Playing in the mud. Exploring nature in the surrounding woods. Igniting a love for the arts through painting and music making. Learning academics in a holistic way. All while in a safe, supportive, and welcoming environment. This is the stuff of childhood. This is lifelong learning in a wondrous way. This is River Valley Waldorf. As a local Waldorf school in Upper Bucks County, the faculty and staff are committed to being forward-focused stewards in the community for diversity, equity, and inclusion, working towards anti bias in curriculum, policy, and practice. To this end, River Valley Waldorf School (RVWS) has partnered with HiTOPS, Inc., a regional non-profit organization providing programs that are supportive of young people of all identities. The staff at HiTOPS will be guiding RVWS to achieve and sustain an affirming, informed, and engaged culture with respect to adolescent sexual development, health, gender, orientation, and the intersection of identities.
This is important work. As a school and as members of the community, River Valley Waldorf has always held a strong belief in diversity, equity, inclusivity, and justice (DEIJ). In recent years, they have seen a need to evolve and be even more present to their LGBTQ+ students’ needs. RVWS will be partnering with HiTOPS over the next three years to create policies and procedures and update the curriculum to support an inclusive environment for all of their students, staff, and families. RVWS will be utilizing a program called ABC’s (Affirming our Youth, Building a Foundation, Communities Working Together) with staff, students, and parents of grades five through eight to help educate and ensure their health and well-being. It is gender inclusive, developmentally appropriate, and culturally responsive. This youth-facing and youth-informed program complements River Valley Waldorf’s mission and will consist of professional development, parent education, student workshops, and more.
Jennifer Sherman (River Valley Waldorf’s Head of School) looks forward to creating an environment where all are welcome and supported, including the LGBTQ+ community. “We are honored to be involved in this initiative for the good of our students, families, and wider community,” says Sherman. “It’s about respecting and including one another, fostering compassion and kindness, and that as a school we have a responsibility to create a supportive environment for everyone.”
RVWS is located at 1395 Bridgeton Hill Road, Upper Black Eddy, PA 18972. Call 610-982-5606 or visit RiverValleySchool.org.
PHOTO CAP: Everyone is welcome at River Valley Waldorf School