Our high school’s goal is to offer students an academically rigorous program as they begin to view themselves as the adults that they seek to become, emotionally, morally, and intellectually. Our faculty consists of teachers who are specialists in their subjects and skills; and they challenge, excite, and engage young men and women guiding them towards knowledge and self-discovery.
Our students prepare rigorously for college or university and other post-secondary options.
Detailed information on each grade’s curriculum is available here:
The academic focal point of a Waldorf High School is the Main Lesson, an hour and forty five minute concentrated lesson at the beginning of each school day. Each Main Lesson block presents one of the “core subjects” (English, Mathematics, History, or Natural Sciences) for a period of three to four weeks. In the following section, the High School curriculum is outlined with brief course descriptions. Each grade is introduced by a brief perspective on how the underlying thematic continuity of the curriculum responds to and supports the changing consciousness and increasing independence of the adolescent.
In addition to the Main Lesson, each student attends between 15 and 20, 45-minute academic skills classes per week, covering World Languages, additional English and mathematics study, and enrichment classes. Course descriptions of these skills classes follow the Main Lesson descriptions. While the language and math courses are continuous throughout the year, selected skills classes in the humanities may last for a term before changing focus. The enrichment classes are taught in 6-week blocks and students may elect the classes they wish to take except in specific circumstances.
Each student also takes four, one-hour classes per week in the fine and practical arts. These blocks occur in a six- to eight-week rhythm and are also briefly characterized in the outline that follows.
Each High School student participates in a one week practicum in grades 9-11. All High School students take part in chorus work, which meets two 45 minute periods per week. Grades 10 and 12 participate in a major drama production. Seniors are required to work on an independent study project culminating in a public presentation. Extra-curricular programs are offered in instrumental music and girls’ and boys’ basketball, volleyball, cross-country, and soccer. Other activities include the Social Action Committee, the School Yearbook, a Photography Club, and the Drama Club. Hawthorne Valley School also provides a world exchange program, which has placed our students in Waldorf schools in many other countries, including Germany, Denmark, Austria, Switzerland, France, Spain, Scotland, Australia, New Zealand, Columbia, Peru, Argentina, Chile, and South Africa.
Students receive comprehensive, narrative reports for each class. The teachers also issue a letter grade that goes on the students’ official transcript. High School students and their parents receive a written course description and student narrative evaluation for each course taken when the session is completed. When a student applies to college, the High School guidance department sends each college an official transcript.
Our philosophy when it comes to the college process is to support the students in finding the best possible fit for their needs and interests. The students take the PSATs in 10th grade as a practice exercise. In grade 11 they take them for the PSAT/NMSQT testing. SAT preparation is offered for students during the enrichment blocks. Students in grades 11 and 12 meet with the college guidance counselor regularly and are provided with extensive support in planning for and applying to college or university. They are also supported in making alternative choices as appropriate.