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2018 Annual Report
This year was the first year implementing the procedures that were put in place for the search, selection, and proposal of Friends to be nominated to Moses Brown’s Board of Trustees, and for the selection of Friends to serve on the NFEMB committee.
In early winter Moses Brown’s nominating committee sent out a request for names to be considered for nomination to the Board. This was sent to a wide number of people associated with the school, including Permanent Board and the Yearly Meeting presiding clerk and secretary. In February the Friends on the NFEMB Committee conferred and approved two names from those brought forward. In April an additional name was also approved by the same group and these names were brought to Permanent Board at their May meeting for consideration and approval.
The procedure has allowed a larger number of Friends familiar with and interested in the school to be involved in the process, and has reached a larger geographic base.
The agendas for our scheduled meetings continue to bring topics which lead to thoughtful and deep spiritual discussion of issues.
We gave input to the Director of Friends Education in the preparation of a Minute on Taking a Knee during the singing of the national anthem at sports events.
Communicating the values underlying Friends Education to prospective families has been a topic of much consideration and work this year. In tandem with the School’s Enrollment and Marketing Committee, we are developing language that is clear and inviting for those who may be unfamiliar with Quakerism, the history of Friends educational practice, and its roots and influence at Moses Brown.
Committee members were involved in supporting the presentation of the October conference, “Discerning Truth in a Post-Fact World: A Friends Education Conference, for Librarians and Educators.” In April we also helped support “Hope & Strength: A Community Concert to Benefit Refugees.”
In conclusion, we are sad to be saying farewell to Galen Hamann, the Director of Friends Education. She has led the school in its exploration of new avenues in the ways Friends educational practice enriches the classroom and the school community. She has made our school a welcoming site for conferences for other New England Friends schools and educators. She has encouraged student attendance at other Friends School conferences and continually found ways to support student exploration of their own spiritual paths. She has brought this committee into the life of the school in fundamental ways. We thank her for all she has done, and wish her every success as she moves forward in her life path.
—Elizabeth Zimmerman, clerk
Moses Brown School Report
The school year at Moses Brown began with a first-ever trip to Friends Camp in Maine for the entire 9th grade. Students engaged in team-building activities (led by seniors), social innovation challenges, and orientation to Friends testimonies. It was meaningful to see the legacy of MB alumnus Rufus Jones impacting a new generation of students, and MB will run a second iteration of the trip in August.
In October, MB hosted its third bi-annual conference on Friends Education, this year themed “Discerning Truth in a Post-Fact World.” Sixty librarians and educators from 45 schools, universities, and institutions participated (23 of them Quakers, 18 working at Friends institutions). This conference—one of the ways MB supports and enriches the practice of Friends education in New England—was a success, and messages in final worship reflected great appreciation for the opportunity.
This year the MB community wrestled with the question of kneeling during the national anthem, and the differing perspectives and emotions this issue engenders. Director of Friends Education Galen Hamann consulted with the school’s Nurturing Friends Education committee to draft a minute of guidance on the subject. A coach and several players at the school subsequently decided to kneel at away sports games (MB does not play the anthem at regular home contests) in support of racial justice in America. The act of solidarity and protest sparked intense but good conversation within the community and was the subject of a called meeting for sharing with students and teachers.
This year MB also hosted “Hope & Strength: A Community Concert to Benefit Refugees” as part of a broader Refugee Awareness Week in April. Led by NEYM members Annie Patterson and Peter Blood, and uniting families from MB and the greater Providence communities, this sing-along event raised money for AHOPE, a volunteer-led organization that helps settle new refugees in Rhode Island. More than 100 people attended. While at MB, Annie and Peter also led an Upper School meeting for worship with song.
Director of Friends Education Galen Hamann will be leaving Moses Brown at the end of the 2017–18 school year to become Assistant Head of School at Virginia Beach Friends School. MB has hired Barbara von Salis (member of Brooklyn Monthly Meeting and alumna and trustee of Brooklyn Friends School) to be the interim director next year, and will conduct a search for the permanent position in the fall.
Moses Brown—one of the oldest and largest of the 78 member schools of Friends Council on Education—remains fiscally sound and continues to enjoy a strong reputation and high demand for enrollment (750 students ages 3–18). As a result of the school’s current capital campaign, the endowment has grown to $37 million, putting the school on much stronger footing in terms of long-range financial sustainability. Access and affordability remain a top priority. This year 206 students (28% of the student body) received financial assistance, with the average award being $20,000. There were 19 Quaker students. The P.J. Trip Fund (established by members of NEYM to support the education of Quaker children at Moses Brown School), currently valued at $605,000, provided $22,960 in scholarship assistance for children of Friends (to which the school contributed an additional $226,000 in financial aid for Friends students).
—Erik Wilker, director of administrative & strategic affairs