Quaker Community » What is a Quaker School?

What is a Quaker School?

All-School Quaker Gathering in our Meeting Room
 
At DVFriends our Quaker (Friends) heritage, principles and practices are central to our school’s identity. Our school community is welcoming to families from all faiths, and to those who do not observe a particular faith tradition. Members of the school community take part in Quaker traditions such as Quaker Meeting and our daily Gathering, which are important community-building experiences and which provide opportunities for student and adult voices alike to be heard.
 
DVFriends is one of 70+ Friends schools operating in the United States today, a member of the Friends Council on Education, and under the care of the Concord Quarterly Meeting. We share certain practices and beliefs with other Quaker schools:
 
Core Belief
At the core of the Quaker faith and practice is the belief that all people are profoundly equal; all people have at their core an Inner Light or what Quakers call “That of God.” To live that belief means to actively look for and find goodness and value in every person -- even those with whom we disagree or have conflict.
 
S.P.I.C.E.S.
Belief in each individual’s infinite inherent worth or Inner Light is a core belief from which other Quaker principles and practices flow. Many Quaker schools connect that core belief to a set of testimonies or values that include Simplicity, Peace, Integrity, Community, Equality, and Stewardship --also known as the S.P.I.C.E.S. Together, these values and beliefs are at the heart of our school culture and inform our expectations of how we all interact.
 
The DVFriends Quaker Community
This mindset has a profound impact on our daily life and daily interactions within the DVFriends school community. Students call teachers and administrators by first names, indicating equality and respect for all. Our teachers come to their classrooms every day and see their students as unique and valued individuals just the way they are, which creates a wonderful foundation for developing trust and genuine teaching and learning relationships. Our Quaker heritage and identity further come to life when we join together in community work around issues of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, participate in service-learning, and in our focus on character development. Learn more about the impact of Quaker beliefs specifically on our approach to education.
 
Silence
We come together in Silence for daily Gathering and weekly Quaker Meeting. Quakers believe that spending time in silence allows time and space for each of us to listen for what Friends have referred to as that still, small voice inside each one of us. For our students, these times in silent refection help them to center, take a breath, and connect to themselves and each other. From the Silence, members of the community may feel moved to stand and speak, sharing something that is on their minds or in their hearts. Sometimes a query or leading question is posed to focus contemplation during the Silence. Sitting in Silence can be unfamiliar at first, but many of our students come to appreciate these opportunities for stillness and quiet. Indeed, we often hear from our alumni that they miss those moments after they graduate.
 
The physical and emotional benefits of Mindfulness practices such as these, which Friends have practiced for over three hundred years, are now well-established from research and have found their way into many aspects of our society. Quaker Meeting is how we use Mindfulness every day at DVFriends.