About Our School
Through an inspired, uniquely integrated Waldorf curriculum, we start by meeting the needs of the developing young child, then empower students through the grades and the high school years. From early on, our students thrive in a joyful and engaging atmosphere that fosters clear thinking, innovation, open-mindedness and compassion. Even starting at a very young age, children at our school are well prepared for each new step in their education and for every stage of their personal development.
In our PreK and Kindergarten classes children are encouraged to explore, imagine and create. They build social skills and personal confidence. Myriad capacities develop that become the firm foundation for future academic, social and personal success. Whether your child begins Rudolf Steiner School of Ann Arbor in the PreK, Kindergarten, third grade, seventh grade or high school, it will quickly become abundantly clear that a Waldorf Education is the right decision.
Our Mission Statement
- We recognize that children’s needs, interests, strengths and challenges evolve from their early childhood years through high school graduation. Our curriculum is consciously designed to best meet each developmental stage as children grow, providing the right experience at the appropriate time.
- We seek to work together in ways that increase the diversity of our school community and promote equity and inclusion for all community members regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, financial means, sexual orientation, sexual identity, gender, or disability status. This includes ensuring that we have a continually evolving curriculum that meets all our students.
- Relationships are what make our work possible – between students and teachers, among classmates, among faculty members, between all community members – and we consciously strive to foster and support healthy relationships in all areas of our community.
- Human beings are individuals with their own personal strengths, challenges, and interests. We seek to meet each community member with love and care, ensuring that there is flexibility and support in our classrooms, policies and practices, and community expectations.
- Children are best supported when there is partnership between home and school. We seek to provide parent support, education and engagement, and we ask that parents collaboratively work with teachers in the same way.
- Each community member is a whole human being: body, soul and spirit. Our faculty and staff members draw insight and inspiration from the work of Rudolf Steiner and Anthroposophy.
- Through our curriculum, policies, employment agreements, community expectations and services beyond the classroom we strive to fully engage all community members and create a culture of purposeful activity and joy.
- Through our community life we respect and support the inner development and growth of our community members, sharing the celebration of festivals, athletic competition, artistic work and study.
- Collaboration and shared responsibility are the foundations of our school governance and leadership model. We work with consensus within all governance groups. We are committed to a transparent and cooperative process for all significant decisions in the school.
A Pioneering Spirit
On September 4, 1980, Rudolf Steiner School of Ann Arbor (RSSAA) opened its doors to grades one through four. Those doors belonged to a small three-room building on Packard Road near historic Cobblestone Farm. Behind the school’s opening were decades of work in the community by many people, including Dr. Ernst Katz (Prof. Emeritus of Physics, University of Michigan) and Mrs. Ruth Nilsson, a parent and teacher who was instrumental in founding the school. By the third year, we had outgrown our space due to increased enrollment and a new kindergarten program. A leased building in York Township on ten acres of land allowed the school to add a new first grade each succeeding year, with the 1984-85 school year marking the first time that the Lower School had its full complement of kindergarten through grade 8 classes. Since most of our students came from Ann Arbor, the York Township location required us to bus in many of our students and the building did not meet the needs of a K-8 Waldorf program. We were fortunate to have the opportunity to purchase our current Newport Road campus in 1986 from Ann Arbor public schools.
Against All Odds – The Newport Years
After three moves in six years, we finally had a place to call home and room to grow. Steady and rapid growth in enrollment, as well as consistent improvements to the campus and building, continued to reflect the community’s response to the value of our educational program. The growth of the school has been supported by an active parent body that has worked closely with the faculty on tasks such as publicity, fundraising, and recruitment. Such involvement has been essential in helping the school to confront first, the challenges of its infancy, and now the new challenges brought by continued growth.
A Vision Realized
Rudolf Steiner High School (RSHS) opened in the fall of 1997 in a leased facility, the Genesis Building on Packard Road, completing the vision of the founding teachers and parents to have a full PreK–12 program. In October 2001, a six-acre property located on Pontiac Trail was purchased to be the permanent home for our growing high school. After extensive renovations to the building and site, the new campus opened for classes in the fall of 2002.
