We love Berkeley Carroll! My children started in preK and have gone all the way through to high school. The oldest is a recent graduate, now at a highly selective college. Berkeley Carroll combines real academic rigor and an innovative curriculum with a welcoming culture of support and respect that I think is unique among New York City's independent schools. Each of my boys is known and appreciated as an individual. They have been challenged in the best sense of the word, but also feel totally at home in school.
My twin sons have been there since kindergarten. They are in the ninth grade now. I wouldn't send them anywhere else. The classes are rigorous; the teachers understanding, and (most of all) the environment is rigorous and supportive. Also, the technology program is unmatched as far as I can tell.
The administration in the lower school has changed 3 times in the 5 years we have been there, in addition to that the price tag has increased substantially. In my experience if your child does not fit the mold they do everything to try and make your child fit. The teachers continue to make poor judgement with situations. There also has been an increased activity of teasing and bullying which I believe is due to the lack of experience and supervisions of the teachers.
Our family has been very happy with the Berkeley Carroll Middle and Lower School (but especially with the Middle!) We have found that the administration and teaching staff are constantly seeking to renew and enhance the curriculum. Every year we have seen improvements in math, language, humanities, etc. They have award an winning jazz band, debate team, and base ball team. The field trips, international trips, study aboard, and emphasis on being a global citizen are extremely relevant for the times that we live in. BC places great emphasis on developing thoughtful, caring students. Like many schools, BC has a renewed focus on STEM with the added component of Arts so its STEAM. Educating good writers is also extremely important, and, in fact, BC, has a large parent body of professional writers. The school does a lot of faculty development and as a parent you can see that the teachers are enthusiastic about incorporating the newest curriculums and technology. (BC's iPad program is in its 3rd year and partial spanish immersion is in its 2nd or 3rd year.) I am looking forward to seeing how this school continues to evolve and what it has to offer by the time we get to high school.
My daughter attended Kindergarten for one year until I pulled her out. I was astounded by how little was accomplished in the classroom. I was under the impression that this school could individualize the lessons. My daughter, who was already reading, spent most of her time reading in the corner alone while instruction was given to other students. At the year-end, parent teacher conference, I was embarrassed for the teachers when they showed me what little work they had of my daughter's work. Usually, schools put their best foot forward in kindergarten and as you move up, the quality of work starts to get less impressive. Not here. It is pervasive. Look at the work posted by 4th graders! I found them rife with poor grammar and misspellings, not to mention poor writing. Save your money.
I worked at BC This is a school that is putting on a serious front just for show. As a teacher there, I assure you your children are not getting the enrichment and/or academic support you THINK they are getting. parents are talked AT during conferences. Benchmark math assessments WERE NEVER performed with any accuracy (these are important data for any teacher to have to know HOW and in what direction to teach lessons as well as make connections/extensions. Instead, I often saw clearly inexperienced LEAD teachers performing the test with not much comprehension on the purpose of the test) most of the K and 1 teachers have no true understanding of the guided reading program: the kids either read a book together without must discussion or just sat and "looked" at books for 45 min.I don't know what has happened to this school since 2008, but the new lower school admin has been transitioned 3 different times in the last 5 years...Save your money, and do more research.I will say, the "work environment" was ok, very laid back. Most people wear jeans to work and have time to travel around the world.