The idea for Delaware Valley Friends School (DVFS) was born in the early 1980's at a National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) conference in New York City. The founding members of DVFS consulted with Quaker School Heads, the Committee on Education of the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting and other leaders in education. It became clear that a secondary school for Learning Different students under Friend's leadership would serve a real need in the Philadelphia area.

The initial meeting to discuss forming the school took place on June 13, 1985 and just one year later in June of 1986 the Philadelphia Quarterly Meeting enthusiastically endorsed sponsorship of the new Delaware Valley Friends School. After investigating nearly 100 sites in the Philadelphia area, the search for a home for DVFS concluded with rented classroom space at Harcum College in Bryn Mawr, where DVFS opened in September of 1987 with 21 students enrolled.

The school experienced rapid growth, doubling the student population in its second year and increasing enrollment by over 5 times in less than a decade. A lengthy search for a permanent home ensued. The vision of the DVFS Board was reinforced by a group of dedicated individuals who made possible the first capital campaign A Way Will Open. In 1996, the Way did open when DVFS discovered the former Paoli Elementary School. DVFS opened the doors to its very own facility in Paoli in September of 1997 and continues to operate there today.

Delaware Valley Friends began as a school focused on educating adolescents with learning differences in grades 7 - 12. The middle school program was expanded in 2009 with the addition of 6th grade and again in 2016 when 5th grade was added. In 2017, the Board of Trustees approved the further expansion of the school to include an elementary school division incorporating 5th grade and welcoming students in 3rd and 4th grades for the first time. The expansion of our program into elementary school has been an important step in the development of DVFS as an institution, and it enables the school to fulfill its mission at a deeper and broader level.

With the creation of our elementary school program, DVFS has become the only Friends school in the Philadelphia area dedicated solely to the education of students who learn differently from elementary through high school.

In 2018, DVFS established a new care relationship with the Concord Quarterly Meeting, which is geographically much closer to the school's service area.

Mission Statement

The mission of Delaware Valley Friends School is to prepare students with learning differences for future work and study.

The school develops those personal strengths which enable students to succeed in its college preparatory curriculum. The school also recognizes that it has a responsibility to share its expertise with teachers and students beyond the school community.

Delaware Valley Friends School carries forward the Quaker heritage of compassion and justice. We acknowledge that of God in everyone and nurture the unique personal worth and potential good inherent in each individual.


DVFS was incorporated in 1986 as a coeducational, independent Friends School for adolescents with learning differences. The school opened in 1987 with 21 students at Harcum College in Bryn Mawr. In 1997, the school moved into their own completely renovated building in Paoli. The school is operated by a Board of Directors and is under the care of the Concord Quarterly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends.

Review our School Profile for more detailed information about Delaware Valley Friends School today.

The School shall not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national or ethnic origin, gender, sexual orientation, sexual identity, age, disability or marital status in the administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, athletic and other school administered programs, or in hiring, use of volunteers or board membership.

Delaware Valley Friends School
19 E. Central Avenue, Paoli, Pennsylvania 19301
Phone: 610.640.4150
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