arrow-right facebook file-download instagram sort-down twitter youtube

Diversity at AFS is one of our deepest strengths and resources and one of our most important challenges.

Cultivating Critical Consciousness and Creating A Conscious Community with Dignity

At Abington Friends School, we affirm the inherent worth and dignity of every individual, guided by the Quaker testimonies and a commitment to equity and justice.  We strive to create a conscious community where all members are seen, heard, and valued for who they are—promoting respect, understanding, belonging, and a celebration of our shared humanity.

Recognizing the strength that lies in our diversity as a transformative force for positive change, we actively engage in ongoing learning and critical self-reflection to challenge bias, dismantle oppressive systems, and nurture an environment where every person can thrive. We emphasize the development of critical thinking, agency, and self-advocacy skills, which encourages all community members to express their thoughts, ask questions, challenge assumptions, and engage in meaningful dialogue.

Ultimately, cultivating critical consciousness and creating a conscious community with dignity not only prioritizes the holistic growth and well-being of each community member, but also empowers and equips them with the awareness, language, and cultural tools to fully envision and live the promise of an equitable, inclusive, and just community at Abington Friends School and beyond.


For more information, contact Mikael Yisrael, Director of Equity, Justice & Engagement.

The following principles inform our daily practice:

Diverse Backgrounds

The curriculum, program and climate of the School must reflect the diverse backgrounds of the members of the school community, of the wider local community and of the global community in terms of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, religion, gender and ability.

Excellence in Teaching & Learning

Excellence in teaching and learning can only occur in a school community that honors the multiple perspectives provided by individuals and groups with a wide variety of backgrounds.

Transgender and Gender Expansive Statement

The AFS community continues to be professionally engaged in growing our knowledge of concepts of gender and gender identity development, and we have partnered with several AFS families to understand, support and advocate for gender expansive and transgender students on their journey through our program. Through the work of listening and reflection, we have come to better understand the distinct joys, challenges and issues facing gender expansive and transgender students and their families and we have adopted the following practices in support of their growth and development at AFS:

  • We will address students using the names and pronouns they share with us. Student records and communications will be coordinated to support student requests wherever possible.
  • For gender expansive students, the AFS Student Support Team serves as a resource and support during this journey. For some students, a Gender Support Plan may be developed to coordinate multiple aspects of the student experience.
  • All students at AFS are welcome to choose the bathrooms and locker rooms that match their gender identity. Any student may request a single-use bathroom or changing facility for any reason.
  • We will be mindful of using gender as an arbitrary way to group or categorize students in order to avoid untenable choices for gender expansive and non-binary students.
  • We affirm the Friends Schools League policies which state that student-athletes may participate on teams that reflect their gender identities and will not be challenged or asked to prove their gender when participating in competitions.
  • In partnership with families, we will strive to balance privacy and confidentiality for our students with appropriate, supportive communication within the community.
  • We will thoughtfully plan with students and their families around issues such as accommodations on overnight school trips.
  • We will continue to educate all students in age-appropriate ways on issues of gender, gender identity, gender roles, gender expression and sexuality so as to promote a safe space for children’s own development and support of that of their peers.

We know that no policy can anticipate all needs or all circumstances. As a Friends school, we will navigate complex issues and challenges with good will, honor of multiple perspectives and openness to new learning. As with all of our diversity and inclusion work, seeing people for who they are, learning from the multiple experiences that our diversity richly provides and being intentionally caring and inclusive continues to make AFS a powerful and distinctive community. We are committed to continually reviewing our policies and programs as our understanding continues to grow.

Role of Identity & Privilege

An understanding of the role of identity and privilege in society and in school must be intentionally built into the education of students and the professional development of adults in the community.

Curriculum & Program

The curriculum and program of the School must foster thoughtful questioning and critical thinking about the historically inequitable distribution of power and privilege throughout the world, and must support students in understanding the impact of these inequities and in taking action to fight injustice.

Cultural Competency

Cultural competency is essential in developing a just and equitable learning community for all of its members; the School must commit necessary resources to provide learning experiences for all adults and students that support this.

A Just, Equitable and Inclusive Community

The work of creating a more just, equitable and inclusive school community must happen both on the personal and the institutional levels; the School must provide necessary resources to support both institutional transformation and individual self-exploration and growth around issues of difference.