Hartsbrook's Community Handbook

The Hartsbrook Handbook includes a history of Hartsbrook, an overview of Waldorf education and details of school governance and procedures. Information on “where to go with questions and concerns” can always be found here as well as details of school policies including our dress codes and media guidelines.

An Introduction to Waldorf Education

Excerpts from “Waldorf Education…An Introduction,” by Henry Barnes

When children relate what they learn to their own experience, they are interested and alive, and what they learn becomes their own. Waldorf Schools are designed to foster this kind of learning.

Waldorf Education has its roots in the spiritual-scientific research of Austrian scientist and thinker Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925). According to Steiner’s philosophy, the human being is a threefold being of spirit, soul, and body whose capacities unfold in three developmental stages on the path to adulthood: early childhood, middle childhood, and adolescence.

Born in 1861, Rudolf Steiner studied science in Vienna and edited Goethe’s scientific writings before earning a doctorate in philosophy. His first major work, A Philosophy of Freedom, appeared in 1894.

In the early 20th century, Rudolf Steiner became increasingly well known as an author and lecturer. He wrote more than 50 books and gave over 6,000 lectures, which have been published in approximately 300 volumes, on philosophy, science, religion, agriculture, medicine, art, and education. Rudolf Steiner’s work in these fields has resulted in a new form of organic agriculture known as biodynamic farming, new approaches and techniques in therapeutic education, new approaches to the arts, and a new form of education: Waldorf Education.

In April of 1919, Rudolf Steiner visited the Waldorf Astoria cigarette factory in Stuttgart, Germany. The German nation, defeated in war, was teetering on the brink of economic, social, and political chaos. Steiner spoke to the workers about the need for social renewal, through a new way of organizing society and its political and cultural life.

Emil Molt, the owner of the factory, asked Rudolf Steiner if he would undertake to establish and lead a school for the children of the employees of the company. Steiner agreed but set four conditions, each of which went against common practice of the day: 1) that the school be open to all children; 2) that it be co-educational; 3) that it be a unified twelve-year school; 4) that the teachers, those individuals actually in contact with the children, have primary control of the school, with a minimum of interference from the state or from economic sources. Steiner trained the teachers, developed the curriculum, and worked closely with faculty. On September 7, 1919, the independent Waldorf School (Die Freie Waldorfschule) opened its doors.

Because of its philosophy and innovative methods, the original Waldorf School gained international recognition and inspired new Waldorf schools throughout the world.

The Waldorf Curriculum

The core of the Waldorf approach is an integrated curriculum designed to develop and harmonize the capacities of heart, hand, and mind. The breadth and depth of the curriculum is a unique aspect of Waldorf Education. The entire 12 years of school are considered a unity, and all students take almost all subjects. Subjects that the class teacher introduces in first grade become increasingly complex when reintroduced in subsequent years. For example, nature studies and animal stories in the lower grades prepare the children for botany and comparative anatomy in the upper grades and high school. Storytelling in the early childhood programs builds a foundation for language arts; house building lays the ground work for physics; geography in the middle grades leads to a fuller understanding of history in the high school. Consequently, the student achieves a thorough knowledge and understanding of the world.

The curriculum is designed with the growing child in mind. Grade by grade, following the developmental stages of childhood, the curriculum mirrors the inner development of the child thereby making the educational experience both relevant and satisfying. The child is endowed with a lifelong love of learning and reverence for the world. Waldorf Education acknowledges and respects the natural gifts of each person, encouraging and challenging students to achieve their fullest human potential.

“Anthroposophy and Religion in the Waldorf School,” by Roberto Trostli (former Hartsbrook teacher)

Parents new to a Waldorf school quickly sense that there is something that underlies their child’s education, the teacher’s work, and the school’s operation. This “something” is anthroposophy, the world-view developed by Rudolf Steiner.

Anthroposophy is difficult to define, for it encompasses a vast body of research and teaching. Rudolf Steiner characterized it as “a path of knowledge to guide the spiritual in the human being to the spiritual in the universe.” Anthroposophy is both a world-view and a path of inner development. It is not a religion, but it recognizes the importance of what Rudolf Steiner termed “the Christ Impulse.” According to Rudolf Steiner, the Christ Impulse has played an important role in the evolution of the world and of humanity and has therefore had an impact on all people, irrespective of their culture or religious background.

Waldorf teachers are students of anthroposophy, and they are striving to bring this philosophy to fruition through their life and work. Anthroposophy aids teachers in their preparation and in their work with the students; it also illuminates and gives meaning to the subjects of the curriculum. Waldorf teachers, however, do not teach anthroposophy.

Waldorf education seeks to bring renewed meaning and purpose to all areas of human endeavor and to redevelop the connections among science, art, and religion. It is an education that is deeply religious in the literal sense of the word, for in Latin the word religion means “to link again.” In everything we teachers do, we strive to help our students forge or strengthen their links to the world of spirit, to the world of humanity, and to the world of nature. Through every subject in our curriculum—through painting or poetry, science or sports, mathematics or foreign languages—we hope to stimulate in our students a deep sense of self, to awaken compassion and understanding for others, and to instill a feeling of responsibility for the earth.

Although religion is not taught in our school, aspects and themes of the great world religions are considered in the study of literature, history, and geography. In the first grade students hear fairy tales; in the second grade, legends of holy women and men, and in the third, stories from the Old Testament. Fourth graders study the Norse myths, fifth graders the myths from India, Persia, Chaldea, Egypt, and Greece. In the history and geography lessons in the upper grades, students learn about Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism and the religions of various other cultures. The images and ideas in these myths and religions are nourishing to children’s souls. They help our students to appreciate the rich cultural heritage of the different peoples of the world. The images and ideas of the world’s great myths and religions also build a foundation for a student’s sense of identity and meaning in life, and, in adulthood, establish the basis for a free relationship to religious or spiritual striving. We see questions of religious education, per se, as the province of the family.

Religious rituals are not practiced in our school, but throughout the grades, children sing songs and recite verses that have a reverential character, and they celebrate various religious and cultural festivals. Such celebrations are not intended to promulgate any particular denomination or belief; rather, they fulfill pedagogical and social aims and thus may vary from class to class. Celebrating festivals that mark the cycle of the year deepens our students’ connection to the natural world; celebrating festivals from many faiths enhances our students’ appreciation for other people, and the act of celebration fosters a sense of community within the class and within the school as a whole.

Rudolf Steiner articulated the goal of Waldorf education as follows: “Our highest endeavor must be to develop free human beings, who are able of themselves to impart purpose and direction to their lives.” In this endeavor, the greatest respect is accorded to the individuality, the heritage, and the spiritual freedom of all children and their families.

Parents who have questions or concerns about any aspect of the curriculum, the festivals or celebrations in our school are urged to speak to their children’s teachers or to any member of the Faculty Conference. We are eager to listen and to discuss these matters so that together we can help our students develop their full humanity.



A description of the school’s system of governance can be found on the Governance page of our website.

Email Communication

Email is an incredible tool for organization and sharing information, but can not take the place of an in-person conversation to provide clarity and create understanding.

The school’s policy on the use of email is as follows:

The School uses email for communicating information such as that found in the Bulletin.  Classes also do their routine announcements via email. Communication in person or via phone is better suited for more complex communication; for that reason, we do not use email for conversations or discussions. We also do not transmit sensitive, confidential, or personal information that should remain private via email.

When a conversation needs to take place, please use email only to coordinate the logistics of an in-person or phone conversation.

Where to Go With Questions and Concerns

Please refer to the general categories below to identify the appropriate faculty and staff to contact with your questions and concerns. In general, we encourage parents and guardians to speak directly to the person involved as a starting point, as the answer will likely come out of this interaction. If the examples below don’t address your questions, please contact Vesna Vasovic for early childhood and the elementary school, and Jessica Schmid for the high school.

I have a question about my child’s curriculum, school work, homework, discipline, student reports, etc.

In general, the teacher is always the best person to speak with about these types of classroom issues. These conversations are best to have in person, so while text and emails can be used to schedule such a meeting, the actual conversation is more productive when it takes place in person. In the high school, the class teacher equivalent is the student’s individual advisor. For high school, please refer to this section of the High School Handbook.

I desire a second opinion or greater clarity about my child’s experience and the teacher’s practices.

For the rare situation where the parent requires a broader perspective or does not feel comfortable discussing the topic with the class teacher, the teacher’s mentor would be the next point of contact.

I have questions about the school’s curriculum, programs, or teaching practices.

If the class teacher/advisor and mentor have not provided the clarity you seek, the next step for communication is the relevant Department Chair:

I still have questions about the school’s curriculum, programs, or teaching practices that remain unresolved.

If you have a question or concern about your child’s experience at Hartsbrook which cannot be met through discussion with your child’s teacher/advisor,  their mentors, or the Department Chair, contact Virginia McWilliam, Pedagogical Chair.

To whom do I address my concerns when my child is experiencing an issue with another student, such as inappropriate social interactions or bullying, for example: name calling, physical aggression, or social exclusion?

Ideally, the trust and relationship between parents in the class community allows parents to reach out to one another regarding these concerns to have in-person conversations. If this is not possible, or if the events are occurring frequently in school, the class teacher should be included in the conversation. If the concerns remain unresolved and continue, follow the steps above to include the Mentor, Department Chair, and Pedagogical Chair / Administrative Chair leadership team.

I have a question about general school events, school calendar, etc.

Contact Vesna Vasovic in the Main Office.

I have a concern around my child’s health and/or the school’s handling of my child’s health issues.

Depending on the particular issue, we recommend contacting the school nurse, Laurie Zacek, the class teacher, or Lindsay Hunter, Administrative Chair.

I have questions or concerns about my child’s educational support needs because my child has learning challenges.

The class teacher/advisor is the primary person who will handle your child’s educational support needs and works closely in collaboration with one of the following individuals to create and implement a student support plan:

  • Elyce Perico, Educational Support Coordinator for Early Childhood and Grades 1-6
  • Tyler Young, Educational Support for Grades 7-12

I have a question about the Extended Day program.

Contact Vesna Vasovic for general inquiries, drop-in enrollment, and payments.  Contact Shane Kerr, Extended Day Program Director, for day-to-day communications about your child’s attendance, questions or concerns.  Please also inform your child’s class teacher when your child will be attending Extended Day.

I have a question about my child’s enrollment.

Contact Leslie Evans, Enrollment Director.

I have a question about my tuition and payments.

Contact Diane LaBarge, Business Manager.

I have a question about gifts to the Annual Fund.

Contact Anne Griffin, Development Director.

I have a question about the campus and school safety.

Contact Leslie Ritchie-Dunham, Operations Manager or Lindsay Hunter, Administrative Chair.

If you have general questions, the class teacher or your child’s advisor will be able to help direct your questions to the appropriate person.

To protect the privacy of our employees, email addresses and phone numbers are not posted here, but can be found on BigSis. To access them:

  1. Log into the BigSIS Parent Portal with your username and password.
  2. Click on “Employee Directory” on the left of the page.
  3. Type in the employee’s name in the “Search” field on the right.
  4. Click on “View” next to the employee’s name.
  5. Their name, email address, and phone number(s) will be displayed.

School Committees

For a list of members of these committees, please see the Appendix #3.

Community Participation on Board Committees

The Hartsbrook School Board of Directors has identified the following committees of the Board as those which would appreciate and welcome community participation in vital aspects of the life and well-being of our school. We seek collaboration within our community in order to nourish and sustain Hartsbrook and Waldorf education on behalf of our current and future students.

The Board committees listed below have established mandates, goals and criteria for membership. Those interested in serving on a committee can receive this information by contacting the Committee chair (listed in Appendix #3). The mandates, goals and criteria for membership are also available in the Main Office. The Committee chair will follow up with you once you have had a chance to review the Committee materials to see if you are willing to match your skills with one of these vital aspects of school life.

Campus Committee

The Campus Committee is charged with overseeing the maintenance and protection of the physical plant of the School—classroom buildings, outbuildings, furnishings and physical features such as the grounds, walkways and road-ways—that allow the mission of the school to be carried out. Day-to-day responsibility lies with the Operations Manager.  The Campus Committee also has the responsibility of overseeing the development of the campus Master Plan.

Enrollment Committee

The Enrollment Committee is mandated to support and guide the Enrollment Department with its efforts to increase enrollment and retention of families throughout their years at Hartsbrook.

Strategy Committee

The Strategy Committee reviews and tracks strategic objectives of the school, coordinates and recommends further efforts toward achieving those objectives, helps to establish priorities among them, and works with various constituencies to project the long-term needs of the school.

Finance Committee

The Finance Committee sets the school budget and supports the Business Office in forecasting future revenues and expenses, and in monitoring the school’s performance against its budget. The Committee recommends tuition levels each year. It supports the Board of Directors by gathering financial data and providing analysis to help the Board evaluate various policies and projects.

Development Committee

The Development Committee works with the Administrative Chair and the Director of Development to create a philanthropic environment that provides the financial foundation for the school to flourish. The Committee provides strategic direction and guidance to the Administrative Chair and the Director as needed and helps assure the thoughtful coordination and implementation of all fundraising and communication initiatives. The Committee’s focus is to increase annual, unrestricted income and to raise funds for capital projects through identification, cultivation, solicitation and stewardship of donors within and beyond the immediate school community.

Faculty Conference Committees

Student Support Group

The Student Support Group (SSG) is a committee of faculty members, including our two full-time Student Support Coordinators. The SSG is mandated by the Faculty Conference to coordinate activities concerning the academic and social needs of our students. To that end, SSG provides classroom observation, Child Study, Support Circles, and faculty professional development opportunities, as well as coordinating developmental and academic assessments, providing some therapeutic and academic support, and overseeing this support within the school. The SSG makes recommendations regarding individual student program modifications.  More details on educational support can be found here.

