Middle School Program

The FFS middle school is a vibrant place where students grow socially, emotionally, and academically.

Over the course of the year, each Middle School classroom and specialist teacher gets to know every student on an individual level. Teachers are deeply aware of the challenges middle school students can face, and they embrace the opportunity to help each child to honor and respect the adult they will become.  

Middle School students deepen and strengthen their academic skills while tackling larger questions about themselves and the world. A school-wide focus on the UN Sustainable Development Goals gives students opportunities to connect their understandings of global issues with academic learning. Middle Schoolers take risks and try new things, learning through their successes and challenges. 

Students have ample opportunities to find and develop their passions from discovering the arts, and using technology to service learning and more. When students graduate from our eighth grade, they take with them the tools they need to communicate, analyze, question, critique, and interpret information and ideas. They are truly engaged community members and active citizens who are knowledgeable about the world.

Curriculum

Math

The FFS Middle School math program provides students with the skills and understandings necessary to problem solve effectively, reason mathematically,

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calculate fluently and accurately, communicate their math thinking, and apply what they know to complex, real-life situations. Technology is woven into math class in creative and fun ways as well. With Pre-Algebra in 7th grade and Algebra in 8th grade, our students are ready to tackle the challenges of high school math when they graduate from Middle School.

History & Literacy

Sixth graders take separate classes in literacy and history. History begins with the study of Ancient African Civilizations and African geography,

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and continues through a course on American Black Studies. Students also focus on issues of identity, privilege and race, centered around the Quaker testimonies of community and equality.

Students develop active and analytical reading skills and work to become more sophisticated and independent writers through exploring individual roles in the communities to which they belong. Using the workshop model, sixth grade writers continue to hone their skills in formulating ideas, using vivid, descriptive language, drafting, and editing. 

Spanish

Establishing an environment in which students feel safe and comfortable conversing and writing about their own experiences in Spanish is vital to our program

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Our Middle School Spanish Program works on the premise  that students acquire a new language when they understand what they hear, when they understand what they read, and when they are fully engaged in the message. All middle school students read a variety of books at their individual level, which are connected to cultural events in Spanish speaking countries or the United States. They converse in Spanish daily and by 7th grade, the majority of class is conducted in Spanish. What makes our Spanish program really stand out, though, is the dedicated connection to learning a new world language through the lens of social justice and equality. 

Science

Students explore how the world works and its interconnectedness by engaging in activities to help them explore topics in life, physical, environmental,

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and earth sciences. Experiments, inquiries, demonstrations, discussions, and group and independent projects help students construct their understanding. Through study of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, students apply what they are learning to the real-life issues that affect people and our planet, such as climate change, environmental degradation, food security, and bioethics. Students learn how to think like scientists — inquiring, developing theories and hypotheses and testing them.

Technology

All students take weekly technology classes, to learn to use technology to explore better ways to innovate, communicate, and collaborate.

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Students also take an additional trimester of Interactive Tech (circuitry and coding), where they work with programmable hardware to develop design and problem solving skills by exploring systems design with interactive technology.

To ensure equal access to resources, all middle school students receive a Chromebook for their use at home and school.

Quakerism

Our students learn that respect and compassion are at the root of a strong community and that through our actions we can make the world a better place.

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Much of this work is conducted through Quakerism lessons in the classroom and on the Middle School Retreat. Guided by the Quaker testimonies of simplicity, peace, integrity, community, equality and stewardship, our students learn to identify their personal core values, engage in mindfulness practices, and discuss ethics-based moral quandaries and questions. In 8th grade, students assist in guiding our community to enhance their understanding of Quaker practices through clerking and Meeting for Business, becoming strong leaders along the way. 

Math

The FFS Middle School math program provides students with the skills and understandings necessary to problem solve effectively, reason mathematically, ...

