What does it mean to be part of a community?
My family joined the Kimberton Waldorf School community in 2008 when my oldest son began first grade with Sally Boyd as his class teacher. We knew we had found something special here that went beyond the amazing education our children were receiving. We became part of a group of parents representing a wide diversity of backgrounds and experiences but united in our desire to provide our children with the intentional, nurturing Waldorf education that Kimberton provides. As new first grade parents, we not only had Mrs. Boyd’s wisdom to guide us but the knowledge of parents with older children who had been down this path already. There was also the feeling that we were all in this together and that by supporting each other as parents we were also providing a better environment for our children. Simple gestures such as offers to drive others’ children to parties ensured that the class maintained strong social bonds regardless of their parents’ availability for a weekend event. Happy events, such as the birth of a child, or sad events, such as the passing of a relative, invariably resulted in a meal train being organized to support the family during a challenging period. This is how community works – when someone needs support, those that are able provide it.
We have all faced challenges over the last year and a half and KWS is no different. When the pandemic hit in the Spring of 2020 the teachers and administration showed incredible resilience in transitioning quickly to remote learning. In planning for the following 2020-2021 school year the school made the decision to commit to our community. Hard work and creativity allowed for in-person classes and to accommodate as many people as possible the school offered a hybrid model that allowed some to teach and learn remotely. This required a significant investment in technology at a time when our revenue was down due to decreased enrollment. At the same time, we had several families economically impacted by the pandemic in need of extra support. The KWS community responded with extra giving to the school enabling the purchase of needed equipment and the retention of our families. I believe the impact of these critical funds and the goodwill they engendered can be seen in the increased enrollment this year. Before the pandemic hit the school was on a planned trajectory of increased enrollment. This year gets us back on track for that growth. This is the power of community.
My oldest son graduated from KWS in 2020 and is away at college. I have another son that will graduate from KWS this year as well as a daughter in tenth grade and another son in fifth grade. So, you can see that I still have plenty of years left as a KWS parent and have a vested interest in ensuring that this school and its community thrive. Time has made me one of the “experienced” Kimberton parents which is just to say that I know the ins and outs of events and festivals and the rhythms of life at KWS. The Annual Fund appeal is one of those rhythms that can be easy to tune out and assume someone else is taking care of it. After all, the school has been around for nearly 80 years so one can imagine it will always be here regardless of our support. My work on the KWS Board of Trustees over the last seven years has taught me the importance of the Annual Fund in balancing the school’s budget. Like most independent schools, tuition does not fully cover the cost of educating a student and charitable giving such as the Annual Fund bridges that gap. Last year, nearly half of our students received some form of financial assistance. This level of support would not be possible without the Annual Fund. Your contribution goes directly to preserving this incredible community that we all care about. It requires everyone to do their part to make a contribution that is meaningful for them. Please lend your support by contributing to the Annual Fund. Show the strength of the KWS community.
Board Chair and KWS Parent