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Explore the city as a classroom at Friends Select

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Friends Select
Friends Select Courtesy of Friends Select

As the only Quaker pre-K-to-12 institution in Center City Philadelphia, Friends Select School uses the city as a classroom and provides an unparalleled educational experience.

Located along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Friends Select is just a short walk, bus ride, or SEPTA ride to numerous museums and so much more. Friends Select students are taught to see themselves not just as observers, but as participants in the city’s everyday life. Whether it’s exploring the culture and history of Chinatown or heading to City Hall to learn about government, Friends Select enhances education through unmatched access to local resources. 

Plus, as a Quaker school, the Friends Select community is built on the values of respect, simplicity, peaceful resolution to conflict, and the constant search for truth.

Friends Select’s curriculum challenges students to have agency and voice, developing those skills through individual exploration and active, hands-on learning. Teachers are dedicated to helping students reach their full potential while instilling a commitment to diversity, inclusivity, critical thinking, and active participation in building a better world.

Want to learn more? The school’s Open House on Tuesday, April 11, at 8:45 a.m. (PK-12) provides the opportunity to explore how Friends Select School can help your children thrive.

Courtesy of Friends Select

The future of education is full STEAM ahead at Friends Select

To enrich student learning and foster community engagement, Friends Select recently transformed its Parkway Building, which houses new lower school classrooms and an updated rooftop athletic field, and created a state-of-the-art upper school STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) Building. 

“We use the term STEAM because we believe it is essential that we include the arts — the creative process that is so intrinsic to all of the STEM fields. These new, modern, STEAM-focused spaces will allow our upper school students to exercise their creativity and further develop their passions in a facility designed with a commitment to sustainability and the building’s historic integrity in mind,” said Head of School Michael Gary. 

The new STEAM Building boasts four floors and 15,000 square feet of space for classrooms, laboratories, and studios. Upper school digital media teacher Zoë Blatt explains that Friends Select is already doing curricular work that is not yet happening in peer schools. Still, with this new space, they can continue to push the boundaries of digital art and media production at the high school level.

“Friends Select is one of the only schools in the area to have a two-year performing or visual arts requirement, with many students continuing to take arts courses for all four years. There is also a lot of student interest in The Falcon, the student-run newspaper, and the journalism course, where students explore both traditional journalistic writing and contemporary forms of multimedia journalism. This new space will accommodate that growing student interest,” said Blatt. 

Courtesy of Friends Select

City experiences with SummerSessions

This summer, Friends Select invites students of all ages and backgrounds to join its SummerSessions program, offering City Academy and City Lab courses, including some pay-what-you-can options. Students will gain practical skills and have fun while staying engaged all summer.

Taking full advantage of the school’s Center City location, the SummerSessions program uses Philadelphia as a living classroom. From June 20 through August 18, students will have opportunities to participate in a range of in-person courses designed to keep them learning until they’re back in the fall. 

City Academy offers academic classes that support, advance, and expose students to new subjects. These classes can be anywhere from one to six weeks long and include courses like Algebra II, Geometry, and Pre-Calculus.

City Lab provides a range of experiential and exploratory courses. The one-to-two-week courses cover diverse topics, including art, digital music, forensic science, sports, webcomics, and more. 

SummerSessions courses are tailored to the unique interests and needs of students. For instance, students can join the Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) class to solve a mystery using forensic science techniques and logical reasoning. They work together to collect evidence at the scene, including fingerprints, hairs and fibers, and trace chemicals. By analyzing the evidence and reviewing witness interviews, students arrive at logical conclusions and solve the mystery.

Meanwhile, in the Beat-Makers class, students explore the world of digital music and learn the foundation for how music is made and assembled today. The course combines both in- and out-of-studio activities, where students work directly with digital instruments and computer software while also venturing into the city to capture and remix its sounds. By the end of the course, students have an audio portfolio and the ability to make beats, record and mix their own guitar playing, or even make a podcast. 

Friends Select’s SummerSessions program offers something for everyone, whether students want to learn how to make beats, take group walks, join a sports camp, and more.

For more information on how to enroll your student into a SummerSessions program, visit