The mission of Delaware Valley Friends School is to prepare students with learning differences for future work and study.
The school develops those personal strengths which enable students to succeed in its college preparatory curriculum. The school also recognizes that it has a responsibility to share its expertise with teachers and students beyond the school community.
Delaware Valley Friends School carries forward the Quaker heritage of compassion and justice. We acknowledge that of God in everyone and nurture the unique personal worth and potential good inherent in each individual.
The idea for Delaware Valley Friends School (DVFriends) was born in the early 1980s at a National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) conference in New York City. The founding members of DVFriends consulted with Quaker School Heads, the Committee on Education of the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting and other leaders in education. It became clear that a secondary school for Learning Different students under Friend's leadership would serve a real need in the Philadelphia area.
The initial meeting to discuss forming the school took place on June 13, 1985, and just one year later in June of 1986, the Philadelphia Quarterly Meeting enthusiastically endorsed sponsorship of the new Delaware Valley Friends School. After investigating nearly 100 sites in the Philadelphia area, the search for a home for DVFriends concluded with rented classroom space at Harcum College in Bryn Mawr, where DVFriends opened in September of 1987 with 21 students enrolled.
The school experienced rapid growth, doubling the student population in its second year and increasing enrollment by over 5 times in less than a decade. A lengthy search for a permanent home ensued. The vision of the DVFriends Board was reinforced by a group of dedicated individuals who made possible the first capital campaign A Way Will Open. In 1996, the Way did open when DVFriends discovered the former Paoli Elementary School. DVFriends opened the doors to its very own facility in Paoli in September of 1997 and continues to operate there today.
Delaware Valley Friends began as a school focused on educating adolescents with learning differences in grades 7 - 12. The middle school program was expanded in 2009 with the addition of 6th grade and again in 2016 when 5th grade was added. In 2017, the Board of Trustees approved the further expansion of the school to include an elementary school division incorporating 5th grade and welcoming students in 3rd and 4th grades for the first time. In 2020, DVFriends expanded again to include students in 1st and 2nd grades. The expansion of our elementary school program has been an important step in the development of DVFriends as an institution, and it enables the school to fulfill its mission at a deeper and broader level.
With the creation of our elementary school program, DVFriends has become the only Friends school in the Philadelphia area dedicated solely to the education of students who learn differently from elementary through high school.
In 2018, DVFriends established a new care relationship with the Concord Quarterly Meeting, which is geographically much closer to the school's service area.