On April 27th, over thirty-five teachers, administrative staffers, board members and parent representatives met at the Germantown Historical Society for The Waldorf School of Philadelphia’s second school leadership retreat.
At our inaugural retreat last year, consultant Torin Finser oriented school leaders toward the idea of “servant leadership” and the Leadership Team model of governance. This year, the Leadership Team hosted the retreat organized and guided by current Faculty Chair/incoming Interim School Chair Kerry Hoffman.
“Strengthening the Spirit of the School” was our theme, and harmony was our medium in the “discussions” that took place in a variety of activities: answering a shared set of questions in small groups; singing a round conducted by music teacher, Mandy Rogers-Petro, facing a challenge in a game that couldn’t be won except by cooperating; and painting the glorious, watercolor mural now installed in the main entrance stairwell.
The vibrant spirit of the Waldorf School of Philadelphia shows in the color garden 8th grade teacher Lesya Parashchuk guided us in painting/planting. It was also spoken in our answers to questions Kerry Hoffman posed about who we are (“established, but not hidebound,” “organically created community,” “heart-centered leadership”, “courageous holding to our passion for Waldorf Education”) and about what we want to be (“truly reflecting the diversity of Philadelphia,” “more inclusive,” “more responsive to working, busy parents,” “better at transparency”).
What can the larger school community expect to grow from the seeds we planted that Saturday? Members of each constituent group met at the end of the retreat to share ideas about action goals. Reflecting on their role scaffolding the many activities that make it possible for WSP to offer Waldorf Education to Philadelphia, the administrative team proposes to strengthen their working relationships to parents with a communications survey (look out for it in the many ways you connect to the school!). Our teachers resolve to open discussion in their meetings about more parent enrichment opportunities. Parent representatives propose to work on involving more parents to the Parents’ Association by drawing on the varied strengths and talents of our parent community. Board of Trustees members discussed developing descriptions for the board advisory committee to bring more parents and friends of the school into their leadership circle. Keep on blooming, WSP!