News About Three Cedars

June 20, 2017 in Inside SWS

1/8/2018 Update:

Three Cedars Waldorf operated as an independent Waldorf school for more than 20 years and merged with Seattle Waldorf School in January 2016. Three Cedars Waldorf has plans to transition back to an autonomous independent school in July of 2018, and will operate under the name Eastside Community School. Learn more.


Following is a letter from the Board of Trustees that was shared with our community on June 12, 2017.

Dear SWS Parents,

We are writing to you with very difficult news. The upcoming school year (2017-18) will be the last for our Three Cedars campus. As many of you are aware from meetings held over the last several years, Three Cedars has faced significant ongoing challenges to its financial viability. Marked under-enrollment as well as significant financial aid and budget shortfalls have threatened the school’s sustainability for more than a decade. With the merger came the hope that Seattle Waldorf School could help Three Cedars overcome these long standing difficulties. With enormous regret, the Board has come to the conclusion that we cannot make the financial model work. This has been very hard to face. We all wanted things to turn out differently, and we worked tirelessly toward what we hoped would be a different outcome.

A few weeks ago, the Board was unexpectedly approached by a newly forming International Friends School to discuss a potential purchase of the ThreeCedars property. Following a careful review of the budgetary and operational challenges, the Board has made the painful but necessary decision to accept the purchase offer. We would like to emphasize that the Board did not seek to sell the campus. An important consideration was the opportunity to remain on the site for the 2017-18 school year, giving our families and faculty time to plan for a transition. While this decision feels uncomfortably abrupt, we simply could not, in good conscience, continue without a viable way forward.

We pledge our support to everyone in our community as we navigate the challenges that lie ahead. To the greatest extent possible, we would like this next year to be one of celebration in which we honor the legacy of the school.Three Cedars has been a valued part of the Eastside community for 21 years and has given hundreds of children a wonderful Waldorf education. The upcoming year will undoubtedly be bittersweet; with the support of our exceptional faculty and staff, our hope is that children will see little disturbance in their daily experience. Our teachers are deeply devoted to their students, and committed to preparing them as best as possible for this transition.

We know that parents are likely to wonder what this will mean for their child’s education moving forward. During the fall, we will meet with each family to discuss future school possibilities for their child. In addition, we will convene a community meeting on Wednesday, June 14, at 6:30 p.m. in Trillium Hallto answer questions you may have. We have also developed a Q & A addressing important aspects of the change that we hope will be helpful. Please feel free to contact either of us as well if you have additional questions.

We ask all parents not to share this information with their children; we will be in touch to offer guidance on how to bring this to students.

The months ahead will ask a great deal of all of us. We look to our entire community to support one another during this time of transition.


Sharlyn Turner     Tracy Bennett
Board Chair         Head of School