Orientation Letter

CELEBRATE, CULTIVATE, COMMUNICATE

Dear Parents and Guardians,

On behalf of the Faculty, Staff, and Board of Trustees of the Vancouver Waldorf School I am happy to welcome you to the 2016-17 school year. We look forward to a productive partnership with you to ensure our students reach their fullest potential and develop a lifelong love of learning. We are particularly proud of the many achievements and initiatives made in 2015-16 that we will continue to celebrate, cultivate and communicate with you in the coming school year. These achievements and initiatives include:

PEDAGOGY:

  • With almost full teacher retention from last year, including the surprise return of Yvan Zebroff as Principal, we continue to assemble a solid team of educators, balancing a wealth of Waldorf experience and new energy. Mindful of the ongoing training and mentoring needed for new teachers, we are confident in our stable and committed teaching staff, to which we welcome:
    • Monika Blichar, Grades 1, 10, 11, 12 French
    • Neha Bharadwaj, Grades 7, 8 Math; High School Math & Sciences
    • Jane Mennigke, Temporary High School Fine Arts & Crafts
    • In addition, we have offered employment to Laurel Loughlin (KG-Grade 5, 8 Eurythmy) and are excited at the prospect of her beginning work this fall.
  • The High School has a re-envisioned Class Advisor and organizational structure, streamlined and strengthened curriculum, and part-time Guidance Counsellor to advise students on post-secondary planning.

DEVELOPMENT:

  • Strategic visioning and planning for the 2016-17 school year was a huge accomplishment met at the end of the last school year. Working with an enthusiastic and highly qualified committee of parents and faculty, a collaborative approach was employed to renew the school’s vision, mission, mandate, values, guiding principles and strategic priorities for the upcoming school year. Over the summer, the Development team has been working on fleshing out the strategic priorities as they relate to the department. This will provide a road map to guide the school in community outreach initiatives and strategies for diversifying our revenue streams.
  • We are pleased to announce the return of Laura Bergstrome as on-site Communications & Events Coordinator.

ADMISSIONS:

  • We continue to welcome many wonderful new and returning families to our school community. Current enrollment is 305 (93 Early Childhood, 156 Grade School, 56 High School) with more registrations in process.
  • Our Early Childhood programs and incoming Grade School and High School numbers (Grades 1 and 9) are particularly healthy, all of which bodes well for the future.
  • In an effort to broaden our appeal and further support diversity at VWS we are offering the following expanded or new programs:
    • ELL (English Language Learner) Pilot Program in Grade 9
    • After School Program for KG-Grade 6
    • Orientation for Mandarin speaking families
    • Continued commitment to an effective and sustainable Tuition Adjustment Program
    • Educational Support in Grades 1-8

FINANCE:

  • We are pleased to report that as a result of measures taken by the board in the past 18 months, and with the ongoing support of our school families, not only have we significantly reduced our deficit, we are also now in a position to improve our teachers’ salaries and are in the process of completing a new teacher salary structure. Our intention is to offer competitive and equitable pay for all our teaching staff, which will help us in attracting and retaining high quality Waldorf educators in the years to come.
  • In the interest of improving financial performance the Finance department has successfully renegotiated a number of contracts including IT Management and cleaning. Other saving initiatives included fixing the water leaks and replacing the water meter which results in a sizable refund from the NVRD and reduction in our quarterly water.
  • We are also looking forward to implementing a new business system in 2016/2017 called BigSIS, a modern and highly customizable School Management Software/Student Information System (SIS) for private schools that is 100% web-based and designed by a Waldorf graduate. Our goal is to reduce the redundancy in data records and streamline procedures and systems.

All of these achievements and future goals address the need of the Vancouver Waldorf School to evolve its structures and practices to reflect an ever more sustainable and professional approach.

On a more immediate and practical level please note that once again this year our Opening Assembly and Rose Ceremony will be held at our High School location in Edgemont Village. On Tuesday, September 6th all Grade School and High School students will meet at Highlands United Church in Edgemont Village at 8:45 am. Details on this event are provided inside on the letter entitled Important Reminders. The enclosed Orientation Package also includes class and school information that will assist you in your preparations for the coming year.

Again, we warmly welcome all of you—new and returning, parents and staff, grandparents and alumni—to another year of renewal and growth. We thank you all for what you have given to our school and for joining us in our school community.

Yours sincerely,
VANCOUVER WALDORF SCHOOL

Eric Doherty
Board Chair