A PFS middle school education is stimulating and exciting, challenging and rigorous, yet also responsive in pace and assessment to individuals’ different learning needs and styles. PFS middle school students are immersed in language’s structure and conversational music; challenged on many levels to think out problems and interpretations on multiple levels and from many angles, whether in math, Problem of the Week, science, Central Study, or literature; and personally and individually invited to explore as deeply and broadly as each is able, through conversation with teachers, formal research, projects, experimentation, and independent study. Assessments of students’ work and performance, while present throughout the school, become increasingly visible as students gradually develop a deep and independent sense of themselves as learners. As oldest students in a thoroughly mixed-age environment, 6th through 8th graders are offered opportunities to be older partners of youngest children, to be class leaders and role models in every aspect of school life, to sit as Head of Meeting at Settling In, and to design and run activities for the whole school community, such as our Halloween festivities and Elf Week. In late fall, the whole group participates in a two-day leadership retreat, the aim of which is to generate a sense of community across grade levels and to develop leadership attitudes and skills.

Beyond the leadership opportunities offered to the entire group of 6th through 8th graders, we recognize that the 8th grade experience represents an important transition between Princeton Friends School and whatever high school a student chooses to attend. In light of this, a number of academic and extracurricular activities are scheduled into the 8th grader’s calendar year. Eighth graders spend the second half of the fall term preparing annotated portfolios of their work, including samples of their writing in various genres, reproductions of pieces of their art, and examples of their work in math, science, Central Study, and world language. These portfolios, designed to be shown at independent school admissions interviews, represent a wonderful culmination of students’ Princeton Friends School career, whether or not they are applying to independent high schools. These portfolios are showcased at an evening reception for parents and faculty in early December. Finally, 8th graders spend the final weeks of the school year preparing their departing remarks for their Moving On celebration in early June. Year after year, the entire community gathers on a Saturday afternoon to hear the individual voices of our graduating students as they reflect on who they have become and what they will take with them as a result of their Princeton Friends School education.

With this broad reach of social and intellectual paths for exploration and self-discovery, students make themselves ready to become successful high school students, leaders, and community members in a gentle, yet inspiring, way.

Core Curriculum

List of 8 items.

  • Mathematics

    Daily math classes at PFS are lively and supportive communities in which students work collaboratively with one another to further everyone’s confidence and the development of critical computational, cognitive, and communication skills. The mathematics curriculum at Princeton Friends School aims to give students an appreciation for the beauty, history, and value of mathematics. Within the course of a Princeton Friends School education, students learn numeration, operations, geometry, measurement, statistics, algebra, and applications, as they gain the ability to use each method with mastery and insight. Mathematics instruction is differentiated. Teachers not only deliver whole-group instruction on basic concepts and skills, but also draw from many resources to provide students with open-ended assignments that provide challenges at many levels simultaneously. In the higher grades, manipulatives and our Problem of the Week program supplement standard texts such as Scott Foresman/Addison Wesley’s, McGraw-Hill’s Mathematics, and the University of Chicago’s Algebra and Advanced Algebra. Geometry and Algebra II are occasionally offered for those students whose math skills have carried them along at a faster pace in their earlier years.
  • Language and Literacy

    Language in all of its manifestations lies at the heart of the Princeton Friends School curriculum. Throughout every day at school and across the grade levels, reading, writing, listening, and speaking are fully integrated across the subject areas and woven into every child’s daily activity. Most important, across the language arts curriculum, individual voice is honored as students are offered choice in their independent reading and literature selections, in the topics and genres they pursue in writing workshop, and in the stories they choose to learn during Storytelling Week. It is this voice that Princeton Friends School students carry with them as they journey out into the world.
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  • Writing

    Students participate in writing workshop three or four times per week. Here they are introduced to all aspects of the writing process, from generating topics of personal relevance and organizing their ideas through various pre-writing exercises, to working a piece through multiple revisions to a final edited and “published” copy. A critical tool for third through eighth graders is the writer’s notebook, a journal in which students collect reflections, impressions, and images from their own lives, respond to prompts issued by teachers, cull and develop seed ideas that emerge from their free writing, and develop material for more structured writing projects. Teacher-directed mini lessons at the beginning of each class introduce students to the writing process and the craft of writing itself, including strategies for identifying and brainstorming a topic, steps in the process of carrying a piece through several drafts, techniques for peer conferences, and elements of effective writing. At the conclusion of each writing assignment, students present their work in a variety of ways, including reading it aloud to an intimate or all-school audience, publishing and archiving it both digitally and in hard copy, and – if they are so inclined – sending it out into the world for broader review or competition.
  • Central Study

