Saltwater Tides: November 2015
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I go with my bright little lantern
My lantern is going with me
In heaven the stars are shining
On earth shines my lantern for me
My lights shines bright
Through darkest night
La bimba La bimba La bim 

               
 -Verse: traditional
 -Image: Ilona Bock
IN THIS ISSUE: 
- REBECCA: Update on the school's evaluation (spoiler: we aced it)
- LUCIA: Why marketing (or rather, lack thereof) matters
-JULIE: How our school got started 
-JEN: A window to what the Class 6-7 has been up to lately
-ALISON: All about Martinmas, our upcoming festival 
-COMMITTEES: We need you! 
-MYSTERY FACULTY QUIZ results!
QUICK REMINDER:

Everyone is invited to attend a special screening of the film 'A Time to Play' by Saltspring Island ECE and filmmaker Kim Hunter. October 29th at 7pm at Creekside Commons; there will be snacks and discussion after the film. For more information please see one of the ECE teachers! The event is free but donations are always welcome.
Greetings Saltwater Families,

This month has certainly been a busy one in the offices of the Cedar Schoolhouse and Hemlock Schoolhouse as we experienced our second External Evaluation.  This is a pretty big deal for Independent Schools in BC. 
 
Schools are evaluated every two years to ensure that funded Independent schools meet Ministry requirements in structure, governance, curriculum and health and safety.  All of us at Saltwater worked very hard to get all of our 'ducks in a row' for the visit.  Julie, with help from Marussia, organized all policies, handbooks, student and teacher files, maps, reports, and many other aspects of Administration, all of the teachers rigorously prepared lesson plans and assessments for the entire year and attached Ministry expected learning outcomes to show how and when we intend to meet the criteria set out by the Ministry, and Julie and I mindfully prepared snacks and beverages for our reps the days they were here. 

It was a lot of work that began in the summer, all hands were on deck, and in the end the two representatives said that this might have been the easiest evaluation they had ever done.  They were very impressed and full of kind words.  
Julie and I were the lucky ones who got to sit in the office and speak with the representatives for most of the visit.  They were very supportive of what we do here.  One of the reps, Arnold Grimm is the Pedagogical Administrator at Whistler Waldorf School and fully understands our vision to bring Waldorf to the Comox Valley.  Both reps were excited to see the path our school is taking and were very supportive with their advice.  All in all the experience was a good one, we feel validated, supported and proud.

Next up, Julie and I get to go to the Regional AWSNA Conference November 5th and 6th.  This is a place where we will learn how Waldorf schools can unite in their approach to unfolding new curriculum in 2016.  I am really excited about this work, the new BC curriculum is really compelling.  I have also been invited to be part of a discussion regarding new curriculum with two esteemed Pedagogical Administrators from BC Waldorf schools.  I am hoping to bring my thoughts to this discussion and learn from a couple of pros how to document the wonderful things we do in a Waldorf school in a way that can translate into what the Ministry needs to see.  
 
Exciting times!  And this just in time for Martinmas, a time for Service.
Happy days,
 
Your Pedagogical Coordinator,
Rebecca
QUICK REMINDER:
our AGM is this evening! Please attend if you can. 7:00 at Creekside Commons. 
QUICK REMINDER:
There is a parent meeting on Thursday, October 29th, at 2pm at the Playhouse Cafe! 
MARTINMAS AND THE LANTERN FESTIVAL
We will celebrate Martinmas in the first week of November.  ECE  classes will meet in the Cedar Schoolhouse yard at 4:30 on November 4th to walk and sing. Other classes will receive info from your teachers. 
Here is Alison with more information on why we celebrate this festival


Days grow shorter, nights grow longer, autumn winds are growing stronger. . .

As we enter the first week of November we begin to notice differences in the sun’s light, it seems softer and only peeks out at us where it once poured down rays of gold.  We know that soon it will be darker earlier and that we will turn to smaller lights to warm us and bring us their glow.  This is the time for candles and stars.

At this time of the year, many Waldorf schools celebrate the compassionate gesture of St. Martin who upon seeing a poor man shivering in the cold, immediately rode up to the man, took off his wool lined cloak and tore it in two with his sword. He then wrapped half around the poor man. We remember too, his dream that night In which he met a man in divine light and recognized the spark of radiant light that we each have within.

One tradition that is often held at this time is the making of lanterns to be carried out into the night. As we walk with our lanterns, protecting the little flame within from the wind, rain, and darkness that will come we think of our own flame and value the warmth and light it brings to us, yet we gather together in a ribbon of lights, so that we can bring warmth and hope to others.

This year, Saltwater Waldorf School will have a coat-drive. We will be gathering coats, hoodies, hats, mittens and other cozy items in order to bring warmth to those in our community.  

