HIGH SCHOOL

Summerfield Waldorf High School’s aim is to cultivate a curriculum that inspires students to be active in their own learning - to ultimately understand how to educate themselves. Students conduct their own science experiments, write their own notes by hand, summarize lessons in their own course books at the end of each course block, present lessons to one another, and engage in group work and seminar-style conversations in every class they take. Each day is filled with content that demonstrates the connectivity of all life: the one in a musical composition in choir is elucidated in a eurythmy class while its lyrics are better understood after reading a poem in English, and its vibrational effects further explored through a physics experiment later in the year.

At Summerfield, students engage in a comprehensive study of a variety of disciplines, including science, math, humanities, foreign language, music, drama and the arts. While the four years of high school together form an integrated whole, the curriculum of each grade is tailored to address key stages in adolescent and post-adolescent development. The content of the courses offered each year focuses on giving students an increasingly in-depth understanding of the subject at hand and provides them a context to work with the awakening questions of the emerging self.

Summerfield is accredited by both AWSNA - the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America and WASC - the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. The courses offered meet the University of California's admissions requirements. Our students consistently rank highly on SAT scores for Sonoma County and attend the colleges and universities of their choice. High standards of academics, critical thinking and independent research serve to help students acquire the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in postsecondary education, and life beyond, at a variety of levels and fields.

High School Hours

Monday through Friday: 8am - 3:20pm

Our curriculum is a comprehensive whole so that after a four-year journey each student walks away with the ability to critically examine any topic set before them, with the skills to engage and participate in an individual or group project, to confidently understand his or her relationship to the Humanities, Math, Sciences, and Arts. They are asked to take on age-appropriate tasks within the classroom, in the community, and in their lives, allowing them to move into more freedom of responsibility as they are ready,with appropriate support and encouragement. Through these opportunities, they hone important social skills, learning and continually practicing how to work in teams, to prioritize tasks, meet deadlines, and to recognize what it takes to achieve their goals and accomplish the desired results.

Main Lessons

  • Tragedy and Comedy
  • Revolutions
  • Chemistry-Organic Compounds
  • History through Art
  • Counting Theory
  • American Literature
  • Biology-Comparative Anatomy
  • Physics-Thermodynamics and Electricity
  • Earth Science-Geology
  • Farming

Ongoing Courses

  • Mathematics: Algebra I
  • Humanities: Freshman Composition, Far East, Civics, Les Miserables
  • Language: Spanish I, II, III, IV and German I, II, and III
  • Art: Black and White Drawing, Clay Sculpture, Blacksmithing, Black and White Block Printing
  • Drama: Improvisation and Speech
  • Eurythmy: Major/Minor, Expansion/Contraction, Pitch
  • Music: Vocal or Instrumental
  • Gardening/Farming: Grafting/Pruning, Health/Nutrition, Herbal Studies, Farm Construction
  • Physical Education
  • Electives: (last quarter only) Drama, Creative Writing, Sports, Electronics, Cooking, Painting, Philosophy, Permaculture, Photography, - Yearbook, Honors History, Honors Spanish, Debate

Main Lessons

  • Earth Science-Geography
  • Biology-Embryology
  • Greek Play
  • Sacred Geometry
  • Conic Sections
  • Physics-Mechanics
  • Ancient Civilizations
  • History through Poetry
  • The Odyssey
  • Chemistry-Salts, Acids, and Bases

Ongoing Courses

  • Mathematics: Geometry I
  • Humanities: Research Paper, The Double, Medieval History, Civil War
  • Foreign Language: Spanish I, II, III, IV and German I, II, and III
  • Art: Watercolor Painting, Weaving, Color Drawing, Woodwork-Dovetail, Pottery, Color Block Printing
  • Eurythmy: Thinking-Feeling-Willing, Styles of Poetry:epic, dramatic, lyric
  • Music: Vocal and Instrumental
  • Physical Education
  • Electives: Drama, Creative Writing, Sports, Electronics, Cooking, Painting, Philosophy, Permaculture, Photography, Yearbook, Honors History, Honors Spanish, Debate

Main Lessons

  • Parzival
  • Projective Geometry
  • Sustainable Agriculture
  • Physics-Electricity and Magnetism
  • Earth Science-Astronomy
  • History through Music
  • Chemistry-Atomic Structure
  • Biology-Botany
  • Shakespeare
  • Economics

