3 Parents Share Why They Chose GFS [School Selection Report]

Normally, these get posted one at a time, but three survey responses came in at once for Germantown Friends School and it made sense to combine them.

This is a snapshot of three parents’ school choices. Help other parents–take five minutes to complete an anonymous survey to tell PSS and our readers about your school choice!

What school did you decide on? Germantown Friends School GFS

Calendar year your child entered/will enter 2007, 2010

Grade your child entered/will enter Kindergarten

What neighborhood are you in? NW Philly

What schools did you consider? Henry, Miquon, Greene St, Penn Charter, Abington Friends

What factors were most important to you? Location, Teacher Quality, Principal Quality, Diversity, ethical values

What first attracted you to the school? Felt like a neighborhood-y school for our part of Mt Airy.  Quaker values were appealing.  Academic intensity seemed like potentially a good fit for our kids, though you never know.  K-12 meant potentially not having to go through application process again until college!!!

What were the critical factors that led to your choice? Most important was that we felt like the parent community was a community we wanted to be a part of — which we weren’t sure we’d find at a private school.  In particular, we loved the strong emphasis on non-consumer culture, social and economic justice, and (relative) economic diversity, which was not only present in the parent community but really strongly emphasized by teachers and school administrators.  We had hoped that would really be a prominent part of the school culture, and we have not been at all disappointed.  The proximity to our neighborhood and the fact that GFS draws heavily from NW Philly was also a big draw for us — no more driving 25 min to play dates.   Finally, we loved the teachers and the academic curriculum: in the lower grades, instilling curiosity and excitement about learning, very little homework, heavy emphasis on social and emotional development and letting kids be kids in the lower grades.  Looking forward to great science, social studies and humanities education in the upper school.

Did you relocate in order to choose this school? No

On the political spectrum, I consider myself to be Very liberal by US standards, about average for W Mt Airy

Please share anything else about your experience We have been very satisfied with GFS so far (our oldest is just finishing up 3rd grade).  Each year we have thought “well, we’d better enjoy this, because we couldn’t possibly have such a great teacher for our child next year,” and each year has been better than the last.  We’ve also been very satisfied with teachers’ and administrators’ response to our older child’s emerging learning and emotional difficulties.  Most importantly, HE still is in love with GFS.  Not sure if he’ll be able to manage the middle and upper school workload, but we’ll see.


What school did you decide on? Germantown Friends

Calendar year your child entered/will enter 2011

Grade your child entered/will enter 9

What neighborhood are you in? NW Philly

What schools did you consider? Briefly considered a few city high schools but the distance was too far by train and bus and nothing was definite. Just like Len Lipkin, I went to my area school for 12 years. I lived in Pittsburgh growing up and attended St. Basil’s in Carrick from 1st through 12th grade. Where I went to school was never an issue.

What factors were most important to you? Location, Reputation, Teaching Philosophy, School Performance (test scores, success of graduates), Teacher Quality, Principal Quality, Diversity, student centered environment

What first attracted you to the school? The atmosphere of the school: I feel my daughter will benefit from the student centered classrooms and the challenging curriculum.

What were the critical factors that led to your choice? Curriculum, safety, location, school’s reputation

Did you relocate in order to choose this school? No

On the political spectrum, I consider myself to be Liberal Democrat

Please share anything else about your experience My professional life has involved education. I taught in the Pittsburgh School District and the School District of Philadelphia. I was an assistant principal and principal in the School District of Philadelphia. Much of my career involved middle school students.

There are many wonderful teachers, school staff, students and parents involved with the Philadelphia school system. What I feel could be improved upon is the focus which need to center on the education of all the students. All decisions should center on the educational impact of each decision So much is unpredictable when you enroll your child in a school. Change should be minimized during the school year. The planning needs to be done in the spring so that the school year runs smoothly. I believe the School District of Philadelphia could be one of the best in the nation. The parents in all communities want a strong educational program. Some do not know how to support it; others are willing to give their all to make their neighborhood school the best it can be. My question is “Why is it not happening?”


What school did you decide on? GFS

Calendar year your child entered/will enter 2011

Grade your child entered/will enter Kindergarten

What neighborhood are you in? Center City

What schools did you consider? CHA, Friends Central

What factors were most important to you? Reputation, Teaching Philosophy, Principal Quality

What first attracted you to the school? Listening to Dick Wade, the Head of School, address prospective families.

What were the critical factors that led to your choice? Reputation for rigor, diversity, tolerance, and genuine adherence to Quaker values.

Did you relocate in order to choose this school? No

On the political spectrum, I consider myself to be liberal

Please share anything else about your experience School selection is a question of “fit.”  We predict that GFS will fit our kids better than any other we looked at.  Time will tell.

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