Berkshire Waldorf High School was born at the Great Barrington Rudolf Steiner School in 2002. During the 2001-2002 school year, a group of parents, students, trustees, and teachers at the Steiner School began the process of creating a Steiner high school. Classes began in September 2002 with thirteen students in ninth grade, two teachers, several adjunct teachers, and one part-time administrator.
They occupied one classroom in the Steiner School building, and used the science labs and athletic facilities at Simon’s Rock College. That arrangement continued for a second year, incorporating a new tenth grade. A new and independent entity, the Great Barrington Waldorf High School (GBWHS), incorporated in December 2003, separating the high school from the elementary school legally and financially.
In spring 2004, ninth and tenth grade German and Spanish language students went abroad for three weeks – the German students to Munich, attending the Munich Rudolf Steiner High School; and the Spanish students to Peru, attending the Lima Waldorf School, working on a community service project for women and children, and trekking to Machu Picchu in the high Andes. Both trips were financed by student fundraising and by grants from the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation and the German government. Since then the foreign student visiting program has flourished at our school, with German students from Waldorf schools spending time with us, and continued biennial trips to Munich and Peru, Colombia, Cuba, and Costa Rica.
During the school’s second year, a successful search for a bigger space led GBWHS to the beautiful Gothic-Victorian building on Main Street in Great Barrington then owned by the First Church of Christ, Scientist. As public elementary and middle schools moved out of town, GBWHS moved in, ensuring the continued presence of students in town.
The Great Barrington Waldorf High School added a class each year, and graduated a first class of 12th graders in June 2006.
In 2013, the Church building was sold to jewelers McTeigue & McClelland, and an extensive search for a new location brought us to our current location on Pine Street in Stockbridge. Here, we have become even more firmly integrated into the community, using the town library, holding plays at the Unicorn Theatre, sponsoring a Writer-in-Residence program on Main Street (and partnering with Edith Wharton’s home, The Mount, for public readings), and joining Shakespeare & Company’s Fall Festival.
The move to Stockbridge prompted us to change our name (“Great Barrington” was no longer suitable) in 2014. Now incorporated as Berkshire Waldorf High School and happily situated in a beautiful, sunny building near Main Street, we continue to implement our “Small School. Big World” model of Waldorf education.