305 Educators Attend National Conference






Widening the Circle: Culturally Relevant Practices featuring Dr. Linda Williams

The Alliance’s 2017 Annual National Conference will take place on MLKing Jr. weekend, January 13 – 15, at Rudolf Steiner College, Fair Oaks, CA.  Online registration begins on December 1. Full details will be posted on both the Alliance and Steiner College websites on November 1.


lindawilliams2This year’s Conference features keynote speaker Linda Williams, Ed.D., who served as a class teacher at the Detroit Waldorf School from 1987-1992, after which she taught grades 1-3 at the public Urban Waldorf School in Milwaukee.  Returning to Detroit, Dr. Williams became the Elementary Program Director of the Waldorf Institute of Southern Michigan, also teaching grades second through eight. She received her doctorate in Curriculum, Teaching and Education Policy from Michigan State University.  In 2006, Dr. Williams became professor of Teacher Education at Eastern Michigan University.  In 2015, she returned to the Detroit Waldorf School as the first grade class teacher.  We are excited that she will bring her rich experience in the classroom and with teacher training to our Conference on Culturally Relevant Practices in Public Waldorf education.


Other Highlights  |  Jack Petrash will return this year to offer a Pre-Conference Workshop on Friday afternoon.  |  Board President Liz Beaven will present the Friday Night keynote address introducing the new Core Principles of the Alliance for Public Waldorf Education.

Request for Permanent Pencil & Paper Testing in California Goes Forward

pencil and paper clip art

Alliance advocacy recently resulted in a “win” for our members with the California Department of Education.  In March, Membership Chair Betsy Thagard and Waldorf administrators Chris Topham and Nikki Lloyd traveled to Sacramento to ask state officials for a permanent paper and pencil option for state computerized tests for the lower grades of Waldorf charter schools.  CDE officials agreed with the Alliance that computerized testing for younger children conflicts with the mission of Waldorf charter schools and agreed to support our request for a permanent paper test option for grades 3-5.  Since this request must go before several other state government bodies, the Alliance is now working with Eric Premack of the Charter Schools Development Center to make that option a reality.  CDE’s support makes it much more likely that a permanent waiver will be made available to our California member schools.  Stay tuned for future developments!

Reported by Betsy Thagard, Board of Directors