What contributes immeasurably to the positive spirit of community on campus and makes Buckingham Friends School such a special Friends school?  An intentional commitment to the quality of teacher-student relationships and respect for teacher autonomy.

Our Quaker foundation, distinct mission, clear core values, comprehensive program, and commitment to quality attracts, engages, and retains deeply dedicated educators who are inspiring, passionate about teaching, dedicated to our purpose as a Friends school, and enthusiastically invested in the success of each student and one another.

Strong teacher–student relationships encourage and advance student learning, notes regarded educator Rick Wormeli, and they also energize teachers and teaching. “We are more willing to invest in students when we feel connected to them,” he notes, “and the quality of each teacher’s relationships with students sustains them and their work during the educational journey and the year(s) ahead.”

Skillful, compassionate, and creative, BFS’s faculty motivate, shape, and impact every student each day, and in meaningful ways that extend well beyond the classroom.  They cultivate awareness and originality, instill confidence, and model integrity and leadership – making the BFS experience one that prepares young people to experience lifelong success, know themselves, and become critical thinkers, creative individuals, and contributing community members.

Research affirms that teachers are more motivated and effective, that their programs are richer and more dynamic, that their students are better supported and more successful across a broad range of disciplines, and that they enjoy their work more when they are provided greater autonomy.  The following hallmarks of teacher autonomy are evidenced at BFS, where teachers have the:

  • Aptitude and advanced skills to design their own lessons
  • Capacity to create their own assessments
  • Encouragement to pursue their own professional development opportunities, relevant to their goals and experiences as well as the vision for the school
  • Support to draw from, incorporate, and experiment with a range of proven and new pedagogical styles
  • Freedom to arrange their classrooms, labs, and art studios as they wish
  • Encouragement from others to adjust curriculum and/or lesson plans to best suit the needs of their students, never obligated to teach to the tests
  • Ability to choose which textbooks to use (or to decide when not to use textbooks)
  • Professional judgement to determine the best assessments and what grade to give a student
  • Support to reach for and set higher standards in their programs, pedagogy, and expectations for their students
  • Opportunity to coordinate, collaborate and participate in decision-making about all-school curriculum development and the connections that evolve intentionally over time

Teachers at BFS love their students.  They truly believe in each child and plan thoughtfully and with great intention so that each may realize their promise as academic learners, athletes, artists, citizens, and more.

3 thoughts on “What contributes immeasurably to the positive spirit of community on campus and makes BFS such a special Friends school?

  1. Paul,

    This was great. I think we all know how special our faculty is, but taking the time to articulate and show it is special, for all of us, and to the faculty, for sure, in particular.

    Thanks very much. What a great way to start the week.

  2. This is a very clear articulation of what is so valuable about the BFS experience! The teachers are a remarkably diverse and talented group, and go above and beyond to connect with and support their students. As someone who taught here for 33 years, I can attest to the deep satisfaction the autonomy you describe brought me. It enabled me to spend my energy and creativity wholly in the service of my students, and was one of the main reasons I stayed so long. It still feels like a thriving, bubbling and fun place!

  3. The conferences we had yesterday with our daughter’s teachers were so reaffirming of all that is great and special about BFS. It was so clear to me how dedicated and thoughtful our teachers are in their approach to their work, and how supportive they are of the individual students and the class as a whole. Hooray for this wonderful school! And hooray for our great team of teachers and staff!

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