Vital Words – January 4th, 2016

Dear Friends,

My wife and I started our winter break this year by attending a very different concert, “Goldberg” an interpretation of Bach’s Goldberg Variations, presented by the performance artist Marina Abramovic and pianist Igor Levit and billed as a “blend of classical music and performance art.”

Upon arriving, concertgoers were instructed to place all electronic devices in lockers. The audience then entered the hall, given noise-cancelling headphones, and instructed to sit in silence. The waiting period lasted for thirty minutes, then a gong sounded, headphones came off, and the concert began. Why the wait? As Marina Abramovic writes about her method, “it is designed to increase attentiveness and encourage a sense of being present.”

Taking the lead from the Abramovic Method it is appealing with the start of the new year to pause, reflect, and think about the work we do at Berkeley Carroll. What is it that we do best at Berkeley Carroll?
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Vital Words – September 15th, 2015

Dear Friends,

Some of you may have not visited our Lincoln Place campus where our Middle and Upper Schools live. Many of the hallways are lined with student lockers and it has long been a matter of interest to me that we have locks on the lockers at Lincoln Place. I know the easy explanation is that students may keep something of value in the lockers and therefore the lockers need to be secure. This is more than a little ironic because over the years the biggest concern we have had with students and their belongings is it seems that most carry every last item around with them in their backpacks.

Our endeavors at school are built on trust and I think our students do a very good job of living up to our expectations. Our students are tolerant, honest, and up for taking risks.

At the opening meetings for Middle and Upper School students I invited all of our students to go without putting a lock on their locker. Why?  I hope that as a community we can strengthen our ability to look after one another.  This symbolic gesture would send the message that we are committed to having a safe community.
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Vital Words – June 12th, 2015

Dear Friends,
New York City is chock full of glorious sights and the challenge is to find the time to make the most of what is available. Last month the Whitney Museum opened its new building in the far West Village in Manhattan. My wife pushed us to visit but I was reluctant to agree, dreading the crowds and feeling rushed at the close of the school year, but in the end I was glad she persevered.

The new building, designed by the internationally renowned architect Renzo Piano, is an incredible achievement, a collection of wide, long, open galleries, with a jumble of exterior terraces and staircases, made from concrete, steel, and reclaimed wood. Having done several building projects at Berkeley Carroll, in the challenging (read that as maddening) construction environment of New York City, I am astounded by the complexity and size of this building.

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Performance Space Underway at Sterling Place

Dear Friends,

At Berkeley Carroll, when something works, we make it better. This drive to be better, to do better for our students, was the motivation behind our capital campaign, Sustaining Excellence, Securing the Future.

Through the generosity of our donors, we reimagined our PreK and Kindergarten building and transformed the Middle and Upper Schools with collaborative workspaces, new classrooms, a student commons, and a much needed dining room.  These new spaces are fully utilized by our students and faculty, and we can no longer remember the school without them.

The purchase of 152 Sterling Place was part of the SESF campaign. Last year we renovated the downstairs area of the building and created administrative offices and a large flexible space that can be used as a classroom or for meetings.

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Vital Words: March 30, 2015

Dear Friends,

Over spring break my wife and I were in Paris when the world learned of the wreckage of the Germanwings flight. Being in France brought the event closer and made the heartbreaking news even more dramatic. Europe can sometimes seem to be a small continent and it grew even smaller as we learned that there were victims from 16 countries, with the largest number of fatalities from Germany.

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