Overview of DiscussionNet Forums

The DiscussionNet forums are organized by school functional areas. Not all questions clearly fall into only one of these areas, so it is typical for people to sign up for more than one group. If you are not sure where a question belongs, use your best judgment; someone will answer.

The forums are also identified by the areas in the AWSNA Policies and Practices for Waldorf Schools, which are used as part of the accreditation process. We hope that this is a way for faculty, staff and board members to familiarize themselves with these policy areas and gain access to related information. We have listed the specific policy and practice areas within each functional area to help make the accreditation expectations more clear.

Admissions / Support for Students and Families
This forum includes all areas of student enrollment - from application through graduation or departure from a school, as well as some additional, non-academic student support areas. 

The accreditation documented policies and practices include:
a) Application and acceptance
b) Assessment, support, supervision
c) Graduation requirements, as applicable
d) Behavioral agreements and expectations, for students and families/adults, including communication protocol
e) Contracts, including refund policy
f) Tuition and tuition assistance, and as appropriate, financial accessibility
g) Family/adult commitments, including volunteerism and parent education
h) Record-keeping
i) Suspension, dismissal
j) Grievances, for students and families/adults
k) Conflict resolution, for students and families/adults

Development / Engaged Community
This forum includes the work of the development office and on creating a healthy, vibrant community.

The accreditation documented policies and practices include:
a) Friend and fundraising
b) Community events
c) Alumni/ae
d) Diversity statement

Educational Program
This forum focuses on consciously creating a clearly described educational program for your school. 

The accreditation documented policies and practices include:
a) Annual programming schedule
b) Curriculum
c) Methodology
d) Assessment methods
e) Supplementary programs 
These forums are specifically dedicated to teacher networking and the sharing of ideas:
Early Childhood
Grades 1-5
Grades 6-8
High School

Finances / Resources
This forum focuses on financial and material resources needed to support a school. 

The accreditation documented policies and practices include:
a) Financial, facilities, and material management
b) Budgeting, including three- to five-year planning
c) Annual audit reviews

Governance / Decision Making
This forum focuses on governance, leadership, management and decision making. 

The accreditation documented policies and practices include:
a) Governance structure, including major areas of responsibility, authority, and accountability
b) Strategic planning
c) Crisis and risk management
d) Conflict of interest 

Health and Safety
This forum includes the health and safety of students, colleagues, community members, and other individuals on campus.

The accreditation documented policies and practices include:
a) Student safety and protection, including abuse reporting
b) Harassment prevention
c) Emergency preparedness, including natural or human-caused emergencies 
d) Field trips
e) Medication management, including first aid
f) Allergy management
g) Public health notices 
h) Visitor and volunteer screening

Human Resources / Support for Faculty & Staff
This forum focuses on human resources from recruitment to dismissal and faculty and staff support throughout their employment. 

The accreditation documented policies and practices include:
a) Recruitment, hiring, and orientation
b) Mentoring, professional development, and assessment
c) Compensation, including benefits
d) Professional behavior and expectations, including communication protocol
e) Record-keeping
f) Dismissal
g) Grievances
h) Conflict resolution

Marketing & Communications
This forum includes school promotion to wider community in order to attract families and increase enrollment. 

Teacher Education & Institutes
This forum includes formal teacher education through our teacher training institutes. This is also a forum for the teacher training institutes to discuss activities within each of their organizations and programs.

Accreditation / Responsible Self Reflection
This forum is for schools ACTIVELY ENGAGED in the accreditation self-study and/or preparing for a team visit within the next 18 months. As we are in the beginning stages of implementing the new process, casual participation by others might be confusing.

Schools with other questions about accreditation should contact Meredith Johanson, Director of Accreditation, directly at accreditation@awsna.org.
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