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Wondering about Waldorf Inspired Public Charter Schools...  

post #1 of 36
Thread Starter 

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Anyone out there have children attending a Waldorf inspired charter school. If so can you tell me more about it? DD attending a private Steiner school now but we may not be able to afford tuition in the near future. Any thoughts? Ideas? Recommendations? Any insights appreciated...Thanks...

post #2 of 36
Azalea Mountain (www.azaleamountain.org) has the only grades progran based on Waldorf education. They are working on becoming certified with WECAN and AWSNA. They also have a mixed-age kindergarten. Wonderful and devoted teachers.

Other mixed-age kindergartens include Little Round Schoolhouse (www.littleroundschoolhouse.com) in East Asheville and Dandelion Hill (www.dandelionhill.org) in West Asheville. They're both wonderful programs & very popular. Call soon because the spaces are filling up quickly. They both offer summer camps, too.

They are all wonderful schools and they all work together to provide a nice, supportive Waldorf Community in Asheville.
post #3 of 36
Thread Starter 

I looked at the web page for the Azalea Mountain School.  My Daughter is 9 and would be going into the 3rd grade.  I'm unclear as to how the tuition works...is this a public or private school?  Looks wonderful...

post #4 of 36
Thread Starter 

We are currently in Massachusetts...

post #5 of 36

Sorry, I responded to the wrong thread. I'm sorry -- I meant to put my previous post in I'm Moving to Asheville

 

But to answer your question, Azalea Mountain is a private school with an "accessible to all" tuition policy. 

post #6 of 36

We have a Waldorf charter here. http://arizonawaldorf.org/DMS/

 

It is a bit of a drive for us, so we are Waldorf homeschoolers. BUT the school invites to particiapte in festivals and other things so I have been on campus quite a bit. It is a lovely place and seems very "pure" except the do have to follow the laws on state testing.

post #7 of 36

We have a Waldorf-inspired charter here that I absolutely love, even though we are homeschoolers.  My son was going to go there until I decided to homeschool, and if he has to go to public school this is where he will go.  I am impressed with the mixing of the two philosophies, which I like better than a straight private school, which is also too far from us and much too expensive.

post #8 of 36

Charters still have to follow state guidelines, which includes state testing, which isn't really waldorf at all. 

post #9 of 36

Most Waldorf charters are Waldorf but still need to comply with some aspects of state law, like testing. And because those results count, they have to match their curriculum to a certain extent. We have some friends who go to one in Los Angeles and they speak very highly of it, even though they don't come from a Waldorf background. Their lives have been pretty much transformed by the experience.

post #10 of 36

Tamarack Waldorf school is not a charter but participates in a program called "school choice" in Milwaukee, WI.  The program is for people living in the city of Milwaukee.  Those families that make under a certain limit (for a four-person family I believe that this is around $65,000), students attend for free.  It is not a charter school so the teachers can teach the religious traditions throughout the curriculum and, though we are required to test, parents can individually opt their children out of it (which most of us do).  

It is a beautiful school in the heart of the city--just a few blocks from Lake Michigan and the Milwaukee river.  It is socioeconomically diverse, racially diverse, ideologically diverse, and the surrounding community is upbeat and unique.

Tamarack Waldorf School

 

We have people move from all over the nation to this school...

Maggie

post #11 of 36

All that glitters isn't gold...

Tamarack Waldorf School Reviews
 

It appears this school has serious problems - especially in the areas of safety.

post #12 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by PeteK View Post

All that glitters isn't gold...

Tamarack Waldorf School Reviews
 

It appears this school has serious problems - especially in the areas of safety.


PeteK you linked your own Waldorf critic's blog-not sure if you have a full and accurate picture of the school.
post #13 of 36

These are from the Great Schools website and are in our school's purview...at least three of the four that I deem valid.

