Haleakala Waldorf School will be starting a high school program next school year on the grounds of Hui No'eau Visual Arts Center in a "win-win" for both Maui institutions.
The independent school in Kula, which has been offering educational programs in the Waldorf philosophy from infancy to 8th grade, will be adding a 9th and 10th grade in the fall, said Jocelyn Romero, administrative chairwoman of the school, on Monday.
Per its lease with the Hui, the school will admit 25 students in the fall and add another 25 the next school year while adding an 11th grade, she explained. The year after that the plan is to add a 12th grade.
A presentation on the Waldorf high school curriculum and how it will be implemented at the new high school will be held at 1 p.m. Oct. 20 on the Kula campus.
The school, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, currently has a total enrollment of 260 students in a program that ends with the 8th grade, according to its website.
"Families have been asking for this high school for over 20 years," said Romero.
The "tipping point" for embarking on the high school was the hiring of Mikko and Antje Bojarksy, who are certified teachers with 45 years of high school experience between them and who are summer Waldorf teacher trainers at Rudolf Steiner College, a renowned Waldorf teacher institution, she said. Their hiring created the opportunity with a faculty of "very high quality" with experience in teaching the Waldorf high school curriculum, she said.
Romero said that they are currently assembling the staff for the new high school.
In looking for a location for the high school, officials inquired about the Hui in Makawao.
"We just thought it would be a fabulous place to have a school," said Romero. "It's beautiful and it's historic."
The Hui also was a perfect educational fit; Waldorf does a lot of teaching through the arts, she said. In addition to its classrooms, the new high school will be using the printmaking, jewelry, ceramic and painting studios.
"It's good for them financially as well," said Romero, adding that the mantra among nonprofit groups in these tough economic times has been collaboration.
Romero called the arrangement a "win-win for both."
Caroline Killhour, executive director of the Hui, echoed Romero.
"It's a really wonderful thing," she said. "It's kind of perfect."
The studios are mostly used at nights and on weekends. And the day youth programs are run during the summer break, Killhour said.
"We have a little extra revenue in our studios when they are not being used," she said.
The number of students will not cause traffic issues or tax the infrastructure of the Hui, which hosts those numbers of students during its summer programs, Killhour said.
The Hui and the school have signed a three-year lease, and terms were not disclosed. Romero added that Haleakala Waldorf does hope to build its own high school facility someday.
The tuition will be $14,500 annually, and financial aid is available. With only 25 slots, it will be a selective process, said Romero. The deadline for first round consideration of applicants is Feb. 16.
There is room, especially Upcountry, for another independent high school, she said.
"Each school has a niche. . . . People want alternatives. People say this to us all the time," said Romero.
She said that the new high school will offer a college prep curriculum but "that is not its sole intent."
The high school will help "grow students who can bring meaning to their lives in all aspects" including practical living on the Earth, Romero said. The means nurturing the person emotionally, physically and socially, she explained.
That's the Waldorf way.
"The integrated curriculum presents the right thing at the right time, moving the developing child to learn and grow in an atmosphere of respect for each child's uniqueness," the school explains on its website. "The children are taught in the context of their own stage of development with the understanding that subjects must be brought to them in different ways at different ages through an interdisciplinary approach."
At the 9th grade, the learning theme is "finding the balance between extremes," and in the 10th grade, "developing the tools of language, aesthetics and reason," the school website said.
Romero said that the high school plans to offer interscholastic athletics as well. The school currently has track, cross country and volleyball teams.
The goal for the high school is to "create a learning environment that builds a solid academic foundation, fosters student confidence and individual expression and enables social engagement and action," the news release said.
For more information about the high school, call Paula Berdal at 878-2511 or go to www.waldorfmaui.org.
* Lee Imada can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.