Brooklyn private independent school

Goals for a Vibrant Future

A message from the Board of Trustees

Dear Members of the Berkeley Carroll School Community:
Berkeley Carroll's trustees are often asked about our role and our vision for the school. “Goals for a Vibrant Future,” on this webpage, highlights some of our recent accomplishments and our goals for the future. We have never been more excited about the future of 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.

Sincerely,
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 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 immediate and long-term goals for Berkeley Carroll and how are you meeting them?

The board is prioritizing the following goals for this 2021-2022 school year with three goals in mind:

(1) Support the school head as she manages the continued disruptions related to the COVID-19 pandemic while maintaining the safety of our community as well as program excellence.

(2) Build upon our work around diversity, equity, and inclusion, to foster an anti-racist culture at Berkeley Carroll in which all students are recognized and feel included. And

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

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. As we face the unpredictable challenges of 2020-21, these medium and  long-term goals are still very much in mind as the direction of our institution.

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. 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. 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.

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 20 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 five years, we’ve increased our financial aid budget and this year we’re providing more than $8.5 million of support. This 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.

• 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 has dedicated resources to increase the size of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion office beginning this year.

• 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.

• We continue to use our new Marlene Clary Performance Space at Sterling Place not only for classes, student activities and, performances and events but 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.

And we invest in our facilities:

• In the fall of 2017 we opened our new dedicated Middle and Upper School libraries, fully renovated and expanded science labs, a theatre 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 widen the scope of students’ research and laboratory work, as well as providing vital additional classroom and lab space to accommodate in-person classes during the pandemic. 

• 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.

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

• We completed the purchase and possession of 703 Carroll Street. A design to join this building with our existing facility at 701 Carroll has been commissioned and planning is underway to expand and renovate our Lower School.  This project will add over 10,000 square feet of programmatic space in the future which includes plans for additional classrooms and gathering spaces.

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 has a Spanish program that uses a partial-immersion model along with the most current practices for second language acquisition. This work is 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, Italy, France and Spain. 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 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 and inclusive intellectual community that it is today and ensures its bright future.