A Place to Call Home
The steady growth of our programs led to the need for expanded space on our Lower School campus. In the fall of 2016 we were proud to open our new middle school building, an airy, light-filled space dedicated to our growing adolescents.
The Future is Here
Our high school celebrated its 20th Anniversary in the 2017-18 school year and we find our school continuing to grow as it meets the needs of the next generation. Supporting our amazing academic programs and offering a home to our championship sports teams is a priority that we’re committed to. The addition of our Athletic & Performance Center and classroom expansion in 2018 solidifies that commitment.
We’ve come a long way and, through the support of our community, have built an amazing institution that continually offers a diverse, comprehensive and enlivened education. We invite you to join us in writing the next chapter of our school’s history.
It is not only poetry, mythology and movement that I have had the privilege of cultivating inside myself. I have been blessed to enjoy the fruits of art, music, math, science and history as well. Each one of these subjects was presented with care and understanding. Knowing that all of the steps along the way are of equal importance, no less important than the final goal. Waldorf education is enlivening and evolving. It was here that I learned there is no end to learning. I revel in the small orchard I now have within myself and am excited for what new seeds may be planted in the future. Celeste Eustis, RSSAA Commencement Speech, 2003, Oberlin College
I think I'm a much more idealistic person having gone to Steiner and I'm not sure how they did that or how that ended up coming to be. I've seen that in a lot of my classmates too, they have a real idealistic sense, feel they can do anything and go anywhere. Kristen Schmitt, RSSAA Graduate, Brown University, Class of 2002
The strong arts education is very good for a mathematically and scientifically inclined child, because it teaches you to think in a different way. Because you are developing both parts of your brain, essentially, it helps with outside-of-the-box thinking. It has helped me make connections between things that most people usually don't. The diversity of the curriculum at Rudolf Steiner High School gave me the academic confidence to try new disciplines at University of Michigan, and to converse with people in many fields. Kamali Sripathi, RSSAA Graduate, Class of 2004 Honors Program, UM (Plant Biology)
The education has fostered a sense of beauty for the tangible world and an appreciation for the aesthetics of learning. Annie White RSSAA Graduate, Class of 2002, George Washington University, Class of 2005
The interconnected curriculum at Rudolf Steiner High School gave me the mindset to interpret complex data. I am also able to find the connections between seemingly very different subjects. I can go to my Structures class in the Architecture School, and then to my U.S. History class and see how it all relates. Alex Amrine, RSSAA Graduate, Class of 2005, Honors Program and UC/21 Scholar, University of Cincinnati
My time at the high school was very rich, and I felt that my classmates and teachers were my second family. The drive to learn from life and those around me, and to give back to those who matter most to me is something that was fostered at Steiner and has motivated my charity work as well as urged me to pursue a career in healthcare. Karin Roszell, RSSAA Graduate, Class of 2010
There is no doubt in my mind that a Waldorf education will teach you to think in a unique way, and this is a measurable advantage as you apply for college and when you enter into the workforce. Evan Schmitt, RSSAA Graduate, Class of 2001
My Steiner education made me a globally minded citizen, without me even being aware of it; the type of history we studied, the myths we learned, the languages... Erin Gold, RSSAA Graduate, Class of 2008
“I believe that Waldorf education possesses unique educational features that have considerable potential for improving all education in America. The time is ripe for the public schools to explore ways in which ideas in Waldorf education might be explored in their own setting.”
Eliot Eisner, Ph.D.
Professor of Education
“I am deeply grateful for Waldorf education, which woke me up and helped me rediscover my imagination.”
Author of The Neverending Story
“There were three major studies done recently that dealt with the disappearance of childhood in America. If there is any one thing that the Waldorf system does – it nurtures, protects and develops beautifully the intelligence of the true child.”
Joseph Chilton Pearce
Author of Magical Child and The Crack in the Cosmic Egg
“When approached by the news media and asked the question, ‘What did Waldorf education do for you?’ I replied, ‘It encouraged me to always strive to become a better human being.’”
Prime Minister of Norway