and free of prejudice.

The Alma Mater

O GAMP, so ever dear! Our thoughts are pledged to thee.
On memories’ walls, thou shalt be ever near, no matter where we be.
If fate ordain that we ne’er meet again, this truth we hold be strong:
Our youthful love for GAMP but shall remain as time goes on!

Though years may pass us by, and dreams of now may fade,
Our music will remain with us forever, and the friends we’ve made.
So let our choruses and orchestras resound this fervent song:
Our youthful love for GAMP but shall remain as time goes on!

(Written by Dr. Jack Carr, 1981)

Points of Pride

  • 2021 National Blue Ribbon School
  • The small school climate provides rich academic, musical, and social experiences for all students.
  • Featured choir at the Inauguration ceremonies of Mayor Jim Kenney at the Academy of Music (2016) and The Met (2020)
  • Performance alongside Broadway actress Idina Menzel at the National Museum of American Jewish History (2018)
  • Winner:
    • Grammy Signature School Enterprise Award (2015)
    • Philadelphia Top Schools – Philadelphia Magazine (Fall 2011)
    • National Title I Award for the State of PA from among all 501 school districts (Feb. 2009–2010)
    • High School City-Wide, National Academic League (Apr. 2009)
    • City Wide High School Cheerleading Competition (Spring 2012 and 2023)

Our History

The Girard Academic Music Program was founded in 1974, by former administrator and music educator Dr. Jack Carr, as an alternative program within the Stephen Girard School at 18th and Snyder Avenue.  The program began with one 4th grade and one 5th grade class of approximately 55 students, 2 academic teachers, 1 teacher’s aide, and 1 music teacher/coordinator.  They were the pioneers who initiated the academic and musical success of our school.

From 1974 to 1976, GAMP occupied the Trinity Church Parish House at 18th and Wolf Streets. GAMP then moved to The Armory, which is owned by St. Rita’s church and located at Broad and Wharton Streets from 1976 to 1979. Since 1979, GAMP has used the Edgar Allen Poe School building, which celebrated its centennial anniversary in 2014, located at 22nd and Ritner streets. In 2009, a state of the art theater, gymnasium, and cafeteria were added to the Edgar Allen Poe building.

As one of the first Small Learning Communities, GAMP has grown to its present size to a staff of 35 and over 600 students in grades 5 through 12.  The unique school organization has ALL students as “music majors” providing the framework for the development of a strong academic and musical program.  With a 98 – 100% college acceptance rate among each senior class and scholarships valued at over 1 to 2 million dollars yearly, GAMP continues to grow in stature within the City of Philadelphia.

GAMP logoThe Logo 

The GAMP logo is significant because of the juxtaposition of the treble and bass clefs. The joining of these two clefs symbolizes the coming together of many races, creeds, and cultures to create an aesthetic academic environment through the universal language of music.

Our Philosophy

The philosophy upon which the school was founded in 1974 can best be expressed in the following quotation:

We cannot tolerate another generation
that knows so much about destroying human life,
yet so little about enhancing it.

We cannot permit our children to come into their maturity
as masters of the atom and the gene,
yet ignorant of the ways of the human heart and mind.

We are stardust; we are golden.
We’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden!

Admission Criteria

  • Grades: As and Bs with one C
  • Attendance: 90%
  • Standardized Test: 50th Percentile in ELA and
    50th Percentile in Math
  • Additional Requirements:
    • Audition – Students that meet the academic criteria are invited to an audition for an examination of skills. ALL APPLICANTS will audition for vocal music, since all students participate in our school’s choirs. Those students who have taken lessons for at least one year on band or orchestra instruments, as well as piano, harp, guitar, or drum set may complete an instrumental audition as well. Please note that playing an instrument does not increase the chances for acceptance.