The Bulletin

AWSNA Great Lakes Teacher's Conference

Chicago Waldorf School supports teachers’ professional development in innumerable ways through its membership with the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America (AWSNA).  Most recently our school hosted the Great Lakes/Ontario regional AWSNA conference that welcomed teachers from over 30 Waldorf Schools in the surrounding 9 states. Keynote speaker presentations, community resource sharing and an offering of over 15 independent workshops provided diverse opportunities for teacher & administrator training, community building, and institutional development.

Chicago Waldorf School hosts 120 teachers & administrators for Regional AWSNA Conference

While our students were off enjoying a midwinter break, our teachers and staff were busy hosting the AWSNA Great Lakes Regional Conference. Over 120 participants from the Midwest braved a Chicago winter to gather together for lectures, workshops and conversation. Keynote speaker and Waldorf science teaching expert, Michael D’Aleo, spoke on a theme he called, Riding the Tiger.

In presentations over the course of the three day conference, D’Aleo explored the challenges of collegial relations in a fast paced, ever changing world. D’Aleo characterized our “tiger skin” as our inner world of emotions and offered that when we move beyond our own self interests we can meet change with equanimity and courage. Then we not only survive, but we thrive. He challenged us to look at what he referred to as our generic relationships. Do we behave in certain patterns within our families? Do we see co-workers only in specific roles? Are we afraid to challenge each other? Are some people authorities, others subordinates? D’Aleo also explored how a Waldorf curriculum develops courage, a necessary virtue for living in the modern age.

In the Early Childhood program the children are given many opportunities to meet the physical world. They run, climb, jump, fall. They meet the earth and courage grows. In the grades, courage wells up as a true inner experience of soul life. The rich imaginative pictures that come out of the curriculum enliven the child’s sense for how the outer world can resonate in one’s own being. In the high school, students develop the courage to think their own thoughts while searching for the universal. Alongside courage, they also develop the ability to love the other. How inspiring!

We began every day by singing with our own Mr. Spade. There was also group eurythmy with former CWS teacher and friend, Barbara Richardson. Several of our faculty and staff led workshops on topics as varied as the meditative life of the teacher and school governance issues. During the delicious meals there was plenty of time for talking about our school communities and the common issues we all are facing. At the end, many participants said that they not only loved the conference, but they also loved being in our beautiful school.

Thank you to our hardworking teachers and staff members for making this conference possible!

Submitted by Carol Triggiano

Join the next meeting of the Diversity Committee

Tuesday, March 15th at 3:30 / Lower Eurythmy Room

The Diversity Committee meets to support and nurture the growth of a diverse student population to reflect the city in which we live. 

Members of the Diversity Committee attended the Independent Schools Association of the Central States (ISACS) Diversity Summit - The Power of Equality and Justice, on February 17th & 18th. Come hear their assessment of this conference at our next meeting on March 15th. The committee has an open door policy and always welcomes new members of the community to join our meetings.

Some of the goals and initiatives that have been developed and are being maintained by the committee include:

Internal Community Goals:

  • Increase visual images of the diversity in the curriculum throughout the school.
  • Increase faculty & staff diversity by continued outreach at diversity job fairs and other recruitment outlets.
  • Continue collaboration with the Festivals Committee to support diversity of cultural, ethnic, and geographically focused festivals.
  • Support teachers in facilitating a multicultural curriculum and support the diversity in their classrooms.
  • Support multicultural criteria in professional development and teacher evaluations related to expanding/strengthening diversity skills and curriculum.
  • Collaborate with High School students; PTO; BIC and other school groups in supporting diversity initiatives.

Outward Community Goals:

  • Make the diversity of the curriculum more visible (artwork, plays, etc) through outreach and marketing materials.
  • Reach out to specific communities, targeting new outlets and ask parents to write articles and letters-to-the-editor for minority and culturally-specific media outlets.
  • Partner with other (Waldorf and non-Waldorf) schools that are urban/demographically similar for brainstorming and combining of efforts in these areas.