Ongoing Courses

  • Mathematics: Algebra II, Advanced Algebra II, Pre-Calculus
  • Humanities: Creative Writing and College Essay, Comparative Religions, U.S. Expansion, Romanticism
  • Foreign Language: Spanish I, II, III, IV and German l,ll, and III
  • Art: Acrylic Painting, Life Drawing, Jewelry, Book-Binding
  • Eurythmy: Choreographic Principles and Musical Elements
  • Music: Vocal or Instrumental
  • Physical Education
  • Electives: Drama, Creative Writing, Sports, Electronics, Cooking, Painting, Philosophy, Permaculture, Photography, Yearbook, Honors History, Honors Spanish, Debate
  • Agriculture Main Lesson Block

Main Lessons

  • Calculus
  • Physics - Light
  • Senior Seminar
  • Biology - Evolution
  • Faust
  • Chemistry - Bio Chemistry
  • Africa
  • Transcendentalists
  • History through Architecture
  • Senior Thesis/Project
  • Senior Play

Ongoing Courses

  • Mathematics: Calculus or Topics in Contemporary Mathematics
  • Humanities: 12th Grade Project, College Essays, Contemporary Issues, Modern U.S. History, Russian Literature
  • Language: Spanish I, II, III, IV and German I, II, and III
  • Art: Self-Portraits in Clay, Self-Portraits in Oil Painting
  • Eurythmy: Solo and Small Ensemble, Choreography
  • Music: Vocal or Instrumental
  • Physical Education
  • Electives: Drama, Creative Writing, Sports, Electronics, Cooking, Painting, Philosophy, Permaculture, Photography, Yearbook, Honors History, Honors Spanish, Debate

High School Music Program

High School music at Summerfield takes on a slightly different character beginning in the 9th grade in that, although students are encouraged to continue their lower school instruments, they are not required to do so. In addition to the high school orchestra we offer a high level recorder ensemble, an American Music class, International Music and an advanced choir. Our hope is that music in the high school has a formal life as well as a spontaneous life, as students frequently break out their instruments during morning break and lunch and enjoy playing together. We want to keep inspiring the students to play, to attain proficiency, and to continue to expand their taste in music as they mature as we to support, challenge and encourage our talented and music-career-bound students, as well as provide an environment that helps every student foster a life-long love for the art of singing or playing an instrument.

Orchestra - The High School Orchestra is composed of a mixed and eclectic variety of traditional instruments. The group performs a mix of classical, contemporary, and jazz works.

Choir - Students are introduced to a wide range of vocal music literature, including classical, folk, opera, spirituals, jazz, and contemporary works. Original languages have included Latin, Italian, Spanish, German, French, Russian, Bulgarian and Zulu, among others.

American Folk Music - In this class, students explore the American folk music tradition and follow its progression through the 19th and 20th centuries. We focus on the music of various historical time periods, such as: the Antebellum South, Civil War, Westward Expansion, Industrialization of modern America, the Progressive Era in which blues and jazz were birthed, Depression Era and the '60s Folk revival. Some of the musical personalities whose music we will learn are: Stephen Foster, Robert Johnson, Louis Armstrong, Louis Jordan, Billie Holiday, Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan. All instruments, voices and levels are accepted.

Recorder Ensemble - This class provides an opportunity to create beautiful music on a sensitive instrument. Students learn to play in a focused, analytical and, at the same time, expressive manner. The literature presented ranges from the Middle Ages to Baroque and Modern composers (like Arvo Part, Blaker or Maute). Students work on specific recorder techniques, such as how to create dynamics, articulation and improvisation.

Drama Curriculum 9th - 12th

Performing Arts (Drama) is a required series of courses at Summerfield Waldorf High School. All students in the ninth through twelfth grades prepare and perform plays, either for their classes alone (e.g. the ninth grade Tragedy and Comedy main lesson), or for the entire school community, as exemplified by the 12th grade play that is traditionally performed for the public at the end of school year. In Summerfield’s high school, dramatic productions are considered an important component of the academic program because their success requires both focus and intense personal commitment. Students are called upon to put forward their best efforts as they collaborate with their fellows in many ways: rehearsing, creating costumes, designing and building sets, acquiring props, and managing the myriad aspects of staging. Inevitably, the work the students undertake in the performing arts area of the curriculum helps to build the feeling of community within a class through the highly interactive tasks of theater production.

9th grade - Tragedy and Comedy - Main Lesson Block, Improvisation and Speech afternoon track class.

10th grade - Greek Tragedy - Main Lesson Block

11th grade - Shakespeare: Hamlet Scenes and Soliloquies - Main Lesson Block

12th grade - Senior Class Play - Main Lesson Block

Extracurricular - High School Musical

Extracurricular activities are a big part of the Summerfield experience. Students ninth through twelfth grade participate in our semi-annual high school musical tradition. Opportunities to assist with lighting, stage managing and direction, costuming, singing, and acting open up doorways for our students to discover hidden talents about themselves and engage with the school community in a whole new way.

