H I G H S C H O O L
The Waldorf High School offers a rich and experiential academic curriculum which is balanced with a thorough cultivation of artistic skills and practical work. We teach students to think for themselves through small, seminar-style classes full of discussion and dialog. As in the lower and middle schools, all students are encouraged to develop all of their capacities. Each day begins with a focused immersion of the main lesson block subject, followed by special subject classes.To this end, each student takes all subjects from music to calculus to medieval history. Here are some highlights of our high school experience:
High School Immersion Trips
Our high school immersion trips allow students to truly live their lessons for an entire week and are designed to bring increased depth and practical perspective to their studies. Our current immersion trips include:
The ninth grade takes an interdisciplinary whale-watching trip to Stellwagen Bank combining marine ecology with the study of Moby Dick.
Tenth graders learn how to survey land and use the shadows and trees of a YMCA camp in the Catskills to apply newly acquired trigonometry skills.
Eleventh grade travels to Camp Little Notch in the foothills of the Adirondacks to study botany and forestry and to create their own dichotomous key of the plant species they collect and identify.
Our seniors join other 12th graders from Waldorf schools in the northeast on the coast of Hermit Island, Maine to study invertebrate zoology and intertidal ecology in the tide pools and beaches of Casco Bay.
Every junior researches a professional field of their choice during a significant portion of their year. Their research includes exploring their own strengths and interests, interviewing professionals in their chosen field, and securing and completing an internship for at least one week in the spring. The project wraps up with a public presentation of their internship experience.
The Senior Project is the capstone to a Waldorf education. Each student spends his or her entire senior year working on the project before presenting it to the public in the spring. Some projects have included building an astronomy observatory dome, learning Italian, exploring Indian vocal music and producing a documentary on the history of freestyle skiing.
Each year students in grades eight through 11 choose one electives course as the focus of a weeklong study. Past courses have included electronic circuitry, food and nutrition and winter hiking.
In 10th and 11th grades, WSSS students have an opportunity to participate in a foreign language exchange program with other Waldorf schools in Europe. Students considering applying for an exchange must be in good academic and social standing. After completing the application process, our students study abroad for three to six months. In exchange, the Waldorf student from their European host family spends the same amount of time at our school, adding global perspective to classes and school life here in Saratoga. Advanced language studies are offered to our students who choose to go on exchange, as their language proficiency has significantly improved.
How Science Is Taught
Middle and high school students begin with a process of their own scientific experimentation, observation and analysis rather than memorizing a list of laws and facts. In this way, students are taught “how” to think, not “what” to think. All four major scientific subject areas -- biology, chemistry, earth science and physics -- are taught throughout the four years, with 14 to 20-day main lesson blocks on specific topics within those subjects allowing students to have a deep immersion in the topic on a daily basis. You can find an outline of our four-year high school science curriculum here.
Tests, technology and textbooks?
As in the lower and middle schools, high school students continue to create their own illustrated main lesson books. Computers and other technology, textbooks, and direct source material support students’ learning, which continues focus on classroom discussions, observation and hands-on experience. Beginning in high school, grades are assigned and meaningful assessments in the form of teacher-designed tests and quizzes contribute to learning. Students take standardized college admission tests (PSAT, SAT, ACT). Our students perform above the national average on the SATs, and several WSSS students have been named National Merit Commended Students based on their PSAT scores.
College and Career Guidance
Our College Guidance Office supports students and families through the post-secondary school decision process throughout the high school years. While some of our students choose to take a gap year or enter the workforce directly, most choose to attend a four-year college. Families receive detailed timelines and checklists to guide them through various aspects of the process from co-curricular activities, to college visits, to FAFSA and scholarships, testing, asking for letters of recommendation and the Common Application. The school hosts regular visits from college representatives throughout the year. In addition to transcripts, students submit portfolios of their work when they apply to colleges.
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62 York Avenue
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
Bring Me Little Water, Silvy
This folk tune song is attributed to Huddie Leadbelly in the 1930’s, sung in harmony by the three Whitney sisters who attend our school, body percussion choreographed by Evie Laden of California, and performed by The Waldorf School High
Waltz No. 2 by Dmitri Shostakovich
Choreography by Santi Serratosa and Mariona Castells, performed by WSSS High
Listen to High School music teacher Katie Hooper speak about conducting body percussion here!