A Toast to New Beginnings: The All-Community Meeting

Tuesday, February 2, marked Waldorf School of Princeton’s annual All-Community Meeting, a “state of the school” event that every adult in our midst is encouraged to attend. Almost 50 attendees, comprising all circles within the current community, gathered in Hagens Hall at 7 p.m.

For the second year, the event was styled as a panel presentation, with members from each of the school’s leadership bodies: Board of Trustees, College of Teachers, Parent Council, and Administration.

Eurythmy and chorus teacher Susan Eggers opened the evening with the song “Let Us Sing Together,” and College Chair Amy Shor welcomed the audience and read Rudolf Steiner’s Faithfulness Verse, further setting the warm and communal tone.

Board Chair Nick Rumin spoke first, providing an overview of the night’s agenda as well as the governance model of the school; after introducing the chairs of various committeesand task forces, he mentioned a few highlights from the board’s work this year, such as the newly renovated Crib Barn.

Next, School Administrator Parizad Srivastava summarized the school’s new strategic plan, which focuses on four priorities over the next three years: provide healthy and vibrant programs, cultivate teaching excellence, grow our school community, and ensure the financial stability of the school. She then invited additional panelists to elaborate on these items.

Pedagogical Administrator Niko Hilgerdt delved deeper into the first two priorities, announcing both an expanded summer camp program for 2016 and additional early childhood classes for the fall, as well as planned enhancements to the science curriculum for middle school students and the school’s continued commitment to faculty development, mentorship, and assessment.

Board Treasurer Kremena Mironova and Parizad Srivastava presented the school’s draft budget for 2016-17, which includes a 4% tuition increase. They then explained in brief how these numbers were determined, and what factors were taken into account.

Both the proposed strategic plan and budget are the results of months of research and labor among numerous committees, and will be voted on in the next Board meeting, scheduled for February 8.

Newly appointed Parent Council Chair Joanne Farrugia spoke about the role of parents in the life of the school, the task of refining the Parent Council’s structure (including the appointment of officers and adoption of bylaws), and the importance of all parents working to weave together the social fabric of the school community. She asked all parents to get involved wherever possible, whether via committee work such as for May Fair or by attending an event such as the March 16 panel talk on media.

New Development Associate Laila Wilson brought some lighthearted energy to the program while defining Development’s current goals and events, as well as many additional ways for our community to get involved. On the top of the list was the April 2 gala and auction (“A Magical Waldorf Evening”) to be held at the Princeton Marriott at Forrestal. Sponsorship opportunities exist for both individuals and businesses, and those who come on board by February 10 will have their names on the printed invitations. A 50/50 raffle was also announced; tickets are available for purchase in the school store and front office, with the drawing to be held at the gala.

Following a brief Q&A session with the audience to clarify various points from these presentations, Susan Eggers closed the meeting, once again leading the group in song.

Afterward, the Parent Council Steering Committee lured everyone out to the front hall with chilled bottles of sparkling cider and popcorn. Lastly, everyone celebrated a joyous toast to new beginnings before trickling back out into the winter night.

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