“A well educated mind
will always have
more questions than answers.”
-Helen Keller

High School Grades 9 - 12

A Journey Towards Self Determination

High School

In a challenging, supportive and creative environment, students and teachers work side by to develop capacities to forge a healthy future and make a difference.

Rigorous curriculum is discovered through lively multidimensional engagement. Arts, drama, music, practical arts and land stewardship are part of experiential learning.  A service curriculum, exchange programs, and independent projects broaden perspectives and engage students in the wider community.   Connections across the grades and frequent whole school projects ensure collaborative skills and social-emotional intelligence.

Join us for an education that develops capacities for excellence, purposeful work, and social responsibility. Our students are prepared for life, able to face the challenges of today’s world and have the capacities to make a positive difference in the world.

Curriculum to Meet the 21st Century Students

Why Main Lesson Blocks?

The Hartsbrook School teaches using Blocks — concentrated month-long courses taught in double academic periods — enabling far deeper focus and an exploration of ideas than is possible in a more typcal 45 minute class time period.  Textbooks are rarely used. Students instead immerse in a subject through experiences, experiments, research, project work, collaboration and group work.

Supporting Your Unique Learning Style

We challenge and inspire our students to explore and challenge the range of their natural abilities.  Multi-dimensional work creates opportunities for students to work individually at their highest capacities. Hartsbrook values the social benefits of working alongside one’s peers and among those with a variety of abilities.

High School

Experiential Learning

Land Stewardship

Connection to the land and its inhabitants awakens interest and responsibility. Through the Land Stewardship ACTS Program, all high school students engage in projects in collaboration with local farms or in on-campus work on our 40+ acres of environmentally-protected agricultural land. Students in any grade may take on individual work in cultivation or animal husbandry, or take part in community service projects that support the program.  The twelfth grade main lesson in sustainability focuses on sustainable food production and links local efforts to our global interconnected food systems and climate.

High School

ACTS: Agency, Community, Terra & Social Justice

Hartsbrook ACTS programming addresses the need for meaningful work on the land, service to the wider community, and positive action to address the realities of food insecurity and of a changing climate. Without attention to positive action, awareness of the dangers of rising sea levels, mass extinctions, climate refugees, and increasingly violent storms and extreme weather systems leaves students passive, anxious and fearful. Our campus, our faculty, and our position in the Connecticut River Valley offer the opportunity—indeed, the responsibility—to provide students with active ways to care for the land, to develop skills to grow and share food, and to work toward a socially just and environmentally healthy world.

High School

Practical Arts

Classes are offered n several of the practical arts and afford opportunities for the students to develop capacities of the will.  Throughout their high school career, students work in many media, which may include clay, metal, wood, and stone. Skills are taught and relationships to materials are awakened.

Fieldwork and Intensives

Each year offers a variety of field trips to local locations, where students practice on-site research or engage in practical application. In addition, annual, week-long intensives, or curriculum-based trips by grade, take students to locations beyond our immediate community, such as Boston, New York City or Washington, DC, for cultural experiences, and to Hermit Island, Maine, where the annual gathering of seniors from a number of Waldorf high schools is designed to support their in-depth and hands-on study of marine biology.

Each year a select group of students participate in Harvard’s Model United Nations as an opportunity to actively experience the dynamics of international collaboration to resolve economic, social and humanitarian issues across borders.

High School
High School

Service Learning

Opportunities for community service develop students’ capacities for engaging in the world around us. Students are provided opportunities for group community service withinthe program and in support of school and community needs.  A culminating feature of the senior year is a ten-day service-based trip. Senior students have done service work in Appalachia, Puerto Rico, Chicago, New Orleans, and Costa Rica, among other places.

International Exchange Programs

The school coordinates an exchange program for high school students who can apply to spend three to four months abroad in their sophomore or junior year. Student exchanges have been arranged for language or cultural experience at Waldorf schools in many countries, including France, Germany, Spain, Sweden, England, Australia, Scotland, Taiwan and Japan.

