What is Governance?
Governance is the process by which the Winterberry makes shared decisions, creates consensus, and supports the management of the school. It is our opportunity and responsibility as community members to assist in the development and growth of Winterberry towards our shared goals and vision. Some of the responsibilities of our governance process are required by law, and others have been incorporated to foster the Waldorf educational philosophy that inspires Winterberry.
How is governance different from management?
Management of Winterberry is the responsibility of the administrator. Management involves hiring, supervising, evaluating all staff, maintaining school and student records, participation in behavior issues, emergencies, and many other essential functions. Governance body responsibilities are discussed in more detail below.
How is Winterberry governed?
By law, all charter schools are required to have an Academic Policy Committee (APC). APC information from November 2007 can be found here and here. The Winterberry’s APC is known as the Winterberry Charter Council (WCC). APC’s are tasked with hiring the school administrator, ensuring fiscal responsibility, and adhering to the charter.
Winterberry adheres to a 3-Fold Governance Model for whole community decisions. The three bodies (folds) are the WCC, the Winterberry Parent Guild (WPG), and the Faculty Council (FC). The goal is for the bodies to reach a decision through consensus. You can find a description of the consensus model here.
To facilitate broad discussion and to maintain our legal responsibilities, 3-Fold decisions are discussed and voted on both by the FC and WPG before being discussed and voted on by the WCC. Community comments are welcomed at the WPG and WCC meetings, but are not normally presented at Faculty Council.
The three governance bodies that make up the Winterberry 3-Fold Governance Model are described in detail below.
Winterberry Faculty Council
All Winterberry teachers are members of the Faculty Council (FC). Members are not elected, but they participate in school governance as part of their duties. The FC’s serves as expert guides on pedagogy and Waldorf methodology in the school’s governance, rather than as community representatives. The FC meetings are part of faculty workloads and may involve confidential information, thus, the meetings are not generally open to the public. However, written testimony, suggestions, and other input can be submitted to any class teacher for discussion by the Faculty Council.
Collectively, the Faculty Council is responsible for pedagogical issues and decisions. This collaboration among the faculty on school governance allows the faculty to apply their expertise to school-wide issues and helps ensure that Winterberry’s decision-making process truly supports Waldorf inspired education. The Faculty Council leads the school festivals to ensure that these events meet their educational purposes. The school festivals include the Lantern Walk, assemblies, and Field Day. The schedules for these events can be found on the calendar.
Winterberry Charter Council (WCC)
The WCC is a representative body that currently has eleven elected members: seven are parents, two are teachers, one is a teacher or staff member, and one is a community member. All parents, faculty, and staff of Winterberry may vote on WCC membership. Elections occur every February.
The WCC is responsible for the governance of the school: making sure we are operating in accordance with our charter and are being fiscally responsible with our public funds. The WCC is also responsible for hiring an Administrator who manages the day-to-day operation of the school. The WCC operates on a consensus model.
The WCC meets on the 3rd Thursday of every month at 6:00 p.m. at Winterberry. Changes to the regular meeting schedule or the addition of any special sessions will be posted on the Google calendar at winterberrycharterschool.com. The agenda for each meeting is posted at the main entrance of the school 48 hours in advance of the meeting. See below for past agendas and minutes.
Everyone is welcome and encouraged to attend! There is time allotted at every regular meeting for Community Comments, so please feel free to come to any meeting.
Winterberry Parent Guild (WPG)
The WPG is a representative parent body made up of one member per class (9), a faculty member, and 6 officers. Each class also elects an alternate with full voting rights to fill in when the primary representative is not available. In addition, one elected parent member is appointed by the WPG as the WPG/WCC Liaison who is a voting member of both bodies.
The WPG is primarily focused on raising funds for the school and dispersing those funds equitably in support of enhancing Waldorf inspired education. The WPG is established as a 501c3 non-profit. Thus far, the most important, and most expensive, is to fund training for our teachers in Waldorf teaching methods; however, the WPG has also supported afterschool programs, teaching materials, and educational field trip expenses. In order to raise funds and to encourage community participation, the WPG organizes the Annual Giving Campaign, Harvest Dance, Enchanted Village, Winter Fair, Head-Heart-Hands Auction, and other fundraising and community building events.
Finally, it is the WPG who holds the lease with the owner of our new building, and thus, it is the landlord for Winterberry Charter School.
The WPG meetings are at 6:00 p.m. at the school on the first Thursday of every month and everyone in the school community is encouraged to attend as often as possible. Agendas are posted online and in the school foyer in advance of the meetings. To view past agendas and minutes, click on this Google drive link, WPG Minutes.
2017/2018 WPG Minutes
For a historical prospective and to gain deeper understanding of Steiner’s vision for a Threefold Social Order at the local government level please click here.