Festivals and Assemblies Committee

It is the task of the Festivals and Assemblies Committee to develop the festival and assembly life of the school in light of the spiritual realities of the seasons. Through study, the group seeks to deepen the festival life of the school. Each existing festival and assembly will be looked at individually, as well as part of the continuum of the cycle of the year. The roles of the different departments of the school, including the parent body, will be addressed. The group will make recommendations to the faculty and staff and report to the Faculty Conference. (Ratified by the Faculty Conference on 6/13/2013)

Land Stewardship Committee

The Land Stewardship Committee is charged with the responsibility of developing and administering the agricultural and practical arts program as outlined in The Hartsbrook School Agricultural and Practical Arts Full Program document (Dec. 2007) and for the implementation of the Agricultural Management and Use Plan for the APR land (March 2013). The latter is performed in collaboration with the Campus Committee, the Operations Manager, and the Administrative Chair. The LSC is comprised of the Land Stewardship Program Director, at least two members of the Faculty Conference, representatives from among the faculty, staff, parents and wider community, as well as individuals interested in participating in special projects. The committee has a minimum of four members who serve for a minimum of one year, renewed each spring. Vacant seats are advertised to the community and requests to join are directed to the Land Stewardship Program Director.


Parent Participation

Parent involvement has been key to the success of the Hartsbrook School since its founding. The school welcomes and encourages parents to take part in the life of the school. Parents may participate formally as members of committees or working groups, through the Family Association or as Class Parents. Meeting schedules for committees will be announced in the school Bulletin.

Parents also participate on a less formal basis by preparing for fairs, festivals or class plays, and assisting teachers with class activities and trips. Parents interested in leadership roles in community building and fundraising events should contact the Director of Development. Every family is expected to participate in school events including the Holiday Fair and to take on supporting roles in other events each year.

Family Association

Family Association meetings are open to all and are held monthly.   Meeting dates and times will be announced in the weekly Bulletin and also are on the School Calendar. There are also one or two formal class representatives.  The mission statement is:

  • To build a vibrant community among parents/guardians and between parents/guardians and the faculty, staff, and board;
  • To strengthen communications within the school and with the broader community; and
  • To foster parent engagement, connection, and involvement in the life of the school.

Community HandbookHoliday Fair

This event is coordinated by parents with the assistance of the faculty and staff. The Holiday Fair takes place in November. These events rely on parent volunteerism.

Everyday Effortless Giving (formerly Scrip)

The Everyday Effortless Giving Committee develops and maintains a fundraising program in which cards or certificates are purchased at a discount from various retailers, and are then sold at face value, thereby earning the school income. Scrip also includes a grocery program through Atkins Farms and offers escrip through shopwithscrip.com. More detailed information is available on our website and is announced in the Bulletin.  You may also speak with Vesna Vasovic for more details (mainoffice@hartsbrook.org).

Class Parents

Each class has at least one Class Parent who acts as a liaison between the parents and the teacher in the affairs of that class for the year.  Sometimes leadership is provided by one class parent, co-class parents, or a core group of parents/guardians. Duties vary depending on the year, the grade, the teacher, and the parent group, but typical tasks may include:

  • Foster an inclusive community among class parents
  • Help the teacher keep parents informed about class activities and events
  • Help the teacher organize activities, social events, outings, and meetings
  • Help the teacher identify volunteers for events, field trips, support for class plays, etc.
  • Act as the class archivists, making sure pictures and other remembrances are collected and maintained
  • Organize care functions within the class community (e.g., meals, help during illnesses, etc.)

School Communications

Parent-Teacher Conferences and Student Reports

Parent-Teacher Conferences are scheduled in late October and early November. During a conference, parents and teachers review the student’s progress and discuss any questions that the parents may have. Additional conferences may be arranged with the teacher by request.

Student reports are prepared by the elementary teachers at mid-year, and by Nursery through Grade 8 teachers at the end of the school year. High school students will receive quarterly progress reports, and more detailed reports at mid-year and end-of-year. Through these reports, the teachers strive to give an in-depth, multi-faceted, and qualitative view of the students’ academic, artistic and social development.  Reports are published to the BisSIS Parent Portal.

Parent Evenings

Throughout the year, parents in each class gather with the teacher to discuss practical details and questions, as well as pedagogical issues concerning school and home life. Parent Evenings may provide parents with an opportunity to sample class activities such as painting, form drawing, games or singing.  Brief talks on aspects of Waldorf education by faculty or visiting Waldorf teachers may also be provided. These evenings are a window into school life and are a wonderful opportunity for parents and teachers to build and strengthen their partnership. Particular questions or concerns that parents wish to address at such evenings should be suggested to the teacher or class parent in advance so they might be incorporated thoughtfully into the evening.

Parent Evenings are held at least three times a year. These dates and times are listed on the school events calendar.  Your child’s teacher will inform you of any additional Parent Evenings. It is expected that each family will be represented by at least one parent or guardian at each Parent Evening. The teacher needs to be informed if you are unable to attend.

School Publications


The Bulletin is our weekly e-newsletter distributed to our school community with pertinent news, events, and updates.

The Annual Report

The Annual Report is published once a year. It contains expanded articles pertaining to school life, the curriculum, special programs, our students, faculty and alumni, and fundraising efforts.


The school yearbook is produced annually.  Yearbook orders are collected in the spring and delivered at the end of the school year.

Bulletin Board

The display board at Hartsbrook Hall and the kiosk at the entrance to the Early Childhood area is for school news only. It is maintained by the administrative staff.

General Note About Communications

All communications sent out to the school community need to go through a process of approval, editing, and proofing before being sent. Please contact Lindsay Hunter, Administrative Chair, if you have a question about school communications. The contact information listed in the School Directory found in the BigSIS Parent Portal is privileged and is only for school use. It is not to be used for solicitation.

Admissions and Enrollment

Early Childhood, Grades and High School Open Houses

Prospective parents/guardians and their children are encouraged to attend one of our Open Houses held in the fall, winter and spring. Early Childhood Open Houses include creative playtime, circle, and snack—activities typically done in the Early Childhood programs. Early childhood teachers lead the activities and are available to talk to parents/guardians. The Grades and High School Open Houses provide an opportunity to meet with class and special subject teachers, to view student work and take part in a Question and Answer session.

Admissions Procedure for Early Childhood through Grade 8

If a prospective parent/guardian cannot attend an Open House, a school visit can be arranged by contacting the Enrollment Office. This visit includes a tour of the school, short observations of classrooms, and an opportunity to discuss Waldorf education informally. After the school visit, the admissions process proceeds as follows:

  1. Parents/guardians submit an application for admission, including an application fee. Application forms, transcripts and any evaluation documentation must be received by the Enrollment Office prior to Step 2.  The application for Early Childhood can be found here, and the application for Grades 1-8 can be found here.
  2. An interview with a teacher is arranged for the parents/guardians. This can happen before and/or after the child has visited the classroom.
    • For Early Childhood programs, teachers will meet prospective students either individually or in small groups.
    • For Grade 1, prospective students will be invited to participate in a developmental observation in the classroom and parents will have an individual meeting with the teacher (see First Grade Readiness below).
    • In grades 2 – 8, prospective students are asked to spend three consecutive days in the classroom. Exceptions may be made for summer applicants.
  3. Applications for the grades are reviewed by the faculty on a rolling basis. The first round of Early Childhood acceptances is made in mid-March, after which applications are considered on a rolling basis or as spaces become available.

First Grade Readiness

The kindergarten teachers, in conjunction with the Educational Support Group, will determine a child’s readiness for first grade based on their observations and consultations with the parents. Each child will have an individual assessment. The assessment is presented to each child in  a story format with opportunities for different kinds of movement, identifying shapes, memory exercises, and drawing. Teachers observe each child and note eye-hand coordination, dominance, and spatial organization, among other indicators of first grade readiness.

Admissions Procedure for High School

  1. Request information and application packet by phone, e-mail, in-person or download from our website.
  2. Phone the school to arrange a tour or to attend an open house.
  3. Parents/guardians submit Application for Admission and Parent’s Comments with application fee.
  4. Student visits for one day to get a sense of the High School.
  5. Student submits Applicant’s Questionnaire.
  6. Parents/guardians request transcripts and recommendations from current school to be sent to admissions office.
  7. Student visits for two consecutive days in current grade level. Student attends an interview with high school faculty members during visit.
  8. When the school has received all the materials and student visits are completed, parent(s) meet with High School faculty.
  9. When all the above steps are completed the admissions decision will be made.

Special and Remedial Education

During the admission process, the teacher will attempt to identify possible learning differences and build as complete a picture of the child’s learning style as possible. In addition to the assessment during the interview with the child and discussions with parents/guardians, we will look at past school records and prior evaluations, and we may request additional evaluations. For a fuller discussion of special and remedial education and the work of the Educational Support Group, refer to the Grades 1-8 Handbook.


Tuition Payments

Tuition payments for the upcoming school year can be made in one of three ways. Full payments may be made directly to the Business Office and are due by May 5th. For families unable to pay the full tuition by the May 5th deadline, Hartsbrook offers two payment plan options: the 10-Payment Plan or the 2-Payment Plan. Families choosing a payment plan must enroll with the FACTS Management Services (FACTS). See below for enrollment instructions.

Once enrolled with FACTS, tuition payments will be automatically deducted from the parent’s, guardians, or other responsible person’s bank account. The account will be accessible to the responsible party online 24 hours/day. The responsible party is required to follow through with the financial commitment outlined within the signed Enrollment Contract and FACTS agreement. Those responsible for tuition payments should contact the Business Manager as soon as possible if circumstances make it difficult for them to fulfill their financial commitment. Students whose current year’s tuition falls more than two months in arrears will not be allowed to continue, and those whose previous year’s tuition has not been paid in full will not be accepted for re-enrollment in the school.

In short, to secure a position at the Hartsbrook School, families must do the following:

  • Pay all tuition arrears.
  • Complete, sign, and submit an Enrollment Contract to the Business Office along with a non-refundable deposit equal to 10% of the total annual tuition by April 5th ( if applying for Sliding Scale Placement, 5% is required).
  • Enroll with FACTS (or pay the full tuition balance by May 5th).
  • In order to start school, payments must be current by the first day of school.

Failure to perform any one of the above actions may result in forfeiture of a student’s position. Students are not permitted to start school unless the above actions have been completed.

FACTS Enrollment Instructions

  1. Visit the FACTS Tuition Payment Plan (FACTS) site.
  2. Pick a payment plan and an available method of payment.
  3. The following information will be required:
  1. The name, address, and e-mail of the person responsible for making the payments.
  2. To protect your privacy, you will need to create your own unique FACTS Access Code. Please be sure it is something you can easily remember.
  3. If utilizing automatic payment deductions from a checking or savings account: the bank name, telephone number, account number, and the bank routing number.

Other Fees

Parents can expect to pay the following fees as part of their child’s experience at Hartsbrook.

  • Field Trips: Field trips in Grades 6–12 become more elaborate. An Activity Fee is billed with tuition in these grades.
  • Sports Fees: Students in Grades 6 and up who participate in the Hartsbrook sports program will be charged a Sports Fee. Fees vary with the sport.
  • Music Lessons: Students in Grades 4–8 are expected to take private lessons as needed to support their participation in the school orchestra program. Fees for private lessons are paid directly to private instructors; arrangements must be made by parents.

Pro-Rating Policy

  • Late Enrollment: If a student is initially enrolled into any of our programs after the program start date, tuition for that program will be pro-rated on a per-month basis regardless of what day in the month the student begins.
  • Placement: If the faculty determines within 30 days of a program start date that a student is not appropriately placed in a program, tuition for that program will be pro-rated on a per-month basis regardless of what day in the month the student is withdrawn, and a credit or refund will be issued accordingly.
  • Partial Day Enrollment: The school does not pro-rate tuition for partial day enrollment for full-time matriculating students. Tuition for non-matriculating students is determined by the number of classes the student is attending and pro-rated accordingly.
  • Leave of Absence: A Leave of Absence is granted only when there is sufficient space in the class to hold a place without turning away other students. Full tuition will still need to be paid. See brochure for our Tuition Insurance Program.
  • International Student Exchange Program: The Hartsbrook High School has a student exchange program that allows sophomores, juniors, and seniors to spend 2–12 weeks abroad. Many years, students can go to abroad (our students have gone to France, Germany, Switzerland, Spain), and students from other countries can also come on exchange. Because all Waldorf schools share the same curriculum, students who study abroad can still fulfill our graduation requirements. Students who leave during the school year to participate in the Student Exchange Program are expected to pay a full-year’s tuition. Spaces for students going abroad will be guaranteed only if a tuition deposit has been made and all financial obligations to the school are up to date.

Sliding Scale Placement

The Hartsbrook School seeks to make its educational program as accessible as possible. Sliding Scale Tuition is available to students in the high school, elementary, and early childhood programs attending at least 3 full days. The sliding scale program has the following goals:

  • To strengthen the school’s long term commitment to families who have chosen Hartsbrook for their children’s education and have demonstrated financial need.
  • To make it possible for larger families to enroll all of their children.
  • To ensure that sliding scale placement is fairly distributed and provides a consistent level of tuition to families who are maximizing their own financial resources to enroll at Hartsbrook for the long term.
  • To allow the school to remain financially sound and able to support its programs, teachers, and staff.

The sliding scale program determines a family’s relative need for placement on the sliding scale by evaluating a family’s available resources. To receive consideration for placement families must apply by submitting information about their income, assets and liabilities. This information is used to rank applicants on the basis of need.

Families are expected to increase their contribution to tuition to keep up with annual tuition increases and as the student progresses through the school. Any parent may apply for sliding scale placement.

The Hartsbrook School uses FACTS for its sliding scale placement processing. Families applying for placement will need to complete an online application and submit the necessary supporting documentation to FACTS Grant & Aid Assessment by February 15th. All paperwork must be submitted directly to FACTS; no paperwork or tax forms should be sent to the School. Families may apply online at any time by going to the FACTS website. The following information is required for FACTS to process your application:

  1. A completed online application;
  2. Payment of the application fee;
  3. Copies of most recent tax forms including all supporting tax schedules;
  4. Copies of W-2 forms for both parents;
  5. Copies of supporting documentation for Social Security Income, Welfare, Child Support, Food Stamps, Workers’ Compensation and TANF.

