So. . . you are a member of a Quaker meeting or a Friends School and you’d like to strengthen your meeting/school relationship but don’t know how to start. Without a first step or framework to rely on, this well-intentioned thought often remains just that, a thought. Fear not as there is help available! In 2006, Deborra Sines Pancoe collected ideas from a group of meetings and schools and created a wonderful resource that would aid schools and meetings in creating the deep and mutually beneficial relationships the original Quakers envisioned when founding the first Friends Schools.
The Care Relationship pamphlet, written by Pancoe and published by the Friends Council on Education is a 24-page treasure trove of ideas and resources that provides meetings and schools with the tools needed to form positive and meaningful relationships. The pamphlet is broken into seven parts outlining guiding principles, strengthening practices and more.
A primary advantage of this resource as a valuable repository of wisdom is its easy-to-read style and wealth of actionable steps. An example is the section titled Strengthening Practices for Care from the School to the Meeting. This section contains a list of actions steps that meetings and schools can take to increase the interactions between both communities and strengthen their bonds. Below is a short highlight of some favorite suggestions.
The school can…
- Encourage your school administrators to occasionally attend Monthly and Yearly Meetings for Business.
- Invite students to write to Meeting members inviting them to a classroom, divisional, or all-school Meeting for Worship.
- Schedule school tours of the Meetinghouse for students, faculty, parents, with a Meeting member conducting the tour and providing information.
The Meeting can…
- Invite new faculty and new school families to a special Meeting for Worship with orientation. This could be on a Sunday or on an evening in the Meetinghouse.
- Hold a special faculty appreciation luncheon either at the Meetinghouse or at the school, prepared and hosted by Monthly Meeting members.
- Encourage Meeting members to attend the school’s Meeting for Worship.
In working towards building stronger bonds between meetings and schools, simply creating the space and time for these interactions is an important first step. And, like all relationships these need to be nurtured. This pamphlet contains suggestions on creating norms that will clarify this relationship and a shortlist to help identify and diffuse stressful moments. If you’re looking for a New Years resolution, pick up a copy of this pamphlet and begin a journey that will help to create rewarding and beneficial bonds.
To order a copy of this resource please visit the Friends Council on Education resource page.
Members of the Committee on Friends Education are available and willing to visit schools and Meetings to assist in developing these relationships. For more information and to contact the Committee on Friends Education visit the Friends and Education page of the PYM website.
This news item was written by Louis Herbst, the Social Studies and 6th Grade Math teacher at United Friends School as well as the Athletic Director, After School Director and Summer Camp Director. Louis’ Action Research Summary will be available for viewing on the Friends Council on Education website in May 2013. View previous action research projects, on the FCE website.