Community Events to engage the head, heart, & hands

Archive for June, 2011

CWS Marches in 2011 Chicago Pride Parade

This past Sunday, over 50 CWS parents, faculty, staff, alumni and students from 1st grade through High School donned rainbow capes, facepaint and waved flags and placards as they marched through the center of the city in the 2011 Pride Parade. The spectacular weather swelled spectators to well beyond the 450,000 that were counted at last year’s parade.

Our students enjoyed the enthusiastic support and admiring responses from the crowd that included high-fives and cheering as the students displayed their pride and demonstrated skills such as jumping rope (double-dutch no less), twirling streamers and cheering back to the crowd.

New Chicago Mayor, Rahm Emmanuel–who led this year’s parade–visited & chatted with the CWS students.

The CWS Bus (decorated with rainbow banners and signs) and parent marching band accompanied the CWS marchers and made quite an impression on the city of Chicago. The CWS contingent was covered by ABC 7 News, WXRT Radio, Windy City Times and mentioned in numerous other media reporting stories, perspectives and blogsites. As the Windy City Times reported, “PFLAG was as popular as ever, with parents and friends marching along with LGBTs. Nettlehorst and Chicago Waldorf School also marched to great response. Both are [local] schools, showing just how far Pride has come since the 1969 Stonewall protests in New York.”

CWS & Nettlehorst “are showing just how far Pride has come since the 1969 Stonewall protests in New York.”

Overall the students and families had a great experience and were glad to show their support for ALL kinds of families, regardless of their orientation or structural makeup. The LGBT community and the larger city of Chicago opened their arms and welcomed our schools participation in this energizing and historic event along with the CPS Nettlehorst School and Chicago Teachers Union.

Very Special Thanks to:
Jennifer Zielinski- the master event-coordinator and communicator for our parade participants.
Mark Miller, Heath Jansen and Donald McGhee- for creating our new Parent Marching Band.
Brett Johnson (our Development Director’s husband)- for rigging our bus with an excellent sound system to add music to our bus/float.
Carly Garcia & her dad, Carlo- for loaning a generator for powering the sound system.
The Muskovin Family (Naomi & Dru)- for sewing rainbow capes.
The Greenberg Family (Maci & Meka)- for dyeing and painting capes and banners.
Cathey Stamps & Laurie Oswald who travelled all the way from Denver, CO with family to march.
All the families, faculty and staff who participated in this year’s parade!

The parade, now in its 42nd year, celebrates the diversity of Chicago’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender individuals and families. It supports the notion of family in all forms including the significance of LGBT community family members. Chicago Waldorf School is proud to support our LGBT members both within our school community and within the City of Chicago at large.

Take another opportunity to show your school pride in this weekend’s July 4th Parade in Evanston!

Invididuals interested in marching in the July 4th parade should contact Jennifer Zielinski at 773-392-1496.

-submitted by Jason Greenberg
CWS parent & Pride Event Participant


Promoting a “Less Is More” Approach To Learning

A Princeton Professor Champions a Waldorf-style Model for Innovation & Experimental Thinking

A recent perspective piece in CNN World (in partnership with TIME Magazine) promotes the values at the heart of Waldorf pedagogy, to wit, the philosophy that creative time and open-ended structures foster experimentation and innovation in ways that regimented training for achievement cannot. Anne-Marie Slaughter,the Bert G. Kerstetter ’66 University Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University, offers her perspective:

Rebellion of an Innovation Mom

Call it the rebellion of the mother of two adolescents against the Tiger Moms, but what this nation needs to be innovative and entrepreneurial is to ask our kids to do less.

Innovation requires creativity; entrepreneurship requires a willingness to break the rules. The jam packed, highly structured days of elite children are carefully calculated to create Ivy League-worthy resumes. They reinforce habits of discipline and conformity, programming remarkably well-rounded and often superb young people who can play near concert-quality violin, speak two languages, volunteer in their communities and get straight A’s.

These are the students that I see in my Princeton classes; I am often in awe of their accomplishments and teaching them is a joy. But I strongly suspect that they will not be the inventors of the next “new new thing“.

Creativity requires a measure of random association and connection and substantial periods of down time, where the mind is allowed to run and turn over seemingly disconnected bits of information, images, and ideas. Richard Florida, author of The Creative Class (follow him on Twitter at @richard_florida), observes that “many researchers see creative thinking as a four-step process: preparation, incubation, illumination and verification or revision.”

