When Jim Miller, Friends Select’s dean of students, told me last fall that a couple of 11th graders named Sophie Gilbert ’20 and Sophia Becker ’20 were interested in studying topics not covered in their classes, I was immediately intrigued.
The three committees that are leading the implementation of Friends Select’s strategic plan—Excellence in Teaching and Learning, Financial Sustainability and Endowment Growth and Use of Space—are all focused on developing a comprehensive plan to form, engage, and evaluate partnerships. Progress has already been made with the overarching goal of developing such partnerships, including the hiring of the Director of Equity and Inclusion and a Director of City Curriculum.
This committee continues to implement a strategic plan that:
•Grows mission-based opportunities with businesses, government, arts, cultural, and educational institutions that enrich and support the educational program.
•Strengthens cross-cultural connections and reach through academic programming and international experiences.
•Cultivates and effectively manages and promotes meaningful projects, internships, and leadership experiences for students.
•Leverages reciprocal partnerships to enhance educational, financial, and facility goals.
Recently, lower and upper school Mandarin students from Friends Select School performed in the capstone event for the STARTALK Chinese Teacher Advancement Program at the University of Pennsylvania.
Being “in the city and of the city” is deeply connected to our Quaker values. It’s who we are; it’s what we know how to do best. Advance Friends Select, our strategic plan, provides a path for us to follow in order to develop external partnerships to meet teaching and learning goals. Our Center City location provides unending opportunities to leverage these partnerships in order to create authentic learning experiences for our students.
Recently I traveled with a group of upper school students from my Spanish 3 class to meet with members of the Latino community in the Italian Market. For over two hours, we wandered along 9th Street, visiting Los Amigos Mexican Culinary Foods, Tortilleria San Roman, South Philly Barbacoa, and Ricoleta Paletas y Helados—all of which became our extended classroom as students participated in a full cultural immersion that was conducted exclusively in Spanish.