This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Princeton Friends School5
Posted January 13, 2015
- a parent
My daughter started at PFS this year in the 1st grade and we could not be happier! Academically she is engaged and acquiring new skills every day. Her teachers are warm, caring, and invested in her growth as a student and a person. The school truly nurtures the individual and encourages students to care about each other and their world and to learn because it is a satisfying and joyful pursuit in its own right. The school is small without all the extra programs of some other local schools, but as a result, there is consistent mindful attention to nurturing each child where they are and a focus on developing the child rather than the program. We look forward to the years ahead as part of this wonderful community.
It has become very clear to us that the administration is the issue in this school. The head of school and some key "founding" administrators are very resistant to changes to bring the school to the 21st century when dealing with multicultural issues. If your child and family fit their "good White liberal" mode of being/thinking, this school is a good fit. But if you are outside of these narrow boxes, they struggle to meet your needs. Another area of concern is teacher quality. Some teachers are phenomenal if your child is lucky to have them; while others should not be teaching. These incompetent teachers are there simply because they have a "history" with the school. The school wants parent involvement as long as the involvement is about donating money and time to help out the school. If you dare to "rock the boat" to raise concerns, you often get the typical response of "I will think it over" from the head of school and nothing will be followed up. Compare to other Quaker schools, it's easy to see the shortcomings of this school are sadly from the leadership style of the top.
Why does the school appropriate an African name for its end of the year party but can't hire/retain faculty or staff of African descent? Why does the school have children of color who are Asian--male and female, and a handful of girls but almost no boys of African descent or Latino? Who will replace the "star" teachers who are leaving or cutting back hours for other jobs?
I believe a higher focus on academics is something that all parents can come to expect from the private school experience. Indeed, it is the typical 'bragging' point of schools in attaining enrollment. But what speaks to the quality of the education, as opposed to the quantity of it? In other words, how does one teach a child to learn, to be fully engaged in the process of education as well as their own personal development? You do it by creating a supportive environment, by encouraging curiosity in a constructive manner and by identifying the proper curriculum relative to a child s development. This approach is what creates and motivates a child s self-confidence; a key to actual learning. In turn, it ultimately allows a school to accelerate their curriculum and the child to excel. This is what sets Princeton Friends School apart from others. Through great thought and care, they develop a child s foundation, creating a core-strength which will carry them forward not only through academics, but more importantly, through life.
Our daughter has been at PFS since early lower school and will be graduating this Spring. She has transformed from a shy, reticent student to a self-confident, eager learner. Our daughter was always reader, and PFS nurtured and guided her in her reading as she matured. The school's math teachers took a kid who hated math when she arrived, and somehow so engaged her in the subject that she nows want to go to summer school for geometry so she can have enough time in high school to do high level math. Most importantly, PFS taught my daughter about community, friendship, kindness, stewardship and how to be, I hope, a good citizen in our troubled world.
We came to Princeton Friends School four years ago with our expectations sky high. Everyone we had spoken to reinforced our notion that the school was exceptional, but our time there has been even better than we had dared to imagine. The teachers and administration are extraordinary and work tirelessly to create an atmosphere in which the gifts of each child are recognized, appreciated and developed. Students and teachers treat one another with the utmost of kindness and respect. PFS students leave the school prepared to excel academically in a wide range of settings and many transition seamlessly into some of the most prestigious schools in the country. We have two young children at PFS -- both of them love school and wake up eager and excited to go just about every day. I would recommend Princeton Friends School highly to friends or family without qualification. We have never for an instant regretted sending our children to PFS. Instead, we are reminded on a nearly daily basis how fortunate we are to have found it.
We have three children at PFS, three very different kids with very different personalities and needs, and we couldn't be happier with their experience over the past five years. The teachers and administrators are incredibly caring and dedicated; our children are loved there, and perhaps more importantly they are truly KNOWN there, to a degree that makes it very easy for us to drop them off in the morning without worrying about what kind of day they're going to have. Our biggest problem is that our children refuse to miss a day of school to take some family time -- they love it there so much that they don't ever want to skip! As for the education, we teach at an elite boarding school in the area and I can assure you that our kids are being very well-prepared for the challenges that lie ahead. PFS has done a great job of responding to our kids' needs and tailoring things to their interests and abilities, and I know they do this across the board with all kinds of needs and abilities. PFS has built a strong foundation for our kids that will serve them well not just in school but also in life, and it's like a second home for our family. I can't recommend this school enough.
This school is not run in a professional manner. The lack of professionalism comes from the top level administration which has led the school for over twenty years, but still runs the school like a new experiment. There is a lack of clear policy for myriad issues and an overwhelming sense of the administration making it up as they go along. We started at the school for the promises of Quaker ideals and a great education. After three years we left feeling that despite wonderful intentions the school fails to deliver on all fronts. Very disappointing.
I can't imagine a better school! My daughter and son are both graduates, and though I have been involved professionally with PFS as well, this review comes from a parent's perspective. I have never seen another school care so deeply about its students and offer so much individual help in terms of both academic and emotional growth. The classes are lively and challenging. The students and teachers work together as a community. And the Friends educational values are always front and center. It's a very special place.
Leaves a lot to be desired at this price point, the faculty, with a few exceptions, leaves a lot to be desired. There seems to be an lot of inexperienced teachers. We gave PFS a chance and finally left after 2 years.