Last week I travelled to Pendle Hill, a Quaker retreat center near Philadelphia, for a meeting of the Friends Council on Education Board of Directors, and a subsequent “Heads of School Gathering” for Friends School heads.

I am in my fourth year of serving on the board, and as I flew home this time I reflected on the many ways that our connection to the broader world of Quaker education serves Friends School of Minnesota, and nourishes me in my work. Just a few:

  • Friends education is over 300 years old in the US. There is an abundance of experience to draw on in making Friends education relevant and effective today.
  • The 82 member schools of the Council are diverse: from small preschools to schools for students with learning disabilities to larger K-12 schools like Sidwell Friends, we share a common commitment to Quaker values, and it is seen as a critical aspect of our purpose. Uniting with others with similar missions and values is nurturing.
  • I am inspired by the many ways different schools act on their Quaker values and missions. I come back with ideas and possibilities to share with the staff and School Committee.
  • This fellowship provides a context to reflect on our school, and I always come home feeling really good about what we do at FSM! This year many colleagues wanted to hear about the process of articulating our position on the proposed marriage amendment.
  • There is something qualitatively unique about meeting with other Friends educators; the mission-based purpose of our mutual work is understood. And we can share our schools’ good work and discuss challenges together.

To learn more, I encourage you to visit the Friends Council on Education website at www.friendscouncil.org, and review the resources and information about Quaker education.