BHS News

List of 20 news stories.

  • What is House Day?

    House Days are a time for BHS students from 1st to 8th grade to come together in the spirit of collaboration, teamwork, and fun. This was very much the case on our first House Day of the year.
     
    “There were lots of smiles throughout campus,” said Mrs. Brown, the House Day Leader. “Our 8th graders also got to flex their muscles as future leaders. It was great to see them actively include their 1st grade friends – this was their first House Day experience.”
     
    Students also got to practice our school’s four core values of respect, responsibility, honesty, and compassion at activities that ranged from scavenger hunts to relay races. This time, most of these were held indoors due to extreme weather. One example was a treasure hunt where a group searched for 100 tiny bobcat cut-outs. The challenge was to stick together by holding on to a rope and moving as a group to find as many bobcats as possible.
     
    Did you Know? School Houses are named after each core value. Students from different grades are grouped together under a House – think Harry Potter. They have designated colors and on House Days they get extra points for wearing their colors instead of uniforms. Students also earn points during each activity. We host several House Days each school year and at the end points are tallied, and a winner is announced. The winning House has its name engraved on the BHS Perpetual Trophy which you can view in the library.
  • Introducing Mr. Steadman

    This week in Innovation Lab, classes have been learning about the process they will use to innovate and create new designs. In the Animation class, students are transitioning from 2D optical illusions to working with 3D animation software. Students are excited to be putting their creative minds to work on this project, which is taught by our new Innovation Lab teacher, Mr. Andy Steadman, who joined us this year.
     
    Mr. Steadman has been teaching Science and Arts courses at several schools in Central and South LA for about 5 years. He grew up in Illinois, and received his degree in theatre and music from Illinois State University. After moving to Los Angeles, he worked in the Art Department in television and theaters, which spurred his interest in 3D modeling and printing.
     
    He went on to build a 3D printer and create videos for the Open Source Classroom and in 2018-19, he set up the Maker Space for Westview School of Arts & Technology. Most recently, he taught the technology elective for the Los Angeles Workshop School 
     
    Mr. Steadman pointed out that these last few years of teaching during the pandemic gave him lots of experience with distance and hybrid learning.
     
    “I’m thrilled to be back in-person and to be welcomed into the Berkeley Hall community,” Mr. Steadman told us. “Students are bringing a lot of interest and engagement to the Innovation Lab. I look forward to seeing their abilities blossom as we continue our learning journey together.”
  • Warming up with 4th Grade

    How do professionals learn improv? Our Fourth Graders got to find out in Mrs. Kylee Rousselot’s class this week. They participated in a game popular among amateur and professional troops called “What is that?”
     
    Groups of two took turns playing off each other during this game. The pairs start with their backs turned to the audience while a random object is placed in front of them. They then turn to face the object and Partner One starts improv with a question “What is that?“ The only rule of the game? Partner Two has to identify the object as anything except what it actually is.
     
    The class also worked on body and voice warm-ups that they will continue to utilize throughout the year.
  • Congratulations to the Class of 2022!

    We celebrated our Class of 2022 and their Berkeley Hall journey at an emotional send-off on Thursday, June 9. The ceremony took place in Hodges theater and captured the resilient spirit of the eighth grade students, with heartfelt speeches, songs, and readings.
     
    The event was attended by close family and friends, and began with a procession of the teachers and administrators who made it all possible. Dr. Gamrath, in her opening remarks, described the class as “wholehearted,” quoting a term used by author Brene Brown.  
     
    “While there have been moments of struggle, some disappointments in our days, some rough patches, some unprecedented circumstances, this group of 8th graders have, time after time, risen above adversity with bravery and courage,” Dr. Gamrath said.  
     
    She was followed by Student Council co-presidents and students who gave speeches and expressions of gratitude. The event also included a video presentation of the class shield whose motto this year is: Petals of Youth. The Bobcat Chorus gave a touching rendition of The Climb by Miley Cyrus and May the Road Rise to Meet You by Lee Turner.
     
    After being awarded their diplomas, the graduates mingled at an outdoor reception and enjoyed the traditional BHS graduation cake decorated with the new class shield.  
     
    We wish the class of 2022 a great summer and look forward to hearing about the daring new chapter in their stories.

    For those who could not attend in person, the ceremony was live streamed over Zoom and will also be available on our website.
  • Somewhere Over the Rainbow is a Hit

    Thank you for joining us on Thursday, June 2 for Somewhere Over the Rainbow a performance by the JH Drama elective students. The production was a unique adaptation of L. Frank Baum's classic, “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” directed by Ms. Kylee Rousselot, with sets and props designed by the students. The performance took place in Hodges before a live audience and was also streamed to the community.

