This year on October 12, MFS will be hosting a symposium that focuses on the intersection between Quaker values and student leadership. This symposium will see MFS welcoming fifty heads of Friends schools and twenty five Quaker educators and heads of leadership programs. MFS administrators Larry Van Meter and Chris Kimberly will be in charge of planning and organising the symposium aided by Meredith Godley, Dan Christy Randazzo, and Keith Vassal, who run the Peer Leadership Program in the Upper School.
The idea first came to Academic Dean, Chris Kimberly, when it came time for MFS to be re-accredited in 2014. Many independent schools are accredited by influential organizations to earn the qualification. The accreditation of MFS is carried out by an independent organization called the Middle States Association of Schools and Colleges, which assesses the school every seven years. In an interview, Kimberly stated that “[the Middle States Association] said, ‘You’re a school that has been doing good work for a number of years, so we’re willing to give you some leeway so you get to come up with one big goal for … the whole school, and then you have to put on a symposium about that.”
This year’s symposium will occur between 11:45 AM and 7:00 PM, and will contain activities such as an introduction to the Peer Leadership Course, breakout sessions for faculty to discuss various topics, and, of course, Meeting for Worship. “The event will be an opportunity to describe what we have been doing at MFS, as well as to draw out ideas from other Friends schools in this important area,” Mr. Van Meter explained. The goal of the symposium is to discuss and review how Quaker values can be used to help students become better leaders. This is an entirely new process for MFS, but if it works, it could become a staple in the MFS accreditation process for years to come.