+ Read more

calculate fluently and accurately, communicate their math thinking, and apply what they know to complex, real-life situations. Technology is woven into math class in creative and fun ways as well. With Pre-Algebra in 7th grade and Algebra in 8th grade, our students are ready to tackle the challenges of high school math when they graduate from Middle School.

Humanities

Seventh and eighth grade humanities is an interdisciplinary course in which students study literature, history, and social studies through a global lens...

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Seventh graders engage in a Global Studies course, beginning the school year studying geography, human rights, and the ways the environment can shape our lives. Guided by the Brown University Choices Program, students engage in a series of deliberations throughout the school year where they work together to find practical solutions to historical dilemmas or policy problems, including international cooperation for climate change, U.S. policy on human rights, directions for Cuba's future, and apartheid in South Africa. The Global Studies class culminates with a Model UN simulation where students research and represent a country in a delegation on an international crisis.

Eighth grade humanities is focused on American Studies. Students ask questions about the definition of justice and the relationship between justice and citizenship while studying the Constitution and the American court system. Students consider the role of the media in a democracy while writing investigative journalism and continue with units on Immigration in U.S. history, industrialization, and globalization in Philadelphia. In the final unit, the course examines the Civil Rights Movement, comparing it to other American social movements. Students consider what it means to "move" as part of a movement and how movements measure success.

Spanish

Establishing an environment in which students feel safe and comfortable conversing and writing about their own experiences in Spanish is vital to our program...

+ Read more

Our Middle School Spanish Program works on the premise that students acquire a new language when they understand what they hear, when they understand what they read, and when they are fully engaged in the message. All middle school students read a variety of books at their individual level, which are connected to cultural events in Spanish speaking countries or the United States. They converse in Spanish daily and by 7th grade, the majority of class is conducted in Spanish. What makes our Spanish program really stand out, though, is the dedicated connection to learning a new world language through the lens of social justice and equality. 

Science

Students explore how the world works and its interconnectedness by engaging in activities to help them explore topics in life, physical, environmental, ...

+ Read more

and earth sciences. Experiments, inquiries, demonstrations, discussions, and group and independent projects help students construct their understanding. Through study of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, students apply what they are learning to the real-life issues that affect people and our planet, such as climate change, environmental degradation, food security, and bioethics. Students learn how to think like scientists — inquiring, developing theories and hypotheses and testing them.

Technology

All students take weekly technology classes, to learn to use technology to explore better ways to innovate, communicate, and collaborate...

+ Read more

Students also take an additional trimester of Interactive Tech (circuitry and coding), where they work with programmable hardware to develop design and problem solving skills by exploring systems design with interactive technology.

To ensure equal access to resources, all middle school students receive a Chromebook for their use at home and school.

Quakerism

Our students learn that respect and compassion are at the root of a strong community and that through our actions we can make the world a better place...

+ Read more

Much of this work is conducted through Quakerism lessons in the classroom and on the Middle School Retreat. Guided by the Quaker testimonies of simplicity, peace, integrity, community, equality and stewardship, our students learn to identify their personal core values, engage in mindfulness practices, and discuss ethics-based moral quandaries and questions. In 8th grade, students assist in guiding our community to enhance their understanding of Quaker practices through clerking and Meeting for Business, becoming strong leaders along the way. 

Each week, students gather for Meeting for Worship in the Meeting House. Meeting begins in silence, so that students can settle and practice reflection. When moved to speak, participants are encouraged to share an idea or inspiration with the rest of the Meeting. The Meeting ends when the eighth graders initiate a handshake.

fast facts

Facilities

The Margaret E. Passmore Trickey Building is home to our fifth through eighth graders who work and learn together during four core classes that meet everyday — Math, PBL/Science, Spanish, and Humanities. They also explore their interests during classes in technology, performing and visual arts, and physical education. With inquiry and self expression at the root of each class, all students develop strong analytical and problem solving skills that prepare them for the competitive high schools they go on to attend.

