Upper School Students Find Meaning and Purpose through "Meeting for Learning"
In the Upper School at Abington Friends students are prepared to navigate the path towards lives of deep meaning and purpose. The classrooms at AFS are Meetings for Learning in which teachers and students co-create experiences that set the conditions for student growth. We have a traditional approach to teaching and learning that is continually refined by the foundational reflective practices of Quaker principles. We prepare students to lead meaningful lives once they leave our hallways and performance spaces. Students and teachers engage in a learning process that seeks to both create space for all voices and sharpen student ability to discern, ask productive questions, and make sense of the world all around them.
At AFS, we explore the relationship between the classroom and the Meetinghouse in ways that encourage authentic learning. Learning that is ideally driven by the questions emerging from the diverse cohorts of students who chose to make AFS their homebase in this vital moment in their learning journeys. Here, deeply collaborative and interdisciplinary teaching leads students to not only understand the ‘how?’ and ‘why?, but also explore the ‘what if?‘ Experiential learning opportunities continue to evolve in response to student interests, rooted in the belief that sustained learning is collaborative and and takes constant practice in order to resonate beyond the individual classroom. Co-Curricular and community spaces are often the spaces students quickly apply new learnings or explore their wonderings.
This practice of “Meeting for Learning” empowers our students to become leaders with dynamic ideas and distinct voices. Ideally, an AFS education imbues them with the tools needed to make a difference in a world that calls for their creativity and civic engagement. The Upper School experience encourages students to grow into the wholeness of their humanity and prepares them to engage as active community members and stewards of our “living democracy.“
The conditions that make AFS optimal for student growth include:
- Validating and affirming students as multidimensional human beings first.
- Normalizing that exploration and inquiry is an everyday part of life that makes day to day living more interesting.
- Curriculum and activities that adapt with the interests and skills of the students in the room and things that are happening in the world.
- Crafting opportunities and experiences for dynamic dialogue as a means of deep engagement as we wrestle with the complexities of real life.
- Challenge is met with supporting the health and wellbeing of students with the guidance of the Director of Student Support.
- Practicing community habits that reinforce the notion that everyone is both learner and teacher.
- Allowing students to explore, play and build as a means of constructing knowledge together.
- Creating space, focusing on skill development where necessary and allowing time to wallow and dig deeper.
- Giving students challenging things that have multiple approaches without expecting them to be perfect.
- Encouragement of the artistic process: research, play, execute, refine. Repeat.
Come experience the intellectual adventure at AFS by scheduling a visit.
“We do not grow by entering either the Meetinghouse or the classroom with the aim of proving ourselves to be right or in possession of more knowledge than others. Rather, we grow only to the extent that we approach each of these experiences with a hope and expectation of being transformed, combined with a willingness both to learn from others AND contribute to their learning. (2001) ”
Meet our Upper School Director
Brendon Jobs was appointed as Upper School Director at AFS in July 2021. Brendon brings extensive professional experience facilitating organizational and adult learning to his practice. He is a practiced school leader, classroom teacher and racial literacy consultant with 14 years in public and private school environments including The Haverford School, The Browning School, The Baldwin School, Penn Charter School, Central High School (PA), St. Peter’s School, The Waldorf School of Philadelphia, Wilmington Friends School, Penn School of Design and more. Recently, he has been recognized as a “Top Teacher” by Main Line Today Magazine and has published articles on talking with kids about race and the need for emotional intelligence in schools in the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Brendon is a connector, building programs and relationships across school communities and drawing from a rich network that he has developed across the region with researchers, school leaders and teachers. Central to his vision is the power of relationships and collaboration, with students, colleagues and families, to together build school communities of academic depth and meaning, social emotional strength and wellbeing, a shared ethic of systemic equity and transformational opportunities available to all. As a school leader, his interests range from the craft of classroom teaching to strategic visioning for schools in the 21st century.
Learn a few of Brendon’s goals at AFS in this Philadelphia Business Journal interview.