Church Farm School

Church Farm School
CFS, The School at Church Farm
Exton, Pennsylvania,, USA
Type Independent Boarding and Day School, Boys
Established 1918
Headmaster Rev. Edmund K. Sherrill II
Grades 7-12
Number of students 190
Campus Suburban
Color(s) Maroon and Grey
Athletics conference PIAA District 1, Bicentennial Athletic League
Mascot Griffin
Newspaper 'Greystock News '
Yearbook 'CFS Griffin'
Endowment $120-150 Million
Tuition $25,000 boarding, $ 15,000 day
Church Farm School Historic District
Church Farm School is located in Pennsylvania
Location: US 30, West Whiteland, Pennsylvania
Coordinates: 40°1′54″N 75°35′41″W / 40.03167°N 75.59472°W / 40.03167; -75.59472Coordinates: 40°1′54″N 75°35′41″W / 40.03167°N 75.59472°W / 40.03167; -75.59472
Area: 19.7 acres (8.0 ha)
Built: 1918
Architect: Medary,Milton
Architectural style: Tudor Revival, Collegiate Gothic
Governing body: Private
MPS: West Whiteland Township MRA
NRHP Reference#:


Added to NRHP: October 26, 1984

CFS, The School at Church Farm was founded as the "Church Farm School" in 1918 by the Rev. Dr. Charles W. Shreiner. Shreiner, an Episcopalian priest, established the school in Glen Loch, Pennsylvania, on U.S. Route 30 between Frazer and Exton, as a boarding school for boys from broken homes, primarily those without fathers. The sons of clergy, members of the armed services, and police officers were a second focus of the school in its early days. The Founder, Rev. Shreiner, because of his strict belief in the importance of discipline and a strong work ethic, was known to the boys as the "Colonel."[2] The school integrated in 1963 and is today recognized as one of the most diverse college-preparatory boarding schools in the country.

In 1985 the campus was listed as a historic district by the National Register of Historic Places.



After the Colonel's death in 1964, the school was placed under the direction of his son, Dr. Charles Shreiner, Jr., a World War II veteran, who served until retirement in 1987. The school's third headmaster, Charles "Terry" Shreiner, III, the founder's grandson, led the school from 1987 until 2008, leaving in June for a year-long sabbatical prior to a planned 2009 retirement. The School was then led by an interim headmaster, Thomas Rodd, Jr., who was replaced by Rev. Ned Sherrill in July 2009. Presently, the School's academic program is designed for boys in grades 7-12. (A "junior school" of grades 5-6 was phased out in the 1960s.) The school offers a well-rounded, rigorous, college preparatory education, including honors and Advanced Placement classes. On average, 95% of seniors go on to attend college after graduation.

The size of the student body is small, with an average enrollment of 175 over the last five years. Boarding students live in home-like dormitories called "cottages." In 1995, the school opened its doors to day students, who now comprise 20% of the school community. The school is affiliated with the Episcopal Church, with an Episcopalian minister ("Chaplain") leading weekly chapel services for the school community. Despite this affiliation, students of all faiths and backgrounds are welcome.

Over the first half of its existence, the school's campus grew to as large as 1,700 acres (6.9 km2), on which a large farm was operated with the help of the students. Each boy was required to work half of each school day and full time for half of each summer. This farm included a large dairy and hog raising operations. The agricultural activities were gradually phased out, beginning in the mid-1970s, with most of the remaining farm land being sold off to developers in the late 1990s. The proceeds from this sale resulted in a substantial increase in the school's endowment, which has made CFS one of the most affordable independent schools in the country. To reflect the school's evolution into a focused, college-preparatory institution, the school's name was changed in 1995 to "CFS, The School at Church Farm." The dairy barns and silos remain as a testament to the agricultural era of the school's history.

