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