The responsive classroom model sets a good foundation for community interaction and responsibility in the lower school. Advising groups in the middle school help students discuss challenging issues that have meaning to them in their lives.
My husband and I have chosen, after really researching the different local (and not so local) independent and public school options, to enroll all three of our children at this school. Each child is quite different, yet we find that each has found an academic home, a social community, and tremendous support for the specific things they love (as well as the things they don't as readily). The teachers at BC really get to know the children and understand them as individuals. I've been impressed by the depth of their understanding of each of my kids' abilities and challenges, as well as how they interact within a group. The student-teacher ratio (around 19 kids to 2 teachers) allows for this individualized understanding in the lower school, but somehow doesn't drop off in the middle school when there's just one teacher per classroom. The lower school curriculum challenges students to become well-rounded and to work hard at math, writing, science, Spanish, art, music, phys ed, swimming, and computer science. In addition to solid academic fundamentals, I love that my kids have learned to swim at school, learn Spanish starting in the lower school, learn typing and coding in class, and are taught within the context of the Responsive Classroom model, which puts the social environment of the classroom front and center. While I have found that my children were pushed and encouraged in their strengths even in the lower school (with teachers giving additional, more challenging work and/or assigning a teaching/mentoring role when my child was beyond what the rest of the class was doing), In the middle school, academics really take off. In addition to compelling electives and award-winning debate teams and musical ensembles, students dive deep into big subjects--Egypt, Islam, the world water crisis, Civil Rights, the election, world geography--and come out with tremendous awareness and insight. The Spanish curriculum emphasizes developing conversational fluency, rather than drilling conjugations (although those are necessarily explored, too). The math program is based on the premise that if kids understand how numbers relate to each other, they will have keys to all levels of math in the future, which I have found to be brilliant. Their STEAM (STEM+Art) program is always growing and stretching with new developments. We really couldn't be happier with this school.
The Berkeley Carroll School matches our family values strongly. We believe in their integrative and collaborative model of learning, with a focus on the application of knowledge. BC is innovative around its approach to traditional academics, new technologies, coding, engineering, the arts and the partial Spanish emersion program (starting at pre-k!). At the lower school, at least one teacher (of the two teachers in every class) speaks Spanish fluently and integrates it throughout each lesson.
The ever growing diversity mission centered around change, not lip service, helps creates a school culture that welcomes us all. Teacher and school culture morale is high. As a two dad, bi racial couple with an "eager to learn" almost eight year old girl, we find her academic, social, humanistic views on the world being shaped in the most innovative and progressive ways. BC is a school that allows for as much parental involvement as you would like to offer. The door is wide open. The culture embraces all family structures.
As we always say, "Berkeley Carroll makes parenting easier" --helping us develop an academically bright, socially mindful and progressively conscious child that is able to think critically outside herself. It's a global, ethical and innovative education at its' best, always asking itself "how can we do even better?"
Heading into our fifth year at BC, we look forward to how our daughter will continue to become a intelligent, strong and kind person in our ever-changing world.
Our child has experienced bullying type of behavior in a classroom setting all year. Once she decided she had enough she felt comfortable going to the administration and her advisor to discuss the situation. The administration and her teacher have worked with her to address the issue and have created a safe space for her in class. She feels empowered and ready to move forward in the class.