I am not originally from Philadelphia, but heard about GFS and its reputation as a great school academically, spiritually and culturally. When we were looking at schools, GFS seemed like the right place for not only our children, but us too. We now have three children at GFS and have been so impressed by the teachers and the academics, which are stimulating and our grounded in excellence in learning. Also, there is a strong commitment to Quaker values, the Germantown community and awareness and appreciation of others inside and outside GFS.
My children have attended GFS since kindergarten and are now in 10th and 12th grades.. They have had a fantastic experience there, all the way through. My kids have thrived at GFS with the right amount of intellectual stimulation--never bored, never overwhelmed. Teachers work with the students and parents, and are always available for help or a question. The other families at GFS are truly amazing--you want to be friends with all of them!
We have a middle school daughter in her second year at GFS. She is doing very well, and is happy. Why? Because she is intellectually curious, and GFS provides a stimulating academic environment. That's not all. The students are friendly and supportive of one another. The facutly are passionate and committed. There is a commitment to diversity that will help our child operate as an adult on all levels of society. Students are encouraged to have a voice, and discover who they are. My child's education is well rounded, and she loves it!
GFS is a true gem. It has found that elusive combination of academic rigor, a nurturing and supportive environment, socioeconomic diversity, and passion for social justice. My son is learning amazing things, but most importantly he's learning how to be an active and engaged learner. And he loves it! He gets upset if he has to miss a day! We live in Center City and the bus is fantastic.
GFS is everything I could want for my child. He is learning in a caring, supportive environment. His teachers know him and his learning style and are interested in helping him become all that he can be. I disagree with some reviewers past - there are many kids with learning disabilities that attend and thrive at GFS.
My daughter has been a part of Germantown Friends School Community for 3 years now. I couldn't be happier with our choice to send her to GFS. This is an excellent well rounded school. The lower school provides excellent fundamentals and a love of learning. From what I hear and see the academics provided are challenging and stimulating but you also have the aspect of being involved with athletics, community service and clubs. I hear about the kinds of projects that the upper school is working on and I am really impressed. Everyone is really kind and supportive. I am so thankful that we are a part of GFS.
Amazing school. My children are thriving on multiple levels. This school is the opposite of "No Child Left Behind" but rather "Every Child Reaches Their Potential". Their potential in Athletics, in the Arts, in Academics, in becoming good self actualized citizens of the world. And with academics it is not dumbed down - and the students rise to the challenges and become critical thinkers. And this capability can be applied across disciplines throughout their lives. Thank You GFS for what you are allowing my children to experience.
Academically rigid with inadequate art, theater and music programs. The inability of many teachers to address multiple learning styles results in heavy loads of homework\busywork. They may tout low teacher/student ratios, but in reality they are truly understaffed. This school spends a lot of time telling parents why they are worth the over-priced tuition, when ultimately they are mediocre at best. Other area Quaker schools have much better facilities, programs and teachers.
I went to GFS during the early nineties from K-6. Yes, the academics are outstanding, my brother graduated and his time at GFS has given him a great work ethic, an ivy league diploma and many opportunities . It is true however that if you have any type of learning or behavior disability no support is offered. I lived in Germantown, my parents both well respected academics and the parents were extremely rude because of where we lived. If you do not learn at the same pace as the other children, the TEACHER not the student will embarrass and scold your child. The children were in no ways bullies, the teachers and parents were. If you send your child here, you will no doubt invest in a very high level of education; the competitive nature, which is not very Quakerly, might leave some lasting wounds.
As an admissions student tour guide I am always asked the question: "What is the typical GFS student?" This question I tell them is impossible to answer with some many different types of students having different backgrounds and passions. As a GFS lifer, I can only think of three commonalities among students: very intelligent, hardworking, and down to earth. GFS is an extremely academically rigorous high school, which while being a positive attribute, has its drawbacks. Starting in tenth grade students start getting competitive with each other about grades, and it sometimes becomes overwhelming. However, that is really my only complaint. I have never come across a teacher at GFS who wasn't passionate about their job, and helping a student do their best. Because of the close-knit atmosphere, I have developed amazing lifelong friends. The urban environment surrounding GFS, which some could see as a negative, I think of as a positive. It is constantly making students aware of their surroundings and diminishes the stereotypical "elite prep school feel." I just want to thank GFS for a job well done in preparing me for the real world and allowing me to pursue my interests.
