School Spotlight | Signature Programs at Friends School of Baltimore

As Baltimore’s first school, Friends has pioneered innovative teaching and learning in, of, and for Baltimore since 1784.

Friends School of Baltimore is committed to helping young people discover and become the person they are meant to be. Education is not simply a competition to be won at any cost or a high-stakes race to the 12th grade finish line. A joyful and purpose-filled education means that a young person’s journey doesn’t have a finish line; just milestones in a lifetime of curiosity and discovery.

One of the ways in which young people are able to explore their curiosity is through Friends School’s line of innovative and academically challenging Signature Programs. From the University Partnership Program to the Honors Scholar Certificate Program, students are encouraged —and expected— to explore new possibilities opening up before them. In fact, the School’s schedule is deliberately designed to guide students out of their comfort zones and push them to discover new interests. While core classes at some schools conflict with arts classes or sports schedules, Friends School has cultivated an environment where “the athlete” can star in the school play or “the artist” can lead the robotics team.

In the Institute for Public Involvement and Responsible Dialogue or INSPIRED program, students learn how to navigate complex conversations, engage meaningfully with their peers and build long-lasting collaborations. Some of these experiences include restorative justice training, off-campus partnerships with organizations like the McKim Center of Baltimore City, and a speaker series. “As a Quaker School, Friends is uniquely positioned to offer the INSPIRED program. INSPIRED shows what’s possible when we engage in passionate conversations about controversial issues while respecting, listening to, and learning from others we may disagree with,” says Greta Rutstein, Director of Academics. INSPIRED ultimately seeks to build a culture of responsible dialogue on campus that models best practices for building and sustaining community and prepare students for fuller engagement in wider civic conversations.

The Scholars Certificate Program (SCP) provides another opportunity to explore areas of academic interest that extend beyond the traditional bounds of any single course of study or academic department. Each certificate is a “bundle” of different learning experiences including course work, club involvement, speaker series’, independent studies, internships, and/or other capstone project(s) that are related by theme or area of interest. Students can receive certificates in a wide range of areas from STEAM to Entrepreneurship.

At Friends School, young people are challenged to find meaning in what they learn and are offered several opportunities to put their voices to work in the classroom, in Baltimore, and beyond. A Friends School education equips a young person with the knowledge and confidence they need to be a courageous changemaker wherever their path leads.


Editor’s Note: This article is part of our School Spotlight Series. Each week, we will spotlight one of our partner schools to give you a glimpse into what learning looks like on their campus. To learn more about Friends School of Baltimore visit their directory listing in our Independent School Directory. Photos were provided by the school. Want to become a school partner? Email us.

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Friends School of Baltimore

About the Author Friends School of Baltimore

Friends School of Baltimore is a private, Quaker school that is deeply committed to helping young people discover and become the person they are meant to be. As Baltimore’s oldest school, Friends has pioneered innovative teaching and learning in, of, and for Baltimore since 1784. A Friends School education equips young people with the knowledge and confidence they need to become courageous changemakers wherever their path leads.

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