Rohnert Park sponsors Waldorf-style charter high school

The former Gold Ridge Elementary School campus in Rohnert Park next next fall will become home to the first public Waldorf-inspired high school in the North Bay.

Credo High School is expected to pull students from the seven public kindergarten through eighth grade Waldorf-inspired schools in Sonoma, Marin and Napa counties to fill 100 freshmen slots in its inaugural year.

Cotati-Rohnert Park District officials will provide administrative and budgetary oversight for the charter school.

Interest is "very strong," said school developer Chip Romer of Sonoma. "People are willing to come from as far as Napa and Novato. They have been wanting this for many years."

About 250 people attended an open house on the Gold Ridge campus in November, Romer said. A second open house is scheduled for Saturday.

"This is sort of hotbed of Waldorf education in the whole world, this region. I feel like this it's a natural next step," said Susan Olson, executive director of Sebastopol Independent Charter School, a Waldorf-inspired K-8 campus established in 1995.

Olson also serves on Credo's board of directors.

The Waldorf name is trademarked and affiliated with private schools that adhere to a philosophy of an arts-heavy curriculum that is based on a student's natural developmental progress.

In Sonoma County, private Summerfield Waldorf serves kindergarten through 12th graders on their Willowside Road campus in west Santa Rosa. Annual tuition for the 94 high school students is $16,250 and 35 percent of those students receive some level of financial assistance, according to the school.

As a public "Waldorf-inspired" charter school, the curriculum will follow Waldorf philosophy but will remain public. Credo is expected to receive state funding and students will be required to meet state and federal academic standards.

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