 

Two of the complaints were current (last school year and the year before) and I know which families wrote those.  I am still in contact with one of the families in particular and I believe that the school did not fully address the problem.  The school also felt that way but the whole picture is much more complicated than just what was written on that complaint.  This family has chosen to homeschool partially because they knew that so many of the pedagogical aspects of the school were what they were looking for...rough boys on a playground were very unfamiliar to this gentle family with two quiet girls.  There was no way we were able to come to an immediate and adequate solution and so the mother temporarily withdrew one child who was participating (beyond the mother's comfort level) in rough play.  Once she found how much she enjoyed homeschooling her, she withdrew her second daughter.  I do feel that their needs were not met...but I also feel that there is a good chance that they would not have been met at another school either.  

 

This school has an interesting demographic: there are children in extreme poverty who receive vouchers along with parents who pay full tuition prices.  Because of this, there are a certain breed of problems.  Those parents looking for an elite private-school experience do not get it here and where the divergence is most obvious is in a level of civility.  There is an absolute "roughness" that comes with being raised on the streets and in poverty that is often apparent to people of financial affluence.  Even from a teaching standpoint, it is impossible to fail to recognize the social affects.  Still, most of the families make it work and that is saying much more than just a few complaints.  

 

I can vouch that none of the faculty are pot-smoking hippies.  This is ridiculous--all of the faculty are seriously committed to children and to education.  This is slanderous, harmful, and verifiably untrue.  If you print all comments indiscriminately, then it discredits you just as much as you wish to discredit the school.

 

The school serves a population of 230 students per year.  This website opened up comments for our school a few years ago.  The school has been in operation for 15 years...I believe that some of these comments may be due to a "Waldorf-ness" that somehow enables something to go awry...but faulting it for all of the things that ail the world at large doesn't help the problem.  And certainly because something glitters doesn't mean that it's gold...but it could be gold anyway.  Maybe it has imperfections, but I have personal experience that this school is a haven for so many children who have so little in their lives.  A life of NCLB imposed state standards and testing isn't gold either.  Read "Tested" by Linda Perlstein.  You'll see the alternative that most of these children face...and it's certainly not pretty either.  

 

Maggie

post #14 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by thefragile7393 View Post


PeteK you linked your own Waldorf critic's blog-not sure if you have a full and accurate picture of the school.

Perhaps.  I don't think a full and accurate picture of the school can be assembled without the critical reviews... do you?

post #15 of 36
Quote:
This school has an interesting demographic: there are children in extreme poverty who receive vouchers along with parents who pay full tuition prices.  Because of this, there are a certain breed of problems.  Those parents looking for an elite private-school experience do not get it here and where the divergence is most obvious is in a level of civility.  There is an absolute "roughness" that comes with being raised on the streets and in poverty that is often apparent to people of financial affluence.  Even from a teaching standpoint, it is impossible to fail to recognize the social affects.  Still, most of the families make it work and that is saying much more than just a few complaints.

So, you're saying that if more elite children were there, the school would be better off?  That poor kids are ruining the school?  SERIOUSLY?

 

Quote:
I can vouch that none of the faculty are pot-smoking hippies.  This is ridiculous--all of the faculty are seriously committed to children and to education.  This is slanderous, harmful, and verifiably untrue.  If you print all comments indiscriminately, then it discredits you just as much as you wish to discredit the school.

So, are you guaranteeing that none of the teachers there smoke pot?  How can you make that claim?  Clairvoyance?  At Highland Hall, for example, SEVERAL teachers smoked pot - and WITH STUDENTS.  It is amazing to me that you personally (not to mention anonymously) can "vouch" for the teachers at this school.  It's obvious why you want to cast critical reviews of this school in a bad light... you have a motive to protect the system you work for.  The parents who wrote the reviews had no "motive" - they simply expressed what happened at the school.  The "pot-smoking" review, as I recall, came from a STUDENT.  I would suggest to you that the students probably have a better feel for what drugs are available at their school.

post #16 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by PeteK View Post

So, you're saying that if more elite children were there, the school would be better off?  That poor kids are ruining the school?  SERIOUSLY?

