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explore our CAMPUS

What's cool about our campus is that it's spread out over seven acres in Philadelphia's historic neighborhood of Germantown. The buildings are an eclectic mix of old and new, a unique look and feel more consistent with a college campus. With three gyms, three auditoriums, a student center, numerous open, green spaces and nine classroom buildings, it's a place worthy of adoration and exploration. The Meetinghouse, at the center of it all, provides a beautiful and spiritual focal point.

1. Main Building 2. Meetinghouse 3. Sharpless 4. Hargroves 5. Wade Science Center 6. Alumni Building 7. Admissions 8. Living Graveyard 9. Dead Graveyard 10. Loeb Performing Arts Center 11. Smith Gym 12. Cary Building 13. Friends Free Library 14. Field House 15. Scattergood Gym

we have deep roots in this place

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The Pillars of A

Quaker Education

At GFS, students and teachers gather in Meeting for Worship once each week. This is a time for shared, silent contemplation. Anyone who feels moved to speak may rise and do so. It is a simple formula, and can be a remarkably powerful experience.In these days of constant connectivity, the ability and opportunity to sit in silence have special value. Meeting for Worship is a cornerstone of the GFS culture that many come to cherish throughout their lives.

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speak the truth

We strive to deal fairly, equally and honestly with everyone. We aim to do as we say, reflecting our beliefs in our actions. even when it is inconvenient or challenging, we stand by our convictions, striving to lead lives of integrity.

Shine Together

We are all blessed with remarkable gifts. We are equally qualified to seek truth and to hear the voice of God. Every person deserves equal respect. For these reasons, we work against prejudice and discrimination and for equality.

stay connected

"Alone we can do little; together we can do so much."* We know there is strength in cooperation and wisdom to be found when many perspectives come together. We believe in the power of community.*
The words of Helen Keller.

keep it simple

In every way we can, we try to minimize the distractions that can draw our attention from the important things in life. This means not becoming overwhelmed by the busyness of daily routine. It means seeking balance. It means embracing simplicity.

care for all

This planet we inhabit, the talents we've been given, the community of which we are a part- all hold remarkable value. We must be responsible, imaginative and proactive in protecting these gifts and caring for the world and people around us. We must exercise good stewardship.

promote peace

We believe each life is precious and unique. We stand against war and violence and work to eliminate their root causes, including ignorance, racism, hatred and oppression. We are committed to creating peace.

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Five Questions for Dr. Zarah Adams, Director of Community Engagement

Five Questions for Dr. Zarah Adams, Director of Community Engagement

Get to know our new faculty and staff—and our employees who have stepped into new roles this year! The first interview in our Q&A series is with Zarah Adams, who recently became Director of Community Engagement. 

Get to know our new faculty and staff—and our employees who have stepped into new roles this year! The first interview in our Q&A series is with Zarah Adams, who recently became Director of Community Engagement. 

Zarah has been a part of the GFS community for seven years and has long been a leader of community engagement efforts, making the classroom community, family, and the local neighborhood a central focus in her first grade Social Studies curricula. She was first drawn to GFS because of her connection to the Quaker tenets of integrity, equality, and community. In her new role, she strives to bring these tenets to the forefront of her work. 

Zarah holds a Bachelor of Arts from Pennsylvania State University, a Master of Arts in Education from LaSalle University, and a Doctor of Education degree from Arcadia University. Her dissertation focused on the impact of affinity groups for students of color who attend predominantly white schools. Zarah is an advocate for students and families through her deep commitment to educational equity and her work with both public and independent schools throughout the Germantown community will advance important educational partnerships.

Where does your passion for education come from?

I think, from the beginning. I have always believed in giving everything my best and I love the excitement that comes through learning, especially when you put your best effort into it. As an educator, I believe my students deserve that from me. I always say that with every class, this is their one and only opportunity to be a first grader. I want to make sure that their experience is memorable.

What does equity in education mean to you?

I believe now is the time—more than ever—to see, explore, and understand that everybody has gifts and talents to share. I have been having conversations with our community partners over the past month, and we've been talking about how we can listen to the needs of the community. It's important for the community to understand what we can offer, and that we understand what the community needs and how they can help us as well. So, it's a back and forth relationship. I think we all need to see that everyone has gifts and talents to share, even if those gifts and talents look different from one another.

How have you integrated this idea of community into your curricula?

In first grade social studies, we begin with 'identity,' understanding who we are as individuals. This helps to build classroom community. One project that I love is our 'inside, outside story.' I explain that we all have biases and we all make assumptions about people when we meet them by the way they look, the way they style their hair, the clothes they're wearing, or the title of their jobs. Then, if we're lucky, we take time to get to know who those people are on the inside. Then, we move into a family unit and talk about individual families and different family structures. 

I think both lessons prepare us to talk about community, not just our school community, but our neighborhoods. We discuss different types of communities: suburban, urban, and rural. Then, we focus on our urban community, which is Germantown. So many of our students live in different parts of the city and we focus on what's similar or different in Germantown to the neighborhood that they are living in. This is also a great opportunity to take weekly field trips and walk around the neighborhood. We take tours of different businesses and buildings, and we invite community members to come into the classroom. We're modeling this two-way dialogue of active listening with our students and the surrounding community.

What first drew you to GFS?

The parents were very involved and the teachers were very warm and welcoming. The moral fabric through the Quaker tenants is what really drew me to this community; being in a space where you can bring people together from different backgrounds, but hold together through integrity and being true to who you are; the equality of respecting everyone's gifts and talents; and finding the simple gifts in in everything that we do.

What of the Quaker tenets resonates most deeply with you?

There are two: integrity and equality. I'll talk about the testimony of equality because with my work in community engagement, the tenant of equality is so important. It's vital to support our students who are raising their voices to speak out against policies that are holding one group up or holding another down. We are all here together and we should all be given the same opportunities. I don't believe in an education gap or an achievement gap. There's an opportunity gap and we need to eliminate barriers to those opportunities so all students have an equal footing to start their lives and explore all that life has to offer them.