Admissions » Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

DVFriends students enjoying an improv theater game
 
Choosing the right school for your child's education – particularly if they have a learning disability or difference – can be a complex and emotional journey. Questions are bound to arise. We created this quick reference guide to address some of the questions parents and students ask most frequently. If you have additional questions, our Admissions Office is only a call or a click away.
 
DVFriends is located in Paoli, PA, which is at the western end of Philadelphia's Main Line, about 17 miles from the city of Philadelphia. Paoli is located in the Tredyffrin Easttown School District. Click here for a map of the area. 
Families use a number of transportation options to get children to and from DVFriends each day. 

District School Buses
In Pennsylvania, if the border of your home school district is within ten miles from DVFriends, it should transport your child every day. These districts currently include:
 
  • Downingtown
  • Great Valley
  • Haverford
  • Lower Merion
  • Marple Newtown
  • Methacton
  • Norristown
  • Owen J. Roberts
  • Phoenixville
  • Radnor Ridley
  • Rose Tree Media
  • Springfield, Delaware County
  • Spring-Ford
  • Tredyffrin Easttown
  • Upper Merion
  • West Chester
 
Train
DVFriends is a five-minute walk to the Paoli Train Station (https://www.septa.org/stations/rail/paoli.html) which services both SEPTA and AMTRAK. Almost half of our students use a train to get to school daily from as far away as New Jersey, Delaware, and as far west as Lancaster and Harrisburg.
 
Carpool
At the beginning of each school year, we introduce families to others in their neighboring school districts so parents may organize carpools.
 
DVFriends Vans
DVFriends runs a van service from NE Philadelphia and the Bucks/Montco regions. There is a fee for this daily service. To learn more, contact Admissions at admissions@dvfriends.org.
 
Student Drivers
Once they have their driver's licenses, some of our upper school students drive to and from school. Our upper parking lot is reserved for our student drivers. Everyone in our community is required to have a DVFriends parking pass on their rearview mirror. Student drivers complete a form to receive a parking permit and parking privileges are contingent on students being in good academic and behavioral standing with the school.
 
 
All DVFriends students have average to superior cognitive capabilities and live with one or more of the following academic or learning challenges:
 
  • Specific Learning Disability
  • Reading Disorder/Dyslexia
  • Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
  • Executive Functioning Disorder
  • Disorder of Written Expression/Dysgraphia
  • Mathematics Disorder/Dyscalculia
  • Auditory Processing Disorder
  • Expressive/Receptive Language Disorder
  • Memory or Processing Speed Challenges
  • Non-Verbal Learning Disability
 
They may also have attentional or organizational issues. Some students may have mild school-based anxiety due to their learning challenges or experiences at previous schools. DVFriends has one school counselor for the Lower and Middle Schools and one for the Upper School. Students who require ongoing social, emotional, or behavioral support may be better served in alternative programs.
Over 60% of the DVFriends faculty have at least 10 years of experience teaching students living with learning differences. Over 70% have advanced degrees. More than half of our faculty have taught at DVFriends for at least five years.
 
 
Our student body consists of 30% students of color. 40% identify as female and 60% identify as male.
 
Our faculty consists of 14% people of color. 69% identify as female and 31% identify as male.
 
In addition, DVFriends is a multicultural community as we have faculty and staff from the UK, India, Ireland, Kenya, and Morocco. The school is accredited by SEVIS and is able to enroll mission appropriate international students.
 
DVFriends is proud to have a longstanding diversity program.  In the greater Delaware Valley, DVFriends was the first school serving students with learning disabilities to establish an administrative position dedicated to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. We have a long-standing commitment to sending students to the annual People of Color Conference. The Diversity Committee sponsors an annual Diversity Lunch. We recognize and celebrate Black History, Women’s, and Latinx Months. Diversity Committee is part of our upper school student government, and we have several subcommittees representing affinity groups within our school community including Black Student Union, Feminism Committee, Latinx Committee, and SAFE Committee. DVFriends does not discriminate on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, disability, or national or ethnic origin.
DV students would tell you that everyone is nervous starting at a new school, but our community of students and adults is so kind, outgoing, and welcoming that friendships are established quickly. Students throughout all three divisions look after one another. We’re a community of about 200 students, so everyone is known at DVFriends.
 
There are several opportunities for new families to meet one another and current families the summer before school starts:
  • Each new family is assigned a host family who will welcome them to the community. Several parent orientations are scheduled throughout the summer.
  • Every August a “break the ice” Ice Cream Social is held for new families and their hosts, faculty, student government, and administrators.
  • An all-school BBQ is held the Thursday before the start of school. All family members are welcome!
 
Students join DVFriends from public, independent, religious, charter, and home schools. While they live both near and far, most are from the tri-state area - Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. Pennsylvania students commute from several surrounding counties (Philadelphia, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, Berks) and as far as Harrisburg, Reading, and Lancaster. Our student body represents 76 zip codes and 48 school districts. Some students have relocated during the school year from their home states such as Connecticut and Florida. One of our alums relocated from Amman, Jordan!
In the lower school, there will be some practice of their daily reading and a few math problems. In the middle school, students can expect 15 - 20 minutes of homework in each of the three classes scheduled that day plus a short, daily reading assignment. In the upper school, students can expect an average of 30 minutes of homework in each of the three classes scheduled that day plus managing long-term projects.
 
Every DVFriends student knows:
  • Homework is the practice of the instruction they received in class that day. They will never be discovering new content through homework.
  • Teachers will allow 10 - 15 minutes of each class for the explanation and joint start of homework.
  • Middle and upper school students have a daily advisory period in which executive function support is provided. This is a time when they may start their homework with their academic advisor.
  • The “EF period” is also an opportunity to meet with another teacher for extra academic or homework support.
  • Their parents or guardians have already attended grades 1 through 12 - so no longer need to complete daily homework! If a DVFriends student isn’t able to complete their homework independently, it’s their responsibility to contact their advisor and the subject’s teacher to schedule an appointment the next day for help.
Please visit the following linked pages to learn about our Quaker mission and how we serve students who learn differently.
 
What is a Quaker School -- learn the basic beliefs, values, and practices that all Quaker schools share and how they come to life at DVFriends.
 
The Quaker Difference at DVFriends -- learn how our Quaker identity and mission to serve students living with a learning disability or difference intersect to create a unique culture and educational experience for our students.
Everyone likes it! Our food provider is Linton’s and the director works closely with students and faculty to determine their favorites, allergies, or restrictions while ensuring the menu provides healthy options. Wawa beverages are available as well as some traditions such as “Breakfast Sandwich Thursdays” and “Pizza and Popcorn Fridays.” Breakfast items and snacks may be purchased every day during Community Time. The menu is posted online every month. Students may choose to buy a la carte or the entire daily selection. They may prepay for lunch daily, weekly, monthly, or for the entire school year. Just like everything we do at DVFriends, the option is individualized.
Our school has a dress awareness policy that was crafted with the input of administrators, faculty, and students. It encourages the full expression of individuality while respecting the values and mission of the school. Clothing may not reflect antisocial activities or illegal products.
Fire drills are held every month. At the beginning of every school year we have an annual Safety Week when we explain and then practice evacuation, lockdown, and shelter in place drills. These are repeated during the school year.