In this time of turning inward may you find your light shining brightly and remember that even the tiniest flame can dispel the darkness!
A WINDOW INTO CLASS 6-7: SHARING FROM MS IRWIN 
Class 6-7 spent the first block of the year studying Geometry.  After years of freehand form drawing, it was an important moment when each student received their math compass and protractor. The students spent three weeks working with the compass to learn basic constructions, and then to put these skills to use in creating geometric works of art. The students developed skills with the compass and were able to follow detailed instructions in order to come up with intricate constructions such as the dodecagon (12-sided figure). In the previous grade they learned how to estimate the angle of a circle, and now they could work with a protractor to calculate angles.
 
 At the beginning of October we had Jan Neuspeil, a father in our class and a mountain guide, work with the class to put their skills to practical use. The students practiced their map reading skills, learned how to apply what they know about degrees of an angle to navigating with a compass, and we then went out into the field to do some practicing. This was the very first step in developing these orienteering skills, and the class looks forward to learning more with Ms Nagle in Movement class in the spring.

Grade 6-7 brings a new stage of developing self-awareness, responsibility and accountability. Each main lesson block culminates with a block review test, a student self-assessment, and a block assessment from the teacher. It is a year of steadily developing the above mentioned skills that lead to the ability to be well organized and able to manage one's own workload. The Middle School years begin to pave the way for a successful transition into High School, where a certain level of independence is expected from each student. It is wonderful to see how these Grade 6-7 students are now ready to be called to develop these new skills and strengths.  
MARKETING-FREE ENVIRONMENT: WHY IS IT SUCH A BIG DEAL?
Marketing- free environment: why is it such a big deal?
 
As members of a Waldorf community, we have all heard it is important to keep marketing, logos and cartoon characters outside the school doors. I have heard many comments expressing how hard this is, as virtually every clothing, snack or school related item features some kind of movie or company logo on it.
 
Why is it so hard to find plain, basic children's items? Companies have found out that the way into the parent's wallets is through their children's interests. In this day and age, corporations have made a switch from producing and marketing products to creating "brand loyalty".  Whereas before a movie character was only seen in the film, they might now also appear on shirts, toys, food items, band aids, diapers...you name it!
 
As a school, we would like to offer our children the chance to experience a time away from distractions, a chance to express themselves for who they are without the influence of company- conceived "children items". Someone said to me once "my child is not a bulletin board!" and the message really hit home for me.
 
I have also experienced first hand how children can become so narrowly focused on "being" a certain character after seeing their image on a backpack that free, creative play falls by the wayside and fights begin over who is "x" and who is "y". This triggers a certain kind of play that is not created from an inner place by the child, which is very constrictive and shallow in nature and many times, is not constructive.
 
When possible, please consider keeping food packages at home, provide character and logo free clothing and school supplies.  
For more information on marketing and children, visit 
WHO'S WHO: FACULTY MYSTERY QUIZ ANSWERS
Last month we posted these mystery questions about our faculty members - a fun way to get to know our teachers. How well do you know them? Let's see! 

 
1. This faculty member is fluent in American Sign Language, and hates to cook. 
2. This faculty member's most embarrassing moment involved a splintery teeter totter and an unfortunate bottom.
3. Two of our faculty members dream of vacationing in Africa to meet and work with textile artists and artisans.  
Answers: 
1. Rebecca Watkin
2. Marussia Nesling
3. Michelle Nagle & Sara Mullin 

SEE THE END OF THE NEWSLETTER TO SEE THIS MONTH'S MYSTERY FACULTY QUIZ!
SALTWATER HISTORY: JULIE WITH SOME BACKSTORY 
Hello Saltwater families. Many of you are familiar with the Administration team who work at our school. What you might not know is how our team of Administrators began their journey at the Saltwater Waldorf School back when we were just called "The Saltwater School" or "that Montessori school in Courtenay".

The administration of the Saltwater Waldorf School began as a very small group of individuals including Rebecca Watkin (who was also teaching full-time and school Principal to boot) as well as 5 volunteers who included Marcie Jamieson, Arlene Trustham, Michelle Nagle, Michael Vincent and Julie Mills. There was one desk at the front entrance of the Cedar building and every day one volunteer worked to assist Rebecca for two hours in the morning. At that time we were all working to set up  school branding and letterhead, our computer system, data collection with the Ministry of the Education, our external hard drive software, enrolment policies, communication with new families and an endless to do list. We were managing all of this on a donated computer (thank you to the donors!!) and a desk from the Restore. Oh and we bought some office supplies from The Dollar Store when we had petty cash.

Needless to say, each year we have grown and thank goodness for that. Our second year we hired a part-time Office Administrator - some of you might remember the lovely and very tall Quinn. Quinn worked twenty hours per week to assist what was then still a small but growing group of teachers.  Julie Mills also volunteered part-time as Administration chair. Arlene Trustham continued as School Board chairperson. The next year Julie was hired on as a full-time Administrator. Now the Administration team was Rebecca Watkin our School Principal, Julie Mills and Arlene Trustham who remained the School Board Chairperson.

