The Bulletin

The Seniors Future Moves: 2015 and Beyond

Thursday, May 2014


Talia Adams has been accepted to the University of Redlands’ Johnston Center for Integrative Studies, but has deferred for one year. Talia will seek employment this summer and looks forward to auditioning for theater productions in Chicago in the coming year. Once on the Redlands’ campus, Talia will be part of a unique learning community.  Johnston Center students design their majors, forge graduation contracts with their professors, and live among peers in a setting built on community and consensus.

Paco Alvarez will attend Carleton College in Minnesota. When he visited the campus, he was impressed by the students, whom he described as “interested in what they are learning, and not just there for the degree.” Paco plans to study English and Philosophy, and looks forward to involvement in one of their extracurricular writing groups and perhaps the film society. Carleton is ranked #1 by U.S. News for undergraduate teaching at a liberal arts college. 

Malcolm Collins is looking forward to four years at the University of Iowa. He had his sights set on a large or mid-size university with strong academics. The University of Iowa offers that, plus all of the excitement of a Big Ten school. In addition, it has a beautiful campus and a warm and welcoming student body. Although Malcolm is interested in pre-law, the strong artistic and performing arts culture helps to create a diverse and open campus culture which Malcolm appreciates. U.S. News names Iowa as one of the top 30 public institutions in the country. 

Adele Erickson has made her decision to attend Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida next fall. In making her decision, she was swayed by the photojournalism program and the high percentage of international students.  Lynn’s core curriculum, the Dialogues of Learning, was recognized by Inside Higher Education as an example of how colleges and universities can increase the rigor of their academic offerings and improve the comprehensive education of their students.

Rebecca Lavin-Burgher is headed toward warm Florida weather and Eckerd College this fall. Rebecca hopes to explore several different avenues of study, but she is considering journalism with a focus on photography.  The required freshman program, “The Human Experience” happily reminds Rebecca of the Waldorf approach to education. Eckerd looks out for the well-being of its students and provides unique de-stressing options (such as bringing puppies onto campus) during each finals week. Eckerd is also one of the top 50 schools that produce graduates who go on to obtain PhD’s in the sciences and humanities. 

Jeremy Marder is excited to attend the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. When he visited the campus, he attended a protest about fracking and was impressed with the students’ passion and the intellectual level of their arguments. Jeremy hopes to explore majors, but currently has an interest in the Global Studies program. And he has already found at least one study abroad program of interest, to Spain and North Africa! On the extracurricular side, Jeremy hopes to become involved in film production on campus.

Sarah Matthews looks forward to college at the University of Oregon. UO has an excellent journalism and communications program, and this is an area which interests Sarah greatly. Sarah was pleasantly surprised during her visit to campus; she sat in on a lecture that was highly interactive even though there were almost 200 students in attendance! Sarah looks forward to attending sports events and bicycling.  And she is already in communication with students at Duck TV, the local station, and she is hopeful that she can get involved there right away. UO has been designated a top-tier research institution by the Carnegie Foundation. 

Alex Morson is east-coast bound and will attend Connecticut College to study computer science and/or math. He likes the location near an urban area, and noted after his visit there that the students seemed very welcoming and participatory in class. Connecticut College was named by Newsweek and College Prowler as one of the most beautiful campuses in the nation; the campus is actually part of a 750 acre arboretum. Princeton Review ranks Connecticut College #11 for excellence in career services and job placement.

Iris Pavelic will stay in the Chicago area to attend North Park University with a major in chemistry. North Park has a very diverse student body and offers pre-pharmacy advising, which is important to Iris’ long term goals. Iris will continue to work at Walgreen’s; but once she turns 18, she can sit for the pharmacy technician licensing exam, and she plans to do this during the summer. Hopefully we’ll see Iris working in the pharmacy department at Walgreen’s by fall. Iris has already signed up for classes at North Park and is looking forward to participating in theater, as well as competitive soccer and volleyball. 

