• Front MS

January 16, 2014

Dear KWS Community:

I hope that you enjoy this month’s edition of the Kimberton Star, the first for 2014, and that you are finding the newsletter to be a useful and informative way to be kept abreast of what is happening at Kimberton Waldorf School. We would love to hear how you think we are doing with the Star. Feel free to share your thoughts by emailing us at: .

There are a number of interesting and exciting activities at KWS during January. This past weekend, our bantam boys and girls basketball teams hosted the basketball teams from the Philadelphia Waldorf School, Susquehanna Waldorf School, and Princeton Waldorf School for a mini-tournament. From what I hear, a lot of fun was had by all.

This coming weekend we are co-hosting Waldorf Weekend with Sunbridge Institute, which is a great way for parents and future parents to learn more about Waldorf Education. Space is still available! This is an experiential workshop on the foundations and fundamentals of Waldorf Education. The workshop will include discussions, presentations, and artistic activities, and will cover Rudolf Steiner's insights into human development and highlights of the Early Childhood, Lower School, and High School curricula. The workshop will be an excellent way to expand your understanding of this unique educational approach. Click here for further details. If the cost is a concern, please .

This Friday we host our Martin Luther King Celebration. Parent and community members are welcome to join us for a school assembly at 10:45 am. In the afternoon, classes will be involved in related workshops and activities.

On Sunday, January 26 we are hosting an All-School Open House from 1:00 to 4:00 pm. Our Open House events offer the chance to view student work, hear an overview of the education offered at KWS, take a tour, and experience sample mini Main Lessons at various grade levels. If you are new to KWS, this is a great introduction to the school and Waldorf Education. If you are a current parent, this is the perfect opportunity to learn more about the Lower, Middle, or High School and to be re-inspired by all that Kimberton Waldorf School has to offer.

In early February KWS hosts the Varsity Basketball Tournament, an annual event where varsity basketball teams of Waldorf schools from all over the Eastern United States join our High School varsity basketball teams for a weekend of fun and great basketball.

I warmly invite you to join us for all of these events, and as always you can find out more information on our website calendar: http://kimberton.org/calendar. I also encourage you to visit the Featured News section of our website; it is a wonderful resource about Waldorf Education and includes valuable articles and videos: http://www.kimberton.org/about/news.

As I have pointed out in earlier issues of the Star, we are working to improve and develop our program at Kimberton Waldorf School. One such development is the formation of a peer counseling program in the High School. This program was developed by a team of high school students with our High School counselor, Karen Thompson. Karen writes, “The Peer Support Group has developed out of the work towards creating an atmosphere of social inclusion at KWS. A group of eleven students has been meeting weekly (sometimes twice a week) on a volunteer basis since October to create and form a strong foundation for a peer support group. The group consists of Juniors and Seniors willing to volunteer their time to meet with student peers in grades 8-12. The Peer Support Group announced the program last week to both the staff and students and are now prepared to meet with students. This program continues to develop as we work to address the needs of the students. The group will also continue their work to support the concepts of social inclusion within the school by supporting activities to increase cohesion, as well as develop a code of compassion for the school written primarily by the students with the support of the faculty and staff.”

Another special program that has been developing at KWS over the past few years is our program in entrepreneurship. As I mentioned in last month’s Star, our students begin to experience aspects of entrepreneurship in the Lower School through our gardening program by growing food, preserving it, and packaging it to be sold at the Craft Show. In the High School we offer more opportunities for students to explore a variety of aspects of entrepreneurship. In 10th grade all of our students participate in a practicum, or experiential learning program, that we call the Artisan Practicum. In this week long practicum our students work with a local artisan/business person to have a first-hand experience of what it takes to produce a product and get it to market. This year we have launched our first elective course in entrepreneurship, taught by Kimberton Waldorf School parent and local businessman Chris Conway. In this course the students learn more about creating a business. We have also introduced a required economics course in 11th grade. This year it is taught by parent Neil Sicherman, business consultant and former professor of business at Villanova University. Finally, we co-sponsor Tempus, a conference on social entrepreneurship. Last year about 140 high school and college age students attended the event, and this year we are expecting about 200 participants. Many of our students participate in the planning of the conference.

On other fronts, we continue to be busy spreading the word about Kimberton Waldorf School through our outreach and marketing efforts. The Winter 2014 issue of Lilipoh features an article on our Food for Thought Program, highlighting our unique, community-supported lunch program that uses organic, locally sourced ingredients. We held an informal high school open house for parents of students from our neighboring Waldorf schools who were here for the bantam basketball tournament. Our Outreach and Marketing Director, Emily Shaker has been busy visiting schools in our region who could be feeder schools for us (early childhood programs, and schools that only go through 6th or 8th grade). Members of our Outreach Committee will be going with Emily to volunteer at the WHYY phonathon in early February (thanks to all of you!), and we have an All-School Open House on January 26, as well as an upcoming Waldorf Works event on February 20. If you know anyone who would be interested in learning more about KWS, please let them know about the Open House and the Waldorf Works events. Other ways that you can help us with outreach would be to like and to share our Facebook page with your friends (it has links to many interesting articles and notices about upcoming events), refer a family to our school, or become a parent or alumni ambassador (contact Emily Shaker for details at ).

If you haven’t already, please join in supporting KWS through our Community Spirit Fund. Donations have been growing since we launched the annual fund in December, but we are counting on everyone’s support. No gift is too small. If you are in the school’s mailing list database you should have received a Community Spirit Fund mailer. If not, and you would like to be on the mailing list, or make a donation, please contact Emily Shaker or Melanie Warwick in the Development Office.

At this time of year people often pause to reflect on their past, their current situations, and their future, sometimes setting goals or new directions for themselves. One of our faculty members, Alan Wright, has been doing that and recently informed the Governing Team and me that he has decided that this year will be his last year teaching at KWS. Alan has decided that he wants to take the time to focus his energies on his own artwork and on his astrology business. We are very sad to see Alan go, but we are also happy for him that he is pursuing his passions, and that he will continue to be a part of our community. In his letter to the Governing Team, Alan wrote, “I have deeply loved teaching at Kimberton for the past twelve years and will forever treasure what I have learned and experienced. I definitely intend to stay connected to the school community through my friendships, the festivals, and the many events on campus.” We are grateful to Alan for sharing his gifts as a teacher, artist, and colleague, and we look forward to his continuing relationship and connection with KWS. Best wishes Mr. Wright!

Best New Year’s wishes to all of you and to Kimberton Waldorf School.

Kevin Hughes
Dean of School