Frequently Asked Questions
The Friends School of Portland challenges and empowers students to develop their intellectual, physical, emotional, creative and spiritual potential. The school honors our students' natural gifts as they learn to enter the world with confidence, competence, joy and a sense of purpose. We are guided by the Quaker values of integrity, truth, equality, peace, community and simplicity.
We believe that a small learning community dedicated to living positive values openly and consciously is the best educational environment for children. In a consumer society where speed, material wealth and outer appearances seem to matter most, we offer time for reflection, simplicity and careful use of resources, and a continual search for the truth, or "Inner Light." We look for each child's natural gifts and help the child develop the intellectual, social, and emotional skills to meet life's challenges. We provide a high standard of academic learning, a small student/teacher ratio that allows for appropriate individualization, multi-age groupings, community service, and a chance for parents to be involved in the school community. These values have been hallmarks of Friends schools for over 200 years. As Gandhi said, We must be the change we wish to see in the world.
The values-centered environment and character of a Friends school comes directly from the faith and practice of Quakerism. Quakers teach tolerance of and respect for all faiths, and Friends schools are open to children of all religious backgrounds. A Quaker education is based on the values of simplicity, integrity, harmony, peace and equality, and a belief in "that of God" in each person. These values guide the actions and decisions of the faculty, students, and Board of Directors at Friends School of Portland. We combine academic excellence with a commitment to developing each person's self-worth, tolerance and respect for others, and a commitment to service to their community and wider world.
For more information, visit www.friendscouncil.org. Open "Students/Parents" and click on "What Does a Friends School Have to Offer?"
The Friends' way of transacting business begins with the belief of that of God, or the Light, in everyone and presumes that when the hearts and heads of a group combine to search for a way that is in harmony with the Light, Truth will emerge that is greater than one person's or one side's way or than an efficient compromise. So we make most decisions in an egalitarian way, taking the time to listen to all views, to reflect with open minds and patient awareness of our own prejudices, limitations and gifts. Although there are designated leaders in the school and on the Board of Directors, their role is to facilitate collaboration and reflective decision-making, rather than impose a point of view. This matters to students for two reasons. First, when teachers are valued as genuine and equal participants in decisions that affect them, they are happier and more invested in the well-being of the whole school, and this sense of commitment and team spirit are conveyed to the children. Second, it becomes our way of life to help children learn to participate this way in the decisions that affect them. They grow up learning how to express and honor and work through differences in a way that allows their creativity, their curiosity and their compassion to thrive. The world needs citizens like this.
Some children with learning difficulties will succeed in small classes with close attention from teachers and minor modifications in program or environment. Some will need more than that. On a case-by-case basis and with full cooperation from parents, we will discuss the special learning needs of individual children. For some children, limited outside help may be enough for them to succeed within the school. For other children, another school or program may be the best solution. We reserve the right to decline admission to and to remove students whose needs we cannot adequately meet and to define the modifications we can provide. In all cases, we will weigh the needs of the individual child with the needs of the other students in the school to make the best decision for both.
Parent and community participation is a key component in creating a supportive, integrated, dynamic educational community. There will be opportunities to volunteer in the classrooms on a variety of projects and in a variety of ways, and there will be gardening and other outdoor experiences. There will also be a wide range of whole school activities and fundraising events to invite your participation.
Tuition assistance is needs based. We encourage families to apply for admission and to call us to explore ways to finance your child’s education.