Merci Randolph has a great deal of enthusiasm for her college choice, Dickinson College. She noted that they have an organic farm which partially supplies the cafeteria and that she will be able to bicycle there and perhaps work there. Dickinson is one of the top schools for long-term study abroad opportunities; it has an exceptional language program, and also has good connections to the State Department. Merci is drawn to the social justice focus and many progressive historical traditions relating to civil rights and women’s rights. Dickinson has been named one of the top 10 Fulbright-producing liberal arts colleges.

Cole Ruscitti has lined up a number of intriguing opportunities after graduation. He will begin his post-high school experiences working at an auto shop 3 days per week over the summer. He also hopes to help expand his mom’s dog-boarding business, and will continue building furniture, decks, cabinets and fences as he has done in past summers. In September, Cole will travel to Berlin to visit a friend and experience the culture. When he returns from Germany, he may enter into entrepreneurship with an idea or two that is already brewing. Cole may attend college in the future, but will only do so with a clear educational goal in mind.

Lindsay Thompson will head to the west coast to attend Evergreen State College, a school known for its unique interdisciplinary model. Lindsay speaks highly of the active and community-oriented student body and noted that there seems to be a great deal of school pride. She looks forward to leaving her mark on Evergreen. Lindsay is already in touch with the volleyball coach and may play for the Geoducks. Evergreen is ranked very highly in the National Survey of Student Engagement and for its First Year Experiences for freshmen. Evergreen’s focus is on developing the ability to work in teams, communicate effectively, and think critically and creatively. It is one of the Colleges That Change Lives.

Joe Wendy decided on Elon University in North Carolina; with approximately 5,000 students, it is neither too large, nor too small. Joe would like to explore majors, but has considered math, business and sports management.  Elon’s housing is divided into “neighborhoods”; Joe has already chosen his preferred neighborhood, a historic area near the center of campus activities. He is looking forward to participating in the intramural sport offerings. Bloomberg Businessweek ranks Elon’s business program very highly. Elon is one of the nation’s top producers of Fulbright Scholars, and has been named a leader in engaged learning, innovation and fostering a strong sense of community on campus.

Photos: Seniors and other High School student musicians in the CWS Jazz Band perform in the Spring Instrumental Assembly- April 2014

Shared Values: Architecture and the Waldorf Experience

Wednesday, May 2014

A parent perspective by Mark Miller, CWS Parent

My wife, Anne Cousineau, and I had been living in Rogers Park since 1995. Part of our decision to raise a family here (Zoe, eighth grade and Eli, fifth grade) was the connection to nature the nearby beach, parks and lake provided. This encouraged balance in our lives.

When it came time to select a school, CWS resonated with us immediately for its approach, and understanding of the value of balance, nature and spirit. It has been a large blessing in our lives.

An unexpected blessing from being in this community is that I have been asked by many CWS families and the school itself to assist them professionally with my skills as an architect. For those of you who don’t know me, you will recognize my work from the barn play structure in the side yard and the theatrical sets for many school plays including the recent eighth grade play Oliver Twist in which Anne spearheaded the set and production design. For me, it is a pleasure collaborating with Waldorf families, as we share similar values. It’s fun to work as a team with like-minded people to create architectural works where these values are reflected. It’s clear from the feedback the spaces we create together are enjoyed and enrich the lives of those who experience them on many levels.

Appreciation of nature, a Waldorf cornerstone, resonated in the recent completion of a renovation for the CWS Boyce family. They moved from an all glass mid-rise building with connections to sun, the lake and Lincoln Park to a 100-year-old Victorian home in Evanston. To help “open up” the home and reconnect to these elements, we completely removed the rear wall and added an all-glass English conservatory which transitioned to a semi-circular deck and the garden.