To nurture young people who are willing to persevere in the face of deep skepticism or outright opposition, we must reward them or at least allow them to be rewarded for breaking the rules…

Incubation is “the ‘mystical’ step,” one in which both the conscious mind and the subconscious mull over the problem in hard-to-define ways.” Hard to define, yes, but not hard to foster, as long as chunks of the day or the week are left open for relatively random activity: long walks, surfing the Internet, browsing a bookstore, household chores that don’t require too much thought, watching the birds at the birdfeeder and gazing out at the ocean.

Creativity gurus often suggest ways to add randomness to your life. Left to their own devices, teenagers are masters at drifting from fad to fad, website to website, and event to event as their fancy takes them, but that seemingly aimless, random wandering is exactly what we are programming out of them.

Entrepreneurship means undertaking something new, something that you create or make happen that does not exist in your space. It does not have to require breakthrough innovation; successful entrepreneurs can borrow ideas that are succeeding elsewhere and transfer them. But our most famous entrepreneurs have a vision and follow it in defiance of conventional wisdom.

One of the nation’s leading entrepreneurs recently listened to me pitch a new idea and patiently told me the many reasons it was unlikely to work and/or that I was the wrong person to make it happen at this point in my life. But at the end of our conversation, he smiled and said: “Of course, every successful entrepreneur started with an idea that other people said would not work but persevered anyway. So go for it.”

To nurture young people who are willing to persevere in the face of deep skepticism or outright opposition, we must reward them or at least allow them to be rewarded for breaking the rules, not meeting our expectations by jumping through an endless series of hoops.

Remember that Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg dropped out of college to follow their passions.

Can we really imagine kids who have done absolutely everything expected of them both in and out of school being willing to ignore their college courses and their parents’, teachers’, and coaches’ expectation to suddenly pursue their own path?

The U.S. higher educational system recognizes the value of challenging authority; that is what “teaching critical thinking” is all about. I wrote in 2009 that the U.S. was primed to remain an innovation leader precisely because we give A’s for the answers that challenge the teacher’s thinking and B’s for the answers that echo it….(Click here to read the rest of the article at its source.)

Note: Author, Anne-Marie Slaughter is the Bert G. Kerstetter ’66 University Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University. Follow her on Twitter at @slaughteram.

Special to CNN posted on June 5th, 2011

CWS & McGregor Waldorf School, South Africa

When We Care to Share, Wonderful Things Happen

The Care to Share Committee brings this report of a recent collaborative outreach between Waldorf schools. This year the CWS 3rd and 4th graders have been writing notes and sharing photos with their contemporaries in the McGregor Waldorf School in South Africa.

Our students took photos of themselves, their classroom and the Winter’s big snow and sent them with cards and messages to McGregor Waldorf School. Grethe, the teacher of the combined 3rd and 4th grade at McGregor has created a “Chicago Corner” in the classroom for learning and keeping in touch. Simultaneously, our 3rd and 4th grade have created a McGregor School corner filled with photos and cards.

These children are building a bridge across thousands of miles and learning there are differences in their lives but maybe they are not so different in their activities.

Drawings of swimming, soccer and bicycles came from McGregor. Photos of class house building, rondavels, with homemade clay and gardening at school are all familiar. The McGregor Waldorf School created a town parade with giant puppets built from recyclable materials. But, of course, no snow at McGregor; some things are not the same! These four grades will continue to correspond as they grow. Think of the possibilities, maybe an exchange when they are in High School?

Following the Care To Share committee’s successful fund raising at the Holiday Fair, we were able to send $2,000.00 to Grethe. She has used the funds to buy Stockmar paints—which are very expensive there—organize and help with supplies for their pottery class and the class camp, pay for the assessment of four students by an educational psychologist and they have some funds left over for a future project.

Additionally, at the request of Carol Triggiano, we were able to send funds to Pennies for Peace. Check out the information in the front hallway. As well, with the encouragement of Ileana Valencia, we sent funds to Asociacion de Mujeres del Altiplano, a project of the Highland Support Project.

During the school year the Care to Share Committee has met with teachers, staff, parents as well as the Festivals committee and the Diversity committee, laying groundwork, sharing ideas and brainstorming ideas. Be looking for fun projects next school year as we Care to Share and reach out to build a thriving international Waldorf school.

Questions or ideas, please contact; Laura Donkel,, Margaret McGuire,, or Dru Muskovin,

Our Community Summer Activities

We hope everyone is enjoying summer break. While our classes are completed for now, the school still remains active throughout the summer.

Here are some fun family friendly events coming up that you might be interested in:

• Sun, June 26th: Walk in the 2011 Pride Parade

Last year was a blast and we can’t wait to do it again! We will have a parent marching band accompanying our student and parent walkers and for those who’d prefer to participate in shade and comfort we offer seats on our own CWS school bus. Come join us as we present our school pride and honor the diversity of our school families with Chicago’s LGBT Community in Chicago.

