Every Thursday afternoon, self-selected members of our faculty and staff gather in the handwork room, focus on a meditative verse, and engage in anthroposophic study to set the tone for our weekly College of Teachers (COT) meeting.
We always begin with a study before addressing various agenda items, and we try not to make decisions right away, but rather make time for contemplative discussion and consideration before deciding on a pedagogical aspect of our school, a department review, or a new curriculum proposal.
Everything we do is given much thought and attention. That is our purpose as a governing body overseeing the heart and soul of Sacramento Waldorf School.
You may wonder what, exactly, is the purpose of the COT. The heart of what we do is spiritual, guiding the ways we work together, how we shape our pedagogy and program. We hope that every act is deliberate and informed.
In celebration of our school’s 60th anniversary, and 100 years of Waldorf education, the Sacramento Waldorf School COT wants to shed light on the work we do and the role we play in keeping our school true to its mission.
Read our new blog on Waldorf 100 here.
This particular group works differently than other governing bodies, though we remain a key part of Sacramento Waldorf School’s governance structure. We act as an organ of perception for the school, and as such we welcome representation from multiple areas of the school — staff and faculty alike. We are made up of people with their ear to the ground, and our charge is to be aware of what’s happening in various areas of the school, as well as the school as a whole, in order to help lead the organization into its future.
Our process is contemplative, more deliberative than unilateral decision-making. And while we weigh in on many aspects of our school community, our main focus is pedagogy—the methods and practices of teaching. In a school, that can be just about everything; anything that will impact the learning life of the children and adolescents comes before us.
Not every Waldorf school has a COT. And yet this structure is particular to Waldorf education. Rudolf Steiner gave indications for there to be a vessel created to help nurture the being of the school and to nurture and direct the pedagogical and spiritual life of the school.
Connected to Our Roots
Sacramento Waldorf School grew out of a desire of parents to provide a special kind of education for their children. We started small, with two children, growing over the years to become one of the largest Waldorf schools in America.
As we celebrate 60 years of existence, we want to honor all the people who came before us, who did all this hard work, including past COT members who meditated on what was needed here, which brought us to where we are today.
This land on which we work day after day has transformed many times over the last six decades, driven by the activity of the community. Not every school makes it to 60 years. That we have, and press onward with energy and enthusiasm is a testament to our community — to our parents, to our fabulous faculty, and our staff.
This landmark milestone shows the robust, strong qualities that we have within our school. Many of us attended the recent AWSNA conference in Philadelphia, and painfully heard stories of Waldorf schools shuttering their high schools, suffering diminished enrollments, having to take unorthodox steps to keep the doors open. When we consider our story against this heartbreaking background, we realize the beauty, depth, and abundance of our school, and we offer gratitude for the fortitude bolstering us as we go into our 60th anniversary.
We’ve lost count of how many students this school has educated who are a crucial part of the social renewal of our nation. Many of them return as parents and teachers in the school, taking their education forward to another generation, a greater future.
Focusing on Collaboration
At the same time that we celebrate 60 years, we are experiencing the ripple of this larger celebration in the world that is 40 years older than our school, 100 years of Waldorf education in the world. With so much rich history, we contemplate what the next 100 years ask of us. As the COT, we are stewarding that process forward.
Again inspired by the AWSNA conference’s focus on innovation, we also see collaboration as key to a bright future. On a local scale, we see collaboration between the COT, the BOT, staff, faculty, and parents as essential. We work toward developing mutually beneficial relationships with the community at-large. We embrace our sister schools and celebrate the richness of Waldorf education in the greater Sacramento region.
It is our mission to connect the leadership of the College with the richness of the leadership that came before us. The COT has anchored this school for decades, and it is a tradition that continues.
We can speak to history and tradition, to legacy and learning. And we can invite you into the journey at deeper levels as we join hands and face a future with limitless possibility, driven by a mission of bringing the richness of Waldorf education as widely as we can reach.
Members of the COT include Kat McFee, Marianne Gray, Andrew May, Michelle Loftus- Gold, Doug Morkner-Brown, Dean Smith, Isabelle Tabacot, Nicole Fields, Jonathon Winfield, Wendy Gittleman, and Cindi Bradshaw.