  • 8th Grade Visits the Museum of Tolerance

    The 8th-grade class had the opportunity to visit the newly remodeled Museum of Tolerance this week. The museum was built in 1993 and is dedicated to issues of racism and prejudice around the world, focusing especially on the history of the Holocaust.

    Every student had the opportunity to explore powerful exhibits and share their reflections on complex current and historical social dilemmas. What an amazing opportunity this was for our students to consider what choices they will make as they prepare for high school, and to reflect on how Berkeley Hall continues to encourage students to be Responsible, Compassionate, Respectful, and Honest.
  • A Strong Year for BHS

    Dr. Gamrath addressed our community at a recent State of School presentation. In her assessment of the 2021-22 school year, she talked about all the ways our community has grown and adapted in this period. She was joined in the presentation by the leadership team, Sarah Colmaire, Dean of Academics, Doug Gibbs, Chief FInancial Officer, Karen Morse, Dean of Students, John Abdelnour, Director of Advancement, and Nathalie Miller, Director of Admissions. 

    “As we recognize BHS’s one hundred and eleventh year, there is much to celebrate, and as we look forward, there is much that excites us. Bottom line: The State of Berkeley Hall School is STRONG,” she told the community. 

    Dr. Gamrath also confirmed that all new dean positions have officially been filled. We previously announced that the Dean of Students role starting in the fall will be divided into two full-time roles: AHOS: programs and DEIB, and Director of Student Wellness. Our Dean of Academics role, in the meantime, will be divided into three positions: Assistant HOS for teaching and learning, as well as Lower Division Director, and Upper Division Director.

    To hear the entire State of School presentation, please click here.
  • Many Ways to Mark AAPI Month

    The month of May is Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage (AAPI) Month. In 4th grade, students are learning more about the Asian countries and their traditions. Chinese shadow puppets are a lot of fun to make and students are writing a script to perform a Chinese theater show. They are also designing a version of Nirvana, the Asian-Indian Snakes and Ladders game. This game is the origin of the popular game, Chutes and Ladders.

    A Thailand Storytelling Cloth is similar to a tapestry that tells the story of the Hmong men who were driven from China. The Thai people preserved their history by making these cloths. Fourth grade is modifying the idea and preserving their own class history and all that they have learned this year. Students are looking forward to seeing where their study of Asian traditions takes them next.
  • Grey W. Leaps into Limelight

    We are so proud of 8th grader, Grey W. who was featured on the cover of the April/March issue of Ventura Blvd. magazine. He was picked as one of 10 extraordinary teenagers who are the faces of the future.
     
    Here’s what they wrote:
     “What amazed us: His razor focus on and commitment to excellence in the sport he has been doing since the age of 3. Grey is considered one of the best elite-level gymnasts in the country. Along with his teammates from Gymnastics Olympica USA, he has twice won the national championship. He is also a member of the U.S. Men’s Junior National Team, earning one of 14 spots last year. The results of that competition made him one the top five gymnasts in the country.” (March/April 2022, Ventura Blvd.)

    Kudos to Grey and thank you for setting the bar high for all Bobcats to follow!
     
    To read more visit:
    https://venturablvd.goldenstate.is/meet-the-valleys-top-teens-2/
     
     
  • The Secrets to our Gardens

    Nothing says spring like a campus Garden Tour and Workshop. Mr. Brown organized an event that on a recent Sunday that gathered together 20 budding horticulturalists – many from the ECD grades, as well as Primary, Intermediate and JH.  
     
    The tour started in the Pollinator Paradise Garden by the tennis courts, wound its way to the succulent gardens near the arts and science building, and ended in the garden by JH. After snacks and a short talk, volunteers helped transplant tomato seedlings and took home some strawberries.
     
    The talk offered a bouquet of topics relating to different gardens on campus ranging from native plants, to the history of the gardens, and the chaparral that dominates our 66-acre campus. Mr. Brown focused on how plants are being used around our sustainable BHS landscape. He described how a diversity of agave from our succulent garden were used to populate our hills.
     
    At the production garden behind the JH building, the group looked at crops being grown there, including kale, Swiss Chard, potatoes, cilantro, garlic, and many types of annual and perennial flowers. 
     
    Mr. Brown said he enjoyed sharing the garden spaces with our volunteers, many of whom have not had the opportunity to explore our beautiful campus.
     
    “Community events like this are so important because they help shape what it means to be a member of the Berkeley Hall Community,” he noted.
     
    While this was our first tour and garden workshop on campus, there will be more events like this to look forward to this spring.
     
  • Bobcats Grow into Peer Tutors

    We love watching our Bobcats grow into role models and leaders and it’s always impressive to see students tutors working with their peers in the library. This year’s Peer Tutoring program kicked off on Monday under the expert guidance of Mrs. Neale, and students and tutors have been working together on math and language arts topics. In the past, the program extended down to the first grade but due to health and safety restrictions, it’s now limited to grades 6-8. But it’s still as popular as ever with no less than 21 tutors and subs. The program takes place after school and will run through March 24. We can’t wait to see the Kindergarteners of today fill those seats in the library one day soon.
  • Kindergarteners Have a Dream

    Kindergartners looked ahead at Monday's holiday to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., with a conversation about the idea he spread beginning with the words "I have a dream." Each student wrote a piece describing their hope or dream for the world. 

