Every independent school has a core curriculum—and Berkshire’s is exceptional. In an inspirational setting here under the Mountain, Berkshire offers one of the best college preparatory programs with all the fundamentals required for students to excel academically, socially, artistically and athletically. And in Berkshire’s residential community there is so much to be learned from interactions with faculty—sometimes intentional, sometimes informal—that happen outside of the classroom.
But what sets our school apart is what happens at the periphery of this exceptional core. Berkshire has long had defining programs like the Ritt Kellogg Mountain Program and the Barbara Kenefick Center for Learning, programs that distinguish us from our peer schools. More recently we have developed the Advanced Math/Science Research, Advanced Humanities Research and Independent Study programs, which further challenge our students and allow for a more rigorous pursuit of a particular academic talent. And in honor of Berkshire’s Centennial in 2007, we launched the week-long Pro Vita Winter Session, during which students pursue interests outside the core curriculum, highlighting the school motto “learning not just for school but for life.”
As Berkshire entered its second century, we began to reevaluate the entire educational experience at Berkshire in order to better prepare our students for an ever-changing global society. In so doing, we have refashioned and redefined the components that make up a Berkshire education. All recent research in education confirms that there is no better way for students to develop a talent than to work in a hands-on environment and produce actual results.
By formalizing programs that we already do well and creating more disciplines befitting a 21st-century education, we are encouraging students to follow a passion and participate fully in areas where they can find success. In this learning model, students engage in academic opportunities outside the core curriculum and put them to practice in real-world settings. Grounded by a solid core foundation, this balance of rigor and possibility is what makes Berkshire unique—and our students so well-prepared to contribute to the real world that awaits them.