These values informed the new home I designed for EC teacher Ms. Nancy Matson, her husband Alan and their family, who have an amazing site overlooking the Chicago River and Cook County Forest Preserve. I like to ask my clients what about their current residence really annoys them (what is “blocking” them from connecting with spirit.) Nancy shared she disliked the dark stairwell that lead up to the second floor. So, one important goal was to provide the family a staircase that would remedy this. The new stair became an “open riser,” allowing one to see through it. The stair, placed next to a two-story window wall, faces the sun and forest. Now, from any spot in the home, one is connected to the sun and the forest. Views of the wildlife, treetops and flowing river are integrated throughout the experience of “being” in the home.

Two additional collaborations have come from assisting CWS moms Jenn Paschen and Bridgid Rooney in their work: places of healing. Jenn is the owner of “The Nest” acupuncture and prenatal health center and Bridgid Rooney owns Lakeview Physical Therapy. For Jenn, health is related to an unobstructed flow of energy in the body. I designed her new center to make this flow of healing energy more apparent to visitors, using curving shapes in her bamboo floors and treatment room walls. Natural materials and Japanese shoji screens made new visitors feel at ease, and so healing can begin as soon as a client walks into the center. In this context, the architectural design assists the philosophy of the practitioner, just as the collaboration with Bridgid Rooney incorporated her views of healing.

Like Waldorf education, when we infuse values of awareness, spirit and an appreciation of nature to architecture, we enrich the physical, mental, intellectual and spiritual experiences for our whole being. --

More of Mark's architecture for Waldorf families can be see at his website, ZenPlusArchitecture.

Appreciation of Grandparents & Special Friends Day

Tuesday, May 2014

Grandparents Day • May 2, 2014

A huge thank you to everyone who helped make Grandparents Day a huge success—we had more than 130 grandparents and special friends visit the students in their classrooms and stay for the grades presentations!

Colleges Seek Out Waldorf Graduates: Seniors Making Decisions

Monday, May 2014


This year at Chicago Waldorf High School, twelve of our graduating seniors have applied to a college or university. The schools below have accepted our graduating seniors as of the reporting deadline in early April.  Merit scholarship offers have been generous as these colleges attempt to lure the most qualified students.

Twelve colleges/universities are new to our list when compared with the last few years. These schools include Carleton College, Bates College, College of William & Mary, Pepperdine University, Emerson College, Denison University, Elon University, University of Redlands, St. Mary’s of California, University of Kansas, Champlain College, and Whittier College.  Colleges and University Admissions Staff's familiarity with Chicago Waldorf School continues to expand with each graduating class! 

Congratulations to Our Seniors and their Families!

This year's tweleve seniors have been accepted to:


Bard College, NY

Bates College, ME

Carleton College, MN

Champlain College, VT

College of William & Mary, VA

Columbia College Chicago

Connecticut College

Denison University, OH

DePaul University, IL

Dickinson College, PA

Eckerd College, FL

Elmhurst College, IL

Elon University, NC

Emerson College, MA

Evergreen State College, WA

Hampshire College, MA

Indiana University–Bloomington

Knox College, IL

Lawrence University, WI

Lynn University, FL

Milwaukee Institute Art/Design

Northeastern Illinois University


North Park University, IL

Occidental College, CA

Pepperdine University, CA

Rollins College, FL

Savannah College of Art/Design

Southern Illinois University

St. Mary’s of California

University of Colorado Boulder

University of Dayton

University of Illinois at Chicago

U of Illinois Urbana Champaign

University of Iowa

University of Kansas

University of Oregon

University of Puget Sound, WA

University of Redlands, CA

University of Vermont

Western Illinois University

Wheaton College, MA

Whittier College, CA

Willamette University, OR


Note: this list represents reported acceptances as of 4/8/2014

Celebrate National “Screen Free Week”

Friday, May 2014

Welcome to national Screen Free Week (May 5th-11th )

Hear are some start-up guidelines and activities, or get creative and make up your own!