The Hartsbrook High School welcomes exchange students and also full-time international students from many countries. These students become regular and vibrant members of the Hartsbrook community.

High School
High School

Fine Arts and Performing Arts

Artistic activities are woven into the fabric of classes and throughout the curriculum. Students develop technical artistic skills, and also inner feeling capacities as they draw, paint, and sculpt, or engage in other media, such as textiles, wood, clay and photography.

Music is often heard in the halls of Hartsbrook. Students sing together in an all-high school chorus and speech work is practiced throughout the curriculum. Students choose a voice or instrument music elective each year and there are many oppourtunites to perform at festivals, events and informal groups.  Drama is also woven through the curriculum.  There is an annual all student high school theater or musical production and drama blocks in the curriculum, some of which are oriented to a staged production.

Hartsbrook students’ art and writing have been recognized statewide, for instance, in the Boston Globe Literary and Arts Awards and in The Marble Collection, the Massachusetts state literary and arts magazine. Hartsbrook student writing is featured annually in the high school literary and arts magazine, PotLuck.

Senior Projects

The year-long Senior Project provides a framework for students to express their passion for some interest they would like to develop further and are willing to work on with intensity. Frequently, these projects are hands-on, such as building a boat or a tiny house. Others are artistic, such as designing a clothing line or learning opera.  Some are research-based: one student measured star clusters and was able to publish results in an academic journal.

The ability to focus deeply on an interest long enough for it to become a new talent, skill, product or form of expression is a remarkable capacity that a Waldorf high school education helps to craft.

High School
High School

College Preparation

The Hartsbrook High School’s graduation requirements ensure that students develop skills and capacities in all aspects of their lives: academic, artistic, practical, athletic, and social.  Hartsbrook Alumni have a 95% college attendance rate and have been accepted into a wide range of schools. We support students in finding the best next steps for their skills, interests and learning styles.  Please see a list of our college acceptances.

Credits are based on Carnegie Units, which are awarded for 120 hours of class in a subject in a year. Students receive narrative reports and letter grades for all subjects and tracks GPA. GPA is unweighted and Hartsbrook does not assign class rank.

What is Waldorf Education?

Waldorf schools offer a developmentally appropriate, experiential, and academically rigorous approach to education. We integrate the arts into all academic disciplines for children from preschool through twelfth grade to enhance and enrich learning. Waldorf education aims to inspire life-long learning in all students and to enable them to fully develop their unique capacities. Music, dance and theater, writing, literature, legends and myths are not simply subjects to be read about and tested, they are experienced. Through these experiences, Waldorf students cultivate their intellectual, emotional, physical and spiritual capacities to be individuals certain of their paths and to be of service to the world.

Founded in the early 20th century, Waldorf education is based on the insights, teachings and principles of education outlined by the world renowned artist, and scientist, Rudolf Steiner. The principles of Waldorf education evolve from an understanding of human development that support the needs of the growing child.

About The Hartsbrook High School

The Hartsbrook School is one of 180 Waldorf schools in North America and over 1,000 worldwide. Founded in 1981, The Hartsbrook School inaugurated its high school in 2002 and graduated its first seniors in 2006.

The high school typically comprises a student body of 45 to 60 students, including a number of visiting international exchange students, and enrolls approximately 75% of its students from among those who have completed a Waldorf elementary school education, and approximately 25% from among students who have received their prior education at local public and private schools. Many students have joined us from many regions in order to continue their Waldorf education through high school.

The Hartsbrook School is located in the small town of Hadley in the Pioneer Valley along the Connecticut River. Situated among the Five Colleges and adjacent to Amherst and Northampton, it enjoys access to a wide array of cultural and academic opportunities. Seated also in an active and productive agricultural community, the Hartsbrook School has developed an Agricultural Arts and Land Stewardship Program that is an integral part of the school’s programming.

% of Graduates Attending College
Combined Years of Experience Teaching