For parents who are separated or divorced, forms are required from the custodial and non-custodial parent and their spouse(s)/partner(s). Applications for placement will be processed only after receiving completed forms from both parents. Returning families that apply on time are more likely to be placed on the sliding scale; aid after the deadline has passed is not guaranteed.

Multi-Child Discount Policy

In order to make a Hartsbrook education more affordable for large families, the school offers an optional discount to families with three of more children concurrently enrolled at Hartsbrook.

  • Families Who Do Not Qualify for Sliding Scale Placement – Optional 10% discount for the third and subsequent children with the lowest tuition rates.
  • Families Who Qualify for Sliding Scale Placement – Optional 50% discount for the third and subsequent children with the lowest tuition rates after a placement has been made. The discount will be applied regardless of the placement level qualified for.

The above discount applies to tuition and the activity fee for Grades 6 – 12 and do not apply to any other fees or programs such as Extended Day.

Since this is an optional discount, families may choose to waive the sibling discount in support of the school.

School Leave and Withdrawal Policies

Family Requested Leave of Absence

A leave of absence allows a student to leave a class for a limited time and to return to that class under certain conditions established between the class teacher and the parents. The request for the leave of absence should be made in writing to the Administrative Chair, who will respond in writing, stating the conditions of the leave. For a description of how this affects tuition obligations, see above.

Student Support Leave

In certain cases, the school’s student support team (comprised of class teacher or advisor, student support coordinator, and school counselor as needed) may recommend that a student to take a temporary leave of absence to obtain an educational evaluation and/or to receive therapeutic services with the intent of facilitating the student’s return to school within the same school year. When a temporary leave is recommended for a student, a representative of the student support team and the Administrative Chair will notify the family verbally and in writing. The student’s re-admittance to school will be contingent upon the team’s review and assessment of all pertinent information, such as the student’s evaluation(s), and therapeutic support plans, progress reports and consultation with outside therapists, and/or other professionals as available. Tuition payments must continue to be paid in full while the student is on leave. Upon re-enrollment, tuition will be refunded for the period during which the student is on leave in order to assist the family with costs incurred for outside therapeutic services.

Withdrawal/Tuition Payment

The admission of a student is considered to be for a full school year. Extenuating circumstances may, however, make it necessary for a student to be withdrawn by the parents or at the request of the school. When parents decide to withdraw a child during the school year, the following steps need to be taken:

  1. The decision should be discussed with the student’s teacher.
  2. A letter addressed to the Administrative Chair should be sent to the school outlining the reason for withdrawal and establishing the official date the child is to be withdrawn.
  3. A copy of the withdrawal letter should be sent to the Business Office. Any payments due the school should be satisfactorily settled with the Business Manager.
  4. Parents of children who are being withdrawn are requested to complete an exit form, or schedule an exit interview with the Enrollment Director and a member of the faculty, staff and/or Board. This interview is a chance for parents to discuss openly and freely their child’s experience and their reasons for leaving the school.
  5. If, at any time after signing a Tuition Contract, a student is withdrawn from the school, the family is under the following financial obligations:
    • After February 15th and prior to June 30th, 100% of the non-refundable tuition deposit
    • After May 1st and prior to August 1st, 200% of the non-refundable tuition deposit
    • After August 1st, 100% of the tuition and activity fees as scheduled for the entire school year

Families who withdraw after submitting a deposit and prior to the first day of school for two years consecutively will be required to pay 50% of the tuition in order to hold a place for their child should they decide to re-enroll the following year.

Compulsory Withdrawal

The Faculty Conference may require parents to withdraw a student if the school determines that it is unable to meet the student’s academic/emotional/social needs, or if there are differences between the school and the family that cannot be resolved to the Faculty Conference’s satisfaction.

When a family is required to withdraw a student, a representative of the Faculty Conference will notify the family verbally and in writing. In cases of compulsory withdrawal, the family will be reimbursed for the remaining tuition.

A family may also be required to withdraw a student if it has not fulfilled its financial obligations to the school. In these cases, the family continues to be responsible for all of its financial obligations to the school.

Suspension, Probation and Expulsion

The Hartsbrook School will make every attempt to resolve difficulties that arise, but occasionally severe measures are necessary. The following sections state our policies and describe the processes followed under these circumstances.


Whenever possible, the teacher proposing a suspension will consult with a member of the Faculty Conference before suspending a student. The parents will be notified by phone, and they may be required to pick up their child before the end of the school day. It will be necessary for the student to have a meeting with the teacher, a representative of the Faculty Conference, and his/her parent(s) before the student may be readmitted.


Whenever possible, the Faculty Conference will inform the family in advance that this measure is being considered. The terms of probation will be formulated by the Faculty Conference. The class teacher and a representative of the Faculty Conference will meet with the parent(s) and student to review the terms of probation, and confirmation of the terms will be put in writing.


The Faculty Conference may expel a student if:

  • a student or the family does not support or follow the school’s policies or procedures
  • a student deliberately harms another student or teacher
  • a student damages or destroys school property
  • a student is suspended repeatedly
  • a suspension cannot be resolved to the school’s satisfaction
  • a student does not meet the terms of probation
  • the student smokes, drinks alcohol, takes drugs, or engages in destructive or dangerous behavior

If a student is to be expelled from the Hartsbrook School, a representative of the Faculty Conference will notify the parents verbally and in writing. When a student is expelled, the family will remain liable for the remaining semester’s tuition.

Development Program

Because the Hartsbrook School does not rely solely on the revenue from tuition to meet its operating expenses, it is necessary to have a robust development program to help support the needs of our school. Our development program provides a variety of opportunities for fundraising including the Scrip program and special events. These activities are vehicles not only for raising the funds necessary to meet the needs of a growing organization, but for having fun while strengthening community ties along the way.

Annual Giving

Annual giving is the foundation of our development program. Through the generous support of parents, faculty, alumni families, grandparents, and friends we are able to generate a substantial amount of revenue for the annual operating budget, allowing us to offer the unique educational experience and community life experienced here at Hartsbrook. During our Annual Giving Campaign, parents are especially generous with their financial resources. Many parents serve as volunteers working on the campaign and are helpful in encouraging other parents to give to the best of their ability. We strive for 100% participation from our Board of Directors, parents, faculty and staff in achieving our annual goal.

Early Childhood Handbook

Main Office
Vesna Vasovic, Office Manager, mainoffice@hartsbrook.org, 413-586-1908, ext. 100

Hartsbrook School Leadership Team
Virginia McWilliam, Pedagogical Chair
Lindsay Hunter, Administrative Chair

Cricket on the Hearth

Cricket on the Hearth is a parent-child program for children from six weeks through 4 years of age. There is also a parent-infant program for children from 6 weeks through 18 months. Parents and their children meet for the Cricket on the Hearth program one morning a week, with each session running from 11 to 18 weeks. All sessions are interwoven with play and age-appropriate activities including snack (prepared and shared together), stories, songs, verses, puppet shows handwork projects in an environment that fosters support and inspiration for parents. The parent-infant program meets for one and a half hours, once a week, with a focus on healthy movement development, observation and shared conversation.


The Meadowlark, Song Sparrow, Goldfinch and Forest Kindergartens have indoor classrooms. The Forest Kindergarten also has a classroom on the school’s APR land.

In all of our Early Childhood programs, we provide rich exposure to language and culture through stories, songs and verses. The children are given opportunities to work on social interactions through imaginative play and practical activity. There is rhythm and balance in daily and weekly plans, with a healthy alternation between active pursuits such as circle games and outdoor play, indoor and outdoor work and more receptive, quiet activities such as coloring, painting and listening to stories.

Early Childhood Extended Day Program

The Extended Day Program provides care and activities for children in the Early Childhood programs through the grade school. Care is provided from the end of the school day through 5:30 p.m. To enroll in the program please contact the Business Office.

Early Childhood Tenets

Creative Free Play

One of the premises of a Waldorf preschool is that play is the one of the most important part of a child’s life. It is the ’work’ of the child. It is the way the child learns about, integrates and digests life and its struggles. In many ways it would be easier to have activities planned for every moment of the Early Childhood morning so that the children would always be occupied with a teacher-directed activity and many more artistic creations would come home. We do not feel, however, that this would be in the children’s best interest. Children need to be left free to play in order to learn about sharing, taking risks, role modeling for each other, and resolving conflict. These lessons are all worked out and explored during free play. It is our role as teachers to help facilitate the children’s play and to provide them with imaginative pictures. We want to encourage in them, and in their relations with each other, the development of a truly imaginative faculty. As they grow older, this evolves into the capacity to think creatively.


The Early Childhood morning has rhythms all its own. There are daily, weekly, and seasonal rhythms.  Following a rhythmical schedule helps the child know what to expect during the school day. For example, the child know the days of the week, not by name, but by activity and snack. Monday might be thought of as “Walk day,” for example, with a long morning walk into the fields and forests of our beautiful campus.

In our Early Childhood programs, we consciously strive to create rhythmical activities that are comforting and instructive for young children.

Practical Matters

Arrival and Dismissal

The door opens at 8:15 a.m., and all children should be with their class by 8:30 a.m. Parents needing to drop their child off early can drop him or her off in the elementary school lobby. Punctuality is important, both for the arriving child and for those already present, to allow the children to settle down and become deeply engaged in their activities.

Dismissal for the half-day early childhood programs is at 12:45 p.m. Full day programs are dismissed at 3:15 p.m. We gather the children together before they go home for a good-bye song and verse. We respectfully ask that you do not take your children from the playground before we have said our goodbyes.

Car pool schedules should be submitted to the office. If there is a change, please let both the teacher and the office know in writing. If the teacher does not have a written note from you or know the person picking your child up, your child will not be released.

Before and After School

Please be sure that your child gets enough sleep. We recommend a bedtime of 7:00 p.m.  It is very tiring for young children to be with many other children, especially at the beginning of the year. We are very willing to offer suggestions and support if getting your child to bed early has proven to be a challenge.

It is important that children have a good, nutritious breakfast that will sustain them for the morning. A peaceful morning routine will get the whole family off to a good start. The children are much better prepared to enter into class activities when they have had a quiet morning without any media. The children should not bring toys from home.

When your child comes home, your child will tell about the day in his or her own time and way. If you feel you need more information about your child’s day in school, or are curious about the classroom activities, please speak with the teacher.

We ask that you be mindful that the grades and full day early childhood programs are still in session after the Early Childhood 12:45 p.m. dismissal. Because the playgrounds are still being used we ask that you not allow your children to play there.


In addition to what is included in the Dress Code in this handbook, we would like to emphasize that the children need to wear warm, comfortable clothing that will allow them to play freely. Dress your child in layers. We would rather that you send us too much since we can always remove a layer if a child gets overheated. We go outside in all weather, so your child will need completely waterproof rain and snow gear, a warm hat, and mittens. Your child’s teacher will supply a resource list for outdoor gear and long underwear sources.  Everything should fit snugly to keep out chilly winds. Your child should have an extra set of clothes to leave in school in the cloth bag provided by the teacher. PLEASE LABEL EVERYTHING! We also ask that children not have any media paraphernalia, writing or pictures (as stated in the Dress Code) on their clothing, or nail polish or jewelry, since they are a distraction from the mood of imaginative play that we encourage in our Early Childhood programs.


If your child is unable to go outside for recess with the class, it is better if he or she stays at home. The Early Childhood day is a long and social time for a young child who is feeling under the weather. The school nurse can advise you when it is appropriate for your child to attend school after an illness.

Indoor Shoes

The children need to bring a pair of indoor shoes to leave at school. They should be comfortable, cloth, rubber-soled slipper-type shoes. Slip-on or tie sneakers are ideal. No animal slippers or light-up shoes, please.


The birthday is a very special celebration in Waldorf Early Childhood programs, and it is wonderful if both parents and siblings can attend. Your child’s teacher will speak to you in greater detail about how birthdays are celebrated in his/her class. The birthday family may give a gift to the class if they wish, such as a basket, silk, or a gift of service.

Snacks and Allergies

If your child has any allergies or food restrictions, please let the school nurse and your child’s teacher know right away. We provide healthy, organic food for snack and lunch each day. We sweeten things with honey or maple syrup.

Please see also General Information for more on how the school handles illness and medication.


Teachers, assistants, and administrative staff cannot, by law, give any medication to a child. Any treatments, emergency medications, etc. that may be needed during school hours must be coordinated with the school nurse.

Early Childhood Playground Rules

  • Children must be supervised by an adult when around the Homestead barn and animals.
  • Children are to play inside the fence area unless a teacher permits and supervises children in other areas of the yard.
  • The “monkey bar” play structure is for use by the grades school children. Kindergarten children may not climb it at any time, including after school time.
  • The swings are for swinging in a seated position. Standing on a swing is NOT safe.
  • The outside stairway provides access to the upstairs offices and is not to be used as a play structure.
  • Shoes must be worn by everyone at all times.
  • Balls, Frisbees, and “foxtails” are the only things that may be thrown on the playground.
  • Sticks can cause injury, and we do not allow the children to use them in any fashion that would harm themselves or a friend such as throwing, running, swordplay, poking, etc. However, we encourage their use for building and digging, and as other tools. We ask that parents help us uphold these important safety rules.
  • Children use ropes in various creative ways. Our large swivel handled jump ropes should stay in their places and should not be used for play other than jumping. Ropes may only be used on the playground under adult supervision. Please monitor any loops that are made and be sure to untie them when you go inside.
  • Hula-hoops are fun for twirling, running after, and playing “train” or “horsey.” We don’t allow them to be used in a game of “chase” to catch hold of other children.
  • Snow and sledding:
    • No throwing snowballs unless within an organized group activity.
    • Sledding is allowed on the hill with adult supervision. Children must sit, lie feet first or be on their knees facing forward. No standing or head first position. Slide down and walk up the sides of the hill.
    • The school will provide all play equipment used at school. Children are not allowed to bring their own athletic equipment or toys to school.
  • Flowers, foliage, bits of sticks and stones are all parts of our school playground and must be left there so that we all may enjoy them each day.
  • Gunplay is not allowed. Teachers tell the children that only grown-ups carry guns, and that those who do so are trained to use them safely.
  • Please turn off your car radio and media systems while on school grounds.
  • Only adults are allowed to take toys out after school hours, and everything must be put away when you leave. All toys must be stored away in the shed after use. The teachers appreciate parents’ help with this.

