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HIGHLIGHT : A note for Michaelmas

Here is a note about Michaelmas from 2014

Dear Colleagues,

In this season of Michaelmas, we have a lot to be grateful for and a lot to stand up for. While we all strive to do our best, to reach for the highest in ourselves and to recognize and support the highest in our colleagues, students and their parents, at the same time we are called to take initiative and pursue the highest in our work in a growing culture of materialistic thinking.

As the educational community endlessly debates the effectiveness of high-stakes, standardized testing at all levels, we move forward with effective individual qualitative assessment for all our students.

As schools buy into founding their curriculum upon, and spending millions of dollars on textbooks, we practice every day the art of living, teacher-led inquiry and real-life experience.

As the nation embraces ever more and more technology in the classroom bumping out the essentials of art, movement, and manual arts, we tread the path of a fully integrated artistic and physical education rich with opportunities for all students.

As the educational process becomes more and more programmed and mechanical, we leave the teachers free and responsible to connect each handcrafted lesson to each individual student.

This education philosophy was in the beginning, and continues to be every day, revolutionary. It is truly an education for the future. It is not old and it never will be. Each day teachers across the globe recreate it and make it new.

The impulse for this comes not from following a curriculum, but from doing the hard work of continually growing and developing ourselves inwardly, socially and in our work.

It is not an idea. It is a path of learning to think with our hearts. It makes perfect sense and yet it is illogical. It works beautifully and yet it is impractical. It is disconnected from much of the educational world and yet deeply connected to the future of humanity. It is simple and profound each day and yet it is complex and difficult. It asks us each day to go further in our imagination, our courage and our sense of responsibility.

May we all be renewed this Michaelmas as we work, as we practice, as we stand in the world for what is good. This is the call of the spirit of Michael. And this is worth celebrating.

Keep in touch,

Michael Soule


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March 2014 Collaboration

April 2014 Sustainability

May 2014 School as Living Entity

June/July 2014 Making Consensus Work

August 2014 The Art of Planning Meetings

September/October 2014   Healthy Conversation, Communication and Agreements

November/December 2014 Keys to Healthy Mentoring Programs 

January/February 2015 The Art of Being a Mentor

March/April 2015 Exploring Accountability

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IN FOCUS: Newsletter: Renewing Governance

Check out our other newsletters on Collaboration, Mentoring, Communications, (and 10 others) along with over 200 articles focusing on Leadership, Collaboration and Waldorf School Administration in our resources section.

  • Renewing Governance
    Renewing Governance

    Renewing Governance More and more organizations are seeking to find new governance structures and practices that support a balance between individual creativity and organizational harmony and effectiveness. This was the case 100 years ago when the first Waldorf School was founded. In the past 100 years, we have had the benefit of a great deal of work and insight into the nature, function and development of organizations. Rudolf Steiner offered some keen insights into social development that are still relevant and useful today. In addition, Bernard Lievegoed, the dynamic student of Steiner's, head of the Anthroposophical movement in Netherlands and inspired thinker, trainer, and author worked with this question his whole life and was part of the new world wide Read more →

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  • Understanding Governance by Michael Soule
    Understanding Governance by Michael Soule

    Understanding Governance by Michael Soule   Every organization struggles with the question of how to establish and maintain good governance. Even the definition of  governance can be a challenge. Just like the descriptors  “environmental” or “sustainable” can mean different things, so too can the term “governance”. Nevertheless, we as leaders must constantly strive to understand and improve the governance in our organizations. Here are five essential tools to help leaders understand, nurture, and transform their organization’s governance.   Know the difference between governance and management. When you begin to sort out your governance structure, this will help you be clear and avoid too much overlap between different groups. Management, in a nutshell, has to do with operations, and governance has Read more →

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  • Governance Models, An Essay by Nathan Garber with Reflections by Michael Soule
    Governance Models, An Essay by Nathan Garber with Reflections by Michael Soule

    Reflections on Nathan Garber’s Article on Governance Models The article below by Nathan Garber is a good review and summary of the basic typical models of governance in organizations and the role that boards play in the different models. In Waldorf schools, there are many variations of governance models with most following a variation on the cooperative board model. All of the models below depend upon clearly articulated lines of authority and strong leadership. In the Cooperative model, like in most Waldorf schools the leadership is more dispersed throughout the organization. The keys to success in a dispersed leadership organization is the strength of the designated leadership Council (often the College in the Waldorf school) that acts similarly to the Read more →

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  • Self Administration and Governance in Waldorf Schools, Chris Schaefer
    Self Administration and Governance in Waldorf Schools, Chris Schaefer

    III   Self-Administration and Governance in Waldorf Schools   Seek the real practical life but seek it in a way that does not blind you to the spirit working in it. Seek the spirit but do not seek it out of spiritual egoism, from spiritual greed, but look for it because you want to apply it unselfishly in practical life, in the material world. Make use of the ancient principle: Spirit is never without matter, matter never without spirit. – Rudolf Steiner     On April 23, 1919, Emil Molt, the owner of the Waldorf Astoria Cigarette Factory in Stuttgart, Germany, asked Rudolf Steiner to take on the planning and leadership of a school. Steiner agreed, and on September 15, Read more →

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  • Personal Reflections on Waldorf School Governance and Effective Practices, Lynn Kern
    Personal Reflections on Waldorf School Governance and Effective Practices, Lynn Kern

        Personal Reflections on Governance: The Eleven Keys to Success Lynn Kern   The research into School Governance is one of the most widely anticipated topics in the long history of the Effective Practices research project. Schools have been struggling with the questions of how best to organize themselves and manage their affairs so that the young human beings in their care can receive the best possible Waldorf education. “Just give us the organization structure, the policies and the practices of the successful schools so we can put them into place. We want to get on with the real work of educating children,” has been the unspoken plea of many a leader in our school communities. And yet, having Read more →

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  • Identity and Governance, An essay by Jon McAlice
    Identity and Governance, An essay by Jon McAlice

    It is a rare school that does not struggle with questions of governance at some point in its life. Today, many schools find themselves in the midst of such struggles. To some extent, these struggles revolve around questions of authority, questions that at their worst spiral downward into struggles for power, or they reflect a loyalty to forms that have been handed down as appropriate for Waldorf Schools. In some cases, we recognize in these forms the inability to create and sustain viable structure out of a sense of the whole. At the center of all of them lies the question of the identity of Waldorf Education. The question of identity has grown more pressing over the course of the Read more →

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  • More Governance Resources
    More Governance Resources

    More Governance Resources We mentioned above the importance of understanding the differences between management and governance. There are a number of good articles about these differences but this one seems to make it simple enough and useful enough to provide insights when we want to understand governance in a deeper way.   Another good article on Management and Governance by Dianna Bell outlines simply and clearly the difference between what she terms Watchdog (advisory), trustee and pilot (management) types of boards. In her helpful description she encourages boards to be self reflective and to find ways to assess what model of function is appropriate, given the organizations particular history and current dynamics.   There are a number of resources that Read more →

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