Administrator Lori Barien answers a few questions about Waldorf education and the Tamarack Community School. Q: Where did the name ‘Tamarack” come from? A: The name “Tamarack” refers to the Tamarack tree, which used to be very prevalent in Milwaukee. The roots of the Tamarack were harvested and used extensively in the shipbuilding industry. You can still find Tamarack in the more densely wooded sections of the city — it is part of the pine family and has delicate needles which actually drop in the winter. Q: What is your Tuition Policy? A: We are a School Choice school, so if the family resides in Milwaukee and meets certain income restrictions, they may qualify to have the State pay the tuition costs. If the family does not meet the income guidelines or lives outside the city limits, they may qualify for our Tuition Reduction program. Our administrative office can provide the proper paperwork. Q: Does the school currently have a “wishlist” of items or services?A: We need someone with a strong library background to help us set up our library. We had been collecting books for many years in our old location and are now ready to organize them and start the library. We are also in need of fabric for curtains and walls and area rugs for the classrooms — and two faster running computers for our front office would be wonderful! Q: Tell me about your work experience.A: This is my fourth year with Tamarack — I helped start a Waldorf style child care center in East Troy, and before that I was a director of a non-profit downtown. Q: What is the general background of the teachers? A: They all have undergraduate degrees and a strong background in Waldorf education. There is a Waldorf certification that must be attained as well as continuing education for Waldorf certified teachers. Q: What is the difference between a kid graduating with a traditional education and one graduating with a Waldorf style education? A: I don’t really have any experience with kids graduating from a traditional education. I believe that Waldorf graduates go into the world with a feeling that they are capable of accomplishing what they set out to do… they do not have just “head” knowledge, but also practical knowledge gained from their handiwork, art, and music experience. They don’t feel they have any deficits, and they know they can affect the world in a positive way.
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