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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

Values Container

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.

  • Truth
  • Shine
  • Connected
  • Simple
  • Care
  • Peace

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Community Involvement

Community Involvement at Germantown Friends School is committed to developing reciprocal relationships between our students and local organizations. Through food drives, reading and math buddies, MLK Day activities, and more, GFS strives to cultivate students’ awareness of privilege, race, and class in relation to Germantown and how we can support the surrounding community in a positive way, by learning from each other. 

Volunteer Spirit

We want each student entering the outside community with the best possible attitude toward volunteering. A true volunteer spirit bridges gaps between people, and it is the relationships which develop between our students and our hosts which are the core of our program and can be anywhere from interesting to life-changing.

We want students to develop a sense of responsibility for choosing to volunteer: they learn to weigh their priorities and their commitments, a beneficial life skill which will help them even after they graduate from GFS. We are concerned about students’ social and spiritual development as well as their intellectual development. When students truly volunteer, they willingly develop an awareness of social issues, empathy for others, and a better sense of their role in the “Big Picture” of the world.

Ultimately the Community Involvement program is a spiritually based program. As a Friends School we strive to meet that of God in each person. The Community Involvement program exposes students to people whose backgrounds, abilities, or physiques differ from their own. Through discussion and shared time together, students experience the commonality of people and come to understand differences in context. Such an understanding cannot be rushed in an effort to fulfill a certain number of required hours or forced by matching students with organizations with whom they are unlikely to engage. These are the reasons why our program is primarily voluntary after grade 6.

All-Grade Projects

In order to expose students to the possibilities and benefits of Community Involvement, all-grade work days are organized each year for grades 7, 9, 10 and 12. In addition, the eighth grade spends several days on environmental service-learning projects, and the eleventh grade takes the month of January to pursue independent projects. Between 40-45% of these are considered Community Involvement related. Grades 7-8 are “strongly encouraged” to participate in one trimester of Community Involvement during EXPO, a specially scheduled block during the school day.

Project Categories

To this end we begin with teacher-directed projects in grades K-6. In grades 7-10, student projects are mainly organized by the director of Community Involvement and led by teachers and parent volunteers. In grades 11 and 12, student projects are mainly initiated and organized by the students themselves, with support from teachers and the director of Community Involvement. Ultimately we hope that Community Involvement becomes a part of students’ lives beyond graduation from GFS.

In 1997, we intentionally changed the name of our program from Community Service to Community Involvement, in an attempt to emphasize the reciprocal nature of our relationships in the community: to see the community as an intricate educational resource instead of simply a collection of sites which need our “help.” We are continually learning how to articulate and understand this reciprocity. The Community Involvement program serves as a clearing house for students, parents, staff and teachers from other schools seeking contacts and ideas for volunteer projects.

Student Activities: partnerships with neighborhood agencies and schools, all-grade work days, extracurricular Community Action Committee projects, Middle School Project Time, various “drives” and fundraisers for both local and international causes.

Curriculum: e.g., first grade study of Germantown, seventh grade “Germantown week," junior/senior seminar on the Modern City, the senior writing seminar, Junior Projects, Germantown as an extension of the classroom in all disciplines

Institutional Support: hiring locally, serving on local boards, attending neighborhood meetings & assisting in key neighborhood issues, anchoring families & faculty in the northwest, offering financial incentive for staff to live in Germantown.

Local partners include: 

  • John B. Kelly School
  • Breakthrough of Greater Philadelphia
  • The Pennsylvania School for the Deaf
  • Historic Germantown
  • Germantown Special Services District
  • Holsey Temple Christian Methodist Episcopal Church
  • Saint Luke’s Episcopal Church
  • Mastery Charter School: John Wister campus
  • The Wister Townhouses
  • The Penn-Knox Neighborhood Association
  • Baynton Hill Neighbors’ Association
  • The Nicholson Church Lane Community Garden

We aim to create sustainable relationships that will stand the test of time. At GFS, we want to go beyond transactional acts of service and focus on thinking deeply about the relationships we are cultivating. 

It’s important to acknowledge that we all have different facets of our identities. Just as important is cultivating our common humanity, which is the universal backdrop across our differences. Community Involvement at GFS teaches that it’s crucial to reach out to one another and share our stories in order to build a more empathetic world.