High School

inspiring innovation

A rapidly changing world calls for flexible, creative thinking, social collaboration, and ecological awareness. At Emerson Waldorf School, curiosity and a passion for learning are nurtured in an environment that values social responsibility, environmental stewardship, and spiritual striving. Our graduates are prepared to fulfill their unique individual goals and impart meaning to their lives through development of mind, body, and spirit. They approach questions with empathy and creativity, and strive for a future that embraces global peace, justice, and deep kinship with the natural world.

Emerson Waldorf High School provides a curriculum that intentionally addresses the developmental stages of adolescents in each grade, while balancing academic rigor with artistic discernment, ecological thinking, and practical skills. Specifically, both the instructional approach and the curriculum assist students in developing their ability to engage with complexity and interconnectedness in the world around them and to create meaning and change in their environment.  

Our academic calendar includes rotating main lesson blocks as well as year-long or semester-long track classes. Main lesson blocks, such as Thermal Physics or Transcendentalism, allow students to work immersively in a single subject area daily over the course of a month, through discussion, careful observation, hands-on investigation, and the use of primary text and classical or modern source readings.  Academic track classes, such as Math, English, History, or Spanish allow students to build skills and comprehension through consistent engagement with course content throughout a semester or academic year. In addition to these academic classes, all students participate in fine arts, choral or instrumental music, visual and practical arts, and movement.

In the Waldorf high school curriculum, subjects that are traditionally taught in a single year, such as Biology in 9th grade or Chemistry in 10th grade, are distributed throughout all four grades. This allows students to consistently encounter those subjects as they move through the high school curriculum and to expand upon the previous years’ material with newly developed thinking capacities. In addition to this vertical progression, the curriculum also features horizontal integration within a particular grade (summarized below), so that students can make connections across subjects through their own experiences in each class. 

9th Grade

What? The Power of Observation 

10th Grade

How? The Power of Comparison 

11th Grade

Why? The Power of Analysis

12th Grade

Who? The Power of Synthesis 

Faculty Roles

Students are taught by dynamic and engaging teachers who are specialists in their areas of study. Each grade has two faculty members acting as class sponsors who are responsible for the social well-being of the class. Each student also has their own faculty advisor who acts as an advocate and supports the bigger picture for the individual student in both their academic and social realms.  

International Study

Emerson Waldorf High School students have the unique opportunity to experience another culture while continuing their Waldorf education by studying abroad. There is no fee to attend another Waldorf high school when students from two schools agree to an educational exchange.  Students can attend another Waldorf school for three weeks up to a full semester. With Waldorf schools on six continents, students can study in the country of their choice! 

Curriculum Trips

Accompanied by two faculty sponsors, each class travels as a group on a week-long curriculum trip in the month of May. These trips correlate with both a main lesson block and the theme of the class year. Ninth graders participate in a week long service learning experience at communities such as Innisfree Village in Virginia or Camp Hill in Pennsylvania, the tenth grade class heads to the coast to go sailing in conjunction with their Odyssey block and 11th graders work with bees at Spikenard Farms to complement their botany block.  12th grade students bookend their year with two week long trips; the fall trip has a zoology focus and the spring trip is typically service oriented.


Each school year begins with a three-day retreat, during which the students participate in a visioning process for the school year. Last year, the high school created a student social contract and honor code, putting into words the values of our school community. 


High school clubs are student led and organized. Clubs that have been created include: The Student Service Club, Robotics Club, Sustainability Club, Music Club, Punk and Junk, Poetry Club, and Cheese Church.