Fall Rose Ceremony 2015

photo by Andrew Clark

photo by Andrew Clark


 

Andrew Clark photo

photo by Andrew Clark

 

Andrew Clark photo

photo by Andrew Clark

 

Andrew Clark photo

photo by Andrew Clark

 

Andrew Clark photo

photo by Andrew Clark


 

Andrew Clark photo

photo by Andrew Clark


 

Andrew Clark photo

photo by Andrew Clark

 

Andrew Clark photo

photo by Andrew Clark


 

Bruce Kelley Photo

Photo by Bruce Kelley

 

Bruce Kelley Photo

Photo by Bruce Kelley

 

Bruce Kelley Photo

Photo by Bruce Kelley

 

Bruce Kelley Photo

Photo by Bruce Kelley


 

Bruce Kelley Photo

Photo by Bruce Kelley

 

Bruce Kelley Photo

Photo by Bruce Kelley

 

Bruce Kelley Photo

Photo by Bruce Kelley


 

Bruce Kelley Photo

Photo by Bruce Kelley

 

In Memoriam: Kathy Metsch

by Jessie Cartwright, 4th Grade Teacher and DWS Alumna

Kathy Metsch, who served as Administrative Director of The Denver Waldorf School from 2001-2005, passed away on July 20, 2015. Kathy’s time with us on this earth was cut short when difficulties arose in her recovery from meningioma brain tumor surgery. She will be remembered by the DWS community for her time as a committed parent, for her guidance and leadership, and for her love and support of her many colleagues.  As we look towards the beginning of a new school year, it is paramount that we look back first and reflect upon one who made the journey of The Denver Waldorf School bright and full of meaning.

In 1980, Kathy and her husband David were new parents seeking a supportive community and a loving environment for their five-month old daughter Sarah. Kathy met Nancy Blanning in a mother’s support group provided through the Free University. Three years later, the stars aligned, and with an angelically-inspired solution to the dilemma of where Sarah would attend school, Kathy turned to The Denver Waldorf School. Nancy Blanning accepted her into the kindergarten class she was teaching at DWS. Kathy’s dedication and commitment to DWS was inspiring from the moment she enrolled her daughter into the student body. Sarah continued to attend DWS for grades K-12.

As Kathy’s work concluded with the Cherry Creek School System, DWS was in need of an Administrative Director to help navigate the school in a new direction and secure our foundation for a new campus at 940 Fillmore Street. As the Administrative Director, Kathy offered her expertise and guidance in countless ways. One of her enormous gift was her people skills. Kathy offered sincere warmth and interest to everyone. She was a peace-maker and always strove to find harmony in all she encountered during her days working with parents, colleagues, and the greater Waldorf community. Knowing when the time was right to let the school grow and evolve beyond what she could shepherd, Kathy stepped aside, humbly, with generous mindfulness, and full of integrity.

We mourn Kathy’s absence in our Waldorf family, and send her family our deepest condolences. As this year begins may we remember her ability to listen with integrity, observe the best in every single person we meet, and hold each other in warmth and respect for the unique gifts each of us brings to this continuing journey of education. We stand on the shoulders of giants in more than one way here at The Denver Waldorf School. Kathy Metsch will remain a beacon, guiding light, the fixed North Star, the giant whose shoulders continue to support us, as we do our very best work with children each day. We will carry Kathy’s legacy forward in our hearts and memory as DWS moves on to begin a new school year.

4th Grade Camping Trip to Bent’s Fort

Mrs. Gaillot’s 4th Grade and several intrepid parents made their way to La Junta, Colorado last week for a visit to historic Bent’s Fort. According to the National Park Service, “The fort provided explorers, adventurers, and the U.S. Army a place to get needed supplies, wagon repairs, livestock, good food, water and company, rest and protection in this vast “Great American Desert.” Thanks to parent Rob Maurer for the photos.

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Waldorf Education Featured on The Simpsons Season Finale

 

Denver, CO, May 20, 2015: The Simpsons gave a well-crafted, comic shout out to Waldorf Education during their Season 26 finale for 2015 — “Mathlete’s Feat”, which aired May 17, 2015. The Association of Waldorf Schools of North America was pleased with the level of in-depth knowledge The Simpsons writers clearly possessed about pedagogy and stereotypes associated with Waldorf Education, which made this fun caricature both lighthearted and flattering.