  1. Draw a silhouette picture of your family members
  2. Play board-games, card games or tell stories.
  3. Read a book/story aloud
  4. Write a hand-written letter to a grandparent or special friend
  5. Take advantage of the longer daylight hours by going for a walk or planting seeds.
  6. Make a home for the bees in your backyard (in the garden or outside your window) with this project from the Pollinator Partnership.                              

There are many ways to approach this week’s self-planned events with your family and friends. See the Screen Free Week Family Guide for additional details and guidelines for participating. Or visit: for more support and to connect to others embracing this event.

101 Screen Free Activities is a document providing just what it says…read on and,

Happy Screen Free Week!

“The Third Metric”: Teaching Joy & Creativity in Math

Monday, April 2014

Lisa Babinet, a Waldorf High School Math teacher from the California Waldorf School of the Peninsula has published a reflection, "Teaching Math and the Third Metric," on the distinctive aspect of teaching and learning Joy in the classroom. Here is an excerpt from her article:

"I teach high school math, which by most accounts is a rather intellectual subject. However, in my latest three-week block teaching conic sections (the curves formed when one slices a cone with a plane) I assigned my students a project where the primary criterion was to create something that brought them joy. Yes, the primary criterion was joy! It did not take them long to come up with projects involving art, air soft guns, cooking and even the space-time continuum.

I think an open-ended project that focuses on joy is important for many reasons. First it helps the students engage in their own learning. I find much of what is asked of high school students these days feels to them like hoop jumping for a grade. Learning is an inherently satisfying activity, and when the students can bring their own interests and unique perspective to learning they are more engaged and joyful.

Second, I teach a diverse group of students, both in ability and interest wise, but enjoyment is something they all share; it is the common denominator in the classroom -- they all can participate equally. Third, I want them to practice being creative and take risks in their thinking and doing. I want to encourage them to connect dots that no one has connected before and think of the world in a new way -- in their own way.

Even after more than 30 years of teaching, I hear questions from my students about math that I have never thought about, making the class more alive and engaging for everyone. With this assignment, I have had students take on explorations where there were no conics to be found (fire spinning and the earth illumination map) and we celebrated those explorations. I do not want my students to play it safe just to "get a good grade" but daring to ask outrageous questions to see what they can find out.

I realize that I am blessed with the freedom to do this as I teach in a Waldorf school, and I am grateful for its philosophy designed to develop independent and creative thinkers. If you don't know much about Waldorf Education, you're not alone. Even though Waldorf schools have been in existence for almost 100 years and are found in almost 100 countries around the world, until recently they were not well known...

Last month while watching the Wisdom 2.0 conference, I was especially inspired by Arianna Huffington's talk about the third metric. The third metric adds another dimension to the traditional definitions of success -- money and power. Money and power are like two legs on a three-legged stool.


To truly thrive, we need a third leg -- a metric for defining success that encompasses our well-being,
our ability to draw in our intuition and inner wisdom,
our sense of wonder and our capacity for compassion and giving.

In her talk, Arianna emphasized the role women must play in developing the third metric; I believe that teachers need to embody that role as well as we plant the seeds of how students themselves will define success. In the classroom, we can value joy and well being in addition to academic performance, practicing being present so that we don't miss the moment when true engagement and learning occur. Her talk both inspired me and reminded me of what I strive for as a teacher: preparing the students for a life of well-being, wisdom, wonder and giving."

Click here to read the FULL article at its source on Huffington Post.

Click here to see a 17 minute video on Waldorf Education.

