AWSNA Shared Principles

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The following Shared Principles describe the fundamental criteria for determining full membership in the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America. The Association believes Waldorf education is best served when schools and institutes base their work on the values described in these principles. Integral to the living enactment of the Shared Principles is a process of regular self-review. This process, whether realized through accreditation by the Association, by a form of AWSNA Self-Study/Peer Review overseen by the schools’ and institutes’ regional delegates, or by an alternative process proposed by the school or institute, approved by the Leadership Council, and overseen by the regional delegates, assures the Association and the public that full members of AWSNA operate according to these principles.

A. Purpose, Goals, and Philosophy

A1: The school is an independent institution working out of the pedagogical indications of Rudolf Steiner, based on anthroposophy, the philosophy initiated by Rudolf Steiner.

A2: There is a clearly articulated statement of educational mission, philosophy, and goals that reflects the individual character of the school, based upon sound Waldorf educational tenets.

A3: There is full disclosure of the school’s mission, policies, programs, and practices.

A4: There is congruence between the stated mission of the school and the actual program and practices of the school.

A5: The statement of educational mission, philosophy, and goals is understood and supported by the school community.

A6: The development and periodic review of the mission and vision of the school are a collective effort involving faculty, administrators, parents, board, and, if deemed appropriate, students.

A7: The school teaches in an age-appropriate manner that rejects all forms of indoctrination of its students and lays the foundations for the capacities of creative and independent thinking.

A8: The school demonstrates its commitment to inclusiveness in gender, culture, and religion through its governance and leadership, curriculum, support programs, staffing, and activities.

B. Educational Program, Activities, and Student Services

B1: The faculty is responsible for the educational program of the school and strives continually to recreate and renew the Waldorf curriculum according to the indications of Rudolf Steiner. An understanding of these indications will be developed through the collegial workings of the full faculty and each individual faculty member.

B2: A central understanding is that the education meets the needs of the developing child according to the insights of Rudolf Steiner, the continuing work of Waldorf educators, and contemporary insights that are considered compatible and appropriate.

B3: The school promotes student development in thinking (e.g., cognitive), feeling (e.g., affective), and willing (e.g., psychomotor) in an age-appropriate manner by addressing the emerging individuality of the whole human being in both the process and the content of the curriculum.

B4: The educational program includes sufficient diversity and recognition of resources to meet the capacities, learning styles, developmental needs, and cultural backgrounds of the students enrolled.

B5: The school’s educational program includes a balance of language, math, natural science, social science, humanities, fine arts, practical arts, performing arts, physical education, and practical work experience as is appropriate for the age, needs, and abilities of students enrolled in the school.

B6: The faculty is responsible for ensuring review, evaluation, and development of the curriculum on a regular basis.

B7: The faculty provides regular oral and written assessment of progress for each student at all age levels and shares these assessments with the family in an open and timely manner. The school is able to document appropriate information regarding student performance in its student records.

B8: The school provides adequate access to program support including guidance services, special needs support, and health services. (Note: The appropriateness of this shared principle was questioned at the Delegates’ Meeting, January 2006.)

B9: The educational program addresses the rhythmic element within each lesson, the day, the week, the month, and the year.

B10: The length of the school day and year is sufficient for the total school program and will meet all applicable legal requirements.

B11: The school maintains records for students containing information required by law and as necessary for the operation of a quality program.

B12: The school provides or has access to appropriate and sufficient instructional materials and equipment necessary for the requirements of the instructional program and the needs of the students.

B13: The school demonstrates that it provides sufficient access to quality library and/or media center facilities, or suitable alternatives, as indicated by accepted Waldorf practices.

B14: If there is a residential program, it is conceived and staffed to suitably fulfill that aspect of the school’s program, particularly with respect to the portion of the day outside regular classroom hours. Applicable health and safety regulations are fully observed.

B15: The relationship between the school and any special programs it offers on a supplementary basis (summer sessions, student exchange, extra curricular, work experience, before- and after-school programs, special needs education, seminars, institutes, etc.) is fully disclosed. The operation of supplemental programs shall not be in conflict with the school’s purpose.

