Virtual Red Folder
March 15, 2018

Learning to Trust and Discover Through a Fourth Grade Circus

Congratulations to our Fourth Graders on a brilliant in-house performance for our students and staff as well as visiting classes from The Philadelphia School, Media-Providence Friends School, West Chester Friends School, and Wilmington Friends School.

Every year since 2003, PMFS’ Fourth Grade class, under the direction of Will Starr, has performed in a Circus. From unicycles and silks to tight-rope walking and juggling, the performance is filled with all sorts of traditional circus acts, but the skits go far beyond the basics of that. This year’s production, Believe! tells the story of The Sailor, who is unsure of her own abilities, and lacks the confidence to take risks or stand up for herself. She and her companions embark on a sailing voyage, finding themselves on an island which they slowly realize might not be deserted after all.

The audience becomes aware that there is a mysterious creature who may be experiencing a struggle of its own. The creature reflects The Sailor’s own ambivalence, and is almost the manifestation of her feelings about her own potential. Is the creature something to fear, or is it something to embrace? Should The Sailor steer clear of risk, or push herself to see what she is capable of?

This tension between safety on the edges or immersing oneself in something unknown mirrors the students’ own path to the Fourth Grade Circus. A performance of high caliber, the Fourth Graders are challenged both physically and creatively to stretch beyond their own imaginings, and to banish any fears and doubts about their own abilities. The result is a spectacular show that highlights not only their newly-found skills, but also their journey to the stage. At the heart of Believe! lies a fundamental truth: that the artistry and self-expression of children has a high value, and that this faith in their achievements can be transformative for performers and audience alike.

Evening performances run Friday, March 16 and Saturday, March 17, 7:00 – 8:15 pm. To purchase tickets ($7), click here to download a copy of the order form. PLEASE NOTE: FRIDAY’S PERFORMANCE IS NEARLY SOLD OUT!

Support the show with this year’s t-shirt; shirts will be on sale at the show!

Support for Student Activism around Gun Violence

On Wednesday, PMFS teachers were led to “stand up for peace,” and in remembrance of victims of gun violence in schools, as they stood in silence at the corner of Germantown and Butler Pikes, while our Sixth Graders and their teachers held a special meeting for worship in their honor.

Friends Council on Education’s Statement of Support: Student Activism around Gun Violence

Plymouth joins 68 other Friends schools across the United States and around the world in support of Student Activism around Violence, as shared by the Friends Council on Education. Please click here to read this statement.

Update from Building Bridges

At our Building Bridges meeting on last week on March 3 we identified some of our goals:

  • Bring our values as a Quaker school into the world.
  • Give our children opportunities to engage with their larger Philadelphia community.
  • Enhance existing service projects to service learning and social justice opportunities.
  • Be open to diverse political views and perspectives.

We chose as our specific project to start with: deepening the school’s relationship with Historic Fair Hill, a “peace making green space in North Philadelphia, using the burial ground of human rights activists to carry forward their work for justice and peace through greening, school partnerships, and community events.” Click here for more information on Historic Fair Hill.

Our vision, at least to start, is that we would organize opportunities throughout the year for the school community to engage with Fair Hill in a variety of ways. We have identified two concrete projects for this spring and sketched out some ideas for next year.

Saturday, April 28, 3:00 – 5:00 pm at the Heiders’ house (

Family garden party with Historic Fair Hill to learn more about the community and HFH’s programs there.
Opportunities for involvement include:

  • Come to the party!
  • Invite your friends.
  • Work on promotion.
  • Help set up or clean up.
  • Contribute refreshments.

Saturday, May 15, 10:00 am – 1:00 pm at Fair Hill Burial Ground

Community work day, with a Philadelphia Quaker history tour and taco truck lunch. Kids encouraged.
Opportunities for involvement include:

  • Come!
  • Work on promoting the event.
  • Drive a carpool from school.

Click here to read more. Send any questions or comments to Rebecca Heider, Trina Berk, or Sarah Sweeney-Denham.

Grandparents & Special Friends Day is only a week away!

