The DMS Organization
As a school that finds its inspiration in Rudolf Steiner’s work, we strive not only to provide a curriculum that meets the needs of children in the classroom, but also to organize ourselves in such a way that meets the challenges of our times. Specifically, we are working to engender awareness and an experience of full individual participation and responsibility in the life of the school by employing a collaborative model. Collaborative does not mean that we are a parent co-operative (we are not) or that all staff members weigh in on every decision, either by vote or by consensus (they do not). It does mean that within the school organization there are many different individuals and groups with accountability for different realms of work; there is not one person in charge of everything, such as a Principal or Executive Director. As this approach differs from the top-down hierarchical structure commonly found in business and in many school settings, you may find our way of working takes some getting used to. Please ask questions and join us in our ongoing process. We continue to be guided and inspired by study of what Steiner called the Threefold Social Order, a way of looking at the different realms of any organization or society – cultural, economic and rights – with the goal of better understanding and meeting the unique needs of each. The following descriptions of each of Desert Marigold’s primary leadership bodies should give you a good idea of its realm of responsibility. If you have further questions, please get in touch with the appropriate person listed on the school contact sheet.
The Faculty and College of Teachers
All teachers meet regularly to share what is happening in the classroom, study together, develop their artistic and observational skills, and support one another, as well as the children they serve. The entire staff meets once a month – if not more frequently – for additional professional development and fellowship. The College of Teachers, a smaller group of experienced teachers and administrative staff members, meets weekly to carry out the pedagogical leadership of the school. It supports the entire school community by providing oversight and guidance related to all aspects of the educational environment, including curriculum, schedule, discipline, collegial relations, staff evaluation, and student achievement and well-being. Questions regarding this realm should be directed to the Chair of the College of Teachers and should come in writing through the school office.
The administration is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the school, including compliance with the Arizona Education Statutes, enrollment, ordering supplies, financial management, teacher support and facilities and maintenance. We seek to make the school office where community members can bring their questions or needs and receive clear and helpful guidance. Please see the employee contact list for a listing of administrative staff members and their areas of responsibility should you have any questions or input. If you are unsure where to turn, the primary contact for this realm is the Administrative Director.
The work of the realm of development is to encourage and build positive relationships among DMS and its many neighbors, including parents, alumni families, faculty, granting agencies, potential major donors, local corporations, and friends from the greater community. Specific activities include outreach, identification of partnership opportunities, and organization of fundraising activities such as Annual Giving and Capital Campaigns. The primary contact for this realm is the Development Director.
Board of Directors
Desert Marigold School is operated by the non-profit organization Valley of the Sun Waldorf Education Association, Inc. (VSWEA). The Board of Directors of VSWEA is responsible for deciding legal, financial and policy issues of the school. The Board consists of parents, staff and other community members, who serve 2-year terms. The bylaws of the VSWEA are available in the school office, as well as guidelines for joining the Board. Board meetings are held on a regular basis at the school and all community members are welcome to attend.
The Parent Council is Desert Marigold’s parent organization and meets monthly to support teachers and the school as a whole. Primary responsibilities include: coordinating class parents; supporting new families; coordinating volunteer efforts for school festivals and events; facilitating parent education; and fund raising, including the Silent Auction and the Winter Faire. The Parent Council also seeks to be a forum where parents can express their interests and support through their ideas and skills, where they can nurture their self-development, and where a supportive environment is provided to constructively communicate their concerns. The Bylaws and Procedures of the Parent Council are available for your reference in the office.
Keep in mind that the vitality of the Parent Council depends very much on there being a sufficient number of parents who are willing and able to contribute their energy and leadership to this very important work.
See the Parent Council page under the Parents menu for meeting minutes and more information.
The task of the Ombudsman Group is to provide a process of mediation and problem-solving aimed at the resolution of school-related disagreements and misunderstandings that can occur in any school community. Our hope is to provide a forum where disputes can be compassionately and practically addressed.
Members of the Ombudsman Group provide scheduled hours to meet with any community member who has been unable to resolve an issue with another community member through regular channels. CONFIDENTIALITY will be observed as required in all of the group’s work.
To inspire a respectful and supportive environment for the children and for ourselves, it is very important that we adults set a mature example in the ways we handle conflict, and particularly in how we express our frustration and impatience with things that upset us. We consider it a strict rule of Desert Marigold School that the children not be asked to witness or be directly involved in such adult matters, whenever possible.
If you are looking for a listening ear, please contact a member of the Ombudsman Group. We are available to meet by appointment only. This service is available to current staff and faculty of DMS as well as parents whose children are presently enrolled. If you have any questions about the Ombudsman Group, please contact one of its members or the school office.