After a server farm crash, Springfield Elementary loses all technology. This is when Lisa comes up with an idea that will save the school — “Learning while Doing.” Springfield Elementary becomes a Waldorf school! From there the students learn by doing in tongue-in-cheek fashion and at the end of the episode, their new Waldorf Education helps them win the mathlete rematch.

We are honored to have been featured in such a positive light in The Simpsons Season Finale and some schools are responding in-kind with Waldorf tributes to The Simpsons. A collective of handmade hats is being created to send to The Simpsons writers. The Waldorf School of Philadelphia is having students create beeswax figures of The Simpsons characters to share online and with The Simpsons execs. And the São Paulo, Brazil Waldorf school has done an amazing rendition of The Simpsons Theme Song, found here on YouTube, as a tribute to this mainstream recognition.

Do you have questions about this latest press coverage of Waldorf Education or about Waldorf Education in general? Please contact Leigh Ann Hill, Enrollment Director at enroll@denverwaldorf.org or 303-777-0531 ext. 106.

Spring 2015 Waste Audit Report

Spring 2015 Waste Audit Results Report

Waste Audit Conducted: Friday, March 20, 2015: 8:30am – 3:30pm

Background: The Denver Waldorf School (DWS) has maintained a recycling program for many years as the main pillar of its waste diversion scheme. Upon moving into the 2100 S. Pennsylvania St. address in the summer 2014, DWS (per the interest and effort of the Peace Group high school club) began offering a compost diversion option on the high school side of the school in the fall of 2014. In the winter of 2014, it was decided that composting should be considered for integration into the school wide waste diversion program. A waste audit was planned for March 20, 2015 with the intention to clarify our current diversion rate, find our potential diversion rate, examine common current errors in diversion and consider diversion by DWS area (administrative, bathrooms, kindergarten/preschool, lower school and high school). The waste audit can be seen as a ‘snapshot’ of our waste in a typical day and the data gathered will be used to more carefully consider an expanded, comprehensive DWS Waste Diversion Plan.

Waste Audit Process: The audit was conducted Friday, March 20, 2015 from 8:30am to 3:30pm (a typical school day). Waste audit ‘sorters’ were: Peace Group volunteers, building and grounds committee chair and member volunteers and the DWS High School Coordinator. The sorters were stationed near the DWS roll off dumpsters (landfill, recycling, compost) and received waste from both class representatives (that brought their class waste to the waste audit station as would have in a typical day) and runners who gathered waste from areas typically dealt with by evening janitorial staff (e.g. bathrooms). Waste was weighed on a bench type scale in kilograms. Upon receiving a bag of waste, it was noted where the waste came from (high school, lower grade, etc…) and what type it was (landfill, compost or recycling). The total weight of the waste was captured prior to sorting. Waste was then sorted (on tarps) into landfill, recycling and compost content to capture content in each area. Each waste type (landfill, recycling, compost) was then weighed post sort to capture actual diversion rate, potential diversion rate and errors in diversion. The DWS waste hauler, Alpine, was consulted with multiple times during the waste audit to clarify acceptability in compost and recycling streams to ensure proper diversion.

