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This forum is open to all Waldorf parents. You are encouraged to discuss the topics posted on this blog using "comments". If you have a question you would like to have addressed, please e-mail me, and I will put it on my schedule of topics. Contact me as well if you would like to post a topic yourself, so I can send you instructions.

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- Ms. Ilian

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Understanding Waldorf School Structure: Part II

     The second primary governing body in a Waldorf school - in fact in any private school - is the advisory board. It consists of teachers, parents and, ideally, community members. All are volunteers. Usually joining the board involves an application and acceptance process, and this process is often initiated by a personal invitation from a teacher or board member. It is possible, however, to apply for board membership through personal initiative and demonstrated interest and commitment. Having certain useful skills helps too.

     What skills are useful to the board? This is best determined when one understands the board's responsibilities. These responsibilities are to oversee the legal and financial health of the school. The board has a number of important committees that include, but are not limited to, finance, development, site. The school charter and/or bylaws are drawn up by the board. So are the various contracts for employment, enrollment, and the like. For this reason, a strong, healthy board will include lawyers, accountants, business people, contractors, grant writers and the like. The presence of teachers on the board ensures that the faculty and board are able to work closely with one another where their individual responsibilities overlap. It also helps the board to educate the teachers regarding the business aspects of running a school, while the faculty is able to help the board learn more about Waldorf education and its underlying philosophy.

     Like the faculty, Waldorf school boards usually try to work by consensus. This can result in slower decision making, but usually also in well thought-out decisions that are supported by all members, leading to greater stability. The school's paid administrative staff plays a large roll in helping implement board decisions. In this way, overseen by the board and carried out by faculty, administration and committee volunteers, the policies of the school are carried out, bills are paid, tuitions and donations are collected, and legal requirements are met.

     I welcome my readers who have served on Waldorf school boards to elaborate on what I have described here, and for those who have more questions regarding the work of the board to ask them so that they can perhaps be answered.

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