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18 Apr That Peace Group Presents Global “Day of Silence”

That Peace Group Presents Global "Day of Silence" The Denver Waldorf School Social Justice committee "That Peace Group" is inviting everyone to participate in the global Day Of Silence, tomorrow, April 19th. What we are doing: ~ Be silent from at least from 8-3, many will do the entire day. (We have agreed that participants should opt into an academic exception and speak in class to support their teachers and their learning.) ~ Wearing black shirts to raise further awareness ~ Wearing rainbow pins (hopefully) to show our unity and support (stop by Renata's office to pick up a pin) Why we are doing it: ~ This day is to raise awareness of the millions of youth whose gender identity and or sexual orientation cannot be categorized within the heterosexual/straight "norm" including but not limited to gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender individuals. ~ This day represents the silence that millions of youth are forced into daily as they live in a world often hostile and exclusive of their very identity. Although we have seen great progress throughout the 20th century into the 21st century, youth across our nation face the risk of being kicked out of their homes, having their family ties severed and broken, being told over and over again that there is something wrong with them, being sent to camps to get "cured," being ostracized and relentlessly teased at school and so much more if they are not silent about their identity. The potential consequences of not being silent vary from community to community, state to state and country to country with some countries still enforcing the death penalty for being gay. This climate lends itself not only to the silence of youth throughout the world, but the experience of excruciating loneliness, isolation and self-doubt that comes from this silence. "That Peace Group," the social justice committee begun by Denver Waldorf School High School students. encourage everyone to join use in this day of action! For more information about the movement please visit: http://www.dayofsilence.org/index.html Please see High School Coordinator Renata Heberton at highschool@denverwaldorf.org for more information....
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22 Feb Denver Waldorf School Alumni Panel ‘Excellent’

Denver Waldorf School Alumni Panel 'Excellent,' Says 7th Grade Parent By Andrew Clark, Denver Waldorf School Parent Parents and students were treated to an excellent discussion about the benefits of a Waldorf High School education from a panel of past and present Waldorf alumni. Panelists' ages ranged from early 40's to late teens. All either had professional careers or were college students. The overwhelming feedback from all was that Waldorf produces confident, creative thinkers, who share a strong compassion and sense of community for their fellow members of society. The audience participated with questions, ranging from, "How was the transition from Waldorf to college?" (not a problem) to "What would you change or improve about Waldorf?" (not a lot; maybe greater depth for physics, higher mathematics and modern languages) to "How culturally diverse is Waldorf?" (above average) to "What is Eurythmy?" (laughter, confusion and some reluctant affection). All students felt that their English writing skills and creative thought were significantly enhanced by the Waldorf education. As Waldorf lacks large classes and a comprehensive sports program, I was particularly interested and impressed to learn that many 8th grade students had chosen to stay at Waldorf for the exceptional personalization of their high school education, while still participating in large-school sports by joining area high school teams. One panel member had won a full tuition golf scholarship to Denver University after only four or five years of golf with the South High School team. Others told stories of joining the major sports teams at large high schools to enhance their broadest athletic and social endeavors. As these are obvious gaps at Waldorf, this was a great solution to two missing components. Judy Lucas, administrative director, and panel members tackled the comparison of Waldorf to public school teaching methods by showing that Waldorf students get almost personal attention in the small classes here, which pushes them to their academic limits in every subject, whereas the teachers of the larger classes in public schools tend to treat students as numbers being churned through a machine. One panel member's brother had returned to Waldorf after only a few weeks at a public school, due to his perception that the teaching was overwhelmingly poorer at public school. All panel members confirmed that their Waldorf academic abilities seemed to exceed those of their peers in the first years of college. Integration into a huge college was a breeze for these well-educated, outgoing and self-confident individuals. Having taught junior achievement for many years in Denver Public School, I can confirm that the typical public high school class is generally much larger and much less focused on academics or participation that the typical Waldorf class. Accountability is much lower amongst public school students than at Waldorf too. One panelist confessed to being able to skip classes unnoticed after he figured out he didn't have to work nearly as hard at a public school, and the teachers didn't miss him out of the much larger classes. It's impossible to skip a class at Waldorf because, said the panelists, Waldorf is like a family; it's hard to skip dinner and the chores without being noticed. We also learned that although Waldorf does not teach official AP programs as measured in public schools, the content of the curriculum at Waldorf easily matches or exceeds AP classes, and many colleges recognize and elevate Waldorf applicants for this. Judy Lucas is working towards a national recognition of the Waldorf high school syllabus as equal to AP in this arena. Panelists agreed that they were fulfilled in their lives due to the Waldorf education's ability to help them think creatively. Many had siblings or kids at Waldorf; some had spouses working at Waldorf. All had a great affection for their time at a Waldorf school. The issue of drug use in high school was discussed; one panelist said there was a very rare presence of drugs amongst DWS high schoolers during her time, in response to a direct question from a parent. Cultural diversity was discussed, and students remembered their international and continental field trips with delight. Europe and Alabama were mentioned, both of which gave students great insights into the workings of societies very different from Denver's. Judy Lucas commented that The Denver Waldorf School has a demographic almost identical to that of Denver, with the possible exception of less hispanics than the general population. As a parent of two girls at Waldorf, I was very comforted to learn about the socialization process that takes place in this smaller high school, where cliques aren't a problem and students care for each other as a community. The female panelists talked of not really dating until college. (as a protective father, I breathed a small sigh of relief). As always, I am comforted, amazed and enormously appreciative of the deeply attentive investment made by our incredible teachers in the lives of our children....
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22 Feb DWS Studies ‘Restorative Practices’ for Conflict Resolution