Grades 1–8 Handbook

Main Office
Vesna Vasovic, Office Manager, mainoffice@hartsbrook.org, 413-586-1908, ext. 100

Hartsbrook School Leadership Team
Virginia McWilliam, Pedagogical Chair
Lindsay Hunter, Administrative Chair

Schedule, Extended Day, and Curriculum


Each day begins with the Main Lesson, a two-hour period devoted to a particular subject for a “block” of three to six weeks. There are four remaining periods each day (two before and two after lunch) for subject classes. Below is a schedule for grades 1–8. The schedule is slightly modified for grades 1 and 2. On Fridays, Grades 1–4 are dismissed at 12:45 p.m.

  • 8:30–10:30 a.m.                     Main Lesson
  • 10:30–10:55 a.m.                    Snack & Recess
  • 11:00–11:45 a.m.                     Class Period 1
  • 11:50 a.m.–12:35 p.m.            Class Period 2
  • 12:35–1:20 p.m.                      Recess & Lunch
  • 1:25–2:10 p.m.                        Class Period 3
  • 2:15–3:00 p.m.                        Class Period 4
  • 3:15 p.m.                                   Dismissal

Grades 1-8 Extended Day Program

The Extended Day Program provides care and activities for children in the Early Childhood programs through the grade school. Care is provided from the end of the school day through 5:30 pm, Monday through Friday. To enroll in the program, please contact the Main Office (mainoffice@hartsbrook.org).

Main Lesson

The Main Lesson begins with a morning verse, singing, recitation, and some movement and concentration exercises. Each lesson also includes a review and discussion of the previous day’s study; an activity, demonstration or presentation of new material; and work on artistic and academic projects. For most Main Lesson blocks, each student creates a Main Lesson book which summarizes and illustrates the subject.

World Languages

Learning foreign languages has always been an integral part of Waldorf Education. Stress is laid on experiencing the foreign culture directly through the language; children play games, sing folk songs and celebrate the seasonal festivals typical of the culture. Speaking and hearing a different language at a young age has a profound effect on the whole development of children, fostering versatility and flexibility, as well as helping them develop a deeper understanding and appreciation of other cultures.


Physical Education

Physical Education classes include rhythmic movement, coordination exercises, and a wide variety of games. For the younger students, there are circle games with singing and verses, and running games that make use of control, speed and quick thinking. These lead to traditional gymnastics and sports in the grades. These movement activities help the students grow strong in their bodies and develop a sensitive way of working with their classmates.


Through working with their hands, the students develop manual dexterity, practical thinking and artistic judgment. The work progresses from simplicity to complexity—from knitting a scarf in first grade to sewing a garment on the sewing machine in eighth grade. Knitting, crocheting, embroidery, and hand sewing are introduced.

Sculptural Arts

Sculptural Arts teach children to work artistically in three dimensional or sculptural forms.  Explorations of form in nursery/kindergarten begin with beeswax, sand or bread dough as mediums.  The early elementary grades bring further work with beeswax and older grades may work with clay and wood. These projects are part of Main Lesson studies and are usually done with the class teacher. In the older grade school years, this work in transformed into woodworking classes as the children are ready to work with a resistant material like wood.

Orchestra & Musical Instrument Study


Flutes and Recorders, Strings, Orchestra, and Recorder Ensemble

Learning to play an instrument and participating in an instrumental ensemble is part of the curriculum for all students.  In first, second, and third grades, the children learn to play the pentatonic flute with their class teacher. Toward the end of third or the beginning of fourth grade, they switch to diatonic flutes or soprano recorders. Practice on these flutes or recorders continues throughout the elementary grades with the class teacher.

In the third grade, subject teachers begin to work with the students as well. Each student begins to study the violin or cello. Group lessons are given during the school day.  Fourth graders play in a class string ensemble.  Students in fifth, sixth, and seventh grades play as an orchestra or in a recorder ensemble.  Eighth graders join the high school students for instrumental work.  Regular at-home practice of ensemble/orchestral music is essential.  Before-school practice sessions, led by high school students, will be arranged whenever possible for those students wishing for or needing more guided practice time on stringed instruments.  These sessions will be announced at the beginning of the school year.

Private lessons are very helpful but are not required for students who have participated in the group stringed instruction in Grades 3 and 4.  Students entering the school Grade 5 and higher who wish to play a stringed orchestral instrument but are new to the instrument, usually need private lessons to learn the basics before joining the orchestra.  These students participate in the recorder class in school until they are ready to join the orchestra on the violin, viola, cello, or stringed bass.  Students in Grades 5-7 not playing an orchestral instrument participate in the recorder ensemble. The recorder ensemble accommodates beginning players. Families are responsible for renting or purchasing their own stringed instruments; the music teachers will provide information on rentals and private music teachers. The school provides recorders.

Singing and Chorus

Throughout the grades, students sing with their class teacher and world language teachers. All students in grades 6 – 8 also participate in Chorus. The sixth and seventh graders sing together.  The eighth graders are part of the high school choral program.

Agricultural Arts

The Agricultural Arts Program provides students with the opportunity to participate in an active farm and garden environment that combines the many varied components of working with soil, plants and animals. The program enables learning to take place in a meaningful way and provides a practical foundation for the study of the human being in relation to nature.


Assemblies for the children take place regularly throughout the year. Assemblies are opportunities for the children to present to each other what they have been learning in their various classes. The assemblies may also be a festival of song and story marking a special event or season.

Because assemblies are special occasions, children are expected to wear neat and festive clothing for the assemblies on the first and last days of school, and on the assembly days listed on the school calendar (see Dress Code for a full discussion).

Most assemblies are listed on the school calendar; others will be announced in the Bulletin.

Field Trips

Field trips are an integral part of the curriculum. Field trips include walks originating from school grounds and others requiring approved transportation (school bus, designated van or private vehicle operated by school staff or parents). Before a field trip is taken, parents receive a description of the trip and a permission slip to sign and return. Field trips are considered school events that take place off-campus. On field trips students must remain with assigned groups and must follow school rules and guidelines.


The Hartsbrook School Children’s Library is located in Hartsbrook Hall. Currently the locations are:

  • Grades 1–4: Hartsbrook Hall downstairs hallway—Picture books, beginning readers, and short chapter books.
  • Grades 5–8: Hartsbrook Hall upstairs hallway—Longer chapter books and a non-fiction collection.

All of the libraries are operated on a self-serve basis. Circulation is one week for picture books and one month for all other materials.

The information about the borrower and the due date is written in by hand on the card, and the due date should also be written on the pocket in the book. Containers for cards of circulated books are found in each location.

Returned books should go in the containers provided on each level of Hartsbrook Hall. Volunteers will re-card the books and shelve them. Please do not re-shelve books on you own as this can create confusion.

Coming-of-Age Library: There is a small collection of books on this topic available to parents in the nurse’s office.


Birthdays are wonderful festivals for children. In the grades, the birthday child often brings a cake or wholesome treat for the class. Birthday children have also often given a gift, such as a book, to the class. Parents may wish to consult with the teacher to determine what kinds of gifts are appropriate.

Extracurricular Participation

The Hartsbrook School offers our students in the upper grades the opportunity to participate in a number of extracurricular activities in an after-school program. Any student in grades 1–8 who has been absent, for part or all of the school day, may not participate in any extracurricular activities that day unless an individualized plan is made with the faculty. An exception would be an excused absence for an appointment. Children who need to be excused from movement activities during the school day cannot participate in after-school movement activities.  Internal or external suspension or disciplinary problems will result in non-participation. Please see the section Working and Learning Together for a description of how Notes of Concern are treated in grades 6–8. Participation in extracurricular activities is a privilege reserved for students in good standing, and may be suspended in the case of ongoing disciplinary difficulties.

Early Childhood and Grade School Dress Code

(Updated: August 2023) 

Students are expected to come to school prepared for all weather and activities. Clothing and accessories must not compromise the student’s ability to fully participate in the school day and programs.

Student Support

The Hartsbrook School strives to meet the educational needs of all students. Because our curriculum is largely presented through the spoken word, arts, and practical activities, students with different learning styles can participate meaningfully in our program. At its core, however, the school places a strong emphasis on learning within a class group. During the admission process, the teacher will attempt to identify possible learning differences, and our Student Support Coordinator may be asked to review the application as well, in order to build as complete a picture of the child’s learning style as possible. In addition to the assessment during the interview with the child and discussions with parents, we also look at past school records and prior evaluations, and we may request additional evaluations.

As a child progresses in the school, parents and teachers may have ongoing and evolving questions and concerns about the child’s educational needs. In conjunction with the Student Support Coordinator (ESC), teachers and parents work together to further determine what may be needed to support the child’s learning. To arrange for further evaluation or other assessments, parents may make a request through their local school district or with a private developmental consultant. Evaluations by the school district are free, but parents pay for private consultations. Based on these evaluations and ongoing communication, the parents, class teacher, and Student Support Coordinator can establish a course of support and remediation.

A second grade screening, a third grade reading assessment and classroom observations/recommendations are all provided through the school program. This is also the time we screen each child’s vision and hearing. It may be important to begin support programs at this time to aid a child’s acquisition of academic skills. Close work with the Student Support Coordinator and other remedial therapists and medical professionals can support the classroom work.

If a need becomes more evident, direct academic and/or therapeutic support may be required. Parents, in collaboration with the class teacher and the Student Support Coordinator, will arrange support services at the parent’s expense.

Ideally, support services should be part of the child’s regular school day, though this may not always be possible due to space and time limitations. In order to help the child remain as much a part of the regular class activities as possible, it is important that the class teacher, Student Support Coordinator, tutor, other therapists and parents work together. We may request ongoing evaluations to ensure that the school continues to meet the child’s changing needs. Although the Hartsbrook School tries to find ways to work with children who have different learning styles and needs, there will be situations in which, despite the best efforts of teachers and the school, we will be unable to meet a child’s needs. In this situation, the Faculty Conference reserves the right to determine the best course of action.

Student Support Circle

Parents, class teacher, and the Student Support Coordinator meet for an in-depth review of a student’s progress and needs, and together outline recommendations and goals for the classroom and the home. This meeting may also include other teachers and consulting professionals on occasion. A Student Support Circle can be initiated by a parent or teacher by contacting the Student Support Coordinator. This meeting can generate a Student Support Plan (SSP), our form of an Individual Educational Plan (IEP).

Student Support Coordinator

The Student Support Coordinator (SSC) is a trained Therapeutic Educator or Counselor who supports students, teachers and parents through to coordinate activities concerning the academic and social needs of our students. Classroom observation and consultation, coordinating developmental and academic assessments, organizing and overseeing student support schedules, Child Study, Support Circles (parent/teacher meetings), and faculty professional development opportunities are some of the responsibilities of the SSC.

The SSC also provides therapeutic and academic support for small groups and individual children. A limited number of hours per week are available for this work within the SSC position.

Grades 1-8 School Recess Rules


Morning recess begins at 10:35 and ends at 10:55. All students must be outdoors by 10:45, unless they are excused by their teacher. Students who have not finished snack by 10:45 must bring their food outdoors and finish it, sitting at a designated location, before playing. Students who bring a note from home that they need to stay indoors for health reasons stay in the Hartsbrook Hall lobby.

Lunch recess begins at 12:35 and ends at 12:55.

Students must stay in sight of the teachers on duty at all times.

With the exception of baseball gloves and yo-yos, students may not use personal toys or sports equipment brought from home while at school without express permission from their teacher.



  • play safely and harmoniously
  • play imaginatively
  • play within boundaries
  • play games that are fun for all
  • jump rope
  • play tetherball
  • play Four Square—grades 3 & 4
  • play with pogo sticks/stilts
  • sledding, if supervised
  • swing on swing set


  • teasing or bullying
  • exclusive play
  • leaving designated recess areas without permission
  • running with sticks
  • hard baseballs or bats
  • tackling
  • standing on swings
  • team games for points, or win/lose, without adult supervision
  • tree climbing beyond designated areas
  • going in or near stream
  • standing in wagons



  • play safely and harmoniously
  • play imaginatively
  • play within boundaries
  • play games that are fun for all
  • play catch with SOFT balls/Foxtails
  • play Basketball, if supervised & available)
  • play Volleyball if available
  • play Touch Football(no tackling)
  • play Soccer (no heading)
  • play Kickball
  • play Baseball, if supervised
  • play Frisbee/Ultimate Frisbee
  • jump rope
  • play tetherball
  • play Four Square
  • sledding, if supervised
  • swing on swing set


  • teasing or bullying
  • exclusive play
  • leaving designated recess areas without permission
  • hanging on or climbing Soccer goals
  • toys or sports equipment from home except yo-yos and baseball gloves
  • tackle football or tackling
  • heading balls
  • throwing snowballs or ice
  • hard balls or bats
  • kicking basketballs, volleyballs or tetherballs
  • standing on swings
  • tree climbing beyond designated areas
  • going in or near stream
  • standing in wagons
  • entering Athletic Shed unless with permission from Games Teacher or Athletic Director

The following areas are off limits to students unless supervised by a teacher:

  • the space between Piening Hall and the South Modular
  • the slope heading down to the Hartsbrook Brook.

When the bell rings at 10:55 a.m. and 12:55 p.m., play stops and all play equipment is returned to storage. Fifth through eighth grade students line up under the canopy in places designated by their teachers.  Students are led into the building by their teacher. Grades one through four line up by their outside doors.


  • Students must obey the recess teacher’s decisions concerning clothing, conditions, and safety.
  • Students must wear waterproof or snow pants, a helmet, a coat, hat, gloves, and boots.
  • Sledding is in designated areas only.
  • Sledding is only permitted when a teacher is present.
  • Form a line to take turns when there are more students than sleds.
  • Face forward when sledding. When 2 people share a sled, one of them must face forward.
  • The path must be clear before you go down.
  • Sledders must avoid running into others below them on the hill.
  • When you reach the bottom, come back up the hill on the sides.
  • Hand the sled to the first person in line and go to the back of the line.
  • When the bell rings, return the sleds to the sled shed and stack them neatly.