Our vision is to support the paradigm of an inclusive school community where all sectors of our society are equally valued and represented among students, faculty and administrators.

Please join us in the next Diversity Committee meeting on Tuesday, March 15th at 3:30pm in the Lower Eurythmy room. For more information please contact Jennifer Zielinski.

100 Days to $100,000.00 and 100% Participation

March 23, 2011 – June 30, 2011

These 100 days are dedicated to celebrating “The Year of the Teacher”

Seeking 100% Participation!
Please Give to Chicago Waldorf School’s Annual Fund–

Annual Fund giving provides budgetary support for educational opportunities that tuition alone does not cover. During “The Year of the Teacher” we hope to raise significant funds dedicated to support the initiative to reinstate our faculty and staff salaries and benefits.

The pedagogical work accomplished by teachers in every CWS classroom lies at the heart of our school mission to develop free-thinking and self-directed global citizens who are eager to make a positive contribution to our world. The devotion of our faculty becomes apparent as they guide our children to their full potential. It is evident in all aspects of how they teach every day in the classroom. We are fortunate to have such an extraordinary faculty.

This is our rally call: 100% participation!

We believe in Chicago Waldorf School and we are dedicated to creating a sustainable future for this outstanding community.

We can do this together as we look forward to reaching our Annual Fund goal with 100% participation by June 30, 2011. March 23 through June 30 = 100 days…we have 100 days! Through 100% participation, we can show that this is a community dedicated to its faculty! A collaborative community committed to supporting CWS and sustaining the future of our excellent school! Thank you in advance for your incredible support!

To give online, click here.  Annual Fund envelopes are also available at the Front Office.  Should you have questions or need further information, please contact Jackie Johnson, Director of Development, at

Spring Parent-Teacher Conferences are coming…

Friday, March 25 is Parent-Teacher Conferences Day

This round of Parent-Teacher conferences, unlike the mandatory conferences in the fall, is by request only——your or the teacher’s. And, did you know that ALL the special subject teachers are available to speak with you and give their valuable perspective? In the grade school, sign up for a time with Ilene Warfield, and have a conversation with any special subject teachers to learn more about the curriculum, school events and your child. This is a wonderful opportunity to get a slightly different perspective and enjoy the full circles of educators that surround your child every day.

The Grade School Office is currently scheduling Spring parent-teacher conferences for teacher-requested conferences only. On March 14th scheduling will open up for parent-requested conferences. All parents wishing to speak with a class and/or subject teacher will be accommodated; additional conference slots will be added as needed.

Reminder to Parents: If you want to meet with a special subject teacher and that teacher has not requested a conference with you already, then please specify if you want to meet with the subject teacher separately or in conjunction with your class teacher during the conference.

Conferences will be held on Friday, March 25 (no school for students).
Please contact Ilene Warfield in the Grade School Office at or 773.465.2372 to make an appointment.

Currently in the Classroom

Here is a preview of this month’s curriculum blocks being covered in the grade school.

  • 1st Grade- Szymanski          Arithmetic
  • 2nd Grade- Poole                 Arithmetic
  • 3rd Grade- Shortridge          Arithmetic: Measurement, Time & Money
  • 4th Grade- Petersen             Arithmetic
  • 5th Grade- Sullivan              Ancient Greece & North American Geography
  • 6th Grade- Triggiano            Physics with Brian Gleichauf
  • 7th Grade- Trevillion             Chemistry & Algebra
  • 8th Grade- Hartz                  8th Grade Play


Waldorf Thunder Athletics

From Coach Robb Gill—

Boys Basketball Season Concludes

The boys’ basketball season came to an end on Thursday night with a thrilling game against the Lyçée Academy that was decided by a last-minute buzzer beater by the flames of Lyçée. The boys played in a round-robin tournament in a new conference that Coach Pat Minnihan and I helped form with Roycemore, the Lyçée Academy and the British Academy.  Jeremy Marder was voted first-team all conference, and Malcolm Collins were voted part of the sportsmanship team. 

