The Friends Renewal Process was a lot of work and a collaborative effort. We couldn’t have completed the process without the hard work of many people in our community. Thank you to the many people who shared their experiences at the school, answered surveys, or otherwise helped us gather information. We would like to particularly thank parents and alumni who served on the committee that helped to prepare for the visit from the Friends Council on Education (FCE) visiting committee.
Below is a brief summary of the report from the FCE. We’ve included the introduction and the concluding remarks from the visiting team after their visit last March. There is much more specific information in the report, things we can improve, strengths to build upon, and appreciations of things we do well. We will be using this report to help guide us as we plan for the future.
In the fall of 2017 the FSMN community, following guidelines laid out by the Friends Council on Education (FCE), embarked upon a process of self-reflection they dubbed the Friends Renewal Process. For this purpose, FSMN brought together two existing committees – the Quaker Life Committee (a standing committee of the School Committee) and the Spiritual Life Committee (a standing committee of faculty and staff). Over a period of two years, this organizing body consulted with FCE staff, sponsored information-gathering meetings and retreats with various constituent groups, and carried out online surveys. Drawing on the information gathered through this extensive process, the FRP Committee compiled a self-study that was delivered to the Friends Council on Education in February of 2019.
FCE’s visiting committee – Jane Fremon and Stephanie Judson – visited FSMN on March 19-20, 2019. Based on FSMN’s self-study and the observations of the visiting committee, the report includes commendations and recommendations for each of the aspects of school life that are outlined in the Friends Council on Education’s Principles of Good Practice for Friends Schools. While the report cannot begin to do justice to all that is happening on the ground at FSMN, the visiting committee hopes that it conveys at the very least a meaningful sampling of the school’s full embrace and rich expression of its Quaker identity.
Conclusion: In the two days that the visiting committee spent touring Friends School of Minnesota, meeting with students, teachers, administrators, parents, and trustees, and observing life on the ground of the school, we were filled to overflowing with admiration for all that is happening in this “gem of a school.”
From the opening silence at the 7:45am staff meeting on March 19th, through the final meeting with members of the community eager to hear our observations and reflections, the entire visit struck us as being nothing less than an extended meeting for worship with attention to the business of school. As remote from the geographical center of Quakerism as it is, and as relatively young as the school still is, FSMN embraces its role in the long history of Friends education. Upholding this legacy with integrity, vision, and commitment, FSMN serves as a model for all of our schools. The visiting committee recommends, with no reservations whatsoever, FSMN’s continued membership in the Friends Council on Education.