Author, Lisa Babinet, PhD is a founding high school teacher at the Waldorf School of the Peninsula in Silicon Valley where she loves to teach math. She lives in Redwood City, CA with her husband and two teenage children.  Photo credit: OJO Images via HuffPost via Getty Images

How do Finnish Schools Excel? A Comparison to Waldorf Education

Monday, March 2014


Chicago Waldorf School long-time veteran grade school teacher, Carol Triggiano, reflects on some of the similarities between the core principles of Waldorf Education and the Finnish educational system that makes them such vibrant, successful and widely respected educational models. In her article, she writes,

"I recently heard Pasi Sahlberg, director general of the Center for International Mobility and Cooperation in Finland’s Ministry of Education, speak at the Chicago Humanities Festival about why Finland ranks first with the best school system in the world. His best-selling book, Finnish Lessons, has inspired educators and parents to reevaluate how we educate children and has prompted discussion on how we can institute change. While Sahlberg’s ideas seem radical in the light of American standards, they reaffirmed to me the value of a Waldorf education.

Sahlberg compared the Global Educational Reform Movement (GERM) to a cancerous virus that has spread worldwide. Over the last forty years schools have operated on a philosophy that promotes ideas such as, competition, standardization, test based accountability and education as an industry.

That approach has netted us an overall decrease in skills, a huge jump in the ADHD diagnoses, children on medication and an alarming increase in adolescent suicide. Something clearly is not working.

Sahlberg went on to describe how the “Finnish way” has transformed their educational system into the pinnacle of success. I would like to compare how Waldorf education has been following most of these key principles for almost one hundred years..."


Triggiano goes on to catalogue about 10 commonly held core values that have been essential to Waldorf education since its founding in 1917. To read her perspective in its entirety SEE THE PDF linked above.

Experience Waldorf Education in our April 10th Open House

Monday, March 2014

New to Waldorf?
Interested individuals are welcome to visit and see our class curriculum firsthand.

All are welcome to attend this opportunity to see the students and teachers engaged in morning lessons; observe High School topics classes, world language and handwork classes. You can visit your child's classroom or see other grades to get a full sense of the scope of the Waldorf curriculum arc. Its a great way to see the social interactions and unique aspects of Waldorf education in action!

Chicago Waldorf School's Open House

Thursday April 10th  -  8:00am - noon

Please RSVP to reserve your seat now (spaces are limited).


Here is the schedule of lesson plans you can visit:

GRADE SCHOOL Morning Lessons (8:00 - 10:00am)

Grade Teacher Lesson Topic
1st Chris Kuck Arithmetic
2nd Megan Rotko Arithmetic
3rd Becky Moskowitz Play Practice, Hebrew Scriptures
4th Nancy Szymanski Local Geography and History
5th Carol Triggiano Ancient Greece
6th John Trevillion Astronomy
7th Karen Hartz Treasure Island Play Practice
8th Lauri Sullivan Modern History





HIGH SCHOOL Topics Classes (7:55 - 9:35am)

Grade Teacher Lesson Topic
9th Michael Holdrege Geology
10th Barbara Huckabay Classical History
11th John Denman Astronomy
12th David Massie Transcendentalists
12th Jim Kotz Biochemistry



GRADE SCHOOL World Language Classes (10:30 - 11:15am)

Grade Teacher Lesson Topic
2nd Ashley Gambill German
3rd Ileana Valencia Spanish


GRADE SCHOOL Handwork Classes (11:15 - Noon)

Grade Teacher Lesson Topic
2nd Patricia Holdrege Handwork
8th Ashley Gambill German


RSVP by Friday, April 4th

to Jeremiah Davis in the Main Office or 773.465.2662

Event Registration Details:
• Space is limited—first come, first served. 12 visitors per class. (EXCEPT FOR 1ST GRADE—LIMIT IS 8)
• Arrive by 7:45am, sign in at the Main Entrance and receive your room assignment
• Parents & Guests may observe any 1st-12th grade morning lesson, but can only choose one.
• Parents may stay and observe a world language and/or handwork class following the morning lessons
• Parents must be able to stay for the entire lesson. We ask that you not leave mid-lesson.
• Early Childhood classes are NOT open for visitors, but we strongly encourage Early Childhood parents to observe a grade or high school class

Reserve Your Seats Now!  Limited seating is available.

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