This concludes a busy winter of basketball at the ThunderDome.  The high school girls are now turning to a busy soccer season, and the boys will be taking part in the new track and field team.

Reminder: Drop-Off & Pick-Up Traffic Flows

Parents, please do your part to follow the drop-off and pick-up procedures.

In particular, do not park in front of the school to run your children into the building. And do not allow children to exit cars unattended by a parking assistant. Please be considerate of other parents (and our neighbors) in our community who feel lack of compliance in these issues leads to confusion and unsafe conditions for their children.

Early Childhood: Children must be escorted into the building by an adult, stow shoes and personal belongings in cubby, put on slippers, and greet teacher at classroom door. Pick-up is at the classroom door, as well.  For Ms. Culbert’s class across Loyola, please do not double park in the street. This leads to very unsafe drop-off and pick-up for the children.

Grade School: Students must be dropped off at the curb (see traffic flow details below) or escorted into the building. Teachers greet children at the classroom door. Pick-up outside in front of the CWS main doors either on foot or in your car at the curb.

High School: High School students may enter through the east side door. But High School students who get a ride must be dropped off at the front entrance curb with all other students.

This plan only works with your dedication and adherence to these rules:

  • Vehicles may not be left unattended at the curb front on Loyola Ave (i.e. in the drop-off/pick-up lane) during school hours. You risk being ticketed or towed.
  • Never double-park your vehicle.
  • Those who need to stay at school must find street parking.
  • Never park at the curb by stop signs or the (illegal) intersection corners.
  • Never drop-off/pick-up on the south side of Loyola; crossing the street middle is dangerous.
  • The parking lot between the school and St. Ignatius Church is not available during school hours.
  • Finally, please be courteous to the traffic patrol; they only have your children’s safety in mind.

In the interest of safety for all our students, it is requested that Early Childhood parents remove their young children from the areas in front of and around the main school buildings once they have been picked up from class. This request holds for both the 12:00PM and 3:00PM pick-up times, as these are both times when grade school children and high school students are outside. One thing we have found to be absolutely true is that when older, bigger children are active and smaller, younger children are playing nearby, there is great potential for injury. Also, please be aware that the side yard is used by the Grade School for the lower grades play space at noontime recess and for the After Care students at 3:00PM dismissal; therefore it is not an available space for parents and younger children to play. Thank you in advance for your understanding and cooperation.

From the CWS Board of Trustees

Summary of January Board Meeting

The January Board of Trustees meeting focused on a wide range of operational and strategic topics. Administrative Director Luke Goodwin reported to the Board on administrative, enrollment, marketing and development topics, including the applications and expectations for next year’s 1st and 9th grades; the successful response to the new high school scholarship; details on the search and final choice for the school’s new Director of Marketing and Communications; and updates on the Gala, May Fair and upcoming alumni events. The Finance Committee introduced a new budget variance report to the Board, and the Audit, Governance and Strategic Planning committees gave updates on their activities.

Notable discussions included how the school will assure parents of its commitment to reinstating faculty salaries and pensions with the critical assistance of a successful Gala and Annual Fund. College Chair Carol Triggiano presented the Waldorf approach to teaching reading, distinguishing between decoding and comprehension – the latter being the far more difficult skill to learn – and explaining how the capacities for comprehension are awakened through storytelling. And finally, trustees engaged in a review of Board operations and its progress toward its annual goals. Trustees voiced strong approval of the Board tasks accomplished thus far and the leadership and engagement shown toward those goals. Board Chair Mike Motyka ended the meeting with a call for bold trustee leadership in soliciting gifts and in giving fully, generously and without conditions.

Minutes from the January Board meeting will be available after approval on March 22. All prior 2010-2011 Board meeting minutes are available for viewing at the Main Office.

The Board will be holding its next meeting on Tuesday, March 22, 7:00 pm. Interested parents, faculty and staff may request to attend by notifying the Board Chair, Mike Motyka at at least 48 hours in advance of the meeting (that is, by March 20). Submitted by Sylvie Desouches, Board Secretary

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