• Mon, July 4th: Walk in the Evanston July 4th Parade

The week before the parade, we will be building a float in northwest Evanston from 9:00am – 12:00pm, Monday, June 27th through Friday, July 1st. Bring your family, your enthusiasm and your building tools. After the parade, there will be even more fun. The Hartman’s will be hosting a pot-luck and have invited everyone to stay and watch the fireworks that evening.

• If festivals are more your style, CWS will also have booths at the Folk & Roots Festival, Glenwood Arts Festival and the Renegade Craft Fair. Parent volunteers have traditionally helped staff the booths and CWS student volunteers take an active role in teaching Fair participants how to knit, felt and build small craft projects.

Come and participate this summer!! Walk with us in the parades. Join us for a few hours at the fairs.

We love getting together as a community, having a great time and showing our school pride to Chicago.

If you and your kids would like to sign up to participate in a CWS summer event please contact Jennifer Zielinski at 773-828-8468 or

Support the Legacy of 2011’s New Graduates!

Welcome our newest Alumni, the Class of 2011

Graduation is a special time of transition, of growth, of marshaling resources and of striking out in exploration of new opportunities. Each year, graduation brings a vivid reminder of the journey CWS students have made to this culminating point. It is a time to reflect on the relationships that have sustained and nurtured the students and their families throughout their growth and development. Its also a time when the role of community takes on an added significance as many graduates make the transition to join–or form–new communities of support, even as they cherish and reaffirm ties to their old ones.

Honor the history, spirit and experiences of our graduating students with a gift to Annual Fund today!

Thank you to all who have already made a contribution to the 2011 Annual Fund. If you haven’t yet, it’s not too late! The Annual Fund closes June 30th. Honor the legacy of our 2011 graduates by contributing to this year’s Annual Fund. Your gift will make a difference!

Change a Life. Give a gift to support future graduates.
Click Here to recognize an alumnus via Annual Fund

Reasons to Give:

  • HONOR the developmental process for future generations of CWS Graduates
  • FEEL GOOD about simply giving back
  • REPAY the rewards you gained from our Festivals and Family Education Programs
  • RECEIVE the benefit of a tax-deductible contribution
  • BUILD on the legacy of your own experiences at Waldorf
  • SUPPORT our financial aid program
  • HELP offset our annual operating expenses
  • ENABLE the next generation of students to receive the benefits of a Waldorf Education

Report: Rockets for Schools Launch & Science Fair

Thunder Rocket Club Takes Sheboygan By Storm

Or, rather, a storm took Sheboygan during the annual Rockets For Schools competition on May 20 and 21. But the launch continued even in the pouring rain, and the event was a fun experience for the Thunder Rocket Club and the other 50 teams that came to Sheboygan for the two day science fair and rocket launch. Lulu Johnson , Jackson Lubin, Augie Verciglio, Alex Bender-Hooper, Jimmy Geraghty, Gregory Levinson represented CWS along with advisors Brian Gleichauf and Judy Lubin. Club members Helena Joho and Cheyenne Patino could not attend, but were with us in spirit.

The first day included a presentation of the science project that the team had put into the payload of their rocket. Thunder Rocket Club choose a very sophisticated, challenging and unique payload project. The Rockets For Schools folks said they had never seen anything like our design. The team managed to mount three wind turbines onto the outside of the rocket, and keep them mounted on a vehicle travelling over 330 mph – a major engineering challenge!

The purpose of the turbines was to collect the energy from the air force during acceleration of the rocket. The original plan was to turn the energy into electricity, but the generators were too heavy. So, the team did what good scientists everywhere do and redefined the scope of the project to make it more achievable. The team measured the amount of energy in terms of RPMs of the turbines. They used a bicycle speedometer on one of the turbines to calculate the RPMs. A video camera inside the payload allowed them to read the speedometer and to directly count the revolutions of the turbine. They then calculated the amount of volts and amps that could be produced from the spinning of the turbines. They predicted that they would obtain 3000 volts in flight, yeilding 7.5 watts of power.

The team managed to mount three working wind turbines onto the outside of a rocket travelling over 330 mph – a major engineering challenge!

The launch of the 6 foot tall rocket took place on the second day of the event. In typical Rockets For Schools fashion, the rocket was launched into Lake Michigan. The Coast Guard retrieved the rocket from the water. Fog kept the Coast Guard from taking their boats out, so the launch was delayed a few hours. But when the fog cleared, the Thunder Rocket Club was second on the pad, so we beat the rain. The rocket roared off the pad on a Cesaroni I285 motor. Before the launch, we were a bit anxious because the turbines could possibly have adversely affected the stability of the rocket. But the rocket flew straight as an arrow! The video showed that the turbines worked exactly as intended, spinning freely to collect the energy from the acceleration throughout the flight. When the rocket hit the water, however, the plastic turbines shredded down to the wheel-core. So, the payload is not re-usable. But it worked! A successful launch!

