The Mountain School was founded by Katherine Woods with the close support and direction by her parents, Ward and Priscilla Woods. From the beginning in the fall of 2004 a great deal of support for the vision of the school came from the local community. Katharine purchased the property and obtained the permit for The Mountain School in the winter of 2005. She then moved to Mustang Lane and began to build the school’s infrastructure. During the winter of 2005 an appeal of the school’s permit was filed. For the following two years The Woods family, along with many teachers and assistants continued to pursue the goal of opening the school. They defended themselves through various appeals, which were eventually dropped, built the farm, and perfected existing structures and designed the future school building.
In the winter of 2007 ground was broken on the school building itself. A Green design for the school was donated by The Living Architecture group in Ketchum, Idaho. The firm’s founder and lead architect Dale Bates’ study of Rudolf Steiner’s architectural insights made his firm the perfect match for The Mountain School. With the excellent oversight and workmanship of Lloyd Construction, and the wise guidance and unwavering hard work of Patti Lousen, the school’s administrator, and the backbreaking, heartfelt and constant efforts of John Delorenzo The Mountain School received it’s Certificate of Occupancy On June 16th, and opened its doors to a full enrollment of children in it’s Summer Camp Art, Farm and Wilderness program.
Although no religious doctrine or dogma is taught at The Mountain School, teachers do nurture the child’s sense of awe, wonder, and beauty and teach reverence, respect and attention to the needs of others. School families hale from diverse social, economic, religious, and professional backgrounds, yet what we share as teachers and parents is a common vision of love and joy for our children in the present and for their future.
The Mountain School offers an education based upon the principals of anthroposophy.
Anthroposophy is a rigorous science of the spirit, initially developed and practiced by Rudolf Steiner, where one continually investigates the history and destiny of both the Human Being and the World. Out of this understanding of the Human Being, a sound, ever-evolving pedagogy arises for educating the young. Through the study of anthroposophy by freely acting and independently responsible teachers, parents, and other community members, an environment is created that provides children with an education that furthers the likelihood that each will be able to discover, and functionally fulfill, his or her own self-determined destiny.
The successful functioning of a Waldorf School depends on our ability to proceed effectively in the spirit of collaboration. We strive to have a culture of active participation from the entire community through transparent decision-making processes.
The College of Teachers
The College of Teachers is a smaller group of faculty drawn from the full faculty. It is comprised of experienced teachers, who assume responsibility for the pedagogical life of the School and are the guardian of the curriculum, the identity and the mission of the school. It is composed of teachers who, out of a commitment to Anthroposophy (Rudolf Steiner’s study of the soul) and Rudolf Steiner’s educational principles and world view, through active research and extensive study, take on a special responsibility to explore, deepen, and guide the development of the curriculum and the school. The members of the College of Teachers have made an extra commitment to care for and guide the life of the school. The College has a Chairperson, and parents are welcome to communicate directly with him or her about any pedagogical concerns–although it is best to speak first with your child’s class teacher when possible.
The College meets monthly, unless more time is needed, and works collaboratively and through consensus.
1. Its primary mission is to nurture and support the ideals of Waldorf Education within the school
2. Faculty personnel management - this is the body which is responsible for recruitment, hiring, and evaluation; makes final decisions about which teachers join or leave the school.
3. Teacher Development- responsible for mentoring and professional development, including approving any and all leave or vacation time of the staff, in-service days, professional growth and faculty study curriculum.
4. Handles all crisis management; and enforcement of policies of the College and Board of Trustees;
5. Determines which programs are offered (within budgetary limits).
The Board of Trustees
The Board of Trustees is responsible for the legal and financial aspects of our school. The Board currently meets twice annually to deliberate over such topics as budget, fundraising, tuition, strategic planning and a healthy community life. The Board works collaboratively with the College of Teachers and the Office Administrator. The membership of the Board consists of up to nine community members, up to three College of Teachers members, and the Office Administrator (who is a non-voting member).
Membership to the Board of Trustees is managed by the Nominating Committee. Any member of the community is free to suggest nominations to the Board of Trustees via this Committee. The Committee reviews and recommends candidates to the Board of Trustees and College of Teachers for their approval.
Qualities that are important for Board members to carry include:
- A clear devotion to the best interests of the school and an ability to act beyond personal bias.
- An awareness of basic business principles - understanding that the school is both a place where their children go to school and a business.
- An ability to be proactive – a self-starter who, ideally, has participated in some school committee or activity as a volunteer.
- Good people skills – able to work with the other members of the Board of Trustees in a climate of mutual respect and appreciation.
- Prior experience in serving on boards or committees for other schools, churches, volunteer organizations, etc. is desirable.
- A minimum of one year of experience as a parent at any Waldorf school, and at least six months at The Mountain School, with positive committee involvement. Exceptions to this can be considered for community members with other desirable Board qualities.
- Supportive of basic principles inherent in the Waldorf approach to education and Anthroposophy.
- Strong communication skills and a willingness and desire to participate in an open, collaborative decision-making process.
- Considers him/herself to be on a path of personal growth.
The Faculty and Staff
Faculty members are responsible for bringing to the students a living educational experience through the Waldorf curriculum, which is specific to each grade level. Faculty meetings are held weekly. During this time, the faculty members work together to deepen their understanding of Waldorf principles and educational ideas. As a group, the teachers develop a deeper perception of the students in their care and ways to support each individual’s growth and development. These weekly meetings provide a time for teachers to share insights and mentoring wisdom with each other while also attending to the day-to-day life of the school.
Office staff members are responsible for the administrative needs of the school. In order to allow the faculty to keep their energy and attention focused on the classroom and the students, the office staff attend to operational aspects such as bookkeeping, enrollment, human resources, parent communications, development, vendor relations and governmental relations.
The Parent Community
The Parent Community provides vital support to the school and the faculty. The parents provide support to the Board of Trustees and the faculty. Parents make the school possible, not only because they send their children, but because they have the willingness to serve and raise funds which are critical activities for all Waldorf schools.
Members of the parent community eagerly take responsibility for committee work with faculty members and Board members by being members of committees such as the Board of Directors, the Parents Association, and the Community Development Committee. Parents are instrumental in coordinating and providing both individual class and school-wide social activities which generate goodwill, deepen the understanding of Waldorf education, and promote the growth of the school community.
Parents share the responsibility for creating and sustaining the life and culture of the school. The parent/teacher relationship is critical to the well-being of the individual child. Parents and teachers support and enhance the growth and development of the children collectively through conversation and mutual support.
For parents who wish to take on greater leadership for nurturing of the culture of the school we have a Community Development Committee. The parents who join this committee work closely with the College of Teachers in order to study the pedagogical philosophy in a Waldorf School. Gaining this greater pedagogical understanding informs these parents so they can offer greater support to the teachers in their work with the children, especially those teachers who are taking on rigorous Waldorf teacher training while teaching, to serve as liaison between parents and COT, to serve as a liaison between COT and PA, and to support Parent study groups.