  • Notable Audit Items: Key waste audit items of note include:
    ‘To Go’ cups are landfill trash: Most ‘to go’ cups (for coffee and fountain drinks) are landfill trash. The majority of ‘to go’ coffee and fountain drink cups have an ultra thin plastic liner inside that deems the paper of the cup unrecyclable. A ‘bring your own cup’ campaign (especially for the High School student population) could help reduce this waste stream.
  • Consider a quick rinse: Despite the use of a precious resource (water) to rinse recyclable materials (e.g. yogurt cups, etc…) it is vital to rinse out liquids from waste prior to disposal in recycling. Liquid waste can quickly spoil, leading to problems with indoor air quality and pests.
  • Biodegradable bags must be considered for compost stream: The content of the compost waste stream requires a biodegradable bag when considering health of the school and the durability of the waste diversion system. Despite recommended use of additional resources (energy intensive bio-bags in compost bins) indoor air quality and pest potential must be considered, as well as use of water to periodically wash soiled compost bins.
  • Consider examination of current recycling scheme: Consider the ease of use, clarity of communications and cost of current recycling scheme (e.g. payment for service from both Pedro’s Planet (office paper) and Alpine (mixed stream recycling)). The addition of mixed stream recycling (and composting) bins across school with waste diversion plan has the potential to confuse community (we would have four bins for sorting (Pedro’s Planet for paper, mixed stream recycling, compost and landfill). Consider cost of using both services to clarify best next step.
  • Most bathroom waste (e.g. paper towels) is compostable.
  • One lower grades class (4th grade, Mrs. Gaillot) has a comprehensive waste diversion plan.
  • Fabric is not recyclable or compostable: The compost process at the Alpine compost facility requires that all materials be composted in a relatively short period of time (e.g. three months to completed compost). This means that some materials that will degrade over time (untreated and naturally dyed fabric) may not degrade as quickly as is necessary to include in their compost stream. For this reason fabric is not accepted by Alpine in their compost waste stream.
  • Alpine (DWS Waste Hauler) is considering whether or not wool is compostable: The compost process at the Alpine compost facility requires that all materials be composted in a relatively short period of time (e.g. three months to completed compost). This means that some materials that will degrade over time (untreated and naturally dyed wool) may not degrade as quickly as is necessary to include in their compost stream. Alpine is reviewing whether or not naturally dyed or untreated wool can be included in our diversion plan.
  • No plastic bags in recycling: plastic bags in lunches (e.g. sandwich bags) are not recyclable. Additionally, plastic shopping bags have very limited recycling potential and need to be recycled in a stream separate from the school’s recycling stream.
  • Untreated wood and sawdust is compostable.
  • Deconstruct your waste: Take food (compostable) out of plastic containers (usually recyclable) and tin foil (recyclable) and place ‘deconstructed’ waste into appropriate waste stream (landfill, recycling and compost). Combination waste (e.g. a sandwich in a plastic bag) placed in a single bin (e.g. compost) will end up in landfill post sort at compost/recycling facility.
  • Class pet clean up is landfill trash: No pet waste allowed in compost.
  • Limited participation in Preschool/Kindergarten: Larkspur and parent/tot class participated in waste audit, which means results for preschool/kindergarten are limited to those classes only. Off site nurseries were not included in audit. Consider off site nurseries’ inclusion in school wide waste diversion plan.

Proposed Next Steps:
Building and Grounds Sustainability Subcommittee will meet the summer of 2015 to plan and coordinate proposal for expansion of waste diversion at DWS.

The Sustainability Subcommittee will; create the DWS Waste Diversion Plan (including any pricing information for bins, changes in roll off sizing, bags, etc…) and DWS Waste Diversion Communication Plan (including 2015/2016 kick off strategy and community wide communication scheme).

Ideally, the Sustainability Subcommittee will have draft Waste Diversion and Communication Plans to present to the Building and Grounds Committee by late July/early August 2015 to ensure time for further review and implementation prior to the start of the 2015/2016 academic year.

Waste Audit Results:

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Total Waste Sorted:

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Figure 1: Breakdown of total waste sorted during DWS waste audit.
Almost 182 pounds of waste were sorted during the waste audit. A slight majority of our waste (45%) is being recycled, while 41% of our waste is going to the landfill. Our current waste diversion rate is 59% (59% of our waste is being diverted from the landfill).

Current and Potential Compost and Recycling (lbs)

Waste-Chart

Figure 2: Breakdown of current and potential compost and recycling amounts.
We have some gains that came be made in our recycling rate. 82 pounds of recyclable materials are currently diverted from the landfill and 83 pounds of recyclable materials can potentially be recycled in the future. Our largest gains in waste diversion would come from the expansion of composting program across the school. We are currently composting 26 pounds of compostable material and could increase that amount to 66 pounds in the future were we to expand the composting program.

Potential Diversion Rate

Diversion

Figure 3: Breakdown of total potential waste sorted during DWS waste audit.
According to the data from the March 20, 2015 waste audit we can recycle the majority of our waste (46%) and compost 36% of our waste. A minority of our waste will end up in the landfill (18%). The DWS diversion rate could be increased (from 59%) to 82% (or more) depending on pollution prevention strategies used (e.g. waste free lunch packing, etc…) and participation by DWS administration, faculty, staff, students and community at large.

