Goals for a Vibrant Future
A message from the Board of Trustees
Dear Members of the Berkeley Carroll School Community,
It is an honor to be entrusted with the role of Chair of the Board of the Berkeley Carroll School. My wife and I experienced firsthand the wonderful education that our daughters received when they were students at BC and I will work hard to continue to push the school toward providing the best experience for all students and to excel in all areas of its operations.
The entire staff of Berkeley Carroll expertly prepared for this new school year and is committed to making our mission come alive for all children. The Board continues to keep its focus on keeping our school financially strong, relevant in all areas of its programs, and fully supported in providing excellent facilities and world class teachers.
The Board was exceptionally busy this year as it worked to successfully complete the search for its next Head of School. The Search Committee, under the able leadership of former trustee Amy Bender, engaged in a thorough and deeply thoughtful process which led to the successful appointment of Dr. Lisa Waller as our next Head. We feel very fortunate that Dr. Waller is coming to Berkeley Carroll and will ably build on the work that Bob Vitalo has done during his tenure. The trustees now have in place a plan for the transition to ensure that Dr. Waller will be fully prepared for her new role when she assumes the office in July of 2019.
I invite you to become involved in all aspects of the school community; your engagement will make your experience as a parent richer and we will be a stronger school for it. It is not too early to put on your calendar the annual Parents Association/Board of Trustees meeting on December 3rd where the Board will update the school community on all aspects of our work on behalf of the school.
Thank you for the faith you have placed in us and I look forward to meeting you at many of our upcoming events.
What is the role of the Board of Trustees?
The board of trustees is the governing oversight body for Berkeley Carroll. We are a group of committed current parents, alumni and parents of graduates who are entrusted with the health and wellbeing of the school today, as well as shaping the growth and change in the years to come to make the school even stronger. All of our work is done in partnership with the Head of School.
How does the board plan?
One of Berkeley Carroll’s great strengths is our embrace of innovation. In keeping with that, we have adopted a dynamic approach to long-range thinking known as a rolling strategic plan that we believe best suits our needs and goals for the school. This allows us to be nimble and attuned to changing realities, and to concentrate our energy and resources where they can be most effective. We pull students, parents, faculty and alumni into our work by reaching out to them on a regular basis to participate in surveys, workshops, task forces, and focus groups as the need arises.
What are the board’s current goals for Berkeley Carroll and how are you meeting them?
Our rolling strategic plan contains three overarching goals: (1) investment in academic program and faculty (2) facilities development and (3) community culture. With those goals in mind, we set near and medium-term priorities for the board. Each spring, we assess what’s been achieved and we adjust our priorities accordingly for the following school year.
Sustain Berkeley Carroll's status as a college preparatory school of choice for high achieving students with a wide range of passions and strengths.
The strength of a school lies primarily in its program and people. Accordingly, we invest in both:
- In order to attract a diverse, energetic and innovative staff, we keep salaries and benefits competitive.
- We plan for future growth and opportunity, including new positions to expand and deepen curriculum. The demands of 21st century learning change rapidly and we are committed to meeting those needs as they arise.
- We prioritize funding for professional development. BC educators are lifelong learners who are committed to enriching their curricula. Our Fund for Faculty, which supports this professional development, is disbursed across all divisions and replenished annually by the Senior Class Gift and other donations to the school’s endowment. This year we announced our Inspire, Innovate, Ignite Campaign and as a part of this effort, funds raised by the Robert D. Vitalo Fund for Growth and Innovation in Teaching will be added to the endowment to continue to help our teachers learn.
And we invest in our facilities:
- A $12 million construction project at Lincoln Place that provided new dedicated Middle and Upper School libraries, fully renovated and expanded science labs, a theatre classroom, and a flexible 1500 sq.ft. STEAM space opened in the fall of 2017 and is now fully operational. These modern spaces facilitate collaboration and widen the scope of students’ research and laboratory work.
- In 2016 the Marlene Clary Performance Space at Sterling Place opened as a venue for music, theater, dance, speech and science presentations by all divisions. BC has hosted a multi-school Jazz Festival and multi-school Science Research Conference at the space.This past summer, the lobbies of 181 Lincoln Place and 701 Carroll Street were refreshed and renovated.
- The HVAC system at the Athletic Center was replaced with low-noise, modern, efficient equipment.
- We purchased 703 Carroll Street (which is still operated as a rental property.) A design to join this building with our existing facility at 701 Carroll have been commissioned and planning is underway to expand our Lower School, adding 10,195 square feet of programmatic space.
Preserve and strengthen Berkeley Carroll’s inclusive intellectual community, which encourages personal responsibility, and celebrates diversity of thought, perspective, and background.
We are fiercely committed to our distinctive community culture:
- Over the past five years, we’ve increased the financial aid support of our families to $7.8 million. This provides greater access for families of diverse backgrounds and perspectives. The strong philanthropic spirit of our parents, teachers and alumni through our Annual Fund and Endowment help make this aid possible.
- In 2015, we supported the creation of a new cross-divisional position, Director of Community and Inclusion.
- In 2016, we created a board-level Community and Inclusion Advisory Group that includes parents, alumni and trustees that continues to meet.
- In 2017, we created the position of Director of Community Action, a cross-divisional role charged with strengthening service learning opportunities and supporting efforts to root those opportunities in the curriculum.
- We use our new Marlene Clary Performance Space at Sterling Place for classes, student activities and events as well as an array of community programming, including a documentary film series, a speaker series, and events sponsored by local organizations.
Be bold in supporting innovative programs.
We support the school’s dynamic approach to education. Our curriculum offers deep understanding and mastery in a wide array of disciplines. The following are just a few of the forward-thinking approaches that set our students apart in the college process and in their chosen careers :
- Our Lower School has a Spanish program that uses the partial-immersion model and the most current practices for second language acquisition, supported by bilingual associate teachers and two full time language teachers.
- In support of global perspectives, we send 50-60 Middle and Upper School students and 10-12 faculty each year on curriculum-based travel programs to India, Costa Rica, Tanzania, France and Spain. Financial aid has been made available for these trips through the generosity of our community.
- We support interdisciplinary courses such as Humanities beginning in Middle School.
- Our three-year Science Research and Design program in the Upper School, which students take in addition to their core lab science courses, allows them to pursue independent research with a mentor, and publish their studies in a research journal. A student paper on solar energy became the moving piece of evidence to convince the NYC Landmarks Commission to approve solar panels on the roof of the 181 Lincoln Place gym!
- We support the rapid growth of the Computer Science program, which began as a single coding class and is now a full, multidivisional curriculum, to which we added an additional full time faculty member.
- The Lincoln Place Beta Lab supports the fully integrated Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (STEAM) program.
- The school has added sports teams, additional coaching, and upgraded our level of competition for girls by joining the AAIS league. Currently, nearly three-quarters of the Middle and Upper school students compete in team sports.
The Board of Trustees believes that the strength of Berkeley Carroll lies in the excellence of its program and educators, and its commitment to state-of-the art facilities and innovation. But as importantly, it is the commitment and trust that is shared among faculty, students and parents that make Berkeley Carroll the vibrant intellectual community that it is today and ensures its bright future.