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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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J-term Provides Experiential Learning for Students

J-term Provides Experiential Learning for Students

Originally published in The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Learn more about GFS

On a recent morning at Germantown Friends School, teacher Alex Levin called on ninth grader Cole Winicov to demonstrate what he'd learned in class over the last eight days.

Instead of walking to the blackboard, Cole whipped out a deck of cards.

"Pick a card," he said, then showed off a midair bridge as he summoned an observer to play along with his magic trick. He shuffled some more, slapped a card on the floor — an eight of clubs — alas, not the right one. Ah, but the trick wasn't over. Cole left the card, then after some one‐handed cuts and other sleight of hand, he directed his audience back to the floor. The card was turned over and — tada! — it's the correct card, an eight of diamonds.

"I love this so much," said Levin of his star pupil in a "Games and Magic" class, where the kids learned card and dice tricks from a professional magician and labored to master games such as Jotto and Scattergories.

Across the way in a Quaker meetinghouse warmed by two piping-hot ovens, French teacher Amy Celantano and her 11 students are on their fifth and favorite course of the day. Not an academic course, but dessert, a final blast of chocolate cake, strawberry pie, mousse, and meringues that says la fin to an elaborate French feast.

If it's a "Bon Appétit" class, this must be January — the month when 400 upper schoolers at the Philadelphia private academy cast aside the fundamentals of English or math for the fun of their brief January term, or "J‐Term." Kids enjoy short bursts of learning around 79 unconventional topics such as literature about dogs, canoeing, abstract painting, mindfulness, and Alexander Hamilton the man and the musical.

"This is an academically high‐achieving school where students do have a lot of expectations — what the J‐Term does is provide a chance for us to put those pressures aside and engage in experiential learning," said Matthew Young, director of the Germantown Friends upper school, which has been offering its three‐week January term for five years.

The idea for a January stretch of short, intensive, offbeat classes that break up the academic year originated on college campuses, where they remain popular. But in the Philadelphia region, a number of private secondary schools — with more freedom to experiment with the calendar and curriculum than their public counterparts — have enthusiastically adopted the idea.

Proponents say the one‐ to two‐week mini‐classes give students a chance to try more hands‐on learning or enjoy out‐of‐classroom experiences, presented by teachers who share their passion for a special subject outside the normal bounds of academia. For some schools, offering the classes after the holiday recess is also a creative way to jump‐start the second half of a long academic year. Read the full story.


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