CFS Principles

  • An orderliness and discipline conducive to learning and personal growth.
  • Excellence in academics and athletic competition.
  • A caring philosophy that permeates campus life.
  • An environment that provides a context for revealing life's spiritual dimension and nurtures the development of positive moral


  • A sound work ethic, as taught and exhibited by the CFS faculty and staff.


CFS features a college-preparatory curriculum with honors and Advanced Placement classes. CFS has an average class size of 12 students and a student:teacher ratio of 7:1. Each student is assigned a faculty advisor who becomes an advocate and academic monitor for his or her advisees. Close advisor/advisee relationships are fostered through weekly advisee group meetings and monthly off-campus outings.

CFS requires four years of English and history, three years of math and science, as well as two years of a foreign language, along with fine arts electives, for graduation. Most students will complete a fourth year of math and science and third year of foreign language; myriad advanced electives are available to juniors and seniors. Two college counselors work with juniors and seniors on researching and applying to colleges and universities.

CFS is a technologically advanced school community; each student receives a laptop which becomes an instructional tool in and out of the classroom. Access to the CFS network and the internet is provided via portals in each classroom desk, in the library, and in each dorm room. Several classrooms feature smartboards.

The academic year begins the Tuesday after labor day and ends in early June. The program includes thirty-six weeks of instruction, with a weeklong holiday at Thanksgiving, two weeks at Christmas, and two weeks at Spring Break. Long weekends are offered in October, February, at Easter, and in May. Parents receive reports regarding their son's progress eight times a year. Formal parent conferences are held three times per year.

One-on-one academic, emotional, and social support is offered through the Learning Center, the Instructional Technology Center, the Guidance Department, faculty academic assistance, and peer tutors.


CFS features a robust, curricular arts program, the focus of which is to encourage students to discover an artistic passion and to provide the educational venues and instruction to support that passion to its fullest extent.

The CFS Choir is regionally renowned for its performance and musicianship, regularly sends members to all-district, all-region, and all-state festivals, and has traveled to Germany and South Africa in the last five years. The professionally-led CFS Jazz Band features an eclectic mix of students and instruments and regularly performs on campus and in the community. Students may also pursue advanced music studies in music theory, technology, appreciation, history and sociology, and musicianship. Piano and instrument lessons can be made available to interested students. CFS had a student accepted to the highly selective Governor's School for Music (bass and bass guitar) in 2008.

CFS Arts facilities include a full fine arts room and clay studio, with on-campus kiln. Students can participate in a host of general and advanced arts classes, including clay, pottery, 2-D design, 3-D design, and weaving. Students exhibit work in monthly showings in the Sam Phillips Gallery on campus. Outstanding art students may take an independent study in art, culminating in a solo showing of their work. CFS had two students accepted to the highly selective Governor's School for the Arts in 2007.

Additionally fine arts classes include photography, woodworking, and fine furniture-making.


CFS competes in ten interscholastic sports, including golf, cross-country, soccer, wrestling, basketball, winter track, baseball, tennis, and spring track and field. CFS competes in the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) in District 1. Beginning in 2012, the School will compete as part of the Bicentennial Athletic League. CFS made a splash in its first year as a PIAA member. The Basketball team made it to the State playoffs, after finishing third in Districts. The Track and Field team won the PIAA District 1 Double A boys Championship in a dramatic finish beating Lower Moreland with 85.5 points. The Wrestling team was also successful with one wrestler winning the district championship in his 215 pound weight class and another winning in his 103 pound weight class. CFS's athletic facilities include four soccer fields, a 3.1-mile (5.0 km) on-campus cross-country course, a fencing room, two baseball fields, a quarter-mile outdoor track, a traditional field house for basketball, six tennis courts, an outdoor swimming pool for recreation, and, the most recent addition, a state-of-the-art multipurpose athletic pavilion.

