Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Policies
Waldorf School of Pittsburgh values open communication between the school and families. To provide answers to frequently asked questions regarding common policies and procedures, we have created this page. Please refer to the school handbooks for additional information, should you not find what you are looking for here.
What is the policy regarding tardiness and absences?
Families are expected to notify the class teacher and the Front Office Manager of all absences, tardiness, and appointments. If a student is absent from school or will be late, a parent or guardian is expected to email the front office or call (412-441-5792) the Front Office Manager before 9 a.m. The school has voicemail, and messages can be left during non-operating hours.
Unless a definite length of absence has been determined by a physician and communicated to the school, parents are asked to communicate every morning during the course of the illness. Failure to contact the school by 9 am on the morning of the absence will result in it being marked as unexcused.
Arrivals and Dismissals
What time does the day begin?
Students may arrive in the building between 8:00 and 8:15am. You may not drop your child off any earlier than this, as faculty and staff are not available to supervise children earlier than 8:00. The school day begins promptly at 8:15am, when teachers take attendance. Students arriving at 8:16am or later are considered tardy.
What do I do if my child will be late for school?
It is the parent’s responsibility to make sure students arrive at school on time. Late arrivals impact not only the tardy child but also the teacher and entire classroom by interrupting the mood and disrupting the rhythm at a critical part of the day. To help cultivate the best environment for all children and staff as the day begins, we ask that you make every effort to avoid chronic tardiness. When dropping off a tardy student, follow the procedures below:
For Early Childhood:
Report directly to the Front Office.
Sign your child in using the Tardy Arrival Sign-In Sheet.
Escort your child to the classroom to be received by a teacher.
Report directly to the Front Office
Sign your child in using the Tardy Arrival Sign-In Sheet (students in Grades 3–8 may sign themselves in)
After signing in, students will receive a pink "late" slip and go to their classrooms. They will slide this slip under the door to alert their teacher, who will invite them into the classroom at an appropriate moment.
These procedures should also be followed for children arriving late to school due to doctor's appointments or other excused tardies. Students arriving on a late bus should report to the Front Office to receive "Late Due to Bus" slips from the Front Office Manager and ensure that the tardy is recorded as an excused one.
What should I do if my child needs to leave school early for an appointment?
While we understand that early pickups are often necessary for appointments or travel, we ask that if you need to pick up your child early from school, you observe the following guidelines:
Email the Front Office and your child's teacher 24 hours in advance with the date and time of the early pickup
Include whether your child will be returning to school later in the day
Indicate who will be picking your child up
All children released for early dismissal must be picked up from the Front Office and signed out by an authorized adult.
What time does the school day end?
Half-day Early Childhood students are dismissed at noon.
Full-day Early Childhood and Grades students are dismissed at 3:00pm.
Grades students will be dismissed either to a bus line or to the courtyard for pickup. Grades students who live close to the school may check themselves out and walk home with the appropriate permissions on file. Please contact the Front Office to learn more about this option.
Who can pick my child up from school?
Children will only be released to a parent or an adult authorized by a parent.
What happens if I am late to pick my child up?
All children will be brought in from the courtyard at 3:10pm. Please notify the Front Office if you are running late to pick up your child. If you are not able to pick up your child by 3:30pm, they will be placed in the Extended Care Program until you are able to pick them up and you will be charged the usual extended care rate. All children who are picked up late must be signed out of the Front Office. We are not able to release students to meet a parent waiting in a car outside the school.
When and how often does the school communicate?
Announcements emails will be sent each week on Friday afternoons. These emails may also be sent on Wednesday afternoons as needed. Announcements emails contain important information about class activities, school events, and fundraisers.
A monthly newsletter will be sent by email on the last Friday of each month. The newsletter keeps parents and wider community members (alumni, grandparents and special friends) up-to-date on community festivals, activities, and fundraisers. If you wish to contribute an item (Committee reports, calls for volunteers, etc.) to one of these emails, email the Front Office at least 72 hours in advance.
How can I contact other Waldorf School of Pittsburgh families?
Every fall and spring, a school directory listing the names, addresses, email addresses, and phone numbers for every family in the school is distributed via email. The directory also includes the names of the Board Members and the email addresses and extensions of the Faculty and Administration. Please note that this is sensitive information and is to be used only for purposes directly related to school activities or class gatherings. It may not be used for sales or solicitations of any kind.
How and when will teachers communicate with me?
Parent-teacher communication is of paramount importance in Waldorf schools. If you are concerned about your child or a classroom situation, it is crucial that you share these concerns with your child’s teacher as soon as possible. Teachers want to stay connected to students and parents; they appreciate your involvement, and strive to address your concerns.
As the year progresses, please reach out to individual subject teachers if you have questions about your child or the classwork. If a concern or a broader question lingers after you speak directly with the subject teacher, please contact our Faculty Chair o help find the best direction forward.