Conclusion: The DWS community is committed to waste diversion (as can be seen in the exceptional recycling rate) and will benefit from inclusion of a compost diversion option across the school. Some communication is necessary to reduce ‘trashing’ of the recycling and compost streams: common errors include ‘to go’ cups and plastic bags in the recycling stream and fabric and food still in plastic containers in the compost stream. Planning and coordination to expand waste diversion program should consider both off site nurseries and athletic events. Source reduction options (e.g. waste free lunch packing, reusable to go mug use, etc…) could push landfill rate lower than projected 18%. Clear and cohesive school wide bin type, set up and signage, as well as communication on waste diversion goals could increase overall participation.

Carolyn’s College Corner – April 2015

by Carolyn Francis

Free and Almost Free College Options
Work Colleges – Work, Learning, Service

There are seven small schools in the Work Colleges Consortium that help students graduate with considerably less college debt than most of their peers. All member colleges help students graduate with limited debt; three are tuition free for qualified students.

Students arrive on campus understanding work will be an integral part of their college experience. Not only does this style of college give students work and life skills, it also creates “buy-in” for students; having a little skin in the game generates appreciation and a sense of accomplishment.

This unusual approach helps students learn a critical balance of study, community service and managed work expectations. Most work positions are limited to 8-15 hours a week with each school tailoring the jobs to the mission and operational needs of the individual school. Administrative and campus support in food services or landscaping are typical entry level posts.

Member Colleges’ work programs provide promising students with a means to earn a college degree while students get opportunities to advance and tailor work positions to meet career goals. It is a win-win for everyone. Work Programs cultivate career-ready qualities like responsibility and work ethic.

Alice Lloyd College – located in Kentucky, ALC charges no tuition for students from its geographic area. The Top College in America for graduating students with the least amount of debt, 95% of ALC graduates are accepted to professional or graduate school.

Berea College – also located in Kentucky. Founded in 1855, Berea was the first interracial and coeducational college in the South. Berea awards four year tuition scholarships to all its students who otherwise could not afford a high-quality, residential, liberal arts education. The work program has been a part of the Berea for over a century.

Blackburn College – located in Illinois and celebrating its 175th anniversary, Blackburn has had a work program since 1913. Over the years, students have built Blackburn brick by brick. Ten buildings were constructed with the help of student workers.

College of the Ozarks – located in Missouri, C of O is a Christian institution where students work in one of 80 different assignments. The cost of tuition is covered by students work, grants, and scholarships provided by the school. Student work performance grades are included in student records, giving an impressive set of credentials to employers.

Ecclesia College – located in Arkansas, the student motto is “Where Leaders are Learning”. Ecclesia serves students regardless of family resources. Students graduate with character, skills and resumes and with an average debt of $5,938 while national average is $25,250.

Sterling College – the only school not located in the South or Midwest, Sterling is located in a small town in northern Vermont. A small progressive liberal arts school with a focus on environmental issues and grass roots sustainability, they offer majors in Ecology, Environmental Humanities, Outdoor Education, Sustainable Agriculture and Sustainable Food Systems. Students can also design their own major. Some examples include Agroecology, Environmental Justice, Conservation education and International Agriculture and Business. Sterling came to visit DWS last fall and I was personally very impressed. The right student would be very well served by this little school!

Warren Wilson College – located in North Carolina, this school is well known for its strong international and environmental emphasis. The Fiske Guide recognized WWC as one of the “25 Best Buys” among private colleges and universities. In addition to awarding high marks for its academics, social life and affordability, the Fiske Guide honored the College with the highest possible rating for overall quality of student life.

Thanks to workcolleges.org for the above information.

These schools offer students with limited financial means the opportunity to receive a high quality education, life skills and professional growth not found in traditional school settings. While many are located in what we might call remote areas, there is a reason these schools are situated in the areas they are. Assisting an underserved population, these schools were initially designed to help locals receive an education. Many of these alums go on to be leaders in their region. With outreach and growth come new opportunities for students all over the country. While the initial incentive is financial in nature, taking a deeper look will show schools that are invested in providing a world class education.