Education is the way to lasting peace, and there can be no peace without justice. Lancaster Friends School was born out of a leading from Quaker Friends with a mission to create a school in Lancaster with social justice at its core. A small group formed and as our purpose gained attention, more community members became involved. Lancaster Friends School will open to students, kindergarten through 8th grade, in Fall 2021.
As a Quaker school, we also hold the belief that there is “that of God,'' or an inner light, in each of us. This serves as a foundation on which to build and support our mission. The Quaker testimonies (SPICES) are Simplicity, Peace, Integrity, Community, Equality/Equity, and Stewardship/Sustainability. Each year we will hold up one testimony for a theme for the year, but every day we will be guided by these values. You can learn more about Quakerism here and at lancasterpaquakers.org. To learn more about Quaker Education visit Friends Council on Education.
Lancaster Friends School has a relationship with Lancaster Monthly Meeting which provides spiritual guidance and clarity. The community affirmed their support through the approval of the following minute:
Lancaster Monthly Meeting affirms the leading of a group of its members to further Friends education by joining with local educators and community members who share this desire to seek to establish an independent Friends School, located in Lancaster county, and serving south-central Pennsylvania. This school may be called Lancaster Friends School (LFS).
We affirm the prospective mission of LFS, its commitment to social justice with a particular emphasis on antiracism, and its desire to be grounded in Quaker values and Quaker process. We welcome the addition of an organization dedicated to Quaker ideals in our community.
Lancaster Meeting will have no financial obligation for Lancaster Friends School. LFS, should it successfully form, shall be organized as a separate self-incorporated legal entity, with membership in Friends Council on Education (a national organization of Friends schools), and with its primary purpose to provide a Quaker education to school-age children.
Lancaster Meeting also recognizes that having a relationship with an established Friends meeting will be helpful to LFS and to its leadership as they seek to establish practices that are consistent with Quaker tradition and wisdom. We express our willingness to be a supportive partner and resource to LFS in creating and maintaining a strong and true Quaker orientation for the school. We recognize that having a Friends School in our community can enrich and strengthen our Meeting.
Our Vision & Philosophy
Lancaster Friends School will be a school with an inclusive and diverse student body and faculty led in spirit to seek truth through study and action. LFS will include 50% non-white or marginalized students and employees, reflecting the fulness of diversity of the wider Lancaster community. We will maintain a focus on social justice and antiracist education. We will have established supportive relationships with organizations within the Lancaster community, including the surrounding school districts. Students that leave our school to attend public or private schools will be prepared to succeed academically, socially, and emotionally, and lead in the pursuit of social justice.
How will we achieve this?
At Lancaster Friends School, we embrace a student-centered educational philosophy and we are guided by the Quaker testimonies as we support the social, emotional, physical, and intellectual development of each child. We embrace
Active Learning - We focus on children as individuals, providing a meaningful, engaging, vigorous and joyful learning experience in which students learn by doing, thinking and problem-solving. We encourage curiosity, initiative, independence and collaboration. Students realize the Quaker values through action both inside and outside the classroom.
Simplicity - We encourage simple living, with focus, intention, and creativity. We practice plain and truthful speaking and are mindful of the present moment. We hold a weekly Quaker Meeting for Worship, which is a time of reflection and truth seeking, in community.
Peace - Our program focuses on integrating social-emotional development, self and social awareness and empathy into our daily learning routines. We teach and practice anti-racism, collaborative skills, peaceful communication, and global peace initiatives so that our students are confident to challenge racism, hate, and bigotry. We celebrate peacemakers.
Integrity - Personal responsibility, self-advocacy and honesty are learned through modeling and practice. Teachers and students demonstrate integrity in their academic work and social relationships and these commitments are expressed in the school’s honor code, transparent approach to governance, and adherence to Quaker values and process at the board, classroom and school-community levels.
Community - Community is learned through service to others and respect for self, others and the environment. We have school-wide and student-led service projects through which students connect with the local and global community. We support public education and seek partnerships with organizations in our local communities, including school districts, colleges, universities.
Equity - The pursuit of equity is an active process, in which young and adults people can and should engage. Students learn about equity through developmentally-attuned instruction at each grade level, which honors racial, ethnic, cultural, gender, socioeconomic, ability and religious diversity within and beyond our school community. We actively seek diversity in our school community. We support equitable sharing of resources in our local community and educational systems.
Stewardship and Sustainability - Students learn to be stewards of their communities by playing an active role in preserving resources, tending relationships, maintaining the environment, and participating in community. We value the natural world and recognize our responsibility to learn from, care for, and protect it. We are also committed to being stewards of a diverse and complete narrative of history, which reinforces our values of equity and integrity.