Published: May 8, 2021
A new Friends school is a dream, a goal well worth pursuing over many years. Set to open in August 2022, the Phoenix Friends Middle School (PFMS) is such a dream, an independent school based on Quaker values and Quaker education models. We help children grow into adults who are self-motivated and responsible, who love learning and think creatively. We believe our school holds the answers to some of the most pressing concerns of parents wanting a more fully-rounded school experience for their children.
Some of the conflicts of our times appear cultural and political, and these divisions are playing out in our schools and at very early ages. It is our belief that values instilled early in life will lead to more mindful consideration of complexity in our society and the challenges facing all young adults. At the core of Quaker education is a fundamental respect for the equality of all individuals regardless of race, ethnicity, gender and religion. On this foundation, we model new ways to interact, resolve conflicts, and achieve unity as a group.
Here are some of the ways in which PFMS practices lead to desirable outcomes:
Bullying and abusive, demeaning language (now rampant) are concerns of all parents. We work to limit, even eliminate, physical violence and the violence expressed through words meant to hurt, devalue, and shame fellow students. Respect for all individuals means acting and living in keeping with this belief.
At PFMS, we employ the Quaker Decision-making Process, a basic toolkit for learning to resolve conflicts and to decide issues affecting a small group or the entire school.
In the US, “majority rule” is a long-standing practice with unintended consequences. The 51% rule, a rule based on one person, one vote, often means one group (or person) “wins” while others “lose.” Outcomes framed as a “win” or a “loss” often lead to a cycle of conflicts that divide individuals and groups. Quakers reach group decisions without voting through a process of listening, reflection, discussion, and agreement, a process more like mediation than majority rule. PFMS employs this practice.
We offer a different approach to education with different outcomes.
At PFMS, enrollments for grades 5 and 6 are underway for classes starting late August 2022. We will add grades 7 and 8 in the following two years. The search for Head of School (HOS) continues to June 1 this year for an expected decision in July and full-time employment in September, one year before we open.
If you seek information about the HOS position or information about the new school . . .
Or contact us directly by email: info-AT-phoenixfriendsschool-DOT-org
from Willard E. White, Phoenix Friends Middle School (4/16/2021)