The school represents itself to be the ultimate in value-based education, but in reality it's a difficult place unless you are an alum, a rich board member, a valued minority, or a bully. It's best if you're a bully, because the school turns a blind eye to bad behavior and only applies pressure to quash complaints and marginalize victims. They are so protective of their perfect self-image that they view any assertion of wrongdoing as a PR crisis to be neutralized instead of as evidence that there is a terrible bullying problem that must be addressed. The same is true for opposing viewpoints. They pride themselves in being progressive, but there is zero tolerance for anything but far left, guilt-guided politics. As a student, I was scared all the time, while the bullies and cheaters were recognized for their community spirit and leadership. Despite depleted confidence after my years there, I defied my college counselor when she told me not to kid myself that I'd ever get into my dream school. She got angry when I applied anyway (I think she honestly thought so little of me that she was afraid I'd mess up her success rate) and even made a snarky comment when I was accepted. I still have a lot of anxiety and sadness when I think of my years there, and I'd hate for other families to fall for their publicity.
As a graduate and currently a parent, I am so grateful for my extended experience at WFS. There are a LOT of alums who send their kids there, which speaks volumes about how comforting and amazing the school is. The Home and School association is full of wonderful moms who are down-to-earth and exude the same warm and welcoming attitude that the school is known for. We couldn't be happier about being a part of WFS - the advanced programs, the foundation of Quakerism, the arts and science programs, etc. As soon as you walk in the door and meet one of the staff, you'll know you hit the jackpot. Many of the other area private schools have a very different vibe...it just depends on what you're looking for in a school. WFS breeds wonderfully well-rounded, global-thinking, and kind children.
I would love to say that I loved WFS. I was a lifer at Friends, meaning I was there from pre-elementary school through graduation, and the longer I stayed, the more I noticed that was wrong with the school. WFS is completely inept at dealing with bullying. I have two friends who have younger siblings that were bullying to the point of leaving the school. I myself was subjected to sexual harassment, and the school's reaction was to give the young men involved a detention (one hour before one day of school, after they had bothered me for months). Another friend was kicked as she walked down the hallway. Several others were teased because they did not like sports. PLEASE, I caution you before sending your children to WFS. While yes, the school boasts numerous benefits to your children (a second language, low teacher to student ratios, great college guidance), it really isn't worth the money to have your child come home crying every day. I wish you all the best of luck in choosing schools.
Our two-year old daughter just began attending the ELC this September, and it has been amazing watching her flourish in this environment. She seems so much happier at Friends than she did at het last NAEYC- accredited daycare, and we attribute that completely to the high standards for teaching and the personal connections that her teachers make with each of the children. It was the right fit for us!
I attended WFS for 14 years, pre-K through 12. I had an absolutely wonderful education- academically, athletically, and socially. As several reviewers have said, it is a family. It is a very unique place that encourages acceptance, tolerance, and being yourself. I went on to an Ivy League university and found college to be easy compared with Friends. I felt better prepared for my college classes than peers who attended some of the "best" schools in the country. I feel very luck and grateful to have attended Friends, and am seriously considering moving back to DE just to send my children there!
I am in my junior year at WFS and have been there since pre-K. The school is more than just a place to learn, it is a family, it is somewhere I can be myself, grow into who I want to be, and along the way meet the most amazing people. I can honestly say that every teacher I have had has touched my life in a meaningful way.