Locations for Recess

First through fourth grades have recess on the Elementary School playground. Inclusive ball games are allowed for grade four when facilitated by a teacher. No soccer may be played on this field at recess.

Grades 5 -8 may play on either the Elementary School playground or the Piening Hall field.

The canopy on the south side of Hartsbrook Hall is reserved as a quiet space.  First through fourth grades should not congregate under the canopy during recess. No ball games should take place under the canopy. On rainy days children will play outside wearing appropriate rain gear. In the absence of rain gear, students may play under the canopy on the east side of Hartsbrook Hall.

Elementary School Indoor Rules

  • Walking only in the hallway (no running)
  • Quiet voices in the hallway
  • Students may only whisper in the hallway when classes are in session
  • No running hands on walls or windows
  • No students are allowed in the faculty room
  • No students may use the copy machine or paper cutter
  • Three children are allowed in the bathroom at a time. Others must wait outside the bathrooms.

Working and Learning Together

The healthy social life is found
When in the mirror of each human soul
The whole community finds its reflection
And when in the community
The virtue of each one is living.
~ Rudolf Steiner

Working and learning together requires discipline and form from students and teachers. The foundation of a healthy learning environment is safety, mutual respect and cooperation among students and between students and teachers, along with a willingness to strive to do one’s best. To promote these values, teachers and parents work together to establish clear expectations for student behavior. The art of teaching asks, to begin with, that educators work on self-discipline. Under the guiding authority of adults, children gradually develop the self-discipline necessary to assume responsibility for their own actions. Students are also expected to gradually develop the inner discipline they need in order to take responsibility for their own learning.

Every human community lives by principles that reflect its values, and the Hartsbrook School strives to live by a set of principles that emphasize the importance of cooperating with and taking an interest in others, practicing respect and tolerance, and taking responsibility for one’s own conduct. These principles are articulated in the Hartsbrook Citizenship Principle.


Be kind, safe, and helpful in word and deed.

From the Citizenship Principle comes the Code of Conduct that regulates our daily social life together.


Be courteous
Participate fully/Do your best
Abide by the rules of our community
Follow teachers’ directions

See also Appendix #1 for examples of specific behaviors that would be considered violations of the Code of Conduct.

Click here for the Student Code of Conduct Agreement for Grades 6, 7, and 8.

Working Together

Disciplinary Procedures

A student who fails to abide by the Code of Conduct will be subject to disciplinary measures. Some students may also need an Individual Support Plan in meeting the Hartsbrook Code of Conduct; those students will be referred to the Educational Support Group.

Teachers at the Hartsbrook School may not use any form of corporal punishment under any circumstances*. If children are in danger of harming themselves or being physically harmed by another child, the teacher will use the minimum amount of restraint necessary to ensure the children’s safety.

*Violation of this rule by Hartsbrook employees will be referred to the Administrative Chair and Pedagogical Chair who act on behalf of the Conference in all matters requiring employee discipline.  Disciplinary actions considered will depend upon the nature of the violation and range from a verbal warning to suspension and termination. In cases involving severe misconduct, the Board Chair is also informed and legal counsel is consulted.

Early Childhood

In the early childhood programs, we try our best to help the children weave a healthy social tapestry through the stories we tell, the activities we do, and the mood we create within the classroom. Within this context, we strive initially to handle discipline in an implicit manner; when difficult behavior occurs, children are redirected in an imaginative and playful way. When that implicit approach is not effective, we meet the child in a more explicit way. For example, when a child is excluding another from play, a teacher may say, “In kindergarten, we all play together.” We then work to help children find ways to be more inclusive. A child who needs more direction might be seated close to the teacher during snack, engaged by the teacher in meaningful, helpful work with another child, or a pedagogical story might be told to the whole class. Every child is unique; teachers and parents work closely together, and good communication is essential.

Grades 1–5

Teachers at the Hartsbrook School strive to build classroom discipline on the foundation of positive and purposeful working together. In the lower grades, teachers help children learn and practice appropriate behavior that reflects the Code of Conduct. When inappropriate behavior occurs, students are counseled or redirected on an individual basis. The student may be given a restorative task or be asked to leave the classroom for a specified time (time out). A student who persists in inappropriate behavior, especially in instances concerning safety, may be sent home from school.

More Serious Infractions in Nursery, Kindergarten, and Grades 1–5

The measures outlined above are the usual approach to discipline. When these are not effective, or when the inappropriate behavior is more serious, other measures may need to be taken. The class teacher reports the matter to the Executive Circle, and together they consider more serious steps which may include, but are not limited to, holding a parent-teacher conference, referring the student to the Educational Support Group, probation, suspension, compulsory withdrawal or expulsion.

Grades 6–8

In Grades 6–8, students are expected to take more responsibility for practicing self-discipline and working out problems. Teachers may send home a Note of Celebration to acknowledge examples of this type of good citizenship.

When students do not observe the Hartsbrook Citizenship Principle and the Hartsbrook Code of Conduct, teachers are charged with the responsibility and authority to solve minor disciplinary challenges through immediate, direct action. If these measures are not immediately effective, teachers use the following series of steps.

  • Reminding the student, orally, what is expected of him or her.
  • Giving the student an oral warning that he or she must change the behavior in question.
  • Sending a written Note of Concern to the student’s parent(s).

(Note: Depending on the nature and severity of the problem, a teacher, at his or her discretion, may skip the reminder and directly issue a warning, or skip both the reminder and the warning and immediately send home a Note of Concern. Suspension or probation may also be warranted without going through the Notes of Concern process.)

Notes of Concern

When a teacher issues a Note of Concern, it initiates a series of prescribed actions which are undertaken in order to 1) help the student bring his or her behavior into alignment with the school’s expectations and 2) document the measures applied as a tangible record of the behavior lapse. An accumulation of Notes of Concern leads to increasingly severe disciplinary measures.

1st Note of Concern

  • Note of Concern is turned in to the Office Manager in the Main Office
  • Original is given to student to take home by issuing teacher. Original must be signed by parents and returned to class teacher next school day.
  • A copy is mailed to parents as a courtesy
  • A copy is given to the class teacher the same day. The class teacher is to ensure that student misses the next recess in a designated area. This could include an assigned activity.

2nd Note of Concern within 8 weeks:  The Second Note of Concern initiates more serious consequences:

  • The Office Manager notifies the Athletic Coordinator in person or by phone, and the student misses the next scheduled extra-curricular event.
  • Parents are contacted by the class teacher and a meeting is set up between the class teacher, the issuing teacher and the parent within 48 hours of the incident. The student may attend part of this meeting.
  • The student misses both recesses the following day in designated area.

3rd Note of Concern within 8 weeks:  Third Note of Concern follows same procedures as above with the following additions:

  • Parents are contacted by phone the same day by the Office Manager after informing the class teacher.
  • The student is suspended for one day.
  • The parents meet a second time with teachers to discuss necessary steps and/or are referred to Educational Support Group for additional support and follow-up.
  • The student misses all extra-curricular activities for one week.

For the accumulation of Notes of Concern within an 8-week period, multiple Notes of Concern received on one day will be considered as a single Note of Concern.


A student who is suspended two times within an 8-week period will be placed on probation, the terms of which will be established by the school and stated in writing. A copy of the terms of probation will be conveyed to the parents and student verbally and in writing. If the terms of the probation are not met, the matter will be referred to the Faculty Conference to consider a recommendation of expulsion. Parents will be notified verbally and in writing when expulsion is being considered.

Please see High School Handbook for high school disciplinary information. The Hartsbrook Citizenship Principle and Code of Conduct and expectations stated above apply to the whole school.

Learning Together

General Expectations

Students are expected to participate fully in their assigned program both during class time and in work to be completed outside of class. The directives given by teachers are to be followed in all cases, and students are expected to assume responsibility for fulfilling them.

Students are expected to be on time for their classes and to be ready with the required materials. A student in Grades 6–8 who is late for a subject class must submit a Class Late Slip to the teacher. All students in Grades 1–8 who are tardy for Main Lesson must obtain a Morning Late Slip from the office and present it to the class teacher.


When homework is assigned, it must be completed and handed in on time. If the student does not understand the assignment or is unable to complete it independently, it is important that the student let the teacher know before the assignment is due. Through fifth grade, teachers will inform the parents regarding homework expectations. Parents can assist students by asking directly if homework has been assigned and by helping to assure that it is completed and brought to school on time. If a student is having consistent difficulty completing work, teachers and the parents will work with the student to address the problem and build good habits.

In sixth through eighth grade, parents continue to play an important role in supporting homework, but the students are expected to assume greater individual responsibility for their academic work and conduct. If a student is having difficulty completing an assignment, he or she should contact the assigning teacher for help or to discuss alternatives. When students fall short of meeting these responsibilities, a Note of Concern may be issued and the system described earlier will be invoked.

Summary of Working and Learning Together

The expectations teachers place on student conduct are defined by the Hartsbrook Citizenship Principle and Code of Conduct.

The forms our school uses to record and communicate cases in which these expectations are not met are:

  • Morning Late Slip for students in grades 1–8 who are late to Main Lesson (obtained in office and brought to teacher)
  • Class Late Slips for students in grades 6–8 who are late to subject classes (filled out by student and brought to teacher)
  • Notes of Concern, used to inform parents when a student in grades 6–8 falls short of the school’s expectations for behavior, academic work, lateness, or any other area covered by the Citizenship Principle and Code of Conduct (filled out by teachers and given to child  to be signed by parents and returned.)

Participation in After-School Sports and Activities

Students who have not participated in a class or classes for health reasons may not participate in after-school sports or other school activities on that day. Students must also be in good academic and behavior standing to participate in after-school sports and activities. Guidelines are described in the Note of Concern system.


High School Handbook

The 2022-2023 High School Handbook can be found at this link. The most up to date high school cell phone policy is here.

Title IX


What is Title IX?

Title IX is a federal civil rights law passed as part of the Education Amendments of 1972. This law protects people from discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities that receive Federal financial assistance. Title IX states that:

“No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”

The Hartsbrook School is required by Title IX of this law not to discriminate on the basis of sex in its educational programs, activities, and employment. The School must not discriminate on the basis of sex in: admission, recruitment, specific curriculum content or texts, financial aid, other benefits and services, such as employment assistance, and health benefits. Similarly, the School must not discriminate in employment recruiting, employment criteria, compensation, fringe benefits, and pre-employment inquiries. The Administrative Chair is designated as the employee responsible for coordinating the School’s efforts to comply with and carry out its responsibilities under this law, including any investigation of any complaint communicated to the School alleging its noncompliance with this law or alleging any actions which would be prohibited by this law.

Non-Discrimination Policy

The Hartsbrook School admits students without regard for religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, race, color, disability, sexual preference, national and ethnic origin, military or veteran status to all rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the School. It does not discriminate on the basis of religion, sex, sexual orientation, sexual preference, gender identity and expression, race, color, age, disability, national or ethnic origin, military or veteran status, or any other characteristic protected under applicable federal, state or local law in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarships and loan programs, and other School-administered programs.


Education and training are key to establishing a prevention plan for sexual harassment and other Title IX violations. Administrators and teachers will be trained in how to keep Hartsbrook free from sexual misconduct and how to handle Title IX complaints. Hartsbrook is implementing the new Title IX Rule using the following guidance from both the Department of Education and the Office of Civil Rights.

Title IX Technical Assistance

Title IX Webinars

Title IX Blog Entries


For any questions about Title IX at Hartsbrook, please contact:

Lindsay Hunter, Administrative Chair
Title IX Coordinator

Virginia McWilliam, Pedagogical Chair
Title IX Deputy

All-School General Information & Policies

Attendance and School Hours


Arrival: Students can enter the classrooms at 8:15 am. Students need to be ready to begin their day by 8:30 am.

Dismissal: 12:45 pm for half days; 3:15 pm for full days.

Elementary School

Grades 1–8: 8:10–8:20 am; Students need to be in their places by 8:20 am or they will be marked tardy.

Grades 1–4:    Monday – Thursday  3:15 pm, Fridays and half days  12:45 pm
Grades 5–8:    Monday – Friday  3:15 pm, Half days  12:45 pm

High School

Grades 9–12: 8:00 am; Students need to be in their places by 8:15 am or they will be marked tardy.

Grades 9–12:   Monday – Friday  3:20 pm, Half days  12:35 pm


The beginning of the day contains the seed of what the day will become. Therefore, it is essential that students arrive on time. In the event of an absence or unexpected delay, parents or guardians need to notify the school by 8:15 am.

Please note that school doors do not open until 8:00am.


Students who are not at their places by 8:15 am in grades 8 – 12 and 8:30 am in grades 1 – 7 will be considered tardy. In grades 1 and 2, the parent or driver needs to accompany the tardy student to the office and fill out a Morning Late Slip. The student will bring this form to the class teacher. Students in grades 3–8 fill out these forms themselves.


The Hartsbrook School’s program depends on full attendance. In the event of absence, teachers may assign make-up work for missed classes in grades 6–8. If a student misses more than 10% of classes in any subject, teachers may assign additional work in order for course requirements to be completed. This 10% includes excused and unexcused absences. An unexcused absence may result in a notation on the Final Report that work is incomplete. Extensive absences require a note from a health practitioner.

In the high school, students who are absent for more than three days may not receive full credit. Students are required to discuss how to make up work with their advisers. Absences, tardiness and credit awarded will be noted on trimester report and on the transcript.

Excused absences include: illness, medical appointments which can not be scheduled after school hours, personal or family emergencies, and absences which have been approved by prior arrangement with the class teacher. Family vacations are not excused absences.

If a student will be absent, the school office needs to be notified before 8:15 a.m. In the high school, each student needs to contact his/her teachers about making up work that is missed.


Students are expected to leave the school grounds at dismissal time unless they are participating in the Extended Day program, under the supervision of a parent or another designated adult, or if specific arrangements have been made with the teacher. Students in the grade school must be dismissed to a parent or designated adult; they can not be dismissed to an older grade school student or to watch athletic contests.

