We are the only K-12 public charter Waldorf school in the United States.
The high school curriculum in Waldorf schools is the completion of a child’s journey in education, taking them full circle from early childhood all the way through the senior year. The curriculum takes into account everything the individual has touched on in the grades, and expands on it, bringing to the forefront the issues of the day in a respectful manner that prepares the student for what’s to follow once they leave high school. Critical thinking skills are instilled, along with a love of learning.
What does the HS course of study include?
The HS is dedicated to helping students develop their full potential as scholars, artists, athletes, and community members. The course of study includes:
- Humanities curriculum that integrates history, literature, and knowledge of world cultures
- Science that includes an integrated curriculum of physics, biology, chemistry, and a four-year college preparatory mathematics program
- Arts and crafts program that includes drawing, painting, sculpture, pottery, weaving, woodworking and bookbinding
- Extracurricular programming offering band, choir, sports and drama
- Movement classes, including eurythmy and physical fitness
- Community service program
- Foreign language program
Why is Rudolf Steiner’s developmental approach important in the HS years?
Guided by the core principles of Public Waldorf education, our approach is designed to meet the student’s changing developmental needs from the early years through high school. The ages 14 to 21 mark the third 7-year cycle and the development of the brain, which is involved in higher functions such as sensory perception, spatial reasoning, language and conscious thought. The young adult is now ready for new levels of abstract and analytical thinking and a new degree of self-awareness and depth of understanding. Adolescents today are inheriting a world with multi-faceted challenges. Public Waldorf education cultivates a love of learning, creative thinking, a sympathetic interest in the world, self-confidence, and an abiding moral purpose.
What is a main lesson?
Each day begins with “main lesson,” a one-hour and 30-minute period in which an academic subject is studied intensively for 3-5 weeks. Studying a subject in blocks allows the student the opportunity to gain a detailed understanding of the subject through a combination of illuminating lecture, discussion, and hands-on work. During the course of a main lesson block, the student creates a main lesson book, or portfolio, to record studies, using notes, sketches, essays and other writings, illustrations, and diagrams. These main lesson books, the evidence of their learning, are often beautifully arranged by the students and bring a strong sense of accomplishment.
What is the role of the arts?
Both performing and fine arts are integral to the HS curriculum. The purpose of the arts classes is not to “create artists” but to encourage creativity and thinking. A HS student studying a class play has not only absorbed the language but has learned presence of mind, and what it means to work as a member of a team for a goal greater than the sum of its parts. The student studying fine arts, in addition to obtaining a specific skill, has gained self-discipline and the knowledge of artistic form.
Students who have worked throughout their HS education with color and form; with tone, drama, and speech; with eurythmy as an art of bodily movement; with clay, wood, fiber, metal, charcoal and ink; with soil and plant, have not only worked creatively to activate, clarify, and strengthen their emotions but have carried thought and feeling down into the practical exercise of the will.
What are our HS students doing after graduating?
Colleges around the country specifically recruit Waldorf graduates because they know our students will succeed on their campuses. Ninety-four percent of private Waldorf high school graduates attend college. Even more impressively, 88% of private Waldorf graduates finish college.* Our school does not focus solely on college preparedness and acceptance, but most of our seniors go directly on to college after graduating from high school. Some have chosen to study at small liberal arts colleges, others have opted for larger universities or specialized schools. Those who have not gone directly to a 4-year university are attending junior colleges, working, or traveling before pursuing higher education.
Is technology used in HS?
We believe that technology, when used appropriately, can enhance the students’ education as well as their social interactions. In the high school curriculum, DMS embraces technology in ways that strengthen the learning process, by using it as a tool, rather than replace the role of the teacher. Students quickly master technology, and graduates from Waldorf schools have gone on to successful careers in the technology industry.
What’s the HS discipline policy?
Our goal is to lead the student into freedom and responsibility. When there is a question about a student’s behavior, we start by asking the student to place their choices within the context of our common ideals as a learning community. Among these ideals are respect for self and others, appreciation and tolerance of differences, and a commitment to participating in the learning process. If behavior falls short of this commitment we will follow steps outlined in our HS student handbook.
*Source: Gerwin, Douglas. 2019 “How Waldorf Alumni Fare After Graduation” Research Bulletin. Research Institute for Waldorf Education
*Statistics for Public Waldorf graduates are not yet available.