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March 2014 Collaboration

April 2014 Sustainability

May 2014 School as Living Entity

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Artwork for this website is contributed by Waldorf teacher and artist, Michael Pinchera. Click the image to see more of his work.


Starlings in Winter

(an excerpt)

Chunky and noisy,
but with stars in their black feathers,
they spring from the telephone wire
and instantly

they are acrobats
in the freezing wind.
And now, in the theater of air,
they swing over buildings,

dipping and rising;
they float like one stippled star
that opens,
becomes for a moment fragmented,

then closes again;
and you watch
and you try
but you simply can’t imagine

how they do it
with no articulated instruction, no pause,
only the silent confirmation
that they are this notable thing,

this wheel of many parts, that can rise and spin
over and over again,
full of gorgeous life.

Ah, world, what lessons you prepare for us, …

 - Mary Oliver


Scroll down for newsletter articles and blog posts on this month’s theme.

  • Using Consensus to Enlighten, Not Limit, Decision Making
    Using Consensus to Enlighten, Not Limit, Decision Making

    This month’s newsletter focuses on the art of decision-making and particularly the practice of consensus decision-making. The lead article was written in response to three recent conversations we had with various board members. In one, a colleague asked: “As a new board member, I hear consensus referred to but I don’t really understand what it means. None of our board members has much experience or training in consensus. How do we know when we should push through to consensus or when a majority vote is appropriate?” Read more →

  • Making Good Decisions
    Making Good Decisions

    When a faculty or board needs to make decision of major significance, how does the group assure that the decision is well considered and supported by everyone who needs to be involved? Shared decision making can be a challenging area for a Waldorf school. It involves building agreement for decisions and creating clarity around decision making authority and processes. A good decision is the result of both having the organizational culture and structure that supports timely and thorough processes, and assuring that various groups and individuals, who have the authority to make decisions in their respective areas, understand and follow those processes. Here and in the following articles, we explore just what makes it successful: Decide before you decide. Know your tools Decide who decides Respect the process. Read more →

  • On The Use of Consensus, Committees and Mandates 
    On The Use of Consensus, Committees and Mandates 

    Often, when groups first begin to use consensus, most if not all decisions are made by the group as a whole. Groups come to understand that this is what it means to function by consensus. Over time, however, most groups begin to look for ways to function more efficiently. Frequently, they turn to the use of committees and mandate groups. It is important to understand that consensus and the use of mandating are not mutually exclusive. The two can be used together. In fact, a mandate group is simply a specialized type of committee, with its mandate framed in a certain way. Read more →

  • Affirming decisions 
    Affirming decisions 

    This is an excerpt from “School Renewal, A Spiritual Journey for Change” by Torin Finser. Understanding the importance of framing issues can lead us to the best ways to reach decisions in a group setting. A decision is a form of free human action. When a human being actively searches out and grasps a concept or intuition thereby bringing it to full consciousness, a self-sustaining decision can arise. Individuals, not groups, make decisions. Where do decisions come from? For me at least they have a mysterious quality. It is hard to determine what is really happening in the moment in which an individual makes a decision. There were certainly important element of preparation, but the second in which one realizes a decision there’s a magical element at work. There’s an intuitive quality to the act, and intuition is connected to the will, the motivational aspect of our constitution. It is as if we were to dive into the lake of decision and really know what we have come to only a split second after we emerge on the surface. Read more →

  • More resources for Consensus Decision Making
    More resources for Consensus Decision Making

    The following are excellent resources to learn more about the why and how of meeting process and facilitation for consensus decision-making. All of these articles are available in the LeadTogether resource collection. A Short Guide to Consensus Building By the Public Disputes Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School A Checklist for the Consensus Process Edited by Randy Schutt Short Guide to Consensus Decision Making Seeds of Change Consensus Decision Making Seeds of Change Functional Consensus www.functionconsensus.org On Conflict and Consensus: A handbook on Formal Consensus decision-making CT Lawrence Butler and Amy Rothstein Read more →