"The Waldorf curriculum teaches us to fight for what we believe in and to defend what we know to be right."
Mosemarie Boyd, Waldorf graduate, President and CEO, American Women Presidents, a national political action committee
PWHS is a unique high school experience that addresses the whole human being: thinker, artist, citizen, individual. Immersed in a vibrant camaraderie of faculty and classmates, students grow intellectually, emotionally and in their capability to shape the future. The high school experience takes place in the community of the whole school so that students see and understand their relationship with young children and elementary grades as well as the adult teachers who are their guides and mentors. By the time they graduate, PWS students are articulate and confidant, eager and able, seeking how they can contribute and take a meaningful place in the world.
The necessary turbulence of adolescence is met by a curriculum carefully crafted to meet the inner needs of each age. From the 14-15 year old who sees the world in absolutes to the 18-year-old senior who has weathered inner storms to turn with new curiosity to the contemporary world, each year’s program of study resonates with teenagers' real questions while providing information and developing intellectual skills in writing, critical thinking, careful reading, aesthetic ability and appreciation, and the capacity to act with focus and care.
The cumulative reasons that make PWS High School unmatched are:
Small class size and individual attention: No one gets lost. Teachers are accessible and know every student. Including specialty teachers, the teacher student ratio is 1 / 4.
Subjects are integrated: Each discipline is consciously linked and coordinated so that the student has a holistic and human experience. For instance, weaving in handwork reflects the weaving of Penelope’s web in The Odyssey at the same time students are working on the basic principles of geometry. The curriculum of each grade makes sense.
The education is experiential: Subjects are first approached from concrete phenomena rather than theory. For instance, trigonometry is taken into the field with surveying; carbonation is studied by making root beer; chemistry is partially taught through the mysteries of the dark room. In a block class on the Middle Ages, one student will try to live by the rule of St. Benedict, another will build a piece of armor, while a third presents the music of Hildegard of Bingen. Classes regularly employ role playing and debates, and the world becomes the classroom through field trips and frequent guest speakers.
Depth, depth, depth: We teach major academic subjects in rotating intensive blocks, so students take chemistry and biology, history and literature every year, each time from a different angle, each time at a deeper level of complexity. We favor an in-depth experience of each subject in turn rather than a broad, shallow survey. Short, intensive units create variety, freshness, and a more coherent student learning.
Creativity and beauty are critical to the pursuit of truth: Ideas and ideals are incorporated by teachers into each class and students use artistry in production of their classwork. Individual projects are frequent and students explore their interests in unique ways. Students may draw on their art skills to illustrate a scientific concept, or produce a film for an assignment in German.
Our faculty is exceptional: Each is a specialist and most have a bachelor or advanced degree along with years of coursework and ongoing training in Waldorf education. Two faculty members have taught extensively at the college level; others bring experience in private industry, specialized military service, teaching in public schools and helping professions.