 

 

So is that what you deduced from the above?

 

No...I'm saying that many children grow up in conditions that put them at an unfair disadvantage right off the bat.  Poverty is a condition--it wreaks havoc on the small child.  http://www.princeton.edu/futureofchildren/publications/docs/07_02_03.pdf  

 

And I'm most certainly not saying that the school would be better off if it was more gentrified--in fact, as proof, I have my children in this school SPECIFICALLY because I find a deep and positive value in the diversity.  I think that it's a wonderful school that strives hard to meet needs of children in so many different circumstances.  This is not a racial or a socio-economically insensitive statement...if you work with young children who often have no medical care, poor nutrition, irregular rhythms in their home life, the children often act out their frustrations at school.  I think that people can be put off by some of the ill effects of poverty.  It is difficult to educate parents about everything that they could be likely to encounter because there is such a range of ill effects and no one wants to expect any of them.    

 

Public schools deal with worse poverty than we do.  If you haven't really dealt with these things in education, it's difficult for me to begin to explain it.  You're talking from an obvious place of inexperience which is very apparent, finally in this conversation.  I wasn't able to tell until now that you don't know what you're talking about, but this is a serious issue that really has made a non-controversial splash in the education world.  Not everyone agrees with how to deal with it, but everyone agrees that it's an obvious problem.  Everyone is working together to work toward solving it.  It's not easy to describe--even the studies, as the Princeton publication describes up above, have had a difficult time understanding it exactly.  But, nonetheless, it is a very real condition that makes learning very difficult for children.  Anyone working in education today is aware of it.

 

So, are you guaranteeing that none of the teachers there smoke pot?  How can you make that claim? 

 

Insurance takes care of this: drug tests and TB tests are mandatory/standard.  

 

At Highland Hall, for example, SEVERAL teachers smoked pot - and WITH STUDENTS.

 

And nobody has turned them in?  I think this is atrocious and if I had any evidence of this I would turn it over to authorities.  I suspect that this is trumped up...but if it isn't, someone was not doing their job as a responsible adult.  Parent, teacher, student, or otherwise.  There are many people at fault in such a circumstance.  Who do you blame?  Who blew the whistle and where did they go with such information?  I find it hard to believe that insurance adjusters would overlook claims such as this--they are extraordinarily thorough. 

 

It's obvious why you want to cast critical reviews of this school in a bad light... you have a motive to protect the system you work for.  The parents who wrote the reviews had no "motive" - they simply expressed what happened at the school.

 

How am I casting them in a bad light?  The only real one that I can vouch for did not have their needs met by the school.  That's admitting fault on the part of the school, not trying to discredit the victim!  It is upsetting to me, to our school, and still upsetting to the family.  I just stated this above!  The issue was never resolved and they left the school feeling badly and our school lost a wonderful family.  I don't know how that's justifying any actions--that's just stating an unfortunate conclusion.  There are many more things involved in such a decision...many of which don't need to be discussed.  

 

The "pot-smoking" review, as I recall, came from a STUDENT.  I would suggest to you that the students probably have a better feel for what drugs are available at their school.

 

I don't think it's clear that this is posted by a student.  Maybe it is...that doesn't make it true.  I think drug tests have more to reveal than the Great Schools website...but, you know...that's just scientific information...not hearsay.  I guess some people do research and others just collect opinions.

 

post #17 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by herbsmd View Post
So is that what you deduced from the above?

That's why I asked for clarification.

 

Quote:
No...I'm saying that many children grow up in conditions that put them at an unfair disadvantage right off the bat.  Poverty is a condition--it wreaks havoc on the small child.

But then why complain about the demographics at your particular school in which you claim poor children bring a "certain breed of problems"?  You almost seem to lament over the fact that elitist parents aren't as easily satisfied when they encounter the "roughness" of poor children.  Are Waldorf school INTENDED to be elitist?

