The healthy social life is found when,
In the mirror of each human soul,
The whole community finds its reflection, and when,
In the community, the virtue of each one is living.
Three Adult Spheres of Responsibility
In addition to whole-school oversight by the Administrator, Pedagogical Chair and the Administrative staff, the Davis Waldorf School recognizes three adult spheres of responsibility which provide essential support for the healthy functioning of our school and community.
- The Parents provide financial and social commitment and volunteer contributions to make it possible for the school to effectively serve their children.
The Faculty provides the quality Waldorf education and pedagogy that the children receive.
The Board of Directors is responsible for protecting the legal, financial, and physical well-being of the school in addition to strategic and long range planning.
Although each sphere carries its own specific tasks and responsibilities, there are many areas of partnership and cooperative effort. Parents, Faculty and Administration work side by side as members of the Board and they share the work of most of the school’s essential committees. The Parent Council serves as a facilitator to enhance communication within the classes, in the school community and with the Faculty and Administration. Parents, administrative staff, and the teachers also work together to co-create many of the school’s festivals and to support the education of the children in the classroom.
As a community, we are committed to working together with mutual respect, goodwill, and an earnest desire to help our school and Waldorf education thrive while providing an excellent elementary school experience for our children.
Faculty and Pedagogical Support Team
The Faculty works together to realize the goals of Waldorf education and to deepen their knowledge, understanding, and capacities through necessary work and study. This forms the basis of classroom life, which is the central focus of each teacher.
They share aspects of the principles and practices of Waldorf education with parents in class meetings, study groups, parent-teacher conferences, and lectures/discussions.
The Faculty endeavors to enhance the healthy social life of the school, primarily through its daily interactions with parents and children during a school week and in the holding of the special events of festivals, assemblies, and ceremonies.
The selection of teachers is the responsibility of the Faculty. The work of the Recruitment Committee, which may include Faculty, Administrator and Pedagogical Chair, and Board members who do not have a child in that class, is to assist and guide the Faculty throughout the recruitment process.
The ongoing mentoring and support of the Faculty is the responsibility of the Pedagogical Chair and the Pedagogical Support Team, comprised of experienced teachers dedicated to upholding the values of Waldorf education and the spiritual principles of Anthroposophy. The Personnel Committee is responsible for the management of the evaluation of each Faculty member. We have implemented a 360° Evaluation process on a rotating basis for faculty members to include a self-evaluation, input from colleagues and parents, and an outside evaluator. This serves as the basis for an individualized development plan for each teacher that acknowledges a teacher's many gifts and support areas in need of further growth. The Pedagogical Support Team helps teachers accomplish items in these development plans.
The Faculty acts in partnership with the Board and the Administrative Staff in the responsible running of the school. The Faculty sends a representative to all committees, and cooperates with the parents and the Board in outreach and recruitment efforts.
At least one Faculty member, along with the Pedagogical Chair, serves on the Board and provides monthly reports to the Board. The entire Faculty meets with the Board at retreats scheduled twice per year to discuss matters of pedagogical progress, Faculty needs, social relationships in the school community, strategic planning, and the long range planning for the school.
The acceptance or non-acceptance of children into the classroom and the process of conditional acceptance, probation, suspension, and dismissal of children is the responsibility of the Faculty with oversight from the Pedagogical Chair and Administrator.
Board of Directors
The Board of Directors is the executive body of the Association for Waldorf Education in Davis (A.W.E.D.) A board of directors, with elected officers, is required to maintain the school's legal status as a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation per the Internal Revenue Service. It is the responsibility of the Board to serve, protect, and help realize the school’s goal of providing a Waldorf education to the children of this community.
The Board of Directors is made up of parents, Faculty members, the Pedagogical Chair and Administrator, and may include other members from outside of the school community. The Board is responsible for the selection of its own members. Board members serve out of a growing understanding of and commitment to the principles of Waldorf education and their fiduciary duties to the organization. The Board fulfills its responsibilities with the help of various committees working within the school. These committees interact with the Board by submitting reports about their particular goals, needs, and successes.
The Board administers the legal and economic affairs of the school. Activities include fund development, approval of employment and business agreements, and establishing tuition. The Board may establish committees or direct the Administrative staff to aid in fulfilling these responsibilities. The Board is responsible for maintaining and operating an adequate, safe site for the school, its students and employees. Additionally, the Board, along with the Faculty, is responsible for the long-range planning and development of the school.
The Board, Faculty, Pedagogical Chair and Administrator are responsible for seeking resolution of conflicts arising between or within the various school groups and encouraging collaborative working relationships among all constituents.
The Board, Faculty, and key members of the Administrative Staff meet together at least two times a year to facilitate collaboration, communication and to further the development of the school. Emergency meetings may be called as necessary.
The Board keeps the school community informed of its activities and decisions through the timely publication of minutes available in the office and on the school’s website. Monthly Board meetings are open and community members are welcomed and encouraged to attend. After attending three meetings, community members can be considered for Board membership. Please contact the Board Chair for further information.
Parents and the Parent Council
Parents fill many vital roles in the community:
- Through volunteer participation – from membership on committees to painting classrooms and organizing fundraisers – parents provide essential, on-going support of the activities of the school.
- Through payment of tuition and support of fundraising, parents provide the financial foundation for the operation of the school.
As partners, parents bring their questions and concerns to their child’s Class Teacher or designated community members.
- Parents endeavor to provide a home environment compatible with the goals and philosophy of Waldorf education and the Davis Waldorf School’s policies.
- Parents support their child’s class and Class Teacher by attending parent evenings and helping with class activities and special events.
