Quaker Practice: Community



Building and developing community is an essential component of Mary McDowell Friends School. Each school year, community is intentionally developed throughout our constituents: students, faculty, staff, trustees, and families, and in classrooms, advisory groups, reading/literacy and math groups, division-wide faculty meetings, and Parent Association gatherings. Community is a core testimony of Mary McDowell Friends School. Faculty, staff, students, and parents play an important role in fostering a sense of community within the school. The testimony of community reminds us that a thriving school is one in which every member’s voice is heard, the achievements of all are celebrated, and individual needs are met. Building and fostering a strong sense of community among all constituents allows us to celebrate success with great vigor as well as manage challenging moments.

Our school gathers on a regular basis for Silent Meeting, which is a time when the community can reflect and members’ voices are heard. MMFS faculty serves on various committees that are involved with the life of the school and community. We are also committed to community service within our school’s neighborhood, our city, and the greater global community. One of the ways in which we foster our students’ understanding of community is through our ongoing relationships with neighborhood groups such as Red Hook Rise. Community is not just theoretical, it is practiced, every day, in our interactions, our decision making, and in the way we value one another, our school, and the world beyond our walls. Our sense and practice of community are crucial to the continued success, integrity, and livelihood of our school.

Alone we can do so little. Together we can do so much.

Helen Keller

Perhaps community is a constellation. Each one of us is a light in the emerging collective brightness. A constellation of light has the greater power of illumination than any single light would have on its own. Together we increase brightness.

John O’Donohue, Eternal Echoes

Our similarities bring us to a common ground; our differences allow us to be fascinated by each other.

Tom Robbins

I note obvious differences between sort and type, but we are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike.

Maya Angelou


  • What is a community?
  • Which communities do you choose to join? Which communities are you a part of without choosing?
  • What do you gain from being part of a community?
  • What issues are important to your community?
  • How do we recognize and welcome new communities into the MMFS community?
  • Since our lower, middle, and upper schools are all in separate buildings, how do we stay one community?

Next: Equality