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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Student Reflections on Costa Rica Service Project

By: 7th and 8th Grade Students

Eighteen 7th and 8th grade students spent a week volunteering in Costa Rica. During the trip, they wrote reflections on their experiences in the trip’s blog. Here are a collection of quotes from their reflections:

We learned how there is a tree that had three hundred different species of symbiotic plants growing on it (crazy but incredibly cool)! After our minds were full of new knowledge and information, we set back to clean our rooms and prepare for our next adventure.” – Floria A. ’20

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Berkeley Carroll Students Help School in Costa Rica

By: Kimberly Carmody
Middle School Visual Arts

BC students just completed their third year of volunteer work for a local school in the Chilamate Rainforest Eco Retreat in Costa Rica and change in the infrastructure is super visible & inspiring! This year, the 7th and 8th graders raised $8,000 to support these projects in partnership with other World Leadership School groups and local fundraising efforts:

1.) Auditorium
Last year students painted the tall metal beams used to hold the roof up with rustproof paint and moved rocks and small boulders to clear space for the floor of the auditorium, which is now poured concrete. This year the roof is up and the structure is complete. The huge space provides a location for performances, large group meetings, basketball and other games, and it’s a refuge from the rain!

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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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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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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…

Berkeley Carroll Alum Wins Prestigious Teaching Award

By: Patricia Peña Carty
BC ’02, Science Teacher, Chair and Assistant Principal at University Heights High School

Ed. Note: Patricia is one of only seven teachers to be recently honored with a Sloan Award for Excellence in Teaching Science and Mathematics by the Fund for the City of New York.  A 2002 Berkeley Carroll graduate, Patricia shares some of her story and how Berkeley Carroll helped get her to where she is today. Read more about her and the award on the Daily News website

I got into teaching when I was recruited by Teach for America during my senior year at Georgetown University. Although I was all set to attend dental school, the calling to join AmeriCorps and devote myself to educating and mentoring deserving youngsters attending public schools grew into my newfound passion. I was so fortunate to receive a rich and life-altering education at Berkeley Carroll, and I was determined to become a teacher that could bring private school quality education into public schools. Every day that I would awake and ready myself to attend BC, I was filled with joy and excitement, and each classroom I would enter transported me to a new dimension of discovery, inquiry and adventure. My educators and mentors respected me as an individual learner, celebrated my successes and talents, and I was challenged to grow in so many ways. Continue reading…

Spreading Dignity by Supporting Girls’ Education

By: Megan Saxelby
Middle School Humanities
Siena, Wilha, and Charis
Sixth Grade

One of the things that I find the most rewarding about teaching humanities is that you are able to adapt your curriculum to address history as it unfolds. While watching the horrific images of the terrorist attacks in Paris, I decided I would give my class an open ended project that focused on spreading dignity as a direct response to acts of hate carried out that Friday.

Students chose to spread dignity in so many ways: beautiful public service announcements to show to their classmates, slipping anonymous notes of positivity and encouragement into every locker in the middle school, and even creating “dignity boxes” where passers by could stop and grab a positive message.

One group found their inspiration in the work of Malala Yousafzai, and, after viewing this powerful image, decided they wanted to spread dignity by spreading access to education. In the next two weeks their goal is to help raise $1000 for the Malala Fund, and they are almost there! Below is their powerful speech. Please consider supporting our young activists as they live out the BC mission to be critical, ethical, and global thinkers!

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Varsity Basketball Coach Gets Tips For Success From Notre Dame

By: Carmine Giovino
Head Coach, Boys Varsity Basketball
Associate Director of Athletics

The past two seasons, the Berkeley Carroll Boys Varsity Basketball team has enjoyed unprecedented success. The program followed up an A.C.I.S. League championship in 2014 with a N.Y.S.A.I.S. State Championship in 2015, their second year in a row making it to the final day of the season. It was after this most recent season that while watching Notre Dame Men’s Basketball’s run to the Elite Eight, that I noticed a number of similarities between Berkeley Carroll and Notre Dame.

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Working for Peace at Project Common Bond

By: Mike Wilper
Middle School Humanities

I often think that education, at its very best, is hope in action, a parallel of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s vision of justice as love in action. I’ve been privileged to witness many moving and transformative moments in schools: Moments when students leap beyond past expectations; when they discover the power of supporting one another; when their intellectual curiosity becomes insatiable. Implementing a “dignity” thread into the curriculum helped to multiply these moments, and it put me into contact with other educators and peacebuilders dedicated to building safe, inclusive communities.

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