 

Quote:
Public schools deal with worse poverty than we do.  If you haven't really dealt with these things in education, it's difficult for me to begin to explain it.  You're talking from an obvious place of inexperience which is very apparent, finally in this conversation.  I wasn't able to tell until now that you don't know what you're talking about, but this is a serious issue that really has made a non-controversial splash in the education world.

Seriously, shame on you!  You're trying everything you can think of to discredit what I am saying.  It's EXACTLY what Waldorf teachers do.  Everyone knows Waldorf schools don't suffer from POVERTY... They charge thousands of dollars for tuition.  And when tuition assistance is available, it's available FIRST to Anthroposophical families.  If poor kids are a problem in your school, you should do what 94% of Waldorf schools do - kick them out!  Seriously, you are the one who either doesn't know what they're talking about or is being intentionally dishonest.

 

Quote:

It's not easy to describe--even the studies, as the Princeton publication describes up above, have had a difficult time understanding it exactly.

I suggest parents have a go at trying to understand the Princeton study... then they would see how it doesn't relate AT ALL to Waldorf - or the claims you made above.

 

Quote:
Insurance takes care of this: drug tests and TB tests are mandatory/standard.

Cool.  Which school is this?  Tamarack?  Should I investigate to see if drug testing is mandatory?  You don't mind if I double-check what you're telling me, right?

 

Quote:
And nobody has turned them in?  I think this is atrocious and if I had any evidence of this I would turn it over to authorities.  I suspect that this is trumped up...but if it isn't, someone was not doing their job as a responsible adult.  Parent, teacher, student, or otherwise.  There are many people at fault in such a circumstance.  Who do you blame?  Who blew the whistle and where did they go with such information?  I find it hard to believe that insurance adjusters would overlook claims such as this--they are extraordinarily thorough.

Not only has nobody turned them in - many teachers had knowledge of students smoking pot on campus in a "tee-pee" that was there a few years ago.  They expelled one student for dealing on campus, and one lifer just before he graduated, but other than that, nothing.  I suspect Highland Hall pays VERY high insurance fees.  There's no mandatory drug testing there... and I suspect there isn't at most Waldorf schools.  I'd really support one that does this.

 

Quote:
I don't think it's clear that this is posted by a student.  Maybe it is...that doesn't make it true.  I think drug tests have more to reveal than the Great Schools website...but, you know...that's just scientific information...not hearsay.  I guess some people do research and others just collect opinions.

OK, so you are saying Tamarack Waldorf school employs drug testing for its teachers.  This is something I want to research. 

 

OK... just checked their website and their employment application... not a mention of drug testing on the employment app - or even a question about "do you use drugs".

post #18 of 36

Who pays for drug tests for every applicant?  I hope you don't own a business.  My children's school does this every year for employees...as does the other Waldorf school that I currently work at...did you check that one?  Both of these schools screen upon employment...not upon application! 

 

"Here, we'd like to interview you...and please pee in this cup in this secluded bathroom and seal it with tape.  Don't forget to write down your confidential number and check all paperwork to make sure that it's stamped with your correct pee-cup number.  We wouldn't want to put your CV with someone else's pee!"  I've never heard of such a thing.  Keep looking for your misinformation.  

post #19 of 36

Here's local DPI policy here...

 

http://www.teachmps.org/application_hiring_process.htm

 

Does that make you feel better?  

post #20 of 36
Quote:
Who pays for drug tests for every applicant?  I hope you don't own a business.  My children's school does this every year for employees...as does the other Waldorf school that I currently work at...did you check that one?  Both of these schools screen upon employment...not upon application!

I do own a business, but I don't drug test. 

 

Did you mention which Waldorf school you currently work at?  I checked Tamarack's application - no mention of drug testing. 

 

Usually, if they are going to drug-test an employee, they will say so on the application.  This is because many people believe it's a violation of their civil rights.  Employers don't wait until they hire someone before letting them know about this... they say it during the application process.  Do you have any evidence to suggest Tamarack or ANY Waldorf school employs drug-testing?

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