April 13, 2020
Dear RWS Community,
We hope your Spring Break brought some relief and hope for the future for your family, friends and our community. We know of no COVID-19 related health issues within our community, and we are thankful! During the break, the College and Faculty continued to meet, Administration staff continued their work, and the Board of Trustees met.
Review and reduction of expenses continues. Operational contracts have been renegotiated for cleaning, trash & recycle pick up, lawn care; HVAC has been cut off. Other expenses not occurring or reduced are cleaning and building operating supplies, including amounts to be spent for the annual Spring Workday, gas, office supplies, copiers.
Phase II of the Roof Replacement begins this week!
The funds for this important building need are "restricted", meaning they can be used only for this project by the end of this summer. Phase II includes the roof over the 1st, 2nd grade classrooms, music room, copier/mailroom and the gym.
The recent parent survey in the Messenger responses are being reviewed with a summary report to be published next week.
The overall comments are very positive, especially appreciation for faculty academic and specialty classes content and delivery. Are there things needing improvement? Yes! Administration and the College will work on these immediately. One question was, "Why does RWS continue curriculum delivery when the Waldorf methodology does not focus on technology?". RWS must meet the Virginia Department of Education and the Virginia Council for Private Education certain requirements even with Distance Learning. The accreditation process with AWSNA (Association of Waldorf Schools of North America) and SAIS ( Southern Association of Independent Schools) ensures compliance with the state requirements.
The Board of Trustees is meeting weekly and has put in place Task Forces to respond to the COVID-19 impacts. These efforts will be led by Kim Washburn and Nancy Cross. The Task Forces are:
- Finance Task Force - led by Polly Cordle, Finance Chair
- Review of current policies, vendor contracts, expense reductions, new legislation impacting Small Business. An application seeking the government/banking funding has been made.
- Preparing 2020-2021 Budget scenarios to ensure RWS will reopen in late August subject to Governor Northam’s orders.
- Enrollment/Marketing Task Force - led by Valerie Hogan, Enrollment & Marketing Coordinator
- Focus on returning student/s families.
- Continue to stay connected to new families who have enrolled and potential new families. Ideas are being generated for virtual ways to deliver RWS to these new and potential families.
- Communication Task Force - led by Nancy Cross, Interim Director Administration
- Internal and external focus that is timely, transparent.
- Review alternative ways to provide a community connection for updates and answering questions.
- Community Task Force - led by Lindsey Kirchmier and Derek Redwine, PA Co-Chairs
- Review delivery of RWS events, although cancelled, and how to provide students with a community experience (i.e. May Faire, Graduation, classroom trips)
- Review PA connection enhancements.
- Plan for summer connections with students
- Pedagogical Task Force - led by Dawn Pollard, College Chair and Nancy Cross
- Weekly updates as to distance learning schedules, family and student needs and connections, communication, successes, improvements, consistency in delivery and expectations
Each Task Force will meet and submit a report to the Board of Trustees weekly.
It is important to have focus on areas critical for our continued success in education, success for our 8th grade graduates as they transfer, success as a community and support being provided by the Board of Trustees, our employees and to each other as a community.
We miss our students and parent community. Success going forward depends on us all. We welcome your ideas and suggestions! Many of you have expressed your satisfaction with improvements of delivery for distance learning. The faculty continues to plan for ways to engage the students and parents in effective ways.
Interim Director of Administration