Vision, Mission & Philosophy

This representation of the Penn Charter school seal hangs on the back wall of the Meeting Room. The seal bears William Penn's coat of arms and an open book with a message in Greek, "Love one another." The original name of the school appears on the inner circle: Philadelphia Public School. All the elements are encircled by Penn Charter's motto, from the writings of William Penn: Good Instruction Is Better than Riches


Educating students to live lives that make a difference.


Quaker principles and practice continue to guide William Penn Charter School, a Friends school founded in 1689. Within a school community that honors difference, we seek that of God in each person. We value scholarship and inquiry. With excellence as our standard, we challenge students in a vigorous program of academics, arts and athletics. Through global connections, civic engagement and a focus on environmental sustainability, we inspire students to be thinkers, collaborators, innovators and leaders. We educate students to live lives that make a difference.


William Penn Charter School is a Friends school established in 1689 by members of the Religious Society of Friends in response to a charge by William Penn. Guided by Quaker testimonies, Penn Charter is a coeducational, pre-kindergarten through grade 12, college preparatory school committed to enlivening the spirit, training the mind, cultivating the aesthetic, and developing the body. 

A school community that honors difference, Penn Charter seeks to be a place where diversity is understood, represented and valued. Our curriculum embraces a plurality of cultures and celebrates an array of voices, instilling in us a deeper understanding and empathy for individuals in this community and the world.

We value that of God in each student and foster excellence in academics, arts and athletics. Our educational program exposes students to a breadth of content and ideas as well as opportunities for deep exploration in the pursuit of personal passion.

Guided by research and best practices, faculty collaborate across divisions and disciplines to design and deliver engaging and relevant learning experiences. We provide students with the knowledge and skills they need to thrive in a complex and changing world.

We believe that people have the capacity for growth, and we are committed to the patient pursuit and continuous revelation of truth. Accordingly, we make decisions in a searching manner and are strengthened as a school, as a community, and as individuals when we engage in discussion and share in the decision-making process.

Weekly Meeting for Worship is central to the life of the school and roots us in the Quaker belief that there is that of God in everyone. This shared belief in the unique worth of each person commits us to treating one another with love and respect.

We embrace the deeply held concerns of Friends for justice, compassion, simplicity, integrity, and the peaceful resolution of conflict. As students progress through Penn Charter, we instill in them social responsibility to others and to the world by providing opportunities for service. We educate students to live lives that make a difference.

Board members, administrators, faculty and staff began rethinking and recasting the vision, mission and philosophy statement in 2011 during Penn Charter's most recent strategic planning process. Board members approved the vision and mission in 2012, and the philosophy in January 2013.

Strategic Vision for Penn Charter's Future 

This 24-page publication explains the six goals of the Strategic Vision, the strategies to support those goals, and the themes and issues that inspired the Strategic Vision.

This 8-minute movie below outlines the broad themes of the the Strategic Vision.