Brooklyn Friends School

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Coordinates: 40°41′33″N 73°59′17″W / 40.6926°N 73.9881°W / 40.6926; -73.9881

Brooklyn Friends School
Brooklyn Friends School - Brooklyn, NY - DSC07693.JPG
Brooklyn, New York 11201
United States
School type Private
Denomination Religious Society of Friends (Quaker)
Established 1867
Founder Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)
Status Open
Head of school Larry Weiss
Grades Pre-kindergarten — grade 12
Gender Coeducational
Age range 2 - 19
Enrollment 835
Average class size 21 students
Campus type Urban
Color(s) Blue and gray
Mascot Panther
Publication Scribe, Wordflirt
School fees $3,000 - $4,000
Tuition $12,500 - $38,000
Affiliation Religious Society of Friends (Quaker)

Brooklyn Friends School is a school at 375 Pearl Street in Downtown Brooklyn, New York City. Brooklyn Friends School (BFS) is an independent, college preparatory Quaker school serving a culturally diverse educational community of approximately 835 students, from two years of age through 12th grade.


Founded in 1867 by the Religious Society of Friends as a coeducational Quaker school, Brooklyn Friends School is one of the oldest continuously operating independent schools in New York City.[1]

From an initial student body of 17, the school now enrolls 835 students from Preschool through 12th grade, with a faculty and staff of approximately 240. While the percentage of Quaker families and staff is small, the school’s Quaker values have remained central to its mission.

Starting as a grade school, BFS added a kindergarten in 1902, a high school division in 1907, and a Preschool and Family Center in 1985 and 1992 respectively. The most recent addition, the BFS Preschool, has gained prominence as one of the city’s premier early learning centers.[2]

The Academy Award-winning 1981 documentary Close Harmony chronicled how a children's choir of 4th- and 5th-graders from the school joined with elderly retirees from a Brooklyn Jewish seniors' center to give a joint concert.


Brooklyn Friends is a Preschool through 12th grade independent Quaker school located in the thriving Downtown Brooklyn neighborhood. Brooklyn Friends School is split into four academic levels: Preschool, Lower School (K-4), Middle School (5-8), and Upper School (9-12).

Lower School (K-4)
The Lower School curriculum includes classes in language arts, mathematics, social studies, science, Spanish, dance, music, visual arts, woodworking, physical education, and health.

Middle School (5-8)
The middle school curriculum includes classes in the humanities (English and history), mathematics, science, languages, visual arts, performing arts, physical education, health/life skills, organization and study skills and information technology.

Upper School (9-12)
The Brooklyn Friends Upper School curriculum provides every student with a strong and broad foundation in the arts, humanities, sciences, and ethics.

Ninth and tenth grade students have a special program crafted for each class. In a coordinated approach, groups of ninth grade students take courses in English, history, and visual or performing arts together. The approach is similar for tenth graders. In the ninth and tenth grades, particular attention is paid to community building, developing strong communication skills, and promoting a healthy lifestyle, good study habits, and effective time management.

Under the guidance of a faculty advisor and Upper School Head, students work out a program of study that meets their needs, interests and abilities. Initial placement in math and foreign language varies according to the level of accomplishment each student exhibits. Flexibility in course offerings permits those with particular ability in these areas to move forward at a pace that makes the best educational sense for them. As students progress, they are presented with choices so that they may fashion a largely individualized program in their junior and senior years.

Brooklyn Friends School offers the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program for students in the 11th and 12th grades. This internationally recognized program allows students to explore specific subjects with breadth and depth in six major areas. The curriculum encourages critical thinking through the study of traditional college preparatory curricula while at the same time offers an international perspective. In addition, IB students are required to participate actively in creative activities and community service, as well as completing an individual research project (extended essay) and an inquiry course that delves into the nature of knowledge (Theory of Knowledge course).[3]

The graduation requirements for the Upper School are:

Student leadership and activities[edit]

All students in grades 3-12 take overnight trips as part of the Outdoor Education Program and the foreign language curriculum. Leadership opportunities for Middle and Upper Schoolers include the Model United Nations, student judiciary, El Club Latino, the Social Action Committee, and the Building Committee.

Students take a hands-on approach in addressing social issues, participating in age-appropriate projects: Preschoolers might bake food for senior citizens; Lower Schoolers might hold a read-a-thon fundraiser for local, national or international humanitarian groups; Middle Schoolers might share their computer skills with senior citizens; and Upper Schoolers volunteer directly with community organizations. All Upper School students are required to perform 100 hours of community service — 20 hours in the school, and 80 out in the community.

The Middle School Student Council represents the Middle School in governing matters. The Upper School Student Senate, consisting of elected representatives from each grade, makes recommendations to the administration and conducts monthly "town meetings," organizes dances and other social events. Work on the Student Senate helps students focus on their strengths and leadership abilities, improve their public speaking skills, and work collaboratively with others. Composed of a President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer and the president and senator of each grade, the Senate also coordinates student clubs and activities that meet weekly. Upper School students also annually participate in the Quaker Youth Leadership Conference, a nationwide conference affording students and faculty an opportunity to discuss leadership issues, school missions, and community issues both schoolwide and worldwide.[5]


Brooklyn Friends has an athletics program including Middle and Upper School divisions (7th-12th grades). The program consists of over 35 teams and athletic clubs. BFS team sports include cross country, soccer, volleyball, basketball, indoor track, squash, swimming, baseball, outdoor track and softball. The school competes in the ACIS and ISAL independent school leagues. Brooklyn Friends School has sent teams to the New York State Tournament in boys' varsity soccer, girls' varsity volleyball, and boys' varsity basketball. In 1997 the boys' varsity soccer team won the NYSAIS Championship and in 2003 the boys' varsity basketball team won the NYSAIS Championship.

A Quaker school[edit]

Every school day begins with a few minutes of silence in the classroom. Middle and Upper School students also attend Quaker Meeting for Worship once a week, in the historic Schermerhorn Street Meeting House. At Quaker Meeting for Worship, students and faculty sit in silence, and if they feel moved to say something, they stand and speak. The practice is intended to add a spiritual dimension to the educational experience and encourages student to be thoughtful, active listeners.

At Brooklyn Friends School, Upper School students gain an intellectual understanding of Quakerism and world religions through required courses in religion, ethics, and Quakerism.[6]

Notable alumni[edit]

• William Glaberson, Former NY Times Journalist & Professor of Journalism at University of Montana

• Dr. Darrick Hamilton, Associate Professor of Economics and Urban Policy and Director of Milano Doctoral Program

Dan Hedaya, American Actor

Therese (Tay) Hohoff, American Literary Editor, edited To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee

Patrick "Wiki" Morales, New York City Hip-Hop Artist & Member of RATKING

Kyle Neptune, Assistant Basketball Coach of Villanova Wildcats

Francine Prose, American Novelist, Short Story Writer, Essayist, and Critic

Fisher Stevens, American actor, director, producer and writer

Adam Yauch, Former New York City Hip-Hop Artist & Member of The Beastie Boys

See also[edit]



  1. ^ "Stats". Archived from the original on 1 August 2012. Retrieved 8 September 2011. 
  2. ^ "History". Retrieved 8 September 2011. 
  3. ^ "Upper School". Archived from the original on 27 March 2012. Retrieved 8 September 2011. 
  4. ^ "Graduation Requirements". Archived from the original on 27 March 2012. Retrieved 8 September 2011. 
  5. ^ "Leadership". Retrieved 8 September 2011. 
  6. ^ "Quaker Meeting". Archived from the original on 4 December 2010. Retrieved 8 September 2011. 

External links[edit]