Bay School life centers in the classroom; essentially everything we do is all about the teaching. Through a myriad of student activities, volunteer opportunities and school events, teachers and administrators experience true partnership with Bay School families. The community surrounding the teachers and their students – administrators, volunteers, extended family, friends and neighbors – focuses on providing needed support on so many levels, which both connects us and adds invaluably to the school’s vitality. Additionally, after-school activities, festivals, special events and community use of the school’s campus keep the Bay School an open and community-minded institution.
During large community festivals, faculty, staff, families, and alumni participate in creating an atmosphere of festivity to celebrate the seasons, such as Apple Fest in October, Winter Faire in December and May Fest in early spring. Also, all-school celebrations encompass traditional events like Halloween and Thanksgiving as well as events closely tied to the pedagogy such as Michaelmas, Martinmas, and the Advent Spiral. These festivals bring us together to improve the campus, share food, sing, make music, dance and play games.
Available to parents are a variety of ways to engage in school life, opportunities to meet with key staff members and other parents to share ideas, and lectures and forums from outside experts in Waldorf education. Communication is an important part of school life and the Bay School is committed to offering a range of comfortable and exploratory means for parents to hear more about our work. New Parent Orientation, the Welcome Back Gathering, Specialty Teachers Evenings, and Breakfast with the Director are some of the ways that school connects our parents with the progress of the school year and Waldorf education in general. Broadly published to our families, alumni and friends, the school’s weekly Tuesday Notice is an eagerly anticipated chronicle of the activities, calendar and events for any given week.
Parent volunteerism remains a hallmark of the Bay School. Like all independent schools, we rely greatly on an involved parent community to enhance the children's experience by supplementing and supporting the academic and extracurricular programs. To join the Bay School is to become a part of a cooperative partnership with faculty, board, and other families to meet the daily needs of the school.
Through active involvement in the life of the school, parents find friendship and fun, gain insight into their children’s lives and, not least, keep tuition increases as small as possible. While the contribution of volunteer time is not required, the broadest possible parent participation is the ideal, ensuring engagement and satisfaction in various endeavors. Many parents have found their participation in school life both enjoyable and rewarding. The school’s talented parents come from diverse and interesting backgrounds and are a great deal of fun to be around. Volunteer activities may include: Class Parent, New Parent Buddy, specialty class assistance, driving festival coordination, help with school events, and Board committees.
The Bay School Parent Association supports the school’s mission by being of service to the faculty, staff, and the Board of Trustees. Parents voluntarily staff and maintain the association. In addition the PA shall inspire and encourage fellow parents to nurture, teach, and train one another in order to solicit contributions of time and talent on behalf of the school, and in so doing to lead by example for the children. While all parents are considered members of the PA, class parents serve as each grades representatives at meetings. Along with eliciting volunteerism, class parents give parents better access to the Bay School experience. To complement the school’s general communication, class parents tailor interclass communication based on the specific demographics of their class, how best to reach parents, and the needs of the teacher to reach parents in an effective and timely manner.
The Bay School supports a range of community service activities. These include sponsoring children’s activities sponsored by area nonprofits, fundraising for specific causes, and volunteering for local social service projects. Administration, the Parent Association, and class parents work together to develop a community service calendar that enriches the lives of students and their families and is in balance with the busy school calendar.
Fundraisers and development activities generate a significant portion of the school's budget each year and fund our financial aid program for families needing assistance with Bay School tuition. Parental coordination and involvement make the fundraisers possible. Tuition normally accounts for 85% of our operating budget, the rest is generated by school-sponsored fundraising.
Supporting the school’s fundraising effort is a full-time Development Director and a Development Committee made up of parents, alumni parents and friends of the school. Annual Giving, Winter Faire, and the Bay School Marketplace initiatives are some of the ways that non-tuition income is achieved.
After-school activities may include interschool and intramural sports programs for students in grades 5 through 8, open library times, seasonal choirs, and craft workshops.
An integral part of the Bay School’s after-school activities is the Athletics Program, which is an extension of our educational program and the movement education curriculum. The cooperative games in the early grades develop into competitive challenges in the middle grades; the athletics program complements this development. By fifth grade, for most sports, it is considered appropriate and beneficial to introduce team sports and interschool competition.
Participating on sports teams is considered a rite of passage for students. They have reached the age to compete and are given the responsibility to represent their school in the community. Students may participate regardless of experience or ability; participants are respected for who they are and are challenged to be the best they can be. So saying, participation is voluntary; students are not required to participate, and the school community respects each student’s decision whether or not to play a team sport.
An Athletic Director oversees all aspects of the sports program including scheduling games, facilitating pre-season sports meetings, and finding and supporting coaches, and providing ongoing communication and updates as the seasons progress. Fall sports include coed soccer and cross-country. In winter, we field both boys and girls basketball teams for students in grades 6-8. From time to time, the school organizes intramural sports opportunities in the spring to introduce students to sports that fall outside of interschool competition such as ultimate frisbee, kickball and lacrosse.