Collecting water samples at Friends Hospital

Examining ancient artifacts from the Penn Museum

Running a mile in nearby Overington Park

Completing a group challenge at the annual retreat

Using recycled containers for a bucket drum music lesson

Creating prototypes to solve local pollution problems

High School Placement

High school placement for graduating eighth graders is led by the Director of Lower and Middle School and Director of Admissions, who assist families with navigating the high school application process.

Part of this process includes preparation for high school interviews, writing of a personal essay, filling out applications, and keeping track of application timelines. The Head of School also writes and sends personalized letters of recommendation for each eighth grader and advocates for their acceptance with admissions offices.

Recent graduates attend...

  • Abington Friends School
  • Academy of Creative and Performing Arts (CAPA)
  • The Academy at Palumbo
  • Arts Academy at Benjamin Rush
  • Central High School
  • Charter High School for Architecture and Design
  • Episcopal Academy
  • Friends Select School
  • Germantown Friends School
  • The George School
  • George Washington Carver High School of Engineering and Science
  • Saint Joseph’s Preparatory School
  • Science Leadership Academy
  • Springside Chestnut Hill Academy

"At Frankford Friends I was taught to not just say what I think but to express it with my actions. I was taught to do what I think is right even if people around me think otherwise. While I do not know the future, I know that I am prepared to make good choices and live life purposefully wherever I go."

—Tao, Class of 2020

"Approaching the world with a growth mindset has prepared me for the real world...When faced with a challenge, I know that I can push through it and not give up, even when it seems impossible. I can carry this lesson with me through all the situations of life."

—Kara, Class of 2020

“During these times with social injustice, racial profiling, and lots of movements, it's important to know how to speak up for ourselves and know how to express what we want and what we believe in. Our future generations need to know how to lead so we can make a difference for our kids and the Earth.”

—Andrew, Class of 2020

"At FFS, I have learned not just to say my beliefs but also to live up to them. This is something that almost everyone finds difficult. For example, it is easy to say that you oppose racism, but trying to help end it takes more effort. I feel that living up to your beliefs is challenging, but rewarding. I strive to become someone who lives a life of integrity."

—Rohan, Class of 2020

Student Life

The Arts & Physical Education

All Middle School students take classes in art, physical education, health, and

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Quakerism to give them additional opportunities to think creatively, stay active, and explore their passions in mixed grade groupings.

Leadership

Developing leadership skills is a deliberate focus of our social/emotional curriculum.

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In the Middle School, students act as mentors to Lower School children by modeling how to take good care of each other with kindness and compassion. They take on many important leadership roles, including designing and implementing Quaker Week, River Otter Field Day, and many other all school events, as well as being leaders of our weekly Meeting For Worship, where they provide a thoughtful query for the rest of the community. They develop their own personal value systems to help them make personal decisions that are right for them and to guide them in leading lives with integrity.

Retreats

Middle School students spend three days and two nights at a team-building retreat at the 20-acre New Life Island,

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located in the middle of the Delaware River. At New Life Island, the students strengthen connections with old friends, establish new relationships, and together, build a strong middle school community. Students embrace challenges such as navigating a low ropes course, canoeing down the river on a six mile trip, contributing to team-building games, and taking archery lessons. They also hike, practice yoga and mindfulness, sit by a bonfire, make new friends, and attend outdoor Meetings for Worship.

Advisory & Office hours

Following our Responsive Classroom curriculum, middle schoolers do group activities to build community, set personal goals,

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develop study habits, and practice constructive communication. Afternoon advisory provides students with the opportunity to reconnect with their advisor and to organize themselves for the next day. Strong connections with the advisor are integral to a safe social and emotional middle school experience. After school hours, students may independently sign-up for one-on-one and small group conferences with their teachers to review specific skills and work on individualized practice for academic growth. 

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News & updates

School News

View the latest issue of Engage, a magazine to celebrate our ultimate mission: to let our lives speak in the pursuit of lifelong learning, commitment to social justice, and service to our communities.

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