Brooklyn private independent school

BC Launches Our "Portrait of a Learner"

BC Launches Our "Portrait of a Learner"


Dear Families,

A key strength of the Berkeley Carroll community resides in our continuous commitment to problem solving, building on our successes, and striving for the next level of excellence. In this spirit, we devoted the past academic year to thinking deeply about our core identity, reimagining how best to prepare students for the complexities of the world – with both rigor and joy.

A cross-divisional committee of BC educators led this work to articulate the habits of mind and essential skills that we will prioritize.The committee sought and incorporated input from a variety of stakeholders, including teachers, students, alumni, parents, administrators, and the Board of Trustees.

At the heart of this project were focus group sessions, where participants were invited to reflect upon students or alumni who embody the skills and traits of a successful Berkeley Carroll learner. The committee gathered data and looked for recurring themes, noting words and dispositions that especially resonated with the community.

To capture these aspirations for learning, the committee identified keywords and crafted corresponding descriptors. These transferable and transdisciplinary skills highlight our goal of empowering students to independently apply what they learn to different contexts.

We are excited to share the result with you, which we are calling “Portrait of a Learner.” Recognizing the power of visuals to deepen understanding, the committee considered different layouts, shapes, and colors and discovered that circles were especially meaningful to the community. Emerging from sustained work on restorative practices, the symbol of a circle signaled inclusivity and belonging as well as strength and capacity to handle tension and conflict.

At Berkeley Carroll, we believe that the purpose of school is to inspire critical, ethical, and global thinkers who demonstrate curiosity, empathy, resilience, and discernment. We seek to challenge and to nurture learners who, for example, delight in discovery; seek and listen to multiple perspectives; set goals, take risks, and grow from mistakes; and who engage with complexity to deepen their understanding in the classroom and beyond. This educational vision - a blend of extant practices and aspirational goals - is the result of a collaborative process that deepened our appreciation for the school’s mission and values.

Our Portrait of a Learner articulates our goals and grounds the community in a shared vision for learning to support strategic decision making, program design, professional growth, and student-led learning. It is - in short - our educational vision.

Going forward, there will be opportunities to learn more about how the Portrait will be implemented in the months and years ahead.

All Best,

Lisa Yvette Waller, Ph.D.
Head of School

Stephen Mak, Ph.D.
Assistant Head of School for Program and Innovation