As a Friends boarding school, AMS embodies the Quaker SPICES: Simplicity, Peace, Integrity, Community, Equality and Stewardship of the Earth. Our 100 acre campus of farm and wilderness promotes simple living and an awareness of our relationship with nature. Although non-religious, AMS teaches students to respect the innate value of every individual. Our community creates a culture in which every person is seen and recognized as worthy of kindness and compassion. While at AMS, our students learn to embody these principles, even in times of conflict and disagreement, so that they are better prepared to interact with world around them.
Circles and Silence
Circling before meals and having silence before and after all meals and meetings is a tradition from our Quaker roots. For our students, circling in silence before the meal is an opportunity to appreciate the food and the preparers. Before meetings, silence is used to mentally prepare for the work of the meeting, which is to seek the truth that resonates with each person in the room. After a meeting, the silence brings a closure, allowing a period of reflection for what the group accomplished.
Even at a Friends boarding school, conflicts can occur. When they do, our students learn the skills of nonviolent conflict resolution. They practice active listening and develop the skills to express their emotions respectfully. When students participate in clearnesses, or mediations, to resolve conflict, they feel validated and invested in a solution they helped create. They are then able to take these skills and use them at home and in future relationships.
Consensus Decision Making
At AMS, we try to make most of our decisions through consensus. Realizing that the truth lies somewhere in the center and that every voice is important, our decision-making relies on giving students and staff equal power. Students are encouraged to speak up about things they want to change in our community. They are empowered to see themselves as active participants in our school’s governance who can advocate for new norms and rules that support our community’s vision. When students see that they can enact change and feel that their opinions matter, they feel encouraged to speak up and get involved. As they learn to listen and recognize each person’s individual truth, they learn to compromise and creatively find solutions.
Although not required, students may choose to attend Sunday morning meeting for worship at Celo Friends Meeting. For those students interested in a more spiritual experience than our Friends boarding school provides, this meeting is a chance for quiet reflection and interaction with the Celo community.