    "Teachers love working with children because they believe the way to help the world begins with them," said Mrs. Denisi. "These children are on their path to improve their world for themselves and their contemporaries. Right on, kids!"

    Read their touching pieces in our album below.
  • Student Leaders in Sports

    As students progress through the PE program at BHS, they gain more opportunities for leadership by being team captains, leading exercises and activities, and running games as referees.  It can be a lot of fun for students who play club sports to uplift their classmates with their knowledge and test their own understanding of the game by being coaches of large games, choosing line-ups and game strategies.  This video shows the unique warm-ups that coaches Shyla and Tobias brought to a combined soccer game in 8th Grade PE.
  • The Math Olympiads Return to BHS!

    It's time to cheer on the BHS Bobcats again in this year's Math Olympiads! The Math Olympiads contest was established in 1979 and is one of the most influential and fun-filled math competition programs in the United States and throughout the world, with over 150,000 students from every state and 39 countries participating. The objectives of the Math Olympiads are to teach multiple strategies for out-of-the-box problem-solving, develop mathematical flexibility in solving those problems, and foster mathematical creativity and ingenuity. BHS competes with a 4th-6th grade team and a 7th-8th grade team, each made up of 35 students, selected by Ms. Brown in the lower division and Mrs. Neale in the upper division. There are five contests throughout the year, proctored by Ms. Brown and Mrs. Neale, and top ranking students in each class will be recognized at our final trimester awards ceremony in June. Individual students and teams also have the opportunity to rank internationally, at a gold, silver or bronze level, and it's always exciting for our small school when this takes place. So, please help us cheer on this year's teams as they put on their mathematical reasoning caps and go for the gold!
  • Girl's Basketball Goes to UCLA Basketball Game!

    After a season of growth and joy, members of the Girl's Basketball team attended a UCLA Women's Basketball game with their families and coaches.  The UCLA Bruins took on the University of Virginia and won with some great team play.  One of the star players of the Bruins, Natalie Chou, actually attended a Zoom class of ours last year during remote learning.  It was exciting to see her talents on the court after hearing her words of wisdom in the (Zoom) classroom.  We are grateful to UCLA for providing these opportunities for our students to get a bigger picture of what's possible in women's sports.  Go Bruins and go Bobcats!
  • Mock Trial Team Leapfrogs to Playoffs

    Congratulations to our Mock Trial team for making BHS history! The team advanced straight to the quarterfinals from their round one trials, skipping over the playoffs. Mock Trial is a Junior High elective where students participate in a countywide academic competition run by the Constitutional Rights Foundation (CFR). Our BHS team accomplished this feat thanks to high scores in both their round one trials under the expert guidance of Mr. Fontaine and our amazing Attorney Coach, Marc Guggenheim. The quarterfinals will be held on Zoom on Thursday, November 18.
  • Thanksgiving Food Drive is a Huge Success

    The BHS Elementary Student Council collected a total of 65 bags at the end of its week-long Thanksgiving food drive. The campaign was in support of a Meal Bag initiative run by LA Family Housing and wrapped on Tuesday, November 16. Students collected non-perishable items which were delivered to the grateful hands of LA Family Housing representatives who noted that BHS was the second largest donor this season. We thank our Student Council for their exemplary leadership and everyone in our community who supported their great work.
  • The Holiday Book Fair is On! 

    We can’t wait for our ever-popular BHS Holiday Book Fair which will run from December 3 to 10, from 7:30 am to 4:00 pm at the McMahan Library. Parents can once again join us on campus to shop and volunteer! Sign-ups are required in advance so be sure to click here to reserve your time. 
  • 500 Books Donated by BHS

    The Chase Child Life program at UCLA Mattel Children's Hospital was thrilled to receive the approximately 500 books that were donated to our Berkeley Hall's Book Drive. These books will bring comfort, education and entertainment to young children and adolescents who are in the hospital. Thank you again to our generous BHS families for this successful community outreach. And, thanks again to BHS Parent Oliver Sims for making this special delivery.
  • Berkeley Hall Featured in Ventura Magazine

    Founded in 1911, Berkeley Hall is an independent, coeducational school for students in nursery (age 3) through eighth grade. Nestled in the Santa Monica Mountains, the 66-acre campus provides the latest classroom technology, rigorous academics, visual and performing arts opportunities, a competitive athletic program, and a variety of enrichment classes.

