Arizona is getting its first Friends School, a prestigious independent education concept of which a number of former U.S. President’s children including Malia and Sasha Obama and Chelsea Clinton are graduates.
The Phoenix Friends School, set to open in the Fall of 2023, will take an open-minded approach to curriculum and teaching and a developmental approach to children and learning.
“While there are many excellent schools in the Phoenix area, we believe that Phoenix Friends School is unique in providing students with a strong academic foundation guided by and grounded in the timeless Quaker values of equality, community, integrity, and peace,” said Andy Jones-Wilkins, Founding Head of School.
Upon opening, Phoenix Friends School will serve students in grades five and six with plans to expand to grades seven and eight over the subsequent two years.
With a student to teacher ratio of just six to one, students will not only receive personalized attention, but they will also get to take part in service-learning projects with the Desert Botanical Gardens and Arizona Humane Society.
“With the Humane Society students will participate in the Junior Vet Program which will provide real world experience in caring for animals and understanding the challenges the Humane Society grapples with on a daily basis,” said Jones-Wilkins. “With the Desert Botanical Garden students will participate in a developmentally appropriate integrated science program to learn more about our unique desert ecosystem as well as provide volunteer services to the Garden.”
In addition to service learning opportunities, the students will also be taught unique subjects such as civics where they will learn about responsible citizenship, grammar and vocabulary through Latin instruction, technological coding, and aikido—an integrative non-traditional physical education program.
The Phoenix Friends School also incorporates a form of worship that is simple and easily practiced by a religiously diverse community.
“Every Wednesday morning the entire school community gathers for Meeting for Worship,” said Jones-Wilkins. “Students and teachers gather to worship in silence and are encouraged to speak to the community from their hearts, if so moved. Meeting for Worship makes explicit the connection between the inward and outward life that is unique to Quaker education and provides a weekly platform for reflection and rejuvenation.”
While the yearly tuition of $19,000 a year may be hefty for some families, the Phoenix Friends School offers financial assistance based on family income.
“We strive to meet 100% of demonstrated need for qualifying families,” said Jones-Wilkins. “Additionally, Phoenix Friends School observes an ‘evergreen’ tuition policy, meaning the tuition charged at the time of enrollment remains unchanged through a student’s graduation from the 8th grade.”
Families can also access Arizona’s Empowerment Scholarship Account and the Arizona Tuition Tax Credit Program to offset tuition costs.
Applications are now being accepted. For more information visit https://phoenixfriendsschool.org/