High School Musicals 2004-Present

  • "The Pirates of Penzance", by Gilbert and Sullivan
  • "The Mikado", by Gilbert and Sullivan
  • "Annie Get Your Gun!" by Irving Berlin
  • "The Most Happy Fella" by Frank Loesser
  • "My Fair Lady" by Lerner and Loewe
  • "Into the Woods" by Steven Sondheim
  • "She Loves Me" by Harnick and Bock
  • "Trial by Jury" by Gilbert and Sullivan

Visuals & Practical Arts

The Arts Curriculum at Summerfield Alongside academics, both practical and fine arts are a fundamental piece of the Waldorf curriculum. There is always an eye towards stimulating the Will of the student to produce a beautiful, well-made piece of work, presenting goals that the student must strongly reach for to achieve. Some might assume from this that Waldorf schools graduates would largely become “artists” or “musicians”, which is not the case. The arts curriculum actually serves to illuminate the academic subjects in a way that enhances and brings more relevance to their truth and lawfulness. The artistic capabilities developed in the students build their confidence, aid them in all their life endeavors, and provide them with a connection to beauty and craftsmanship.

Ninth Grade

Printing - Linoleum, Black & White

This class can be understood as an introduction to any printmaking process. It is an exploration of polarities (see 9th grade curriculum), learning to objectify and plan. The student learns to develop a design idea, including sketching and drawing out of imagination and perception, leading into generating an image and a composition, including the three basic types of imprint: the positive, the negative, and the line.

Black-and-White Drawing

The focus is on tonality, exploring the phenomena of light and shadow. The students divide into small groups, observing an illuminated still life of geometric shapes. They are exploring various techniques of shading, using charcoal and solid graphite. This is then followed by the copying of a masterpiece from the 17th century, depicting either the Melancholia or St. Jerome by Albrecht Durer. Working with the expressiveness of black and white, the students are discovering the inner nature of light in the meditative female figure, as well as the outer light which illuminates the object. Finally, an exploration of the Seurat Technique eradicates the lines completely.

Blacksmithing

This course introduces the processes and techniques of hot working iron by using a coal-fired forge. Students learn how to maintain the forge fire at an even and constant temperature, in order to be able to transform an ordinary round steel rod into a well designed and balanced fire tool by using controlled strength and technique. This class meets the developmental needs for balance between the polarities of the Ninth Grader in a direct and uncompromising way.

Pottery

This course is an introduction into hand-building pottery by the coil method. Students are required to build a large (26" tall) vase that has an even wall thickness throughout, is symmetrical and well balanced, and is free of any marks other than those intended by the maker. This class addresses the Ninth Graders' swing between inner polarities through their work with an endlessly yielding material, which requires the development of a new sensibility.

Tenth Grade:

Color Drawing

This class introduces the color wheel, using the three primary colors, creating twelve tones in pastel. In addition, using black and white, each color is transformed into pastel or to the color black. This exercise is followed by a drawing from still life in which each student has to create two different sketches, one in warm and one in cold tones. After that exercise, each student chooses an image from a given selection of three interpretations: one a newspaper collage, one a white drawing on black paper, and one reintroducing the three primary colors, plus black and white. These exercises are preparing the students to actually "see" the colors and their tonality. The final piece is a Greek head from a selection, related to the Odysseus block, using the above-described colors on black paper.

Printing - Linoleum, multi-color

This class can be understood as an introduction to printing or as an advanced-level class, continued from Ninth Grade printing. The student learns the development of concept, generating an image within three different layers, exploring color, texture design and composition. It offers the opportunity to study problem-solving on different levels. Part of the process is to carve out three different blocks with a minimum of one color per block, in a way that the three blocks printed together evolve into one complete and clean image.

Watercolor Painting

This class is an introduction to veil painting or a deepening for the student who has had prior experience in this technique. The student has the opportunity to develop the will and a strong sense for problem-solving (see printing). We are using watercolor, layering transparent surfaces of color on paper. We are basing this class on Geothe's Color Theory, working into the objective laws of the three "luster colors" and demonstrating a way of seeing our work "out of color". Because we need to wait for every layer to dry before we can continue, we add different "wet on wet" exercises which are complement the out-of-color experience.

Pottery (wheel-work)

This course is an introduction to the use of the potter's wheel. Students will learn how to prepare the clay and throw it (perform a specific series of actions on the centered clay).

