Germantown: Nonprofit Serves Special Needs Students

Students laughed during hands on excercise.
A teacher helped a student with an educational exercise.

Green Tree School, located at 146 W. Walnut Lane in Germantown, offers educational and therapeutic curriculum for students that are faced with various disorders and disabilities. Each year, Green Tree is able to provide a tuition-free education, focused on helping students aged 3 to 21 become active members in their communities. Public Relations and Development Associate Jessica Yan said that the school’s services are tuition free because 85 percent of the students live on or below the poverty line in Philadelphia.

As a nonprofit, private institution, the school serves 250 students per academic year. “Since the twelve years I have been here, the school has progressed and significantly serves the population,” Executive Director Herman Axelrod said.

Green Tree educators specialize in programs that cater to each student’s particular needs. The Individualized Education Program (IEP) is used by the Pennsylvania Department of Education to determine educational goals for students with special needs. “The children are already in mainstream society because they go home. What Green Tree is trying to do is place them into mainstream education through the IEP program,” Axelrod said.

Students laughed during a hands-on exercise.

Today, the school operates through four different buildings. General offices are in the administration building, middle-school-equivalent classes are held in the Lower School, the psychiatric clinic is located in the annex and high-school-equivalent classes are held in the upper school.

Now in its 55th year of service, Green Tree School is set to build a new facility which will house every office and classroom together, in the same building. Getting the initiative to build the new school in Germantown passed was one of  Axelrod’s most memorable experiences, he said.


  1. Marchelle & Tiffany,

    Congratulations on this well-written article. It was a pleasure communicating with you both, and Green Tree is grateful that you took an interest. As I said to you in our conversations, the work that is done here is vital, and we appreciate the opportunity to share our story with your community.

    One small correction: The fact that 85% of our student population live at our below the poverty line is not the reason that we are tuition free. However, it is important that there is no tuition cost since many of our students come from low-income households. The reason we are tuition free is because we are an Approved Private School. For more information, please visit:

    Thanks again to you both!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.