Students who are not picked up by 3:30 pm must return to the office so that the Office Manager can contact their car pool drivers. They must be signed out when their ride arrives. Students whose parents/carpool have not picked them up may not play on the playground after dismissal.

Music Lessons

Students who stay after school for music lessons are under the supervision of their music teacher.  They must wait before and after their lessons in an area supervised by the teacher. Parents of children who stay for music lessons must fill out a form in the Main Office that informs the school of the dates and times the student will be in school for the lesson.

Use of PVTA Bus (Update: Fall 2022 – PVTA Bus Route is not currently running)

The PVTA Bus service is operated by the area colleges. There is a currently a bus stop at 193 Bay Road on both sides of the street. Current bus schedules for Route 39 (Smith/Hampshire/Mt. Holyoke Colleges via Bay Road) can be found on the PVTA website.

Children in grades 1–12 may ride the bus after school once a bus permission slip is on file in the Main Office. Bus Permission Slips will be sent out via BigSIS at the beginning of each year. Each day, an adult crossing guard will meet the bus riders from grades 1–8 at dismissal to accompany them across Bay Road to the bus stop. High School students are allowed to cross the street independently but usually have to ride a later bus as their dismissal is at 3:25 pm.

Biking and Driving

Students in Grades 6-12 may bike to school if permission has been granted by the parent/guardian – a permission form can be completed in BigSIS at the beginning of each year or over the course of the year.  Parents and guardians of students who are driving themselves to school are also asked to complete a permission form.  This permission form lets our faculty and staff know that the student may be dismissed on their own for their self-transport.

Health and Well-Being

Illness or Injury

We do not have the facilities to care for sick or injured students in school. If students are sick or unable to participate fully in the program, they should stay home until they are better.

Illness or Injury during the School Day

If a student becomes ill or injured during the school day, the teacher will send the student to the nurse’s office, where school nurse (when on duty) or the staff will assess the situation. If the student is unable to participate in school activities, the staff will call the parent to arrange for the student to go home.

Physical Exams

All new students and students in kindergarten, Grades 4, 7, and 10, and all athletes must provide a copy of the Massachusetts School Health Record (otherwise known as the physical exam) from the child’s physician dated within the last 13 months. If a child is entering kindergarten, documentation of lead and vision screenings is required. If a child has any kind of health issue for which she/he is under the regular care of a physician, we will need an annually updated copy of the physical examination. The form may be submitted electronically via BigSIS or a hard copy sent to the school nurse.


Immunizations have been a very effective public health measure in limiting the incidence of many communicable diseases. Current immunization records or a letter of religious or medical exemption signed by parents or guardians, must be on file before the first day of school.  They may be submitted electronically via BigSIS or a hard copy sent to the school nurse.  The MDPH immunization requirements for entry into school can be found at www.mass.gov.dph.imm.

Annual School Health Update

The school requires that an Annual School Health Update form be filled out by the parent/guardian prior to the start of school annually on BigSIS. This record provides essential medical information that is important in keeping a student’s medical history updated annually.

Emergency Medical Release Form

The school requires an Emergency Information and Release Form for each child, stating where the parents can be reached during the school day. This form gives the school permission to obtain emergency medical care. Your child may not attend school until this form is complete on BigSIS.

School Nurse

Our school nurse oversees school health policies and programs, maintains medical records, and protocols and policies to meet state regulations. The school also requires an Emergency Information and Release Form for each child, stating where the parents can be reached during the school day. This form gives the school permission to obtain emergency medical care and is submitted via BigSIS. Your child may not attend school until this form is complete.

Our school nurse provides health care to our students and staff, performs health screenings, and strives to maintain a safe, healthy school environment.


In accordance with state regulations, school faculty and staff are not permitted to administer any medications to students in school. If a child requires short-term or long-term medication during the school day, parents are required to contact the school nurse and provide a physician’s order, parental consent and the medication. The administration of medications to children at school is managed by the school nurse with provisions for self-administration of selected medications, as determined by the school nurse. Parents may come during the school day to give a medication to their child by making prior arrangements with the class teacher.

Lice and Infectious Diseases

If the school nurse receives report of possible lice or nits on hair from a parent of a specific child or teacher, the school nurse will check that student in the nurse’s office or check the entire class on the day that the report is received. The school will notify the parents/guardians of children in the classroom if a child is identified as having lice. The student may remain in class until dismissal, but should not stay at school longer than regular dismissal time (no after care or extracurricular activities).  The day following commencement of treatment, the school nurse will recheck students to authorize return to school.

In situations when one or more cases of a vaccine-preventable disease or certain other communicable diseases are present in a school, all susceptibles, including those with medical or religious exemptions, are subject to exclusion as described in the Reportable Diseases and Isolation and Quarantine Requirements. Certain communicable and infectious diseases are reported to the Massachusetts local boards of health. Parents will be notified if an infectious disease is reported in a classroom so that appropriate measures can be implemented.


Prior to participating in any after-school athletic program,  the athlete must fill out the Pre-Participation Head Injury Concussion Form (found on our website). If a head injury (including hits to the nose and mouth) occurs during school or a sports practice, the parent will be notified. The parents will receive a Head Injury Resource Sheet and any further recommendations for referral to their family physician. If a student is diagnosed with a concussion and the injury occurred during sports, the student must present the Post Sports-Related Head Injury Medical Clearance and Authorization Form. This will provide permission to return to school and to participate in sports/PE activities/classroom activities. An instructive video on concussions for athletes and their parents can be found on our website.

Mandated Reporting

The school is required by law to report all known or suspected cases of child abuse or neglect to the Department of Children & Families (DCF). If an employee of the school has reasonable cause to suspect physical, emotional, or sexual abuse of a child under the age of 18, he or she should notify the Administrative Chair immediately. The Administrative Chair will inform the Faculty Conference; the Faculty Conference will exercise its judgment in light of legal standards. The information contained in this report is private and confidential and may be shared only with school employees and members of the Board of Directors on a need-to-know basis. According to Massachusetts law, any person who releases such information more widely is liable for a fine of no more than $1,000 or imprisonment for not more than two-and-one-half-years, or both. (Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 119§51A Section E).

If the DCF asks to interview a child in connection with such a report, whether filed by the Hartsbrook School or by another party, the school encourages the DCF to find an appropriate off-campus location for such interviews because we are concerned that a family’s right to privacy and confidentiality may not be maintained in the school setting, which has a limited number of private spaces, a community in which most children know most or all adults present on campus, and a setting in which children are not routinely removed from classes.

However, if the DCF must interview a child on the Hartsbrook School campus, the school will allow the interview under the following conditions. Some or all of these conditions may be waived by the school when the school feels that this is required by emergency circumstances.

  1. The Hartsbrook School will require the DCF to notify the parents and will then allow the interview to take place as expeditiously as possible.
  2. The DCF staff person will check in with an identified staff member of the Hartsbrook School and show his/her ID.
  3. A Hartsbrook School staff member will sit in on the interview.

School Closings and Delays

Parents are notified directly via phone, email, or text messaging through the ParentSquare system in the event of a school closing or delay due to inclement weather. You must specify your preferred method of contact.  In the fall of each year, you will be asked to update your contact information.  You may contact the Main Office if you have questions or are not receiving the alerts as expected.

Other ways to get information on school closings is to watch WWLP-TV22 or WGGB-TV40, check the homepage of our website, or call the main school number, (413) 586-1908.

Our closings and delays may not always coincide with those of the Hadley public schools.

Photographs and Video Policy

The Hartsbrook School has a no photo/no video policy during all school events with the exception of the first day and final day assemblies and graduation. Only school-authorized photographers may take photographs or videos at all other school events.  Photos taken by school-authorized photographers are posted on the school’s SmugMug photo site.  This is a password-protected site and you may find the password by logging into the BigSIS Parent Portal.

Contact your child’s teacher if you are interested in being the photographer for a particular class event.

Digital Media Policy

Research and experience indicate that exposure to digital media hinders the learning process and limits the development of children’s capacities and abilities (perceptual, intellectual, creative, and social). We strongly encourage families to find alternatives to digital media, and our faculty are happy to have a non-judgmental conversation on how to foster healthy practices at home.

In the high school, students may be asked to use a computer for note taking and assignments. See the High School Handbook for a more complete discussion of the media policy in the high school.

Gifts to Teachers and Staff

The Faculty and Staff gratefully acknowledge the many parents who wish to show their generosity to the school and its personnel. This policy is aimed at providing guidelines for those wishing to give gifts to teachers and staff, and to avoid the perceived or real conflict of interest that such gifts can engender.

  • Gestures of thanks which are personal and not of monetary value are always welcome. Examples might include personal letters from parents or students, homemade art or food items, or plants or flowers for classrooms.
  • Any other gifts should be modest in nature, with a value not to exceed $50 per year per family. Gifts of cash are not appropriate. Families should never be solicited or pressured to give gifts of value.
  • Parents wishing to express gratitude through gifts exceeding the $50 family limit are encouraged to contribute to the Hartsbrook School Annual Fund, which directly benefits school personnel by funding classroom supplies and teacher education, among other things. Remember that such gifts are tax deductible and are crucial to continuing our work at Hartsbrook. Please consider making your gift in honor of a specific teacher or staff member if you wish to show gratitude to an individual.

Campus Policies

Visitor Policy

A copy of our Visitor Policy is on our website.  All parents and guardians are expected to adhere to the policy and must sign in at the Main Office when visiting during school hours.

Parking and Drop-Off

Students in Grades 1–12 may be dropped off in the turnaround loop at the main entrance of Hartsbrook Hall. Parking is not allowed in the loop, and cars may only idle as long as necessary to drop off students. If parents/guardians need to come into the building or have a conversation with someone, please park in the parking lots. Please use spaces efficiently and carpool when you can as space is limited. Parents are responsible for children on school grounds before arrival and after dismissal. Children are not allowed in the parking area unaccompanied by an adult.

Early Childhood parents and drivers may park in the north parking lot closest to Bay Road. Please escort your child(ren) into the building and back to the vehicle. If additional parking is needed, please use the south parking lot next to the athletic field.  Parking on the basketball court, or in a way that forces others to drive on the court to exit, is strictly prohibited.

High school students who drive themselves to school should park in the south parking lot.

Visiting the Farm and Animals

Our Land Stewardship faculty and staff spend numerous hours tending the farm and caring for the animals so that we can provide rich educational opportunities for our students.  We are so fortunate to have this wonderful resource, and we invite the community to enjoy it while observing some important guidelines when visiting the animals:

  • The community is welcome to visit the farm animals during normal school hours when Land Stewardship faculty and staff are onsite.  All animal barns are closed off to visitors after the end of the school day and on weekends.
  • Please do not feed the animals as their daily provisions are well tended by others and they have their own special diet. Hand feeding encourages them to be aggressive and bite.
  • Students from the elementary grades have morning and afternoon animal chores.  Please allow them space to carry out their tasks so they can freely enter and exit the barns.
  • Do not let children give their hands for the animals to nibble on, as the animals do not understand that they shouldn’t bite. The animals are not being aggressive, just curious.
  • With adult supervision, children may visit the animals, pat the goats and donkeys behind their ears, on their necks or manes.
  • No child is allowed unaccompanied in any of the animal barns at any time.
  • During calving season, all families and children must stay out of the cow barn until notified otherwise. When given permission to visit the new calf, a quiet and respectful mood is expected.
  • Visitors are only allowed in the animal pens when accompanied by Land Stewardship staff.
If we follow these guidelines, we can safeguard our animals’ health and well-being and the students who work with them.

Dog Policy

In order to keep students and our farm animals safe, dogs are not allowed on campus even if they are on a leash.


Smoking is not allowed on any school grounds or in any of the buildings as per state regulations.

School Supplies

The school provides many of the supplies needed. Materials include (but are not limited to): crayons, colored pencils, Main Lesson books, textbooks, handwork supplies, beeswax, paints and painting paper. These materials are given to the students who then assume responsibility for them as their own possessions. The tools and materials given are of high quality and with care they will serve the students well. In grades 4–12, students are responsible for replacing materials that are damaged or lost.

In the high school, a list of supplies needed can be found at the end of the high school handbook and will be mailed to students during the summer.

Personal Belongings

Student Belongings

A school bag or backpack is needed for students in Grades 4–12. All belongings should be labeled with the student’s name. If student belongings are found in common spaces or on playgrounds they will be placed in the Lost & Found which is located on the first floor of Hartsbrook Hall. High school students are expected to keep their belongings in their lockers during the school day.

Lost and Found

The Lost and Found is located in the hallway in Hartsbrook Hall and inside the front door in Piening Hall. Please check these areas for missing articles of clothing. Smaller lost and found items such as jewelry will be kept in the school offices. Unclaimed articles will be given to a charitable organization. Please label your child’s clothing, especially boots, gloves, hats, and coats.


Toys, non-educational items and athletic equipment, with the exception of baseball mitts and yo-yo’s, may not be brought to school. Radios, Walkmans, iPods or any other kind of electronic equipment may not be brought to school or on class trips. Trading cards and watches that beep are not permitted in school. These items will be kept by the teacher during the school day and returned to the parent or guardian.


In the Kindergarten, a healthy snack is prepared at school and lunch is provided on Tuesday – Thursday. Students in the grades bring their own snacks and lunches. Please pack food in labeled, reusable containers when possible to reduce waste.

Candy and Gum

Students may not bring candy or gum to school.

Appendix #1

Hartsbrook Code of Conduct – Prohibited Activities

The following are some examples of actions that do not follow the Hartsbrook Code of Conduct, and which are therefore not allowed on school grounds and during all school-sponsored activities. When these behaviors occur, students are counseled or redirected. Teachers may also use logical consequences or help students to make amends for their actions.


