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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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Opening Doors with Algebra

Opening Doors with Algebra

GFS's Algebra Enrichment Program offers public and charter school students the opportunity to take algebra in middle school, opening a door to college and professional success.

Algebra comes from the Arabic word "al-jabr," meaning "reunion of broken parts,” and is a unifying thread through almost all mathematics. The significance of this subject’s roots and meaning are amplified today at GFS, as our new Algebra Enrichment Program (AEP) is unifying more than mathematics.
 
Math teacher Mark Anderson identified an educational roadblock for students of color seeking independent school admission: the lack of access to algebra and advanced math courses in middle school. To combat this problem, Mark worked with the academic leadership at GFS, with funding from the Maguire Innovation Fund for Progressive Education, to develop AEP, a free math course for passionate public and charter middle school students in Germantown and throughout the city. The program not only enables more students to gain the credentials needed for independent school admission, but also opens the door for underserved students to achieve success in STEM—further highlighting the importance of independent and public schools working together.
 
AEP is intensive and interactive, and meets three times per week after school. It offers a deep-dive into algebra, provides a secure platform for individuals to build academic and personal confidence, and allows students to find peers with similar interests. Students learn more than just how to get the right answer; they are challenged to describe why they perform each step and work in groups to teach and learn from one another.
 
In addition to immediate math advancement, the program has the potential to impact students long-term. Research shows that math skills are a strong indicator of future success, and that taking algebra before high school is an important milestone on the pathway to college readiness. While many public schools do not offer algebra in middle school, some do have it as an option, but students of color still face unequal access. When courses are assigned through subjective processes, qualified black and Hispanic students are less likely to be placed into advanced courses than their similarly qualified white peers.
 
This systemic disparity continues beyond secondary school, as studies show that STEM college graduates are predominantly white or Asian, a pattern that has persisted for years despite an increase in black and Hispanic college attendance and completion rates. 

GFS also has bigger goals surrounding this program, with a hope of changing the local and national dialogue from “private vs. public” or “school choice” to a norm of “school collaboration.” The school feels strongly about providing support to fill in educational and resource gaps for our hardworking neighboring schools, which face challenging budget and policy constraints. Instead of serving as completely separate entities, independent schools and publicly-funded schools should work together to provide access for students to gain the education they want and deserve.  
 
“I’m learning a lot, not just here, but I’m more prepared when I go to school,” says student Micah Elliott. “My regular classes are so big and here I can get one-on-one help. I like math, and here I can ask lots of math questions and also meet friends.”

Two students at desks working on algebra

GFS plans to grow this program from 13 students to 20 next year, and to build on relationships with public and charter schools for continued collaboration.
 
“If you have talented students and you give them access, their potential is limitless,” Mark says. He notes that educational opportunity not only impacts school acceptance and career success, but also helps students find their voice. He adds, “We must focus on our young people, all of our young people. They can make change happen if given the tools, confidence, and trust to reach their potential.”
 
The program reflects GFS’ Quaker underpinnings, which encourage a commitment to becoming responsible, informed citizens who have a developed sense of agency to affect positive change. These Quaker practices are rooted in the belief that all people should be treated as equals and with dignity. Every student can shine, regardless of their circumstances, and everyone deserves an equal chance to succeed. 

“This program serves as a practical and meaningful way for GFS to support education beyond our campus walls, which is our responsibility as educators, community members, and as a Quaker institution,” says Head of School Dana Weeks. “I am proud of Mark’s leadership and grateful for the support of Jamie and Lisa Maguire together with the Maguire Foundation, whose generosity has made this program possible.” 
 
GFS sees this pilot program as a step in the right direction for independent schools, and hopes to inspire more such enrichment opportunities for underserved students, helping to unify and improve the current educational landscape. “This program is an opportunity to lean into a broader national dialogue about school collaboration,” Dana says. “GFS looks forward to continuing this conversation, engaging others in it, and deepening it through the programming we offer.”