Student-led activism to end gun violence erupted across the country this spring and Friends schools were a part of the national movement. Sparked by the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shootings in Parkland, Florida in February, Friends schools and Friends school students were called to stand up for the Quaker values of peace and nonviolence and be part of the call for action to end gun violence in our country. Early actions in February (read story here
) have been followed by a host of activities and actions in Friends schools through the spring.
READ MORE HERE
On April 26, 2018 at the Spring Annual Meeting, Friends Council on
Education announced the launch of the National Friends Education Fund (NFEF). The National Friends Education Fund supports tuition aid grants for Quaker children to attend Friends schools across the country. The fund brings together two preexisting tuition aid funds into one united effort.
|Students at San Francisco Friends School lived into several Quaker testimonies and habits of heart and mind this May by holding their first ever youth summit for 230 middle school students from both private and public schools all over San Francisco. Artists from Youth Speaks launched the day with spoken word pieces. They were followed by a variety of workshops where SFFS students shared what they learned from their yearlong study of homelessness, while other schools presented on issues they have studied, for example climate change, gun control, and immigration to name a few. This summit was Quakerism in action! Community, stewardship, collaboration, collective truth seeking, attending to voices on the margin and respect were all in full play. Learn more about the Summit and SFFS students’ efforts in this video on Missionlocal.org.|
2018 has been an incredibly busy spring for Friends
Council programming and it isn’t over yet! In this spring programming
recap you’ll read about three recent professional development workshops held in April and May and learn about one still to come in June.
Posted On: 5/11/2018 3:13 PM
|Whether it was answering questions about multiple areas of knowledge, focusing on history and finance, or testing their mettle in the visual arts, Friends school students from multiple Friends schools across the country had a presence this spring at multiple regional, national and world competitions. Here’s a sample.
Tandem Friends School in Charlottesville, Virginia is engaging in
ongoing conversations about race and institutionalized racism. Part of
that has included viewing the film, “I’m not a racist…Am I?”, offering a workshop for parents, teachers and students with Dr. David Campt, creator of the White Ally Toolkit, and
engaging in a series of other activities. QuakerEd News invited
Upper School Director Peter Gaines to write about the school’s experience and
efforts over the past year. Read Peter's essay and learn more in our QuakerVoices blog here.
|Eighth grade students at Greene Street Friends School organized the second annual Stay Woke Day, a student run diversity day to talk about race. This year the effort included two additional Friends schools, Abington Friends School and Westtown School, as well as a third school, St. Peter’s School. |
The day began with affinity group activities. These groups, differentiated by self-identified racial groupings, gather students together by race to talk about issues with one another. Sometimes students used technology to share their reflections confidentially with other Affinity Groups to spark conversation and dialogue. Mai Spann-Wilson, a local singer and songwriter presented a keynote presentation about his own experience with racism in America. Using two original music videos, “They Say” and “Where I Came From”, Mai challenged students to look for the imagery in each video and civil rights symbolism often found in hip hop music. The day also featured four workshops on the following topics: 1) “Music Culture - Appropriation vs. Appreciation”; 2) “Middle School Experiences & Educational Opportunities with Race”; 3) “A Collision of Race, Sports, and the Media” and 4) "Recognizing Race and Microaggressions”. The day concluded with a presentation from Kellie Graves, a local high school sophomore, presenting “Identifying Intersectionality at the Crossroad of Mental Health and Rap Music.” To learn more about Stay Woke Day and for workshop details, see the full story here.
Olney Friends School in Barnesville, Ohio, was featured in YES! Magazine recently for their farm program. In the article, freelance writer Mary Ann Lieser shares, “During the past decade, Olney has integrated farm work and food production into every aspect of student life, from the barn to the kitchen to the classroom. In 2015, Olney became the nation’s first USDA-certified organic campus.” The article also captures many aspects of the school’s Quaker nature and the link between farming and Quaker values. As Olney Farm Manager Don Guindon explains in the article, “Our goal is well-rounded citizens who are smart consumers with social awareness. The farm is a great place to absorb lessons in the complexity of sustainable systems…” Read the full article here.
|Each year Friends Council distributes a series of Ravdin Fund grants to small schools in need of support around development, strategic planning, and board development and training. Richmond Friends School in Richmond, Indiana received Ravdin Fund support over the past two years and recently wrote to report in on what the funding helped them accomplish. The grant enabled the school to hire consultant Ginny Christensen who worked with the school to organize a board retreat focused on governance and long-term financial sustainability. “Our first day was spent reviewing Principles of Good Practice for Friends School Boards & Every Friends School Trustee together. Even though every new board member is given a copy of this FCE publication when they join the board, the pages took on more meaning as we reviewed them together and started to jot down ideas for how our governance could be improved. The next day we focused on the financial side of things and how to plan for a fiscally sound, sustainable future,” writes Head of School, Marcie Roberts. In the six months since the Board Development Retreat with Ginny, the school has accomplished many things, including considering the extension of terms of service for board clerks, instituting monthly meetings with the head of school, hiring a new development officer, retaining a marketing consultant, strengthening our finance committee and moving investments to Friends Fiduciary, among other steps. ““I felt like we desperately needed more and needed expertise that only FCE and folks associated with FCE could provide. I am grateful that our board agreed to support my leading.” The Ravdin Fund was established as a
permanently endowed fund of the Friends Council on Education to continue the
essential consulting work with small Friends schools in the tradition of Bill
fifth annual Student Voices Project
brought in writing from 163 middle and high school students representing six U.S. Friends schools. FJ selected 20 honorees whose submissions are featured online here.
This year students responded to the prompt:
“Tell us a story about how one of the Quaker testimonies was made real to you in your life. We’re looking for true tales that involve you somehow and illustrate how a testimony went from abstract concept to real-life presence.”
Thank you to Friends Journal for this amazing project lifting up the voices of Quaker children and students in Friends schools! You can read this year's amazing entries here.