During the school year of 2001-2002, some parents, students, trustees, and teachers at the Great Barrington Rudolf Steiner School (GBRSS) began the process of creating a Steiner high school. Classes began in September 2002 with thirteen students in ninth grade, two teachers, and one half-time administrator, plus several adjunct teachers.
They occupied one classroom in the GBRSS building, and used the science labs and athletic facilities at Simon’s Rock College. That arrangement continued for a second year, incorporating a new tenth grade. A new entity, the Great Barrington Waldorf High School (GBWHS), was incorporated in December 2003.
In the spring of 2004, ninth and tenth grade students from both the German and Spanish language classes went abroad in the first participation in a visiting student program – the German students to Munich, attending the Munich Waldorf H.S.; and the Spanish students to Peru for 3 weeks, which included attending the Lima Waldorf School, working on a community service project for women and children, and trekking to Machu Piccu in the high Andes. Both trips were financed by intensive fundraising by students as well as grants from the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation and the German government. Since then the foreign student visiting program has flourished at GBWHS, with German students from Waldorf schools spending time with us, and continued biennial trips to Munich and Peru (or, this year, Colombia).
During the school’s second year, a successful search for a bigger space led GBWHS to the upper floor of the beautiful Gothic-Victorian building in Great Barrington owned by the Christian Science congregation. As the public elementary and middle schools moved out of town, GBWHS moved in, ensuring the continued presence of students in town. You may see them during lunch hour walking through town – they may even be having lunch in your restaurant!
The Great Barrington Waldorf High School added a class each year, and in June 2006 the first senior class graduated. The school now enrolls 35 students in four high school grades and graduates its fifth senior class in June 2011. The Core Faculty consists of 9 teachers, and they are supported by a dozen or more visiting teachers with a wide range of expertise in academics, arts, sports, and service.
The school celebrated its 10th anniversary in the spring of 2012!