At Friends School of Minnesota, our approach is rooted in progressive education philosophy, recognizing that real learning arises from being actively engaged in the process of constructing knowledge rather than rote memorization of content. Students learn how to learn in addition to moving through curricular benchmarks. We offer a diversity of experiences and perspectives in each subject area and provide space for students to reflect on their own processes as learners, helping them learn about themselves at the same time they are learning reading, writing, math, science, and spelling. 

A Program Designed to Foster Deep, Conceptual Understanding
This approach guides our progressive math program which teaches students to be confident and competent mathematicians, who not only develop the important skills covered in traditional math classes, but are also guided to see the value and application of the skills they learn as they work together to solve problems. Our math curriculum is designed to foster deep conceptual understanding, using clear visuals and consistent procedures to make complex ideas accessible. We enhance traditional learning with fluency practice through interactive exercises, integrating the social skills of communication, cooperation, and collaboration directly into our math instruction. This approach ensures that every student develops the mathematical thinking and problem-solving skills essential for success as math learners, but also as informed and engaged citizens prepared to address complex problems throughout the rest of their lives.

A Diverse Array of Activities to Challenge and Engage
We view fluency practice as more than mere repetition; it’s an interactive exploration that enriches learning as cornerstones of our grade-level classes. We offer a diverse array of activities designed to challenge and engage every student:

  • Puzzles and visual/spatial challenges stimulate critical thinking.
  • Advanced problem-solving extensions push the boundaries of traditional math problems.
  • Strategic games, like chess, foster higher-order thinking skills.

Using research-based teaching methods, such as concrete/pictorial/abstract progressions, our students engage with mathematical concepts through hands-on activities, games, and projects. This experiential learning is complemented by strategies that tailor instruction to meet the individual needs of each student, providing support and challenge without accelerating them beyond their grade level.

Small Class Sizes Allow Us to Better Understand Our Students’ Needs
Our small class sizes allow our teachers to call on students to answer questions to assess their knowledge and challenge them to stretch their understanding in the context of a daily lesson. All ages of students have access to supplemental activities that provide extra enrichment opportunities. Regularly assigned homework includes challenge problems that are available to all students, assigned for some, and optional for others.

Lower School – A Variety Of Approaches to Build a Foundation
Small group settings provide our teachers the opportunity to work closely with students, employing a variety of approaches to nurture and develop their mathematical understanding. For some students, this means focusing on building and reinforcing fundamental skills. Others might receive additional practice to solidify their grasp on these concepts, ensuring they feel confident and prepared. Meanwhile, students who are ready for more advanced challenges are given opportunities to deepen their learning, exploring concepts in greater depth and complexity.

Middle School – Applying Mathematical Learning
In middle school, students have opportunities to apply their learning to real-world situations. This allows students to see math not just as numbers and equations, but as a powerful tool for understanding and influencing the world around us.

For example: this year, 7th graders explored statistical questions that they were interested in. One student explored, What are the batting averages of Natalie Denharthog in February 2023? Another explored, What percentage of time do most people cook dinner vs order take out? In the past students have studied racial profiling during traffic stops from a statistical point of view. When students apply math to real-world situations it deepens their learning and increases the likelihood that they will develop a lasting interest in the value and power of math. 

New – Enhancements to Our Math Program
At Friends School of Minnesota, our commitment to reflection and growth extends beyond the personal development of our students; it encompasses a continual reassessment and enhancement of our educational programs. In this spirit, we’re excited to share recent updates to our math curriculum.

Our latest enhancements include the adoption of two highly regarded programs: Tang Math for our K-5 learners and Desmos Math for grades 6-8. These additions have been carefully selected for their ability to make math both accessible and engaging, promoting individual application and exploration. They stand out for their ease of adaptation, allowing our teachers to tailor the learning experience to meet the unique needs of each student. Our small class sizes allow us to use these programs to their fullest potential. Based on both formal and informal assessments, both programs have had a positive impact on student learning.  

Our Commitment – A Deep, Meaningful Understanding
At Friends School of Minnesota, our commitment to fostering a deep, meaningful understanding of math is a fundamental aspect of our academic program. Our commitment is to provide students with the opportunity to construct their own understanding while building core competencies in math skills, favoring deep, meaningful engagement over the superficiality of rote memorization. It’s this unique process of mutual growth and learning that defines our school and is reflected in the 8th graders who graduate each year.

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Our mission is to prepare children to embrace life, learning, and community with hope, skill, understanding and creativity. We are committed to the Quaker values of peace, justice, simplicity and integrity.

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1365 Englewood Avenue, Saint Paul, MN 55104

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