  • bringing to school items other than those needed for school work and school activities unless a special arrangement has been made with a teacher (teachers may confiscate any items deemed unsafe, distracting, or otherwise inappropriate)
  • leaving designated play areas or school grounds without a teacher’s permission, approaching or entering bodies of water, including the Harts Brook, without teacher supervision
  • overly rough play, such as hitting, kicking, pushing, tripping, and tackling, etc., and actions intended to cause physical harm, such as biting or striking others with objects
  • roughhousing on the playground and in the buildings which includes shoving and wrestling and similar activities even when done in fun.  Guided forms of wrestling or physical contact may be undertaken on a class basis under direct teacher supervision.
  • skateboarding, rollerblading, or bicycle-riding on school grounds (bicycles may be ridden to and from school)
  • throwing or wielding potentially dangerous objects, such as sticks, stones, mud, snowballs, etc.
  • using potentially dangerous school equipment outside of designated areas (hard baseballs or softballs, baseball bats, javelins, archery equipment, etc.); unauthorized use of school equipment, tools or machinery
  • possessing weapons of any kind, including knives, or any object or device that could easily cause bodily harm, including pocket or Swiss Army knives, whether on a student’s person, in a backpack, lunch bag, or locker (actions of this sort may result in immediate suspension and possible expulsion)


  • violation of the personal space or dignity of individuals, such as unwanted touching, grabbing, pulling on clothing, “stealing” hats, hiding others’ personal property, etc.
  • words or actions intended to cause emotional or social harm, including disrespectful, rude, or obscene language; verbal threats to harm person or property; and racial, ethnic, or sexual slurs;
  • bullying and teasing; including verbal put-down’s
  • stealing, intentionally damaging, or defacing property belonging to the school or individuals


  • plagiarizing the work of published authors or copying the work of other students, or their answers on quizzes and tests, and presenting these as one’s own
  • smoking tobacco products, possessing or consuming alcoholic beverages or other controlled substances

Appendix #2

Policy of Non-Discrimination

I. General Conduct

All members of the Hartsbrook community students, parents, faculty, staff, school board members, coaches, contractors, unpaid volunteers, and visitors have the right to learn and work in an environment free from all forms of discrimination and harassment, including sexual harassment and assault.

The Hartsbrook School prohibits discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, religion, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, economic status, homelessness, political party, or disability in admission to, access to, employment in, or treatment by its programs and activities, any form of bullying, cyberbullying or any other classification protected by law. The school considers harassment based on any of these characteristics, in our school buildings, on school grounds, or in school-related activities, to be a form of serious misconduct that undermines the integrity of the community.

Further, The Hartsbrook School will not tolerate conduct and activities that affect conditions and interfere unreasonably with an individual’s performance, or creates an intimidating hostile or offensive work environment.

To achieve the goal of providing settings free from harassment and retaliation, the conduct that is described in this policy will not be tolerated and will be promptly investigated. The school will respond to all reports and complaints of harassment and retaliation, and take prompt action.  

Any retaliation against an individual who has complained about harassment: or retaliation against individuals for cooperating with an investigation of a harassment is similarly unlawful and will not be tolerated. 

Please note that while this policy sets forth our goals of promoting settings free of harassment, the policy is not designed or intended to limit our authority to discipline or take action for conduct which we deem unacceptable, regardless of whether that conduct satisfies the definition of harassment. 

This commitment applies to all aspects of our school community, including curricula, instructional programs, staff development, extracurricular activities, and parent or guardian involvement.

II. School setting where Bullying, Harassment & Retaliation Behaviors are prohibited

Behaviors that are considered bullying, harassing, and retaliatory conduct by and between a student, employee, parent, contractor, visitor, or volunteer of the school include interactions that take place:

  1. At school or on school grounds, including any property that is owned, leased or used by the school for a school-sponsored activity, function, program, instruction or training, as well as school-related transportation vehicles.
  1. While students are being transported to or from schools or school-sponsored events;
  1. At any school-sponsored event, activity, function, program, instruction or training;
  1. Elsewhere or through the use of technology, but only if the bullying and/or harassment also infringes on the rights of the individual at school as set forth in this policy’s definition of bullying.

III. Defining Bullying, Harassment and Retaliation


(The following is consistent with the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Model Bullying Prevention and Intervention Plan.)

Physical or verbal conduct, including written or electronically transmitted material, committed by a person or a group and directed toward one or more members of the Hartsbrook community that:

A. Can reasonably be predicted to have the effect of:

1. Physically and/or emotionally causing physical, emotional, or psychological harm to the individual(s) and/or damaging that individual’s personal property;

2. Placing an individual in reasonable fear of physical and/or emotional harm or damage to their property; or

3. Substantially disrupting the instructional program or the orderly operations of the school; or

B. Interferes with the rights of an individual/individuals by:

1. Creating an intimidating or hostile educational or work environment; or

2. Disrupting a student’s academic performance or ability to participate in

services, activities, or privileges provided by the school; or

3. Creating a constant and significant disruption to the reasonable

professional/working environment or ability to perform duties therein of a

teacher, administrator, staff member, employee, visitor and/or volunteer in a material manner; or

C. Is based on actual or perceived characteristics of an individual, including but not limited to race, ethnicity, color, national origin, ancestry, citizenship, gender, sexual orientation, gender or gender expression, marital status, veteran status, disability, religion, or any other classification protected by law.

D. Bullying includes “cyberbullying,” which is bullying through the use of technology or any electronic communication, including, but not limited to, a transfer of signs, signals, writing, images, sounds, data or intelligence of any nature transmitted by the use of any electronic device, including, but not limited to, a computer, telephone, cellular telephone, text messaging device and personal digital assistant.

Examples of bullying behavior may include, but are not limited to:

  • Repeated or pervasive sarcasm, ignoring, taunting, name calling, mocking, put-downs or using demeaning humor;
  • Behavior intended to harm a person by damaging or manipulating their relationships with others such as gossip, spreading rumors, and social exclusion;
  • Non-verbal threats and/or intimidation, including aggressive, menacing, or disrespectful gestures;
  • Threats of harm to a student, to his/her possessions, or other individuals, whether transmitted verbally or in writing;
  • Stealing or hiding books, backpacks, or other possessions;
  • Stalking;
  • Acts of physical aggression, including hitting, tripping, kicking, scratching, and spitting.

Examples of “cyberbullying” may include, but are not limited to:

  • Posting slurs or rumors or displaying a defamatory, inaccurate, disparaging, violent, abusive, profane, or sexually oriented material about a student in any online platform;
  • Posting misleading or fake photographs or digital footage of a student on websites, or creating fake websites or social networking profiles in the guise of posing as the targeted student;
  • Impersonating or representing another student through the use of that student’s electronic device or account;
  • Any electronic communication or phone calls that are threatening, or so numerous as to bombard the targeted student’s electronic account or phone;
  • Taking or sharing embarrassing or sexually explicit photos or videos;
  • Asking another student to send sexually explicit photos or video.


(The following is substantially based on and consistent with the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Model Bullying Prevention and Intervention Plan.)

Physical or verbal conduct, micro-aggressions, including written or electronically, transmitted material, committed by a person or a group and directed toward one or more persons on the basis of race, ethnicity, color, national origin, ancestry, citizenship, sex, sexual orientation, gender or gender expression, marital status, veteran status, disability, religion, age, or any other classification protected by law, and which has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with a student’s educational performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive educational environment.  


Includes unwelcome verbal, written or physical conduct, directed at a person based on their actual or perceived sexual orientation, such as requests for sexual favors, pressure to engage in sexual activities, sexual touching, and sexual or gender-based jokes, comments, gestures, invading personal space to intimidate, drawings, graffiti, text messages and photographs. Sexual assault is also a form of sexual harassment.

  • Making sexual comments or jokes, including those based on gender-stereotypes
  • Spreading sexual rumors
  • Rating other people based on sexual attractiveness
  • Using explicit or derogatory words to comment on a person’s body
  • Using sexually explicit language within earshot of those who do not wish to hear it
  • Writing notes or sending electronic messages that are sexual in nature
  • Name calling on the basis of sexual behavior or orientation
  • Touching another person in an inappropriate way or impeding another person’s movement; assault.

Other difficult social dynamics or disruptive behaviors that are not considered bullying, harassment, or retaliation are addressed in the school’s code of conduct.  


The primary responsibility for ensuring proper investigation and resolution of a harassment complaint rests with the Administrative and Pedagogical Chairs.

Administrative Chair,    Lindsay Hunter               lhunter@hartsbrook.org
Pedagogical Chair,       Virginia McWilliam          vmcwilliam@hartsbrook.org

IV. Procedures for Reporting Acts of Bullying, Harassment & Retaliation

No individuals, or group of individuals will be permitted to mistreat an individual or group who reports bullying or harassment, and immediate disciplinary action will be taken if this occurs. Hartsbrook will not punish or retaliate against any member for coming forward to report an incident of bullying or harassment.  The school will create a safety plan but otherwise not limit the activities of those who come forward, nor will there be any consequences, academic or otherwise, for those who make a report in good faith.  

Hartsbrook will investigate any acts of student, faculty, staff, or parent retaliation against those who come forward.

School employees: 
School employees are required to report any incidents of possible bullying, harassment, or retaliation that have been reported to them or that they have witnessed this includes both student-to-student, adult-to-student and adult-to-adult. Employees can do this by verbally reporting to Pedagogical, Administrative Chair. All School employees are mandated reporters. If a minor is involved, school employees should also report to the Massachusetts Department of Children & Families.

Community members:
All other community members who experience or witness a potential act of bullying, harassment, or retaliation are asked to make a report to the Pedagogical, Administrative Chair or another school employee.

Students who experience bullying or harassment may follow the above procedure or may approach any trusted faculty or staff employee who will report on their behalf. Concerning behavior should be reported even if you are unsure whether the behavior constitutes bullying, harassment, or retaliation under the school’s policy. False reports of bullying and harassment are rare. In order to protect all community members, any person who can be proven to knowingly file a false report will be subject to serious disciplinary action, including possible suspension and expulsion. Hartsbrook complies with all state laws regarding the mandated reporting of child abuse. Such determinations will be made by the Pedagogical Chair, Administrative Chair, Board and Faculty Conference.

V. Procedures for Investigating Alleged Acts of Bullying, Harassment & Retaliation

Alleged Act Involves Student on Student (no alleged act by/to an adult)

In order to ensure consistency and fairness, the Pedagogical Chair oversees all investigations of reported bullying, harassment, and retaliation when the allegation arises from a student involving another student.  When the Pedagogical Chair receives a report of bullying, harassment, or retaliation, the following steps may be taken:

1. Within one school day or within 72 hours if the incident occurs on a Friday, the Pedagogical Chair will make an initial determination as to whether the report warrants an investigation. If an investigation is warranted, the Pedagogical Chair shall:

a) Assemble an investigative team, composed of two faculty members at their discretion to begin the investigation; and

b) Notify parents of involved students.

2. Members of the investigative team will interview all parties involved and review pertinent information.
Students, teachers, parents, and staff may be asked to participate in the investigation as determined by the investigative team.  Student records from previous schools or from prior incidents may be reviewed as part of the investigation. Those directly involved may request that specific individuals with first-hand knowledge of the alleged incident are interviewed as a part of the investigative process.

3. When the investigation is complete, the Pedagogical Chair, in consultation with the Administrative Chair and investigative team, may make a final determination as to whether or not a report has been substantiated.
A report is substantiated when there is reasonable evidence that an incident is more likely than not to have occurred.

4. The Pedagogical Chair may notify parents and students of the outcome of the investigation within one school day of the conclusion of the investigation.

5. Please note that only in the case of federally protected discrimination can an appeal process be requested.

6. Each step of this process will be documented and kept on file by the Pedagogical Chair.

7. Student-Student Conduct—Developmentally Appropriate Review

In applying the policy to behavior(s) suspected to be bullying or harassment in those situations where the behaviors involved are between students (student on student), the school considers the developmental stage of the children involved.  Younger children sometimes display behavior that in older children would be considered bullying or harassment but can be within the range of what is considered ‘developmentally normal’ at a younger age.  All teachers and staff are dedicated to the safety and wellbeing of all students and will address undesirable behaviors in developmentally appropriate ways.  These interventions focus on teaching children socially acceptable behaviors, distinguishing between public and private activities, developing healthy boundaries, and resolving conflicts. If undesirable or inappropriate behavior of an aggressive or sexual nature persists, the teachers and Pedagogical Chair may work with parents to determine an appropriate course of action.

8. Confidentiality: 

a) Please note, confidentiality cannot be guaranteed during the investigation process.  However, the school is committed to carrying out investigations in a discrete, respectful manner and will uphold requests for confidentiality whenever possible.  The Hartsbrook School complies with all state laws regarding mandated reporting of child abuse.

b) In some cases, steps may be taken to ensure the wellbeing of students during the investigation.  Any member of the community, including students, being investigated for serious acts of harassment or assault may not be permitted on campus or placed on temporary leave or, if a student, a short-term suspension pending the outcome of the investigation.

Alleged Act Involving an Adult (Teacher/Staff on Student; Student on Teacher/Staff; Teacher/Staff on Teacher/Staff; Parent on Teacher/Staff; Teacher/Staff on Parent; etc.)

In order to ensure consistency and fairness, the Administrative Chair oversees all investigations of reported bullying, harassment, and retaliation when the allegation involves an act/behavior made by or against an adult member of the community (teacher, employee, parent, volunteer, guest), whether a student is involved or not.

When the Administrative Chair receives a report of bullying, harassment, or retaliation, the following steps may be taken:

1. Within one school day or within 72 hours if the incident occurs on a Friday, the Administrative Chair will make an initial determination as to whether the report warrants an investigation.  If an investigation is warranted, the Administrative Chair will:

a) Assemble an investigative team, composed of the operations manager or another member of the administrative team, and a faculty/staff member at their discretion and begin the investigation.

b) In order to avoid actual or perceived conflicts of interest, the Administrative Chair and faculty/staff member chosen to investigate may not be from the same department or branch of the individual making the complaint and/or under investigation.

c) If the allegation involves a student, notify parents of involved students.

d) If it is a student who is believed to be on the receiving end of the allegation, communicate to the parents of the student(s) believed to have been bullied or harassed the measures being taken to ensure the student’s safety and to prevent further acts of bullying or harassment if and only if there is substantial evidence underlying the claim and investigation and the Administrative Chair reasonably believes further harm may exist without notification

e) If a student is believed to be the one against whom the allegation of bullying, harassment or retaliation is made, communicate to the parents of the student(s) the nature of the allegation and inform them of the process involved.