There is truth in what some are saying about this school. During an admissions process my son spent the day at this school. They were alarmed because he seemed different. The teacher seemed irritated when I returned. My son has Asperger's Syndrome and is very bright. However, they didn't care about his intelligence -- only about his different behavior. Many "elite" schools don't take kindly to differences -- even though they may be turning away a genius. My son was not accepted.
Germantown Friends provides the best education in the Quaker tradition. It was the best gift I could give my daughter and will sustain her throughout her life.
It's a great college prep school. I went to college and aced everything so clearly I was prepared. In many ways the school does follow 'Quaker values' but there is an underlying competitiveness that the administration tries to pretend isn't there by not having academic awards. It's very strange because though the entirety of the student body is competitive from an academic standpoint, there is also a large amount of cheating going on which (though it is a negative trait and against the rules) speaks to the sense of loyalty students have with each other. RE: The parent with the child with ADD: Your child must have just not been up to GFS's high standards. The number of children in my class alone with ADD/ADHD was probably higher than the national average. Many people with it excelled and continue to do so. So it might just be your kid.
From the Admissions process right on through to the classroom - top notch. 7th grade writing is high level - not just rephrasing what is in the text, but comprehending and analyzing - not dumbed down at all. In addition the way field trips intertwine with cross-curricular studies is thoughtful and meaningful. My child also is benefiting from from the communal Meeting for Worship - quiet, reflective time each week. Kudos from a happy parent.
my daughter is a lifer, great education, smart kids, too many stuck up parents!
I am a parent of two children at GFS... it is a great school at the K to 3 level. They really are a Quaker school that sticks to its Quaker values.... holds meeting for worship at all grade levels. At times it feels like GFS is a bit behind the times, but it does offer a caring, nurturing environment - and for a very expensive private school, you will find that it is NOT a 'snobby' environment like some other reviewers have stated. The kids are taught excellent values and service to their community. I wish it were less costly to send my kids there, but the whole school is very down to earth and really cares about diversity and its families.
Academic excellence and rigor with a superior arts program are made all the stronger by the commitment to the values that are the foundation of the GFS experience for students and families. Great college list, leaders in the Friends School athletic league, community service incorporated K-12 year round. Urban setting unique and they make the most of it. My children found their best friends for life at this school.
GFS overall is an excellent school which gives children opportunities to learn and experience learning in a stimulating environment. The teaching staff is an excellent group and overall the staff is supportive but can be narrow. Also the parents can be a bit 'Stuck UP' in attitude and somewhat difficult to merge into the Click of Parent(s) unless you are a notoriety in profession.
With all due respect to the reviewer below me, he or she has not painted an accurate picture of GFS. As a student someone who currently attends the school I can say that most of what the previous reviewer has said is untrue. It is incorrect to say that 'most kids' have outside tutoring in fact, the number of those that do is no larger than at any other friends school. I also must say that the kids at GFS are some of the kindest and most polite I have ever met, and they most certainly WILL hold a door for you. GFS is a wonderful school, and while I can't say that I don't have a few problems with it, the quality of the education one will receive at the school is very high much higher than most friends schools I know of.
Hmm, all of these reviews are fairly accurate, but miss a couple of truths about the school. First, it's a narrow pipe, and although there is talk about openness to differences in learning, ADD pretty much excludes a child from GFS, leaving Greene Street Friends across the street, which goes up to 8th grade covers them on this.- GSFS is about equal in quality of education. Most kids at GFS have external tutoring, and while I suppose that's not an awful thing, perhaps on average, they should be able to get enough into most kid's heads that they don't need additional support. Also, socially, I would encourage you to walk through GFS and see if any student holds a door open for you, or defers let you pass. They will not. The culture is highly entitled, and actually a bit rude. This is not the case at other local Friends' schools.
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