School Structure and Governance
School Structure – the Three Pillars
Our governance structure is securely based upon a model currently in place in many American Waldorf schools, a non-hierarchical based organization in which no one person makes final decisions alone. Seeking to reach consensus, we work in collaboration with equal voices and that includes your valued voice as a parent.
At the roots of our governance there are three main organizational components, what we call the Three Pillars:
- The Board of Trustees
- The Faculty
- The Parent Body
Within this system of governance, it is crucial there exists a dialog and an open conduit for all voices. The Administration serves as a hub between the pillars and the supporting groups and individuals that make up the entirety of the school’s governing structure. This system as implemented at Cedarwood has proven effective, nimble and flexible.
The Board of Trustees – Pillar One
Your Board is the legal entity composed of 18 members (Trustees) that is wholly responsible for the affairs of Cedarwood Waldorf School, as stated in the bylaws , “to foster the growth of Cedarwood School, ensuring that it develops into an innovative Waldorf school...” The Board is tasked with accomplishing the listed below:
- Handling legal and financial matters regarding the school
- Ensuring that the school is in compliance with all regulations
- Handling long-range and strategic planning and visioning
- Maintaining awareness of administrative trends within the Waldorf community
- Hiring and evaluation of the School Chair position.
Board Membership and Meetings
The Board is made up of parents like you, members of our faculty and Waldorf community members. The Head of School also serves on the Board as a non-voting member. If you are interested in serving on the Board we encourage you to speak to a Board member to discuss the criteria for membership. Applications must be submitted early in the fall to allow sufficient time for vetting and confirmation prior to the Board's first budget meeting in January. Meeting are held monthly and are open to anyone interested in observing. The agenda and minutes are available to all parents upon request. If you would like to comment or present at the meetings, contact the Head of School.
The Faculty – Pillar Two
Your faculty - Cedarwood’s invaluable resource - is dedicated to giving your child the extraordinary experience of a Waldorf education. They govern the pedagogical and curricular areas of the school including a creative and evolving relationship with the Waldorf Curriculum. These extraordinary individuals have either completed the training for Waldorf teachers, received thorough training in a given subject area, or through private study and experience within a recognized Waldorf school have demonstrated a working knowledge of Waldorf education.
Faculty members serve on committees that make decisions about how best to support teachers and students, guide professional development, coordinate after school activities, and oversee the hiring and firing of teachers. The full faculty meets weekly to deepen their understanding of general educational practices and to develop a broader perspective on the needs of individual children and classes. In addition, members of the Faculty meet in their respective groups at different times during the week to address issues specific to their area.
The Parent Council – Pillar Three
Your Cedarwood Parent Council (CPC) provides you and other parents an opportunity to provide crucial input in decision making with the Board of Trustees and the Faculty/Administration. The Parent Council is made up of two or more designated representatives from each class and all other interested parents. Should you choose to become a member of the council, you will benefit by deep involvement in the operational life of the school’s events, educational programs, and by being a voice for your fellow parents.
CPC Meetings are coordinated by two co-chairs who set the agenda, lead the meetings. and serve as a conduit of information between the Council, the Board, the School Chair, the Faculty and parents.
How Decisions Are Made
Seek the real practical life but seek it in a way that does not blind you to the spirit working in it. Seek the spirit but do not seek it out of spiritual egoism, from spiritual greed, but look for it because you want to apply it unselfishly in practical life, in the material world. Make use of the ancient principle: Spirit is never without matter, matter never without spirit.
– Rudolf Steiner
Although we work in collaboration, with equal voices, different groups handle specific aspects of decision-making as participants within the non-hierarchical structure. Each pillar empowers a committee structure to support decisions for their pillar. The committee mandates and membership are reviewed annually to ensure competency.
The school holds at least one Three Pillars meeting annually to support communication of major decisions. Here is a general overview of where broader decisions are made:
Pedagogical Decisions: Full Faculty
Financial Decisions: Board of Trustees
Legal Decisions: Board of Trustees
Student Discipline Decisions: Individual faculty, Core Group of Teachers
Suspension/Expulsions: Core Group of Teachers
Hiring and Firing of Administration: Head of School
Hiring and Firing of Faculty: The Core Group of Teachers
Hiring of Head of School: Board of Trustees via search committee with members from all three pillar
Creation of School Policy
Cedarwood Waldorf School, as all Waldorf Schools, uses Consensus decision making when creating policy. Consensus decision making is a creative and dynamic way of reaching agreement between all members of a group. Instead of simply voting for an item and having the majority of the group getting their way, a group using consensus is committed to finding solutions that everyone actively supports, or at least can live with.