Media Contact: Robyn Coe c: 818.287.1237 email@example.com(Berkshires, MA) May 1, 2013—Great Barrington Waldorf High School (GBWHS) and Great Barrington Rudolf Steiner School (GBRSS) jointly announce that as of April 2013, the U.S. government has certified both schools to establish exchange and visiting student programs. The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security approved the schools’ application to issue forms I-20 to international students admitted in grades 1-12, so that they may apply for student visas to study at either school.
Tracy Fernbacher, Admissions Coordinator at the Great Barrington Rudolf Steiner School, who shepherded the schools through the certification process, commented, “This certification makes it possible to attract and enroll motivated students from other countries. This is the beginning of a valuable process of cultural exchange.” Stephen Sagarin, Great Barrington Waldorf High School Faculty Chair added, “We anticipate that this international certification will strengthen our relationships with Waldorf and Steiner schools in Germany and South America.” In the past, the Great Barrington Waldorf High School has hosted visitors from Munich, Germany, Lima, Peru and Cali, Colombia, but foreign students could only stay for 90 days on visitors’ visas, and could not officially enroll in school. With this certification, GBWHS and GBRSS can now enroll students from all parts of the globe as full-time students.
Great Barrington resident Lelia Bruun, coordinator for international student exchange programs such as PAX (Program for Academic Exchange) and USAI (USAImmersion, in programs with camps such as Hi-Rock, and Academic Year) which hosts students from Europe, Latin America and Asia, as well as primarily Muslim countries and the former Soviet bloc, commented on the impact of the schools’ new status as international student visa providers: “Any time there is an exchange, there is understanding; out of that comes compassion and a sense of commonality. While all Great Barrington Waldorf High School students have the opportunity to study internationally as part of their curriculum, with this new certification, the reverse is also true: the world can come to both GBWHS and GBRSS. Now every experience for these students will be bigger. When an international peer talks to them about sports or academics in their home country, it puts it in their perspective. All of a sudden, students in the Berkshires start to understand a world different from theirs. It’s like traveling the world without a passport.”
Authentic Learning in the Berkshires—Great Barrington Rudolf Steiner School and Great Barrington Waldorf High School are independent, coeducational day schools, part of the movement of more than 1,000 Waldorf schools worldwide based on the educational principles of Austrian educator, scientist and philosopher Rudolf Steiner. GBRSS, founded in 1971, educates students from preschool through 8th grade, and GBWHS, which grew out of the lower school in 2002, educates students grades 9 through 12. Both schools operate from the core understanding that engaging all aspects of the human being—intellectual, spiritual and physical—provides a truly well-rounded education.
Interviews and high resolution images are available. To schedule an interview with GBRSS Admissions Coordinator Tracy Fernbacher or GBWHS Faculty Chair Stephen Sagarin, please contact Robyn Coe at (818) 287-1237, or firstname.lastname@example.org