Brooklyn private independent school

Message from the Board of Trustees

Dear Members of the Berkeley Carroll School Community:

The trustees of Berkeley Carroll are often asked about our role in and vision for the school. These goals for a vibrant future highlight some of our recent accomplishments and also our goals as we look to the future. We have never been more excited about what’s ahead for Berkeley Carroll, and I hope you share our enthusiasm.

I invite you to become involved in the school community; your engagement will make your experience as a parent richer and we will be a stronger school for it.

Chad Ruble
Chair, Board of Trustees

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 well-being 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 that takes shape as a rolling strategic plan. 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 immediate and long-term goals for Berkeley Carroll and how are you meeting them?

The board is prioritizing these goals:

(1) Cultivate a widespread culture of generosity that encourages and recognizes all forms of contributions that support our institution. 

(2) Support BC’s ongoing commitment to equity and inclusion both in partnership with the Head of School and at the board level.

(3) Build a strategy and roadmap for the execution and financing of the 701 (Phase 2+3) Project.

Rolling Strategic Plan - With a View to the Future

The board’s long term planning consists of a rolling strategic plan. Some organizations take a year or more to map out a plan that looks 5 years into the future. Our rolling strategic plan gives us the flexibility to respond to shifts in our environment. The plans, which are tweaked on an annual basis, contain three overarching goals: (1) investment in academic program and faculty, (2) community culture, and (3) facilities development.

(1) 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 have prioritized the following initiatives:

• Over the course of the 2022-23 school year, we endeavored to think deeply about our core identity, reimagining how best to prepare students for the complexities of the world with both rigor and joy. The result of this work is our Portrait of a Learner, which organizes the school around the habits of mind and essential skills that represent the community’s vision for learning and prepares students for the world beyond school. A cross-divisional committee of educators led the process to create it, seeking input from a variety of stakeholders including teachers, students, alumni, parents, administrators, and the Board of Trustees. Focused on students and the types of learning they will do, the Portrait serves as a foundation for the rigorous and joyous work at our school.

• In order to attract a diverse, energetic, and innovative faculty and staff, we keep salaries and benefits competitive.

• We plan for future growth and opportunity, including new positions to expand and deepen curriculum. We provide enough flexibility to nimbly meet the demands of the current school year and the rapidly changing demands on our students and teachers. 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. Berkeley Carroll educators are lifelong learners who are committed to enriching their curricula. Our Fund for Growth and Innovation in Teaching, 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.

(2) 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 with an emphasis on diversity, equity, and inclusion:

• We’ve integrated the concepts of diversity, equity, and inclusion into the curriculum at every grade level, from redesigning Lower School social studies so that all students can see themselves reflected in the syllabus to adding more than twenty Upper School courses that focus on the history, literature, cultures, and philosophies of countries around the world, as well as LGBTQ+ history in the United States.

• Over the past 5 years, we’ve increased our financial aid budget; this year we’re providing nearly $9.9 million of support. We also provide ancillary aid to support students: We awarded $320k in 2022-2023 and have budgeted $375k for the 2023-2024 school year. Together, this support offers greater access for families of diverse backgrounds and perspectives. The strong philanthropic spirit of our parents, teachers, and alumni evident in contributions to our Annual Fund and Endowment help make this aid possible. Additionally, for the 2019-2020 school year, $750K in emergency aid was granted to families who felt the additional burden related to Covid-19. Last year, we awarded $81k in emergency aid.

• In 2020, the Board’s Community and Inclusion Advisory Group was upgraded to full Board Committee status, which places the Chair of that committee on the Executive Committee of the Board, a recognition that the issues at the forefront of that committee are considered carefully by the board.

• 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.

• In 2015, we supported the creation of a new cross-divisional position, Director of Equity and Inclusion. In recognition that this is the work of more than one person, the board dedicated resources to increase the size of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion office last year. 

• We continue to use our Marlene Clary Performance Space at Sterling Place not only for classes, student activities, and performances and events, but also for an array of community programming, including a documentary film series, a speaker series, and make it available either for rent or at no charge to local organizations’ events.

(3) And we invest in our facilities:

• We’ve broken ground on 703 Carroll Street and construction is underway on phase one of our plan to expand and renovate our Lower School, with a focus on sustainable building and design principles. This project will add nearly 13,000 square feet of LEED rated programmatic space, including additional classrooms, science labs, and gathering spaces. 

• In 2022, we added four new classrooms at Sterling Place.

• In 2021, we added a cold kitchen to service our Lower School and expand our school lunch program to the entire student body.

• In 2020, the HVAC system at the Athletic Center was fully replaced with low-noise, modern, efficient equipment, and the locker rooms were renovated to provide a fresh look and additional space to accommodate visiting teams and summer programs.

• In the fall of 2017, we opened our new dedicated Middle and Upper School libraries, fully renovated and expanded science labs, a theater classroom, and a flexible 1500 sq.ft. STEAM space after a successful $12 million construction project at Lincoln Place. These modern spaces have facilitated collaboration and widened 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 as well as the community-wide events mentioned above.

Support innovative programs.

We boldly commit to supporting 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 on a path of ”global, critical, ethical learning” that sets them apart in their intellectual development from early childhood education through the college process and beyond/for lifelong learning:

• Our Lower School Spanish program is designed with a clear progression that builds a solid speaking and listening foundation for successful language acquisition. This work is supported by bilingual associate teachers in PreK and three full time language teachers in K - 4.

• In support of global perspectives, we send 50-60 Middle School and Upper School students and 10-12 faculty each year on curriculum-based travel programs to Ecuador, Mexico, Spain, France, Italy, Mexico, South Africa, as well as to Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Tennessee, and Utah in the United States. Financial aid has been made available for these trips through the generosity of our community.

• We support interdisciplinary courses such as our innovative Humanities program 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 to 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. This season we have won the ACIS playoff championship in girls volleyball and soccer and boys cross country. Currently, more than three-quarters of the Middle and Upper school students participate in our athletic programs. 

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 shared commitment and trust among faculty, students, and parents that make Berkeley Carroll the vibrant and inclusive intellectual community that it is today and that ensures its bright future.