Our Commitment to Staying in the City

The year 2019 is significant for Friends Select School as it will mark our building’s 50th anniversary. It’s an important occasion for us to reflect upon the conversations, deliberations, consultation, and decision of our Friends Select leaders in the 1960s to solidify our current location at 17th and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Their careful planning enabled us to remain in the city and of the city.

In the late 1960s, there was good reason to consider a Friends Select future outside of Philadelphia. The original building had aged significantly and could no longer serve the expanding class sizes. In addition, families were leaving the city for the surrounding suburbs. The idea of following suit and relocating to an area outside of the city limits was brought to the table. But thankfully, Larry Blauvelt, a former head of school, and his administration ultimately decided we remain on the Parkway. I can’t help but think that the last 50 years of our school’s history would be vastly different had the end result been to move. So, the celebration really is more than about the building itself; it is the chance to commemorate the bold decision—50 years ago—to stay in the city.

Just as our school leaders did over five decades ago, we are thoughtfully planning for Friends Select’s future. And, this year we will progress from vision to action in our strategic plan. Advance 2021 invites us to realize the promise of Friends Select School: to refine our holistic, well-practiced approach to teaching and learning; to capitalize on and leverage our place in and of the city through external partnerships; to rethink the use of our space; and to embrace our responsibility to build, steward, and sustain our financial resources.

Friends Select was born and lives in Philadelphia. Cities by their very nature are catalysts for creativity. Our location at the intersection of commerce and culture in Center City means we bump into each other, we leverage chance opportunities to bring down the walls, and we work across boundaries to learn and solve with greater depth. At Friends Select, we thoughtfully and deliberately design our program and our environment to take advantage of the serendipitous moments that the resources of a vibrant, international city presents. As such, Friends Select is indeed the school of choice for anyone who wants a world class education in a world class city, and for those who desire a foundation of cross-cultural competence for their children.