About: At a Glance

At a Glance


Mary McDowell Friends School is a K–12 college preparatory program dedicated to the success of students with learning disabilities. Grounded in the Quaker values of equality, integrity, and social responsibility, we cultivate a diverse and anti-racist community in which all students can reach their full potential. Our specialized teaching methodologies and challenging curricula empower students to become academic achievers, creative thinkers, advocates for equity, and contributing members of a global society.


Learning: Students with learning disabilities can learn and thrive within a supportive environment coupled with a challenging curriculum. We prepare students for college and life.

Quaker Values: We are guided by the Quaker testimonies of simplicity, peace, integrity, community, equality, and stewardship.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: We embrace a broad definition of diversity and recognize the power and value it delivers to our lives. We strive to provide an equitable and safe environment for our entire community.

Anti-racism: Anti-racism is key to the mission and curriculum of MMFS, as we challenge ourselves to dismantle systemic racism in our community and the world around us. 

Excellence: We pursue excellence at every level.


  • Students with learning disabilities are intelligent.
  • Learning disabilities are one aspect of a person, not the defining characteristic. 
  • Special education is quality education.
  • Learning goes beyond mastery of content and skills; it includes creative thinking, questioning, discovery, and further research to formulate cogent opinions and perspectives on the world.
  • We believe that Black lives matter, and that we have a responsibility to challenge not only our national legacy of systemic racism but also the structural inequities within our own community. 
  • Our community embraces each individual while fostering equity among students, families, staff, trustees, and educators.
  • The Quaker testimonies provide an essential foundation for all that we do.
  • Our faculty and staff are experts in their fields, which helps us maintain our position at the forefront of special education.
  • Our curriculum is based on well-researched and proven methodologies.
  • We offer a comprehensive educational program that includes academics, arts, athletics, travel, and social responsibility.
  • Our differentiated approaches to learning address each student’s strengths and struggles.
  • We teach students to understand their learning needs so that they can advocate for themselves.
  • Our students who are ready for mainstream schools will be transitioned to mainstream schools.

Association Memberships

  • New York State Association of Independent Schools (NYSAIS)
  • National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS)
  • Guild of Independent Schools of New York (GISNY)
  • Friends Council on Education (FCE)
  • Association of Technology Leaders in Independent Schools (ATLIS)

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