    WHAT ARE SOME WAYS YOUR SCHOOL PROMOTES EQUALITY AND INCLUSIVITY? “Berkeley Hall is one of the most diverse independent schools in Los Angeles, and we strive to be the kind of community we want our world to be. Our classrooms are enriched by the variety of backgrounds and perspectives our students bring, and we work to create a community built upon relationships of awareness and trust. We address implicit bias, equip our community to fight racism, foster student intelligence in multiculturally sensitive ways, and offer a curriculum that is inclusive and equitable. But just as important are the less formal steps—the teachable moments we foster every day when teachers and students practice seeing and celebrating each individual’s unique differences.”

    WHAT DO YOU SEE KIDS DOING TO MAKE THIS WORLD A BETTER PLACE? “Berkeley Hall is known for its Difference Makers Series—a program that introduces our community to people addressing the pressing issues of our time. Our most recent speaker, a Berkeley Hall alumna who is now a junior in high school, was inspired by the program when she was a student here and started her nonprofit at 11 years old. While visiting family in India, she saw a need and now supplies shoes, warm clothing and school supplies to students in the slums of New Delhi. Most recently, she responded to the pandemic by fundraising to help dis-advantaged children in Los Angeles obtain headphones to aid in distance learning. This alumna’s efforts show how Berkeley Hall stu-dents are positively impacting the world.”

    WHAT HAVE BEEN YOUR PROUDEST MOMENTS DURING THE RECENT CRISIS? “Our Depth of Study system, which allows teachers to collaborate and improve teach-ing and learning, allowed us to transition our focus quickly to create solutions in a remote and hybrid setting. We’ve never seen a faculty work more tirelessly and go above and beyond what was asked of them. Everyone pulled together—from faculty to staff to administrators to facilities personnel to par-ents and students. This became an enormous team effort. We are so proud of our dedicated teachers, who have continued to provide an exceptional education to our students even while remote. We are equally proud of our dedicated staff, who evaluate the changing landscape and implement measures that keep our students safe. We are also grateful for our families for helping ensure that their kids continue to grow and learn together in creative, fun and meaningful ways—even through this year’s difficult challenges.”

    HOW IS YOUR SCHOOL HELPING KIDS COPE WITH THE PANDEMIC AND SAFER-AT-HOME ORDERS? “Berkeley Hall has an online library full of resources for parents and students to sup-port social-emotional learning. Our teachers and administration have been highly involved in providing strategies and learning opportunities to help our students navigate this challenging year. Through daily Morning Meetings and advisory programs, students have regular opportunities to process all they are experiencing. Based on scientific data, we recognized in the early months of the pandemic that bring-ing students safely back to campus would be our #1 priority. Due to low positivity rates in early childhood education, our nursery and early kindergarten classes were able to start safely in September. With our rigorous safety protocols in place, they have been on campus all year without issue. When our L.A. County K–2 waiver was approved, we opened to kindergarten, first and second grades. We have recently reopened for grades 3–6 and will soon have cohorts of seventh- and eighth-grade students back on campus for social-emotional learning activities, under the county’s 25% rule.”

    WHAT IS BERKELEY HALL’S MISSION? “Our mission is to empower children to fulfill their unlimited, God-given potential as fear-less scholars and conscientious citizens.”

    WHAT MAKES YOUR TEACHERS THE BEST IN THE BUSINESS? “Our teachers believe in children’s extraordinary potential—not in limits or labels. When you start with the idea that children are endlessly capable, you find that they rise to your expectations in amazing ways. This view of children as unlimited is at the heart of teaching and learning at Berkeley Hall, and it closely relates to the psychological principle called growth mindset—now widely embraced in educational circles. With a growth mindset, we realize that our abilities are not fixed, but they are instead fluid. Through effort and practice, each of us can acquire new capabilities. We can turn weaknesses into strengths. We can discover and nurture unexpected talents. Guiding students to adopt this outlook is wonderfully empowering. It helps motivate them to take risks and try new things—to be fearless scholars. And it helps them persist even if success doesn’t come quickly.”

    WHAT ARE YOU ESPECIALLY GRATEFUL FOR TODAY? “We are grateful for everyone’s flexibility as Berkeley Hall adapts to the ever-changing path toward a safe reopening. We are grateful for our expansive campus, large class-rooms with ample circulation and communication technology, and outdoor facilities. Most important, we are grateful for our dedicated, flexible, caring teachers who are working twice as hard during the pandemic to deliver an excellent education to their students.”

    We invite you to read this article in Ventura Boulevard Magazine here.

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Located in Los Angeles, CA, Berkeley Hall School is a private, coeducational school for students in preschool through grade 8. Rigorous academics in a supportive atmosphere and grounded character development allow students to become fearless scholars and conscientious citizens - gain a love of learning, leadership with social responsibility, creativity with moral integrity, and self-esteem with compassion for others and the environment.