The last two years have seen the biggest growth in terms of Administration. Administration is at the heart of a Waldorf School and involves many pieces. An effective Waldorf School will grow it's Administration with the growing enrolment of the school. Some of the more established Waldorf Schools also have a Development Chair, an Admissions/Enrolment Coordinator, maybe a Business Manager and a receptionist. We are moving in that direction! In the mean time our small but hard-working group handles everything from policy making, audit preparation, budget overview, benefits and compensation, human resources and many meetings mixed in there for good measure. Each week, the Operational Management Team consisting of Jennifer Irwin (representing the Faculty), Rebecca Watkin (Principal and Pedagogical Coordinator), Julie Mills (Administrator/Non-Pedagogical Coordinator) and Marussia Nesling (Part-Time Administrator/Marketing Chair/Parent Group Liaison) meets to discuss and give weekly updates.  Administration work is carried out in a variety of ways including our committees like Marketing,  Finance/Administration, the HR hiring committee and it's counterpart the HR Compensation committee, Building and Facilities, Health and Safety Review and Planning, the Festival Committee, Social Inclusion Committee and more. In addition to teaching, teachers are often involved in helping with the administration of their programs. 

Long story short, the Administration of a school is very wide and includes many aspects of the daily life of a Waldorf School. 

Thank you for taking the time to read this and if you want to learn more, please connect with the Parent Committee or come out to our Annual General Meeting October 27th!
YOU FEEL A BURNING DESIRE TO JOIN A COMMITTEE, RIGHT?
GREAT! HERE ARE SOME COMMITTEES THAT NEED YOU! 
HR Compensation Committee:
- Policy Making
- Assist with hiring and termination, compensation and benefits
- Help with job offers and interviewing and hiring
- Manage teacher salary grid and liaise with the finance/admin committee to update the budget

Marketing Committee:
- Work with PAC and other volunteers to advertise and organize fundraising like the Winter Faire, Spring Gala and Family Dance
- Work with teachers to advertise for events like speaker evenings
- Work with Admin to advertise enrollment in newspapers
- Work with Admin on branding, Newsletter and website/facebook
- Connect with the community in Tin Town and the wider Comox Valley

Administration/Finance Committee: 
- Oversight of operating and capital finances for school
- Ensures fiscal responsibility
- Develop and review financial policies
- Oversee TAP program
- Supports Administrator in enforcing financial policies
- Grant writing (Need Sub-committee)
- Creating and updating school policies and procedures, parent handbook
- Creating and updating safety protocols

Building and Facilities Committee:
- Responsible for school buildings and grounds liasing between the faculty, board and owners of leasesd properties
- Coordinate renovations of buildings and play spaces
- Manage volunteers to assist and work with both buildings
- Long term visioning for site of future school (ie farm, acreage etc)
- Project Management (ie signs for buildings)

Health and Safety Committee:
 - To enact the Ministry of Education Emergency Preparedness Manual

 
Fundraising Committee:
 - To be created (perhaps by you!)

Grant Writing Committee:
- We really need a grant writer.  If you are one or know of one and would like to help your school out, please let us know right away.

Saltwater Parent Council: (Not a committee of the Board but works closely with the school)
- Organizes the Winter Faire and other Fundraising events
- Meets regularly to support parents
- Decides how funds from special events are spent
- Holds community building events (ie beach days, picnics, potlucks, clothing swaps etc...)

Saltwater Parent Council Committees:

Winter Faire Committee:
- Helps to organize and run the Winter Faire
- Delegates work to areas that need it
- Supports Class Parents and other volunteers

Christmas Parade Committee:
November 22nd, 2pm Downtown Courtenay
- Easy way to promote our school and the Winter Faire
- Need people to organize us!


Fun Fridays Committee:
- Sells popcorn or fruit Popsicles on Fridays after school

Hot Lunch Committee:
- Organizes a hot lunch program to happen at the school once a month

Have an idea for a committee?  Please let us know! More info at the AGM, or contact Marussia in the school office. 
NOVEMBER'S MYSTERY FACULTY QUIZ: TAKE YOUR GUESSES!
1. This faculty member loves kale chips and would be a circus performer if she wasn't employed in eductaion.
2. This faculty member was once the the runner up in the Miss Teen Port Alice Pageant.
3. This faculty member's first car was a burgundy Volvo station wagon named Ovlov. 

Were they 
A. Michelle Nagle    b. Lucia Perez    c. Marussia Nesling 
Psst: SALTWATER SCHOOL IS ON THE WEB! CONNECT HERE: 
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