H I G H S C H O O L
Now Introducing 2 Diploma Pathways
Waldorf Traditional Education
We're launching a new program that allows high school students to follow their own interests to create their own path which leads to a NYS Waldorf high school diploma. The “Waldorf Explorations” program is an individualized plan alongside traditional, in-person classes. This program can incorporate outside experiences, independent study, alternative forms of education, and college courses. WSSS is partnering with local colleges, art studios, professionals and experienced-based organizations to create alternative education pathways for students.
Why Waldorf Explorations?
Waldorf Explorations offers an opportunity for self-directed students to earn high school credits in non-traditional forms. Some of the benefits are:
Engage in real-world experiences beyond the classroom
Immerse yourself in experiences that build tacit knowledge
Develop capacities and skills for creative problem solving
Build community connections, valuable life experiences, and personal growth
Explore a personal passion or interest while in high school
Create a unique educational experience
Prepare for your future
A student can build an Explorations program from among the choices below.
College and Equivalent Accredited Courses
Students can choose to take college or equivalent high school courses from an accredited institution. An example is Hudson Valley Community College’s ‘College in the High School’ program. Another example would be to study a world language through an accredited online program.
Experiences with Education Organizations
Examples include art-studios, outdoor experiential learning courses, wildlife rehabilitation and other education-based organizations. For these experiences, students will be partnered with an in-school advisor who will review a proposal and use an assessment template and rubric to award the relevant credits. The student will also share and present their experiences and learning to the wider school community.
Internships and Apprenticeships
A third option for Waldorf Explorations is participating in a pre-approved apprenticeship or internship. Examples would be local farming experience, construction, design, business, or art. The internship/apprenticeship program would have research and academic components to achieve the educational requirements for the assessment template. The student will also share and present their experiences and learning to the wider school community.
A final option is for a student to propose an independent study project. The independent project would need to be pre-approved and structured around a rigorous assessment template. The independent study project could allow a student to pursue an individual passion that does not fit a traditional internship/apprenticeship model.
Waldorf Classroom Requirements
Students are required to earn 75% of credit requirements through in-person classes at the Waldorf School of Saratoga Springs while enrolled. Credits earned while attending a different Waldorf School as part of our international exchange program count toward satisfying the 75% credit requirement. Students will also need to satisfy core curriculum requirements for the Waldorf High School Diploma.
Waldorf Traditional Education
The traditional Waldorf education already offers a rich experience of extra-curricular activities beyond the classroom. Programs such as international exchange, internship work experience and senior projects offer an opportunity for personal growth and exploration.
As part of our traditional education we are also introducing Curriculum Explorations, themes that we’ll delve into during the course of the year. Each theme provides an opportunity for students to form interdisciplinary links in learning.
Themes of Curriculum Explorations
First Year Theme - Planet Earth: A deeper study of our planet from the sea to sky in the main lesson blocks such as Geology, Botany, Biochemistry, and Biology. Studies will also include field trips and forum presentations to explore the world, regenerative ecological practices, and supportive technology for environmental sustainability.
Second Year Theme - Engineering: An exploration into how we understand and use the laws of physics to create, build and move. Key main lesson blocks include; Mechanics, Trigonometry and Architecture. Forums and field trips to see bridges, cathedrals, and other architectural feats. Practical experiences will include building structures at the Forest Kindergarten or other local sites.
Future Curriculum Themes - A Changing and Diverse World: A historical perspective on humanities and human understanding. Main lesson blocks will include Ancient Civilizations, World Cultures, and Sacred Texts. Field trips to museums, cultural heritage sites, and presentations from people with diverse cultural experiences will help us relate to the world around us.
Other Highlights of the High School
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 Cape Cod 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.
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.
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 and Technology
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.
Click to see:
history of college acceptances
FOR MORE INFORMATION
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!