- Parents deepen their understanding of Waldorf education through class meetings, study groups, and lectures.
- Class Parents and other interested parent volunteers come together within the Parent Council to support a healthy dialog between the Administration and Faculty, as well as help with parent welcoming, parent education, festivals and fundraising.
Our Parent Council Leaders are:
Gina Murphey, Chair; Ceri Beeman, Host; Kelly O'Brien,Secretary
Committees in Service to the Community
The volunteer skill and labor provided to the school by the parents, teachers, and staff is an essential part of our school community. Many of our activities depend on work outlined and guided by our standing committees. The following is a list of some of our committees:
Leadership Team - The Leadership Team serves as the leadership group that efficiently and effectively addresses questions in areas where business and pedagogy intersect. The role of the Leadership Team is to provide oversight and annual review of mandated committees, to ratify such items as are brought forward by committees as recommendations, to coordinate among various groups, to establish policy as needed, and to handle issues that arise from time to time that do not fall within the purview of any existing committee or job. Members of this group include the chairs of the three sections of the school (Early Childhood, Lower School and Middle School), the Pedagogical Chair and Administrator.
The Circle of Chairs - The formation of this group is currently in work
Finance Committee - The mission of the Finance Committee is to monitor the financial health of the school. The committee is responsible for formulating and reviewing the annual budget and for reviewing monthly financial reports. The finance committee is made up of a board member, our business manager, a Faculty representative and parents with a background in financial management.
Site Committee, including Landscape - The Site Committee provides prioritized facility and site improvement recommendations to the Board. Additionally, they work to plan and design our landscape to incorporate shade, play and sport spaces, gardening, farming, and beauty for all to share. They are charged with long-range planning and work from a Master Site Plan. They help to coordinate the “All-School Beautification” day which takes place prior to opening day.
Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) Committee - It is the mission of the Tuition Adjustment Committee to implement the school's tuition policy, balancing the needs of the school while striving to make Waldorf education more affordable for low-income families who wish to provide this education for their children.
Social Wellness - The Social Wellness Committee is composed of select faculty, staff and parents who have been trained by Kim John Payne to implement his ‘Social Inclusion Approach’. They meet weekly to coordinate activities that build social health in our community and resolve conflicts amongst students. Their work includes practical playground, classroom and home based tools to work with social exclusion issues such as teasing and bullying.
Care Group – The Care Group consists of Faculty members from each section of the school and the Pedagogical Chair, and this committee supports parents and teachers in meeting the educational and developmental needs of our students from Preschool to 8th Grade.
Recruitment - The Recruitment Committee is responsible for identifying the most capable and qualified candidates for available teaching positions. The committee coordinates the teacher search and the interview process. The hiring of Early Childhood Assistants and Aftercare Staff is managed by the EC Faculty. This committee consists of two or three teachers, preferably from different sections of the school, the Pedagogical Chair, Administrator, Business Manager (as needed).
Personnel – The Personnel Committee supports excellence in teaching in all teaching staff by establishing and maintaining regular processes of review and evaluation, monitoring performance and providing guidance in professional developmental activities. This group is comprised of the Pedagogical Chair, the Administrator, the Business Manager and our two grades mentors.
Parent Council – Any parent that has a child at the school is invited to become a member of Parent Council. The Council was inactive for some time at DWS; however, it began regular meetings in the Spring of 2014. The Parent Council serves as a facilitator to enhance parents’ communication within each of the classes, in the school community and with the Faculty and Administration. The Parent Council considers parent initiatives, it holds the community life of the school, and it supports volunteerism and fundraising efforts.
Development Committee – This committee works to positively impact enrollment, outreach, retention, marketing and financial support for and within our school through a focus on increasing demand for Waldorf Education (enrollment), improving community engagement (retention/outreach), improving funding sources (financial support) and increasing awareness (marketing/enrollment).
Diversity Committee – Works mindfully toward building on the school’s existing culture and policies of inclusion to recruit and welcome individuals and families of all identities. Areas in which equity and diversity will be examined include: curriculum, festivals, outreach, enrollment, physical facilities, sports/extracurricular activities, paperwork/forms, volunteer opportunities, faculty/staff composition, visiting speakers, dances/social gatherings, field trips, classroom duties/jobs, playground interactions.
Mandates and Working Principles
Much of the work of the school is accomplished within committees, groups that are recognized as being mandated by the Board or by the Faculty Leadership Team. Each of these committees operates under a set of guidelines, as follows:
- To act in accordance with the school’s values, mission, vision, Strategic Plan
- To follow the guiding principles of:
- Strive to choose those best suited for responsibilities, building on individual's strengths - right people for the right situation.
- Act out of the intention of servant leadership.
- Entrust others to carry and lead sections of the school and supporting them in this work, working in a way that creates trust.
- Employ cross-sectional collaboration when making pedagogical and programmatic changes or developments.
- Take into consideration input from those who are affected by the decision when making decisions.
- Strive to communicate in a way that promotes trust and confidence.
- To act in accordance with the purpose of the chartered or mandated group.
- To formulate ‘Goals for the Year’
- To periodically review their group’s charter and provide any recommendations for changes. This includes membership criteria and mandated areas. This process would ideally occur once per year, when new members join or rotate off of the committees in the fall.
- To provide proper reporting of the committee work:
- Each section and committee chair will keep minutes that are available for review. Decisions will be documented in the minutes. Each section and committee chair will prepare verbal reports including major decisions for the Faculty or Board meeting, as requested.
- Each section and committee will give a written report of decisions made during the year to the Leadership Team or Board in January and June.