We recognize that communication challenges arise in human relationships, and we’ve developed a standard protocol for assisting parents who are dissatisfied with any aspect of the parent-teacher communication process or have questions about pedagogical/classroom decisions. The protocol can be found in the Parent Handbook.
Can my child communicate with teachers outside of school hours?
Older students in the school will be responsible for communicating with their teachers regarding questions about homework or other assignments. This can be done face-to-face, via email, or by phone, depending on the system the teacher sets up. Students are responsible for requesting extensions for deadlines before work is due.
Grades and Transcripts
Do students at Waldorf School of Pittsburgh receive grades? Will they have transcripts for applying to high schools?
At WSP, the acquisition of skills is assessed through a wide variety of methods. Teachers utilize approaches such as conversation, written work, specific tasks, self-evaluation, peer review, and observation to determine learning growth. Parents are engaged in ongoing conversations regarding their child's development. There are two parent-teacher conferences (fall and spring) dedicated to sharing information between parents and teachers. At the close of the school year, teachers (class and special subjects) write narrative reports which depict the teacher’s experience of the child’s striving, struggles, successes, and accomplishments.
Students at WSP receive letter grades when they reach Grades 7 and 8. Letter grades are assigned quarterly by each teacher for each subject (Main Lesson, math, language arts, and special subject classes). Letter grades are compiled in a transcript during these two grades. A yearly grade, which is an average of the four quarterly grades, is included on the transcript for each class. Seventh and eighth grade students continue to receive narrative reports from their teachers in addition to letter grades.
Teachers prepare students to receive letter grades for several years leading up to Grades 7 and 8. They may give letter grades for specific assignments or assessments, develop and work with grading rubrics, and give feedback via letter grades on specific assignments.
During the 8th grade year, as students prepare for the transition to high school, requests should be made to the Front Office to provide transcripts and narrative reports for high school applications.
What is the policy for keeping sick children at home?
Families must adhere to the following policies and procedures for sick or injured children without a communicable illness:
Children with a temperature above 99.6°F must be fever-free for 24 hours before returning to school.
Children who have episodes of vomiting or diarrhea must be kept home for 24 hours after the last episode.
Children with coughs that cannot be improved with medication should be kept home.
If children are still displaying symptoms of a communicable disease, even after treatment and clearance by a doctor, the school will ask to have the child remain out of the classroom.
The Waldorf School of Pittsburgh follows the Allegheny County Health Department guidelines for keeping children home from school after contraction of a communicable disease as noted below.
Pink Eye: child is excluded from school 24 hours after the initiation of treatment.
Strep Throat, Scarlet Fever: child is excluded from school for 24 hours after the initiation of treatment. Note from doctor required for return.
Lice: child is excluded from school until treated. Child must have a note from the doctor or a professional lice removal service that the child is lice and nit free.
Chicken Pox: child is excluded from school until all blisters are dried and crusted, usually five days from the last crop of blisters to erupt. A physician’s clearance is required to return to school
Impetigo, scabies, and ringworm: Child is excluded from school until judged non-infectious by a physician. If your child contracts any of the above illnesses, you must contact their teacher and the front office immediately so that other families can be informed.
Snow Closings and Delays
How do 2-hour delays work at Waldorf School of Pittsburgh?
Delays for the Early Childhood and Grades programs are considering separately from delays for the Little Friends program. All closing and delay announcements will clearly state which programs are affected.
In the event of a two-hour delay, all morning timing mentioned above will be pushed back by two hours. This means all affected programs will begin at 10:15am and we will not be prepared to receive your child at school before 10:00am.
Please give your child a snack or late breakfast before they come to school. Grade students do not need to bring a morning snack on delay days. Our lunch and afternoon schedule will remain the same.
Where can I look to find out if school is cancelled due to weather conditions?
During extreme weather conditions the school might be closed or delayed. Tune into local TV, radio stations and websites — WPXI, KDKA, or WTAE — for announcements. Information about changes to the school’s schedule is also available through the school’s website. An automatic notification will also be sent to parents’ cell phones or emails as a text message and/or e-mail through the Brightarrow automatic notification system.
Do you provide busing to Waldorf School of Pittsburgh?
The City of Pittsburgh provides bus service to and from school for all residents of the city in both public and private schools. If your address is not within the city limits, please contact the Front Office to determine if your local school district’s transportation office will provide busing to WSP. In the event of weather-related delays, all bus service follows the schedule of each school district.
If I need to make a transportation change for my child, how and when should I notify the school?
Changes in transportation arrangements must be given to the Front Office by 9:00am on the day of the change. Please do not send changes more than 24 hours in advance. Send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Transportation Change," your child's name, and the date in the subject line. If you must call with a last-minute transportation change, do so no later than 2pm. Children may not initiate transportation changes. If a transportation change involves two children or families, parents from each family must communicate to confirm a change.
For a morning transportation change, please call your child's bus company directly. This is particularly important if your child will not be riding the bus in the morning.
For an afternoon transportation change, email the Front Office. Even if you have already communicated the change to your child's teacher, you must also tell the Front Office.