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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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Environmental Stewardship

Stewardship of the environment is essential tenet of our Quaker beliefs. Germantown Friends School is a member of the Friends Environmental Education Network (FEEN) whose goal is to promote both education and action within our schools around the issues of environmental stewardship and sustainability. With the help of some of our science faculty and the faculty members of the Stewardship Commitee, GFS is committed to working toward these goals.

Over the course of the past years, many steps have been taken by the GFS in partnership with the local community to incorporate sustainability into our educational program. It is with great humility that the community hopes to build on these first important steps and continue in our efforts towards environmental sustainability. Please feel free to contact us with ideas or opportunities to further this goal.

Environmental Action Clubs (EAC)

Lower School

Earth Day…Every Day!

Fourth Grade EAC:
Fourth graders are invited to join the Environmental Action Club for 10 weeks in the Spring. The club meets after school one day each week. Each year the students brainstorm different ways to reduce our carbon footprint and then implement one or more plans using the Earth Force paradigm. This program encourages students to research and direct their own ideas and to report back to the community.

In addition to their Earth Force Project that resulted in a certification from the National Wildlife Federation, last year fourth graders hosted two guest speakers from the Nature Conservatory and the TTF Watershed Partnership who shared their own careers in environmental education. The children also learned about rattlesnake rescue. The killing of these snakes lead to an overabundance of rodents in our environment.

Fifth Grade EAC:
Interested fifth graders are invited to apply to join the Environmental Action Club, which meets once a week in the afternoon from the end of September through the end of the school year. The EAC is affiliated with the national organization Earth Force, and strives to nurture and develop environmentally responsible citizens who:

  • Understand environmental issues
  • Know how to identify problems
  • Know how to research solutions and create a plan to solve problems using skills such as:
    • Public speaking (and speech writing)
    • Designing effective posters
    • Online advocacy
    • Fund raising
    • Talking to people in power

Fifth Grade Environmental Action Club does the following:

  • maintains the Lower School butterfly garden
  • has built and maintains the Lower School pond
  • is working to restore the Lower School woods to a native plant habitat, by removing invasive species and planting more and more shrubs, trees and ferns that are native to PA.
  • is installing an outdoor benched classroom in the woods that will hold an entire class of students from any division. (gorgeous teak benches!!)
  • tends the school's gardens by weeding, pruning and watering
  • picks up trash all year
  • manages the school's own composting efforts. They've had built and take care of all the cafeteria's vegetable and fruit wastes, as well as Lower School classroom compostables, and use the compost on school flower beds.
  • presents an assembly each year and often organizes some kind of campaign for the Lower School on some kind of relevant environmental topic: No Waste Lunches, Composting, Recycling, etc.
  • works with an area organization, Earth Force, and attends their Youth Summit each year (see link at left) where they perform stewardship service.

Middle School

The Middle School EAC meets once a week during lunch time activity period. Even within this limited time frame, the EAC members accomplish a lot. In the past few years the students have:

  • watched clips of environmental documentaries and films
  • held a used battery collection drive
  • made a video about eutrophication to create awareness about the proper disposal of pet waste
  • held a T-shirt drive and used the shirts to create reusable bags donated to Browsers
  • planned and participated in the Lexus Eco Challenge.

Upper School

The Upper school EAC has been working hard over the past two years to increase environmental awareness at GFS. Here are some of the events they have organized and held:

  • Partial Screenings of the films Kilowatt Ours and Food Inc, to increase awareness of the environmental issues involved in generating electricity and producing food.
  • Sales of healthy banana whips, and CFL light bulbs at the annual Fun Day.
  • Two Saturday mornings volunteering for trail maintenance and clean-up in the Wissahickon.
  • Running Awareness Campaigns about what is recyclable and what is not.
  • Creating a push for large scale composting at GFS and an awareness campaign about that
  • Creating "Bike and Car Pool to School" weeks
  • Initiating a "These Came From Trees" sticker campaign on paper towel dispensers, toilet paper dispensers, and printers to help raise additional awareness.

Recycling Program

Bottle Caps

The Upper school EAC has collected plastic caps for the past 2 years in the lunchroom and Hargroves' snack bar. Despite donating many caps to the nursery and 3-D art mosaic projects, we still managed to send 80 lbs or 40 gallons of plastic caps to be recycled into hair care bottles and caps by the Aveda corporation. Collecting this many caps was a K-12 effort.

Recycling and Composting

For many years the GFS community has recycled paper, cardboard, aluminum and plastics with ample containers distributed around campus and in classrooms. Last year thanks to the efforts of our stewardship committee, EAC clubs, Williams Hospitality, our food service, GFS began a composting program in the cafeteria. Students in all three divisions assumed the responsibility for educating each other by making signs, performing skits, etc. Now the trash bins in the cafeteria do not need to be emptied nearly as often as the majority of our leftovers are recycled or composted.

Granola Wrappers

The GFS Lower School has been collecting granola bar wrappers and sending them to a company called TerraCycle. This company "upcycles" the old wrappers into items such as pencil pouches. For each wrapper, GFS receives 2 cents. Eventually, the money will be put toward the purchase of new outdoor recycling receptacles to be positioned next to each outdoor trashcan. The collection box for the wrappers lives in the lobby of the Cary Building and everyone is welcome to contribute. Students from the Hess class count wrappers and every week or so they are sent to TerraCycle in batches of 200.


Food Change and Sustainable Practices in the GFS Kitchen

Did You Know?
  • We are celebrating the success of CulinArt’s purchasing produce from the Common Market, Philadelphia: a farm to school initiative of the Food Trust.
  • Daily vegetarian meal option
  • Whole wheat pasta/brown rice option
  • Recycle oil from fryer into Paulmier car
  • Eliminated Styrofoam
  • Eliminated plastic water bottles on campus including catering and meetings; pitchers of water are available instead
  • Healthy vending machines cafeteria, fields, Hargroves
  • Peanut butter and jelly served on wheat bread
  • No more white bread!
  • Organic yogurt
  • Composting food waste and paper products
  • Recycling cardboard, glass and plastic
  • Use "green" soap in the new dish machine
  • Reduced the number of weekly grocery deliveries from 3 to 2 on most weeks and have requested a no idling policy
  • Switched to bulk condiments to help eliminate waste
  • Purchase only hormone free milk
  • Paper napkins in the dining room are 100% post-consumer recycled paper
  • Students plant and maintain an herb garden on site
  • Sushi once a week

Wade Science Center

The Wade Science Center is a LEED-certified sustainable urban center for science instruction.

This building dashboard shows real-time tracking of the building's green features, including stormwater management, solar energy, and water use.