Says participant Lulu Johnson, “After working so hard on the rocket and preparing the presentation, it felt good to represent our school with our beautiful rocket. It was also interesting to see other school’s rockets and payload projects, and to find out that so many people in the Midwest alone were interested in rocket science.”

You can find more photos and details on the launch and the preparation at

CWS Student Athlete Profile

Keven Henley Wins Award for Illinois Swimming’s Discover 2010-11 Short Course Yards Top Ten

Ten swimmers for the YWCA Flying Fish made Illinois Swimming’s Discover 2010-11 Short Course Yards Top Ten list for their age in one or more events: CWS student, Keven Henley, was lauded along with students, Lucy Myers, Ana Woods, Ryan Knohl, John McBratney, Blake Morgan, Kyle Grant, Grant Smith, Nick Killeen, and CJ Smith.

The Flying Fish Swim Team is the largest in Illinois, and draws members from Chicago and its North Shore communities of Evanston, Wilmette, Winnetka, and Glencoe, as well as from Glenview, Niles, Lincolnwood, and Skokie. Flying Fish High School swimmers include swim team season members from Evanston Township, New Trier Township, Niles North, St .Ignatius, Waldorf and Northside College Prep High Schools, as well as Loyola Academy. Learn more about the YWCA Flying Fish Swim Team and the YWCA Evanston/North Shore by visiting

See the article at its source The Winnetka Glencoe Patch

CWS Parent/Artist Installs Collaborative Art Project

THE WORLD AS TEXT: A Summer Reading Room

A process documented installation directed by John Preus
at Columbia College Center for Book & Paper Arts / 1104 S. Wabash Avenue, Suite 200

“writerly text is ourselves writing, before the infinite play of the world is traversed, intersected, stopped, plasticized by some singular system (Ideology, Genus, Criticism) which reduces the plurality of entrances, the opening of networks, the infinity of languages” -Roland Barthes

The Installation will unfold as a process piece. John explains the activity in his own words:

Beginning with 2nd-hand desks, office chairs, and other implements of reading and writing, the Reading Room will be built and designed by a team of students responding to literary terminology, theory and history as a point of departure for building discreet physical objects and environments.

All speech can be considered a form of quotation, more or less successful attempts to authentically inhabit an existing collection of terms, clichés, and ready-to-hand expressions. Imagining the built environment as a set of inscriptions upon an inherited landscape, the Reading Room explores the complex interdependencies of language and form. -John Preus

Click Here to visit the World As Text blogsite

All members of the CWS community are invited to attend the opening and collateral programming:

Thursday, June 16: 5-8PM- Opening Reception

Tuesday, June 21: 6-8PM- Panel Discussion / On Furniture
Is the relationship between art and craft a collusion, a collision, a collaboration or a constellation? Depends on who you ask. For the panelists in On Furniture, unpacking the well-crafted object is at once an intellectual, conceptual and formal project.

With a focus on productive dialogue that addresses this subject from multiple angles, panelists will
address furniture, artists’ books, contemporary craft, designed objects and architecture. Panelists: John Preus, Shannon Stratton, Lane Relyea, others TBA

Saturday, July 16: 3-5- Music
Hear music by John Preus, Matthew Joynt, Theaster Gates, Sarah Lawrence, special guests TBA.

Tuesday, July 19: 6PM- Curator Tour
Led by Jessica Cochran, Curator of Exhibitions and Programs

Readings, performances and panels on topics related to the art and craft of books, the interpretive act of reading and the world as text.

Thursday, June 30: 6-8PM- Panel Discussion
Re-Reading the Artist’s Book, an artists’ book show and tell featuring guest curators.

Birth Announcement

Waldorf Alumnus Adds A New Family Member

We are pleased to announce the birth of Leo Carlos Jacob Chavez, the newborn son of Lara Fickes and Carlos Chavez. Lara was in the third class to graduate from the 8th Grade in the early days of the Chicago Waldorf School. Her mother Liesbeth Fickes taught woodworking to the Chicago Waldorf School children for many years. Leo was born Monday, May 30, at Evanston Hospital. Current CWS parent, Yndri Flannery, was Lara’s doula.

Leo is over 8 pounds and he and mom are doing well. We wish the growing family all the best and welcome Leo to the world.