Spiritual, Moral and Character Education

The school's spiritual life is centered in the stone-hewn Chapel of the Atonement, where three weekly services are held; a brief lecture given by faculty or invited guests on Tuesday, a full Eucharist service on Wednesday, and brief morning prayer service for those students on campus on Sunday. Students are required to take a world religions survey course during one semester of their high school tenure. Each student is encouraged to seek and foster a spiritual element in his life, regardless of his specific religious affiliation.

The chapel, which was initially constructed in the 1920s, was remodeled and expanded in the 1960s. A world class pipe organ was installed at that time. At the chapel's formal dedication in 1965, a concert on that organ was performed by classical organist Virgil Fox.

CFS students must participate in both on- and off-campus community service through the CORE (Challenge of Required Experience Program. Annually, CFS students perform 3,000 hours of community service on campus and at local and regional non-profit agencies. Students also participate in a shared work program on campus, helping to take care of school buildings and residential cottages.

Campus Life

Students reside in ten cottages arranged across Route 30 from the academic and athletic buildings (the two halves of campus are connected by a tunnel below the highway). Approximately twenty students live in each dorm, with two dorm faculty members who, as part of the college-preparatory experience, teach students time management and successful independent living practices. Married couples supervise two cottages. Each dorm features single and double rooms, laundry facilities, a small kitchen, and two common lounge areas with televisions. Student rooms are wired with ethernet access.

Students participate in a variety of extra-curricular activities on campus. Popular activities include the multi-cultural club, the Griffin Odyssey school spirit organization, the Student Ambassadors Program, the Literary Magazine, Yearbook, and the student newspaper, "Greystock News," among others.


On weekends, students are able to take part in a variety of on- and off-campus activities, which include sporting events, outdoor activities, cultural activities, and trips to regional destinations. Regular off-campus trips include the mall, the movies, shopping centers, and outlets. Each weekend also features special major activities that vary throughout the year; recent destinations have included Hershey Park, Great Adventure, Dorney Park, New York City, Washington, D.C., the Jersey shore, and Pocono ski resorts. Other special activities include paintball, laser tag, the rodeo, mountain biking, fly-fishing, and professional sporting events like the Philadelphia 76'ers, Kixx, and Soul.

Boarding students may go home most weekends and day students occasionally stay on campus on a Friday or Saturday night. About 70% of the student body remains at school on a typical weekend and takes part in activities.

Dress Code

CFS requires that students wear a sport jacket, tie, dress slacks, and dress socks and shoes to school. A school sweater may be substituted for the sport jacket. In warm weather, the jacket requirement is waived. In cold weather, a turtleneck may be substituted for the shirt and tie.

Tuition and Financial Aid

CFS spends approximately $50,000 to educate each student. However, because of the school's strong endowment and donations, stated tuition for church farm school is an estimated $25,000. However with the large endowment of CFS along with the Pathways program a student can pay little to no tuition. In 2008, the average student paid $5,200 out of pocket for tuition, room, board, and fees. For students for whom the minimum tuition is unfeasible, the school has longstanding relationships with third-party agencies that provide gap funding.


Every member of the CFS class of 2011 is continuing his education at a college or university or studying abroad. In the fall, CFS will be represented by its newest alumni at institutions including MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), MICA (Maryland Institute College of Arts), Cornell, Carnegie-Mellon, Ohio State, Michigan, Babson College, Drexel, Temple, Seton Hall, James Madison, Alfred University, and the Universities of Michigan, Delaware, California (Santa Cruz), Rhode Island, Illinois, and Western Ontario. Recent graduates have also attended Columbia, Dartmouth, Penn, Swarthmore, Duke, and many other of the nation's finest universities and colleges.

  • Nana Atakora-Bediako Track Athlete[3]
  • Otis Brown- accomplished electronic musician and producer



  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2009-03-13. 
  2. ^ Diane Snyder and Martha Wolf, 1984, NRHP Nomination Form for the School at Church Farm Enter "public" for ID and "public" for password to access the site.
  3. ^ NCCU

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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