2. Members of the investigative team may interview all parties involved and review pertinent information.
Students, teachers, parents, and staff may be asked to participate in the investigation as determined by the investigative team. Student records from previous schools or from prior incidents may be reviewed as part of the investigation. Those directly involved may request that specific individuals with first-hand knowledge of the alleged incident are interviewed as a part of the investigative process.

3. When the investigation is complete, the Administrative Chair, in consultation with the Pedagogical Chair and the investigative team, will make a final determination as to whether or not a report has been substantiated.
A report is substantiated when there is reasonable evidence that an incident is more likely than not to have occurred.

4. The Administrative Chair will notify both parties involved in the allegation, including the parents of a student/group of students if involved, of the outcome of the investigation within one school day of the conclusion of the investigation.

5. Each step of this process will be documented and kept on file by the Administrative Chair.

6. Confidentiality: 

Please note—confidentiality cannot be guaranteed during the investigation process. However, the school is committed to carrying out investigations in a discrete, respectful manner and will uphold requests for confidentiality whenever possible.  The Hartsbrook School complies with all state laws regarding mandated reporting of child abuse.

In some cases, steps may be taken to ensure the wellbeing of students, when involved, during the investigation.  Any member of the community being investigated for serious acts of harassment or assault may be placed on temporary leave pending the outcome of the investigation.

VI. Procedures for Following-Up on Acts of Bullying, Harassment, or Retaliation

Once a determination has been made as to whether or not a report has been substantiated, one or more of the following steps will be taken:

1. Disciplinary Action

The Hartsbrook School takes incidents of bullying and harassment seriously and will respond to substantiated reports with appropriate disciplinary action, determined in consultation with the investigative team.  Such incidents are considered serious breaches of conduct, and may result in suspension or expulsion from the school.  All disciplinary actions involving suspension, expulsion, or termination from employment will be made by either the Pedagogical or Administrative Chair, depending on the parties involved, and upon advice from any and all necessary individuals, including, but not limited to the Faculty Conference and the Board of Directors, and/ or the school’s attorney where necessary based solely on their discretion.  Any and all disciplinary action taken will be in writing and kept on file.

2. Safety Plans and Conduct Plans

Once appropriate disciplinary action has been taken, the investigative team will work with all parties involved to develop a safety plan for the “target” (optional) and a conduct plan for the “aggressor” (mandatory).  The safety plan is meant to address ongoing concerns of the “target” and also to ensure that no retaliatory action is taken against him or her.  The conduct plan clearly defines the expectations of the individual’s continued involvement in the community and offers support and education to help the “aggressor” meet these expectations.

3. Communication to Parents

In the case of student involvement, at the end of the investigation and after any disciplinary action has been taken, communication will take place with the parents of the student(s) believed to have been bullied or harassed with a statement of the measures being taken to ensure the student’s safety and to prevent further acts of bullying or harassment as necessary and warrants.

4. Whether or not a report is substantiated, restorative action may be taken to support the individual(s) involved and strengthen the school community.

Restorative action may include: the use of restorative circles; class meetings; presentations, workshops, and/or training, and counseling.

5. Pertaining to students enrolled in the High School:

In accordance with the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), The Hartsbrook Waldorf School will report out-of-school suspensions and expulsions during the college application process. We reserve the right to investigate and take action on our own initiative in response to behavior and conduct which may constitute harassment or otherwise be inappropriate regardless of whether an actual complaint has been filed.

VII. External Remedies

Any member of The Hartsbrook School community who believes that they are being subjected to unlawful harassment also has the right to file a charge with the MA Commission against Discrimination within 300 days of the alleged incident.

Although an employee/student has the absolute right to go directly to the MA Commission against Discrimination with a complaint of harassment, in most cases the failure to put the School on notice of the problem before filing a charge will result in dismissal of the charge. Moreover, the Commission investigation process routinely takes over a year to complete, so it is not typically an effective way to stop ongoing harassment. The Commission will investigate the complaint and make a finding as to whether there are reasonable grounds to believe unlawful harassment has occurred.

The Commission will attempt conciliation in cases where it makes a reasonable grounds finding, but does not have the legal authority to order any remedy.

Individuals can contact:

MA Commission against Discrimination Telephone: (617) 994-6000
One Ashburton Place
TTY: (617) 994-6196
Sixth Floor, Room 601
Boston, MA 02108

MA Commission against Discrimination Telephone: (413) 739-2145
Springfield Office
436 Dwight Street, Suite 220
Springfield, MA 01103

Appeal Process 

In the event of a finding of a serious breach of conduct, and/or in the event that a determination has been made regarding an individual and/or group under and pursuant to the bullying, harassment or retaliation policy, whether or not disciplinary action of any type/extent has been taken, that individual and/or group may seek an appeal of the decision and resulting discipline, or lack thereof, according to the following procedures:

A. Student on Student (no alleged act by/from an adult)

In the event a determination has been made by the Pedagogical Chair that a serious breach of conduct in violation of either The Hartsbrook School Bullying, Harassment or Retaliation Policy has occurred, and disciplinary action has been mandated, the student, or group of students against who the determination has been made and discipline taken may request an appeal.

1. Nature of Appeal: Any and all appeals made from a determination and/or discipline arising out of the same must be made in writing to the Pedagogical Chair, and must be made within 48 hours of the initial determination. The purpose of the appeal is to ensure that the underlying investigative process was properly and reasonably followed, and that any findings of fact and discipline issued were made in a reasonable fashion. In filing an appeal, the appellant must set forth those reasons and the manner in which the underlying investigatory process and/or determination and discipline was in error or unreasonably made.

2. Appellate Review: The Pedagogical Chair will direct the appeal to the Faculty Conference to make an initial determination, not unreasonably withheld, as to whether or not to proceed with the appeal. If the determination is made to move forward with the appeal, the Faculty Conference will review the appeal, and, if they determine, in/their sole discretion, that the underlying investigation and/or determination and/or discipline was lacking or erroneous in a material and/or unreasonable manner. In so doing, the Pedagogical Chair may seek further consultation and/or advice from any and all necessary individuals, including, but not limited to the Administrative Chair, Executive Committee of the Board and/or the school’s attorney.

3. Final Determination:  

A. After a full review of the appeal, the Faculty Conference will provide a final determination, in consultation with the Administrative Chair, to either uphold the underlying determination and corresponding discipline, or to have either the underlying determination and/or corresponding discipline be revised according to the findings made. Any such determination shall be final.

B. Act involving an Adult (Teacher/Staff on Student; Student on Teacher/Staff; Teacher/Staff on Teacher/Staff; Parent on Teacher/Staff; Teacher/Staff on Parent; etc.)

In the event a determination has been made by the Administrative Chair that a serious breach of conduct in violation of either The Hartsbrook School Code of Conduct or Bullying, Harassment or Retaliation Policy has occurred, and disciplinary action has been mandated, the student, or group of students against who the determination has been made and discipline taken may request an appeal.

1. Nature of Appeal: Any and all appeals made from a determination and/or discipline arising out of the same must be made in writing to the Administrative Chair, and must be made within 48 hours of the initial determination.  The purpose of the appeal is to ensure that the underlying investigative process was properly and reasonably followed, and that any findings of fact and discipline issued were made in a reasonable fashion.  In filing an appeal, the appellant must set forth those reasons and the manner in which the underlying investigatory process and/or determination and discipline was in error or unreasonably made.

2. Appellate Review:  The Administrative Chair will direct the appeal to the Board of Directors Chair to make an initial determination, not unreasonably withheld, as to whether or not to proceed with the appeal.  If the determination is made to move forward with the appeal, the Board of Directors Chair will review the appeal, and, if he/she/they determine, in his/her/their sole discretion that the underlying investigation and/or determination and/or discipline was lacking or erroneous in a material and/or unreasonable manner. In so doing, the Board of Directors Chair may seek further consultation and/or advice from any and all necessary individuals, including, but not limited to the Administrative Chair, Pedagogical Chair, and Executive Committee of the Board and / or the school’s attorney.

3. Final Determination:  After a full review of the appeal, the Board of Directors Chair will provide a final determination to either uphold the underlying determination and corresponding discipline, or to have either the underlying determination and/or corresponding discipline be revised.  Any such determination shall be final.


The complainant may file a lawsuit under a number of Federal or State statutes, such as Titles VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Equal Education Opportunities Act of 1974, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004. The complainant or their parent/guardian should consult with a private attorney about this option.

Outside Agencies:

A complaint by a student, employee or applicant for employment in which the complainant alleges discrimination on the basis of sex, race, ethnic origin or disability may be filed with the United States Department of Education. It may be filed in place of filing a complaint under the Hartsbrook complaint procedure or in addition to filing a complaint under the Hartsbrook complaint procedure.

Office for Civil Rights Telephone: (617) 289-0059
United States Department of Education
TDD: (617) 223-9695
Fax: (617) 289-0150
5 Post Office Square
8th Floor – Suite 900
Boston, MA 02109-3921
Email:  OCR.Boston@ed.gov

A complaint alleging disability discrimination against a student under Section 504 may be filed with:

Bureau of Special Education Appeals
Telephone: (781) 338-6400
Fax: (781) 338-3398
75 Pleasant Street
Malden, MA  02148
Email: sea@doe.mass.edu

An employee or applicant for employment, who is claiming discrimination on the basis of sex, religion, race, age or ethnic origin, may file a complaint with the United States Equal Opportunity Commission, which may be contacted as follows:

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Telephone: (617) 565-3200
TTY: (617) 565-3204
Fax: (617) 565-3196
John F. Kennedy Federal Building
475 Government Center
Boston, MA 02203

In addition, an employee or applicant for employment who is claiming discrimination on the basis of sex, religion, race, age, ethnic origin, disability or sexual orientation may file a complaint with the Massachusetts Commission against Discrimination which may be contacted as follows:

MA Commission against Discrimination
Telephone: (617) 994-6000
TTY: (617) 994-6196
One Ashburton Place
Sixth Floor, Room 601
Boston, MA 02108

MA Commission against Discrimination
Springfield Office
436 Dwight Street, Suite 220
Springfield, MA 01103
Telephone: (413) 739-2145

A complaint may be filed with the Massachusetts Department of Education

Program Quality Assurance Services which may be contacted as follows:

Problem Resolution System Office Telephone 781-338-3700

Massachusetts Department of Elementary  and Secondary Education (DESE)
75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148-4906
TTY: N.E.T. Relay: 1-800-439-2370
FAX: 781-338-3710
Email: compliance@doe.mass.edu

MA Department of Education
Program Quality Assurance Services
Western Massachusetts Office
Springfield State Office Building
436 Dwight Street Room B40
Springfield, MA 01103
Telephone: (413) 858-4591


Titles VI, VII Civil Rights Act of 1964
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972
Equal Educational Opportunities Act of 1974
Age Discrimination Act of 1975
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004


Definitions are copied directly from M.G.L. c. 71, § 37O

Aggressor is a student or a member of a school staff who engages in bullying, cyberbullying, or retaliation towards a student.

Bullying is the repeated use by one or more students or a member of a school staff of a written, verbal, or electronic expression or a physical act or gesture or any combination thereof, directed at a target that:

i. causes physical or emotional harm to the target or damage to the target’s property;

ii. places the target in reasonable fear of harm to himself or herself or of damage to his or her property;

iii. creates a hostile environment at school for the target;

iv. infringes on the rights of the target at school; or

v. materially and substantially disrupts the education process or the orderly operation of a school.

Cyberbullying is bullying through the use of technology or electronic devices such as telephones, cell phones, computers, and the Internet.  It includes, but is not limited to, email, instant messages, text messages, and Internet postings.  See M.G.L. c. 71, § 37O for the legal definition of cyberbullying.

Hostile environment, as defined in M.G.L. c. 71, § 37O, is a situation in which bullying causes the school environment to be permeated with intimidation, ridicule, or insult that is sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the conditions of a student’s education.

Retaliation is any form of intimidation, reprisal, or harassment directed against a student who reports bullying, provides information during an investigation of bullying, or witnesses or has reliable information about bullying.

School Staff includes, but is not limited to, educators, administrators, counselors, school nurses, cafeteria workers, custodians, bus drivers, athletic coaches, advisors to extracurricular activities, support staff, or paraprofessionals.

Target is a student against whom bullying, cyberbullying, or retaliation has been perpetrated.

Appendix #3

Membership List for School Organizations

Members of the Faculty Conference

Members of the Board of Directors

Administrative Staff

  • Vesna Vasovic, Main Office Manager and Elementary Administrative Coordinator
  • Jessica Schmid, High School Registrar and Administrative Coordinator
  • Anne Griffin, Director of Development
  • Diane LaBarge, Business Manager
  • Leslie Evans, Enrollment Director
  • Mary Wallace, Business Office Assistant
  • Krista Wathne, Enrollment Assistant
  • Laurie Zacek, School Nurse
  • Leslie Ritchie-Dunham, Operations Manager
  • Ed Mann, Maintenance Coordinator

Committees of the Board (Chair of committee underlined)

  • Campus Committee: Noah Kahn, Leslie Ritchie-Dunham, Paule Sustick, Tony Somers, Heide Zajonc
  • Development: Janis Abbingsole, Anne Griffin, Natalie Adams, Kelly Feeney, Alex Niefer, Teresa Amabile
  • Finance: Noah Smith, Diane LaBarge, Frances Cameron, Rosemary McNaughton
  • Trusteeship: Anne Woodhull, Natalie Adams, Thomas Heineman
  • Strategy Committee: Virginia McWilliam, Janis Abbingsole, Noah Smith
  • Enrollment Committee: Leslie Evans, Nicole Thurrell, Swansea Benham Bleicher

Committees of the Conference

  • Festivals and Assemblies: Nicki Robb, Melanie Whitney, Virginia McWilliam
  • Land Stewardship: Nicki Robb, Paule Sustick
  • Student Support Group: Elyce Perico, Tyler Young, Jac Clark, Amanda McNamara, Laurie Zacek


  • AWSNA Delegates: Jan Baudendistel, Brian Jacques
  • Family Association Liaison: Leslie Evans