Waldorf Education in a Public School Setting
Woodland Charter School is distinct from private Waldorf schools given that we are working to marry the Waldorf educational philosophy with the accessibility of the public school system. This marriage will happen on many levels; it will impact the administration of the school, the teachers and staff, the admissions process, and the school’s curriculum.
The Woodland Charter School is funded by the State of Oregon and the Federal Government. We received a $56,000 planning grant from the Oregon Department of Education for developing the Woodland Charter School in July 2010. We received a Charter School Program grant for $400,000 to start our school in 2012. Our Board of Directors for this non-profit organization, or what we like to call our Charter Council, consists of a group of community volunteers who work to start up the school.
As a charter school, Woodland will be a part of the Three Rivers School District and be accountable to them but our own Board of Directors (Charter Council) sets policies and oversees the administration of the school. This allows our school a certain level of autonomy, creativity and flexibility.
As a Public Waldorf school, our priority is that all main lesson teachers hold a teaching certificate from a Waldorf training program, be currently enrolled in a Waldorf program, or have completed the equivalent on-the-job training and hold a valid teaching license issued by the Teacher Standards and Practices Commission (TSPC). At least half of our staff is licensed by the TSPC and the remaining staff is Charter registered by the TSPC. All subject area teachers will meet the minimum standard for being “highly qualified” as defined by the TSPC.
Having teachers that are both Waldorf-trained and State licensed/registered means that our students will benefit from superb teaching. Our hope is to employ staff that are deeply connected to the Waldorf educational philosophy and committed to providing this alternative educational curriculum to as many children as possible in our valley.
As a public school, Woodland Charter School will be tuition-free and open to all students. We will uphold the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. Parents will be asked to support the Waldorf curricular and philosophical perspective in the home, however, no student will be excluded or discouraged from attending if such a commitment is not expressed. WCS will follow all state and federal laws relating to application and enrollment of students to our school.
The vision of the Woodland Charter School is to provide an alternative school choice for families in the Applegate Valley while creating a school community environment that attends to the needs of the whole child. As required by the State of Oregon, we have compared and aligned the traditional Waldorf curriculum to the Oregon State Standards. Learning outcomes are similar between the Oregon State Standards and the Waldorf curriculum. In some cases the timing and/or sequence of the skills vary, but we are confident that our students will meet or exceed State standards for Annual Yearly Progress (AYP) by the 8th Grade.
Traditional and Waldorf methods of assessment will be used to evaluate student performance, with a strong emphasis placed on innovative Waldorf methods of assessment such as reviewing the student’s portfolio, the student’s main lesson book, and a biannual written report from the student’s teacher. Recognizing the whole child in the educational program is the first step toward laying the foundation and constructing the support structure necessary for each student to continue the lifelong educational process.