Saturday, August 30, 2014

The City School - Pure Waldorf

I have a bit of an intimate relationship with The City School.  Since they have been in the news lately, it seems fitting I should post a little something here about them.

Background:
Andrew Janczak was a teacher at Highland Hall.  He was, in fact, my son's teacher.  After a year or so, Highland Hall decided he must go - and over the objections of all the parents but one (apparently), they insisted on disrupting the education of our children and fired Janczak.
Janczak talked the first grade teacher into leaving with him - and with the 6th grade teacher (his sister) left Highland Hall to create The City School - only a few miles away.  This left a huge vacancy in Highland Hall - which they scrambled to fill with unqualified teachers

After The City School got underway, I was contacted to play the role of "Bishop Nicholas" at the Christmas season.

Inherent Racism:
I was the City School's "Bishop Nicholas" for many years. For those who don't know, Bishop Nicholas goes from class to class distributing gifts to the children.  He has a book with each child's name in it - and reads a little about each child.  If the child was "good" the child gets a gift - a golden walnut.  There's always the chance the child was "bad" and this could result in a stern reproach from Bishop Nicholas - and instead of gold, the child could receive a lump of coal.  I had no use for the "bad" child nonsense and despite receiving instructions from several teacher each year about how to chastise the "bad" child - and even provided coal to give to the child, I disobeyed their twisted instructions and never chastised a child or gave them coal.  In fact, I provided my own gifts for the children, usually wooden tree ornaments.

Bishop Nicholas has an assistant named Rupert.  Rupert is intended to frighten the children and represents crudeness, wildness and mischief.  For years, my "Rupert" was a dark-skinned, dark haired boy related to one of the teachers.  I paid it no mind as it didn't seem important.  One year, however, when he couldn't be there, they chose a dark-skinned parent to play the role of "Rupert".  In a conversation about this, Janczak explained that skin color was an important part of Rupert's appearance.  I stopped associating with this school after that. 

Breaking Up Families:
Years later, a dad called me for help to get his children out of this school. The school took the side of the mother and refused all contact with the father - wouldn't even correspond to let him know how his kids were doing. When I intervened and called Janczak directly, he claimed that since the parents were divorced, it was too "costly" for the school to send two sets of grades out to both parents.  I suggested they should send the reports to the estranged parent rather than the one who was at the school daily.  They wouldn't relent until after I threatened to make them as popular as I have made Highland Hall. 

From my letter to Janczak:
I've tried to avoid this Andrew but I cannot stand by while another man goes through what I went through.  I WILL go to the mat for this man I've never met... and for his kids.   My tenacity is legendary.  Please, Andrew, don't allow the City School become the focus of my attention over this.  Ask poor Hasib at Highland Hall what that's like - he already has his hands full with me.  I'm already in contact with people in the entertainment industry about Highland Hall.  You don't need any part of the publicity they're about to get... trust me on this.
... I would have preferred to discuss this issue reasonably with the City School but time has run out it seems.  My hopes for your school were too high apparently.  When the chips are down, you behave just like Highland Hall.  No room for Waldorf to improve?
We go our separate ways now, yes? 
The City School Lately... 


Recent video:
First, here's a parent from the The City School describing Waldorf education in "layman's terms".  In other words, she's telling us what she's been told.

I once supported The City School because they had given me the impression they were up-front with parents. I later learned otherwise. Obviously, they are unwilling to go on camera themselves - and have instead put a parent with no knowledge of Waldorf philosophy on display to do a Waldorf brochure "testimonial". 

Recent News:
Here's the recent news article quoting The City School's administrator Andrew Janczak:
At The City School, a private school in Van Nuys, just two kindergartners in a class of 17 had all their required vaccines last year. 
The parents of the other 15 students decided not to immunize their children, because of their personal beliefs. 
“This is not a school policy, this is just a preference of our parents,” said Andrew Janczak, the school’s founder. “I think many of our parents believe their children benefit from a more holistic, natural approach. I think you see that by the choices they make.” 
The City School had the highest rate, 88 percent, of parents opting out of vaccinations in Los Angeles County in the 2013-14 school year. 
UnSpoofable:
As many of you know, I've been involved in producing a Waldorf school parody website.  On it, I try to select from and write the most outrageous things within Waldorf.  The City School, however, is unspoofable.  They go far beyond even what I could ever hope to think up.  For example, I have tried to spoof how unqualified Waldorf teachers are.  I focus on the lack of actual teaching credentials.  Yet, on The City School's Faculty pages, the teachers have even FEWER credentials than the ones I have spoofed.  Here's an example: 
She has received Waldorf teacher training through WISC workshops and lectures and has been mentored by master teachers both at Highland Hall and the City School.   She has been our Music Teacher at The City School for many years, and this year we are thrilled that she has chosen to take a class through the Grades!  She is currently teaching Grade 1 and 2 in addition to leading the chorus.  She has two sons, both Waldorf students.
Laura Watkins - Enrollment Director
and Outreach... arrrr...
I've added a few goofy pictures on my teacher profiles, but seriously? 





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You may ask, "where are all the 5=Star reviews?" Well, the problem with those reviews is that many tend not to be too honest. I have included 4-star reviews that appear honest. Often, gushing reviews are placed by teachers and administrators - as some comments here indicate. "This school educates the whole child!!!" - 5 stars - by Anonymous... I say baloney! Notice, many of the reviewers have been misled by Waldorf and are still buying the PR, even after having been disappointed. Feel free to comment but understand the intent of this blog. Comments are no longer moderated.