C. School Governance, Administration, Finance & Law

C1: The school is incorporated as a not-for-profit organization and has been granted 501(c)(3) status by the Internal Revenue Service in the United States, or has the equivalent not-for-profit incorporation and tax-exempt status in Canada or Mexico.

C2: The school’s governance structure is organized with sufficient independence from other organizations so as to ensure its ability to fulfill its mission and to control its own destiny.

C3: In developing its governance and administrative structures, the school takes into account relevant indications by Rudolf Steiner.

C4: The school is developed and organized so as to carry out policies effectively. It is responsible for the educational program, personnel, facilities, and resources, to include the employment of all teachers, staff and support personnel.

C5: The school provides clearly stated decision-making processes for the administration of the school, for strategic planning, for the periodic review of school organization, and for appropriate development of programs and services.

C6: The school has clearly defined programs for regular evaluation of the performance of administration, teachers, and staff, and understood procedures for non renewal and termination of employment.

C7: The school is in compliance with all applicable laws regarding discrimination based on any and all protected categories, in all areas, including admissions, employment.

C8: The school maintains facilities and equipment that are aesthetic and meet health, fire, safety, and sanitary standards.

C9: The school generates necessary resources for providing and maintaining physical facilities, equipment, and materials adequate to support the programs of the school.

C10: The school has appropriate procedures for management of financial resources, including process for annual budget-making, accounting, auditing such accounts, investing, and long-range planning.

C11: The school provides adequate fundraising, public relations, and financial management support to achieve the school’s mission.

C12: The school provides an annual audit or review of its finances, prepared by a disinterested party or firm.

C13: The school periodically reviews and evaluates its processes of governance and administration.

C14: The school publishes a tuition and fee schedule appropriate to its operations and clientele and a refund policy that is communicated and meets legal and ethical considerations.

C15: The school implements appropriate policies and procedures regarding financial reporting and record keeping as necessary to its effective ethical, and legal operations and is able to evidence that those records are kept in a safe and professional manner.

C16: The school undertakes a self-study/peer review process every 7-10 years.

D. Personnel

Dl: The administration, teachers, and staff are qualified for their positions and responsibilities by education and/or experience. Teachers have a formal preparation, or the equivalent, for Waldorf/Steiner teaching, or are engaged in such preparation.

D2: There are clear, established procedures for recruiting, screening, interviewing, hiring, supporting, evaluating, and dismissing personnel.

D3: There are fair and appropriate personnel policies, salaries and benefits for all personnel, and these policies are written and readily available to all co-workers.

D4: After mutual agreement as to compensation, term of employment, and principal duties and responsibilities, each teacher and staff member is informed in writing.

D5: The school has a clearly stated program for professional growth, including on-going mentoring.

D6: There are adequate procedures for identifying changing needs and priorities in teacher and staff requirements.

D7: Every teacher and staff member participates in a fair and regular form of evaluation.

D8: The school has a clearly articulated written policy for expectations of professional behavior.

D9: The school keeps accurate and complete personnel records as required by law and as necessary for its effective operations, which include professional qualifications and credentials.

E. Community of the School

E1: The school has an organization and procedures for effective communication with, and involvement of, parents, students, alumni, and friends of the school in a way that is appropriate to their interests and to the purposes and objectives of the school.

E2: The school has clearly defined and stated student admission and dismissal policies and procedures that are consistent with the stated mission and philosophy of the school and that provide the general criteria upon which admissions and dismissals are made.

E3. The school only enrolls students whose needs the faculty believes it can meet through the schools programs, services, and activities.

E4: Parents and guardians are fully informed of their financial and other responsibilities to the school prior to enrollment.

E5: The school has a clearly articulated and written policy of the expected and acceptable behavior of students and parents.

E6: The school publishes and follows clearly articulated communication policies and procedures, including grievance procedures.

E7: The school demonstrates that it provides adequate and competent supervision of all its students.

E8: Sufficient and appropriate disciplinary policies and procedures are implemented to provide for a safe and positive learning environment.

Association of Waldorf Schools of North America
Effective Practices Research Project
HR Document HR 5-1

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