Weaving

Objectives are to design and weave fabrics that are both beautiful and functional, to explore weaving with patterns and color, and to understand the basic technology of the loom. Each student designs and weaves a scarf on the floor loom and creates a tablet-woven band to be used as a belt, guitar strap or other. Through their study of ancient civilizations (where many of the cultures have a rich and enduring tradition of weaving) and their understanding of mathematical progressions, the students' abilities and connection to weaving are enhanced. They learn that the creative design process is as important as the end result and that craftsmanship requires effort and careful attention to detail.

Eleventh Grade:

Acrylic Painting

This class focuses on the introduction of acrylics as a new medium with its very own different qualities as compared to watercolor painting. We are still working out of color but now include the basic elements of patterns, texture, and shading within painting themes such as "masterpieces", landscapes, and still life.

Life Drawing

This class studies the proportions of the human being as developing from birth to adulthood. A quick sketching is done in pastel or charcoal on brown or black paper, capturing, in a short time, a pose or movement. We work on easels with large boards, often outdoors, with each student in the class developing his or her own stroke, highlighted by the use of various colors. As the skill progresses, the grey wash technique is introduced. A quick sketching of young children on the playground in constant movement will train the students in their powers of observation.

Bookbinding

Here we introduce the printing of paper, using either the wheat paste or marbling technique. For their first project, a clipboard, students use their own papers, exploring the grain line, precision in cutting, measurement, and the handling of bookbinding glue and special cardboard. A simple Japanese booklet is next, allowing the students to use bookbinding linen and their corners, as well as hinges. A far more complex project is a portfolio with various flaps, spine and clasp. The students are also introduced to the history of paper printing and bookbinding and are trained in their fine motor skills, as well as 3-dimensional thinking.

Jewelry-making

This course is an introduction to the manual fabrication of jewelry using sheet and wire. Students learn how to design, cut, decorate, form, and hard solder a number of projects of their own choosing. With a new sense of self and an increasing interest in the world around them, the technical and detailed work of jewelry is very appealing and satisfying, and the quality of that what they can make in class is such that they recognize themselves as becoming part of the adult world.

Twelfth Grade:

Self Portrait

This class is introduced to the proportions of the human face, its light and shadow and its tonality. We use simple sketching techniques while portraying one's own face frontal, sideways, and distorted, while looking up or downwards. We work on easels, with each student looking into a mirror placed on a drawing board, to explore bone structure and tonality. Lastly, we are introduced to oil painting in its versatility, luster and vibrance. On the final canvas, a quick sketching helps with placement and proportion, and the journey of "Who am I?" and "How do I see myself?" in oil painting begins. This is the final painting experience of a senior in a Waldorf school.

Sports at Summerfield - Go Mustangs!

Sports are alive and well at Summerfield Waldorf High School. Our high school is a member of the California Interscholastic Federation, which partners our school with other independent and public schools in the Bay Area to form the Small School Bridge League. Students who remain in good academic standing are eligible to participate in any sport, regardless of experience or ability.

The high school currently fields the following team sports: Varsity Soccer (fall), Varsity Basketball (winter), Tennis and Track & Field (spring). *If you are considering transferring into our high school program for your 10th, 11th or 12th grade years and interested in playing sports please contact our Athletics Director to further discuss eligibility. Email Mike Carroll at athletics(at)summerfieldwaldorf.org

Open Week

"In my freshman year, I was new and, admittedly, intimidated by the prospect of a change. What undoubtedly helped make the change smoother was an annual high school event called, "Open Week". - SWSF Graduate

Open Week was established to help the four classes mingle and to help build bonds between the students and their new teachers. Open Week opportunities for the 2010-11 school year ranged from kayaking in Tomales Bay among the seals, otters and sharks; backpacking for 60 miles culminating in a summit of Mt. Whitney; a Zen Meditation retreat in the Trinity Alps; sailing in San Francisco Bay; a drama/poetry week-long intensive in Sonoma County; working on Jughandle farm in Mendocino County; and horse camping in Pt. Reyes. Not only do students gain new perspective and friends on these Open Week trips, but they are also given the great opportunity to explore the wonders of the world around them.

Mentors in the High School

Every Summerfield High School Student has a faculty mentor to help guide the them through the high school years. The mentor checks in with their students at the end of each school day and is available for questions regarding courses, schedules, extracurricular activities, school agreements, and social and personal issues. When the nature of the question exceeds the faculty member's scope, the student is referred to the school's guidance counselor. Every month there is a mentor meeting in which each mentor meets with all the students that he or she currently mentors, in a group setting. Discussions of issues such as studentship, plagiarism, and progress through the grades arise in this forum. Mentor groups are also responsible for working together to care for the classrooms and campus at the end of the day, including recycling. A mentor is intended to be an 'elder' for the student, a person to be there for him/her when needed.