DWS Studies 'Restorative Practices' for Conflict Resolution A group of 20 teachers, staff and parents gathered for a day-long Saturday workshop to learn how to incorporate "restorative practices" at The Denver Waldorf School. "The use of restorative practices is a highly effective response to social conflict in schools," said Deb Witzel of the Longmont Community Justice Partnership, who led the workshop. Tougher than traditional discipline focused on punishment, expulsion or school-suspension, restorative practices, used around the world, can foster a school climate of respect, responsibility and healthy communication, Witzel said. In restorative practices, teachers, staff and students learn to resolve social conflict issues collaboratively, and students learn to take responsibility for their actions. The philosophy is based on the concept that people respond best when you do things with them and not to them or for them, Witzel said. These processes prevent the harm to the community caused by kicking children out of school, or permanently labeling children as "bullies" and "victims." People from every sphere of The Denver Waldorf School community came to the workshop on Saturday, January 19th, included representatives from the leadership team, the faculty, the college of teachers, the administration and parent council. Leigh Rhysling, Director of Enrollment at The Denver Waldorf School, coordinated the in-service day. Restorative actions give students responsibilities to heal the emotional impact on others who have been affected by social conflict, Witzel said. “In a restorative response to social conflict, children who have harmed others are held accountable by being directly confronted by the emotional harm they have caused," Witzel said. They are also required to play an active role in repairing the harm that has been done, she said. Using a tool called a "connection circle," the group learned that restorative practices are meant to empower those who have been harmed, by means of supported face-to-face meetings with those who have harmed them. The connection circle also includes everyone who has been affected by an incident. Key to the success of the connection circle, is everyone speaking their truth with "I" statements, listening with an open heart, and keeping confidential what is disclosed in the circle. A special speaking "stick" or object, allows the person holding the object the space to speak their truth, without interruption. The object is passed around the circle so that every voice is heard. Witzel told the group an inspiring story of how restorative practices can lead to community healing. The father of a boy who was seriously injured by another boy met with the so-called "bully" and his mother. Initially intent on punishment and restitution, through the connection circle, the father learned that the boy had been struggling without a father present in his home, that his mother worked many jobs, and that he was left to watch wrestling for hours alone. When he tried a wrestling move on the playground, he broke the neck of his classmate. The father of the injured boy volunteered to direct the other boy's energy on his football team. Witzel said Waldorf schools, which put an emphasis on acknowledging the inherent worth of every child, tend to grasp the healing powers of the connection circle faster than other schools. The goal is to have these healthy communications tools in place well before any incident rises to the level of "bullying." The 5 R's of Restorative Practices Beverly B. Title, Ph.D. - Longmont Community Justice Partnership Respect Respect is the key ingredient that holds the container for all Restorative Practices, and it is what keeps the process safe. Responsibility For Restorative Practices to be effective, personal responsibility must be taken. Everyone needs to accept responsibility for his or her own behavior and this begins with the offender. Repair The restorative approach is to repair the harm that was done to the fullest extent possible, recognizing that harm may extend beyond anyone's capacity for repair. It is through taking responsibility for one's own behavior and making repair that persons may regain or strengthen their self-respect. Relationship Relationships may be mended through the willingness to be accountable for one's actions and to make repair of harms done. Restorative practices recognize that when a harm occurs, individuals and communities have been violated. Reintegration For the restorative process to be complete, the offender and any others who may have felt alienated, must be accepted back into the community. This reintegration process is the final step in achieving wholeness. For more information, please click here. ...
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