Thursday, March 22
8:30 – 11:15 am

Here are all the details:

  • Our guests will start their day in the Steinbright Building on the Lower Campus.
  • After a welcome and brief program, including a presentation by Sixth Grade and John B about the 2018 Sixth Grade Musical, Grandparents and Special Friends will spend time in the classrooms, at recess, and a special meeting for worship.
  • Please contact Ralph Henninger at or 610.828.2288 x224 with any special requests.
  • For an electronic version of the invitation and reservation form, please click here.
  • Kindly return all reservation forms to the main office by Monday, March 19.

On the Exchange

After two weeks, our Fifth Grade Exchange students are on their way home as we write these words. In the past week alone, they have toured the world-famous National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City, climbed a mountain to view the pyramid at the top and valley below in Tepotzlan, written speeches in the shadow of the 16th Century Cathedral in Cuernavaca, and, oh yeah, taken part in daily life with their Mexican host families. Their families and we are overjoyed to welcome them and chaperones Leann, Genevieve, and Joyce back this evening.

Head of School Search Update: Signup to Share

Hello PMFS Community,

This is a quick reminder and invitation to sign up to share in person about your experience at PMFS with School Committee members (now through March 16). You can access the online sign up sheet here:

Sign up to share about your experience at PMFS.

You can also share about your experience in writing (also through March 16) by using our online form available here:

Share about your experience in writing.

For more details about this opportunity, you can read our announcement here.

And finally, if you run into any problems with these online forms, or you have questions about them, feel free to e-mail Tom Hoopes, clerk of School Committee.

Thank you,
Your School Committee

Vacation Care during Spring Break (Note Amended Dates)

Contact Dayna ( during Spring Break Vacation Care to ask about the availability for drop-ins for the daily rate of $60.

The amended dates of Vacation Care are (8:00 am – 6:00 pm):

  • Monday, March 26
  • Tuesday, March 27
  • Wednesday, March 28
  • Tuesday, April 3

NB: Due to low enrollment, Vacation Care will not be offered Thursday, March 29; or Friday, March 30.

In case of inclement weather, check the home page of the PMFS website for any Vacation Care cancellation.

The Time is Now: Yearbook Messages and Memories

Each year, the Plymouth Meeting Friends School’s graduating Sixth Grade class publishes a beautiful full-color yearbook, given to each student and faculty member free of charge.

The students would like to offer you an opportunity to support their work through the purchase of an advertisement for inclusion in the 2018 PMFS yearbook. Ad prices range from $20 – $125 depending upon the size. To place an ad, please reference the size layout guide and complete an order form. Email completed ads to Kelly Tallman at; payment can be made in the form of a check sent to PMFS. Don’t delay: because of print deadlines, all items are due by April 4. We thank you for helping us provide yearbooks to our students and for supporting the Sixth Grade!

Yearbook Order Form and Layout Information

Yearbook Letter to Families

Reminder: Online PMFS Directory

On January 31, an e-mail from with the subject line “Plymouth Meeting Friends School: Confirm your email” was delivered to your inbox. We promise it’s not SPAM. This e-mail gives you access to create a password and sign into our new PMFS online directory!

Please follow the instructions and link in that e-mail to get started. If you have any problems, please contact us at Do remember to check your Spam folder in case your e-mail server missed the memo.

Thank you so much!
Dayna, Kelly and Joyce

Upcoming @PMFS

Thursday, March 15
Fifth Grade returns from Mexico

Friday, March 16
Fifth Grade only, no school

Friday, March 16 and Saturday, March 17
Fourth Grade Circus, 7:00 pm
Click here to reserve tickets

Monday, March 19
Grandparents and Special Friends Day Reservation Form due
Sixth Grade begins Countries Classes

Wednesday, March 21
Open Library, 3:15 – 4:15 pm

Thursday, March 22
Grandparents and Special Friends Day, 8:30 – 11:15 am
Noon Dismissal

Thursday, March 22 – Monday, April 2
Spring Break, no school
Click here for more details on Vacation Care availability

Tuesday, April 3
In-Service Day, no school

Want more info on happenings at school?
Go to, where you can subscribe to the new PMFS Public Calendar.

Quick Links

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