‘Intertwined, Interdependent’: US Director on Student-Faculty Bond at Commencement 2017

By: Jane Moore
Upper School Director

The 79 members of the Class of 2017 graduated from Berkeley Carroll on June 2. The following are Upper School Director Jane Moore’s Commencement remarks.

I’ve been thinking a bit lately about what graduation days mean from a teacher’s perspective. Though we participate in this ceremony every year, each graduation also signifies the passing of four years — the journey from ninth grade to 12th grade. Recently I was reading an article in Runner’s World magazine 1 about a recreational runner about my age who lives in a college town. “I live in a town,” he writes, “where 45 percent of the population is, and will always be, between 18 and 22 years old. They are perpetually in their prime. And in an unfair twist, I age one year annually as if I’ve been cursed by a witch. It’s a complete injustice! This is a reality that gets less and less pleasant to face the longer it goes on.” This is a version, I guess, of what it’s like to perpetually be in high school, something that most people would imagine as a circle of hell. But for most of the faculty, the twist is not that we age while our students are forever young, but that despite the ever-constant reminders of the passing of time (days like this), despite the ever-growing gap between us and our students, most of us gain energy and vitality from our proximity to you. As we run more slowly and get injured more frequently, our interactions with you — surprising meetings of the mind, heated challenges, lively debates, even mutual frustrations — these moments sharpen us and keep us in shape.

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12th Grade Dean Celebrates Class of 2017 at Senior Dinner

By: J.P. Jacquet
12th Grade Dean

Wow, the Class of 2017, how should you be described? When you started as freshpeople you were the single biggest grade in the school’s history. Most of the subsequent classes now average around 80 students so your grade became the new normal for BC. It is clear the experiment worked. As a class you have a little bit of everything. There are several lifers in your grade, but you also had a new student, who joined just this fall. Regardless of when each of you arrived at BC you have all worked to make your mark both as individuals and as a grade. In a bit I will focus on your work in our classrooms, the athletic arenas and performance spaces, but I think it is right to start by stating that at its core this is a class of Berkeley Carroll dance trend setters. You made this known even in the 9th grade as the first class to start the now annual freshpeople spring dance. More moves were displayed throughout your high school career including several grade-wide flash mob dance videos. The class as a whole definitely showcased rhythm at prom and your latest dancing exploit occurred in the US Atrium Library during your last day of academic classes. I admit I was a bit surprised when several portable speakers started blasting music, but frankly, I should have known that your senior prank would be a farewell dance party to the school.

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The Pringle Survived! Design Education Teaches Students to Create Change

By: Dr. Nell Daniel
Middle and Upper School Visual Arts Teacher

Design education in K-12 schools helps students shift from a consumer to a producer mindset by using the design process to solve cross-disciplinary problems.

As part of their Design class, 11th and 12th graders were challenged to use limited materials to build a package which could hold one Pringle potato chip that was then mailed from Manhattan to the school. Halima Johnson from the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum was one of the visiting critics on the project. We are thrilled to report that the chips mailed by Sara Tobias ’18 and Phil Bernstein ’18 arrived intact!
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BC Alum and Parent Discuss Living & Teaching in Middle East

By: Lorne Swarthout
Upper School History Chair

Two surprise visitors dropped into our Modern Middle East class recently, adding some special insights to the semester’s final unit of study on Iraq and Iran. These visitors are examples of the tremendous expertise and the volunteer spirit of so many members of the BC community. They deepen our understanding and broaden our horizons. Continue reading…

US Director Jane Moore Bids Farewell to the Class of 2016

By: Jane Moore
Upper School Director

The Class of 2016 graduated Berkeley Carroll on Friday, June 3rd. Below are US Director Jane Moore’s remarks at the commencement to the class.

I’d like to talk a bit today about the world out there — that is, the world that is not Berkeley Carroll. A number of things I’ve read, heard, and experienced in the past few weeks have me thinking about how Berkeley Carroll has prepared you — or not — for what you will find there, particularly in our American world.

As some of you know, last weekend I went to Disney World for the first time. I never wanted to go to Disney as a child (or as an adult), but I decided to take my niece for her 8th birthday, just the two of us. It was a wonderful and special trip, but also jarring in some ways. Every person who worked there called my niece “princess.” Happy Birthday, princess, Have fun, princess. The first time it happened, she whispered to me, “Why did that man call me princess?” The second time, she looked at me and laughed. The third time, she looked down, and wouldn’t smile. The last night when the bus driver said, “Good night, princess,” she stomped off the bus saying, “Superhero, cowboy, anything but this!”

Are you prepared for this world? — not just Disney World, but a world that doesn’t think of gender as a construct, a world that assumes that a girl with a ponytail, shorts, and a Star Wars t-shirt identifies as, or dreams of being, a princess? Continue reading…

Reflections on the Class of 2016

By: JP Jacquet
Twelfth Grade Class Dean

Below are excerpts from Dean Jacquet’s speech at the 2016 Senior Class Dinner.

Class of 2016, how should you be described? In previous years I’ve started these remarks by citing the number of Lifers (11 for your grade) to highlight the BC roots and connections of your class. For this year’s graduates, though, I thought it would be fun to acknowledge that you even have members who attended the since-closed BC Learning Center. Regardless of when you arrived you have gelled well as a class. As I asked faculty, staff, parents and other members of the BC community about the class of 2016, people used different words to describe some common themes. First, your class really likes each other. Your grade has many, and often overlapping “fro-mances,” which is my gender neutral term for what people typically call bromances. Two quick things: yes, I just invented that word and no I don’t think it will capture any traction after tonight.

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Upper School Hosts 2nd Annual BC Talks

This week, Berkeley Carroll Upper School students participated in their second year of BC Talks (formerly called Diversity Day). This year’s theme was privilege. Students participated in discussion groups, learned and shared their personal experiences with privilege. Below is Upper School Director Jane Moore’s opening statement for the day. 

Good Morning and thanks for being here for the second annual BC Talks. For those of you who haven’t been here very long, a bit of history: Before there was BC Talks, for a number of years there was “Diversity Day.” Last year we decided that that title was problematic title for a few reasons, one that it was vague, and one that it implied that a day of “celebrating” diversity was somehow sufficient. We hope that “BC Talks” comes across differently — as a day to focus our thinking and talking around a particular subject.

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Berkeley Carroll Honors Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Over the past week Berkeley Carroll celebrated Martin Luther King, Jr., other civil rights activists, and changemakers in all three levels of the school. During a joint Middle School and Upper School assembly, Madison B. (’16), Michael M. (’21), Sophie W. (’16), Henry S. (’21), Devin H. (’16), Briana J. (’20), Tai D.-M. (’20), Garrett C. (’16), and Aaron G. (’16) all presented short biographies of activists from both the past and present. Keynote speaker and former Poet Laureate of Philadelphia Sonia Sanchez shared a collection of poems celebrating and remembering civil rights activists throughout history. The choir and dance team ended the assembly with a joint performance of the song “Glory,” written by John Legend for the movie Selma.

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Berkeley Carroll Celebrates Computer Science Education Week

P1090810Last week Berkeley Carroll celebrated national Computer Science Education Week and Hour of Code across our Lower, Middle, and Upper Schools as part of our year-round STEAM initiative.

Our third and fourth graders started participating in Hour of Code tutorials and writing code regularly in their STEAM classes two years ago, rapidly progressing from initially having no experience to now writing it confidently and with increasing complexity. It’s truly incredible to see how far they have come! Throughout the school year, they are encouraged to use a number of free iPad apps, including Kodable, Daisy the Dinosaur, Scratch Jr. as well as Light Bot, in various classes. Continue reading…