    Central Study is the changing interdisciplinary theme that unites the PFS curriculum each year. This theme lies at the heart of our academic program, and is introduced in age-appropriate ways to every student in PreK through 8th grade. Chosen by the faculty each year, the theme aims to present the world to students through a particular lens, so that geography, history, science, literature, art, math, music classes and more become an integrated picture of human experience.
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  • U.S. History

    In addition to their work in Central Study, 6th through 8th graders participate in one class per week that, regardless of the year’s theme, focuses on U.S. history and current events. Over the course of three years, students gain a familiarity with basic United States geography, history, and government. Each year contains a major trip: sixth graders spend three days in Williamsburg and Jamestown; seventh graders spend a day in Philadelphia at the Constitution Center; and eighth graders visit the United Nations.
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  • Sixth and Seventh Grade Science

    Our Princeton Friends School science program puts a world of scientific inquiry, discovery, and delight into lessons that are relevant – and inspiring! In the 3rd through 8th grades, students meet three periods per week for science – two of those periods scheduled back-to-back to allow for extended laboratory experiences. In general, lab periods involve an activity, model, or experiment to engage students in the “doing” of science, while the third class involves more content-oriented instruction designed to illuminate the topic currently under investigation.
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  • Eighth Grade Science

    Our Princeton Friends School science program puts a world of scientific inquiry, discovery, and delight into lessons that are relevant – and inspiring! In the 3rd through 8th grades, students meet three periods per week for science – two of those periods scheduled back-to-back to allow for extended laboratory experiences. In general, lab periods involve an activity, model, or experiment to engage students in the “doing” of science, while the third class involves more content-oriented instruction designed to illuminate the topic currently under investigation.
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  • World Languages

    Princeton Friends School is committed to educating its students for global citizenship, and world language study is integral to that mission. Studying the language and culture of other countries gives PFS students a broad understanding, appreciation, and acceptance of the world and of the differences that exist among peoples and nations. Early exposure to world languages, combined with ongoing and explicit opportunities for students to experience the rich ethnic and cultural diversity of our immediate school community, encourages them to engage with the world in powerful ways. Since the early years of our school, Mandarin Chinese and Spanish have been the two languages offered, starting in pre-kindergarten.
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Our Faculty

List of 7 members.

  • Amelia Becker 

    6th-8th Grade Advisor & Teacher
  • Photo of Bhumi Patel

    Bhumi Patel 

    6th-8th Grade Advisor & Math Teacher
    (609) 683-1194 x47
  • Photo of Daniel Potter

    Daniel Potter 

    Music Teacher
    (609) 683-1194 x30
  • Photo of Melissa Marinari

    Melissa Marinari 

    Spanish, Central Study & History Teacher
    (609) 683-1194 x31
  • Photo of Patrick Lynch

    Patrick Lynch 

    4th-8th Grade Science Teacher & Cross Country Coach
    (609) 683-1194 x37
  • Photo of Saurora Mirkin

    Saurora Mirkin 

    4th/5th Grade Advisor & English Teacher
    (609) 683-1194 x46
  • Photo of Suzy Dwyer

    Suzy Dwyer 

    6th-8th Grade Advisor & English/CS/History Teacher
    (609) 683-1194 x48
"The point is not merely to challenge students - after all, harder is not necessarily better - but to invite them to think deeply about issues that matter and help them understand ideas from the inside out."

-Alfie Kohn,
"Progressive Education:
Why It's Hard to Beat
but Also Hard to Find"
A progressive, Quaker day school welcoming students in Pre-K through 8th grade to our historic Princeton campus nestled in the woods.

Princeton Friends School does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry, age, marital status, disability, or any other characteristic protected by law. This policy applies to, but is not limited to, educational policies, admission, financial aid, hiring and employment practices, use of school facilities, athletics, and other school-administered programs.