Statement of School Culture
The Friends School Haverford faculty have a School Culture document that articulates our social expectations and values. These are our “school” values. However, we expect our students to embody these principles and live them in the wider world.
We organize our values into three categories.
- With our words and our actions, we take care of ourselves.
- With our words and our actions, we take care of each other.
- With our words and our actions, we take care of our environment.
As a Quaker school we teach the implementation of these values in the context of testimonies that inform our behavior. These testimonies, known by the acronym SPICES, are simplicity, peace, integrity, community, equality, and stewardship. We present the testimonies as queries here, so that reading them prompts us to reflect upon whether and to what extent we are successfully leading lives that exemplify righteous behaviors in service to our values.
- Simplicity: Am I using only what I need? Am I thankful for what I have? Or, am I being wasteful or showing off?
- Peace: How am I promoting peace within myself and in my community by not harming others physically or emotionally? Am I a peaceful problem solver? Or, do my actions provoke conflict?
- Integrity: Am I trying to be my best self? Am I the same best self alone and in my community? How do I strive to say and do what I believe in my heart to be right? Or, with my words or actions do I deceive others?
- Community: Am I courteous? Am I including others who wish to be included? Am I engaging others, who may be different than I am, with interest and empathy? Or, do I leave it to others to build community? Do I put others down?
- Equality: Am I treating others the way I want to be treated? Do I value others the way I value myself? Or, am I privileging myself in some way?
- Stewardship: How am I taking care of and encouraging others to care for shared indoor and outdoor spaces and property? What are my shared spaces and property? Or, do I leave it to others to take care of shared spaces. Am I destructive of shared property?
Creating A Culture of Kindness
A tremendous advantage of a Friends School Haverford education is that our faculty and staff bring the same vigor to the construction and implementation of the social curriculum as they do to the intellectual and academic curriculum.
There is a bulletin board in the hallway near the office covered in sticky notes written by students of all ages, teachers, and staff alike. The bulletin board is a school-wide celebration of individual acts of kindness. Here is what some of those notes say:
Vivienne invited me to swing with her.
Ella asked me if I was okay when I fell during a soccer game. And, Ella wasn’t even on my team.
Teacher Sharon complimented me for walking quietly in the hall during ERBs.
Megan told me I played great defense during a whiffle ball game. I didn’t bat so well and it sure felt good.
Jack greets me everyday with a smile and a, “Good morning Teacher Michael.”
By standing shoulder to shoulder – faculty, parents, staff, and students – to uphold the value that we are all worthy of receiving, and responsible for giving, respect and kindness to others, instills confidence, liberates students to be themselves, and fosters a safe context for the sharing of ideas across the curriculum.
We are unified in our belief that being proactive as well as having an agreed upon plan for redressing social missteps is the best way to create and preserve the just right emotional climate for learning and life that is our culture of kindness.