The Face of Perseverance: A BCD Story!

Each school year, for each of the three terms at BCD, Upper School students participate in Arts Blocks. The students are provided a catalog featuring a selection of various types of courses in the arts—music composition, sculpture, band, painting, drama, or drawing—and students choose two Arts Blocks per term. The options change each term, although some of the Arts Blocks courses, like Yearbook, remain constant.

As a school, we do our best to try to honor students’ first or second choice Arts Blocks selections, however, at times, due to numbers and popularity, we need to spread the students out to have balanced enrollment in the different courses. Therefore, occasionally a student may end up in a third choice Arts Block.

In the fall term of the 2017-2018 year, one of our 7th graders, Jack, was placed in his third choice Arts Block. Very politely, Jack approached me and asked, “Do I have to stay in this Arts Block?”, and I responded, “I’d like you to give it a try.” Jack replied, “OK.”

And, give it a try he did!

Jack immersed himself in his new Arts Block. Vocal Ensemble, something very new for this triple-sport competitive athlete (soccer, tennis, and lacrosse), became something where Jack was soon an active and engaged participant. He was a rock star, practicing various vocal parts, auditioning for solos, and ultimately delighting and entertaining many at both Grandparents Day and the BCD Winter Concert, where Jack sang a solo section of a complicated and beautiful song Rise Up by Andra Day. (Interesting enough, this song is about resilience and perseverance).

Now in our second term of the year, not only has Jack stuck with Vocal Ensemble, this time selecting it as his first choice option for his Arts Blocks, the Vocal Ensemble enrollment has increased from 7 participants in term one to 13 participants in term two. I firmly believe that Jack’s enthusiasm for the block was an inspiration to his peers and that it magnetized some of them to try it, too.

Too often these days, so many of us resist discomfort and the unknown. Frequently, parents advocate for their child to prevent the child from having to potentially experience something of a challenge or temporary struggle. I think Jack’s story shows us all what can happen if we try something new. If we engage in the unknown, if we wade through the period of uncertainty, there is the potential to gain and win on the other side.

Being so impressed with Jack’s willingness to try to the new Arts Block, and equally surprised that his parents had not called and requested that he be moved from this third choice Arts Block, I saw Jack’s mom one day and shared my delight and admiration for Jack’s engagement. Jack’s mom shared that that is how it works in her house: you give effort to new things and you follow through on things you begin.

Let Jack’s readiness to engage in discomfort be an inspirational story for us all. I encourage you to share his story with your children as well. 

What if we found out we like and were good at diving into the unknown?

What if we tried something new and really engaged in it and found we were really good at it?

What if we tried something unknown and through doing, inspired others to take such a risk?


You never know until you try. Bravo, Jack!

By |2018-02-02T16:06:40-04:00February 1st, 2018|

Reflections from BCD’s newest gems!

Berkshire Country Day School started the 2017-2018 school year on an upswing of positivity. We were delighted to welcome forty-one new students to our already vibrant community. We were equally enthused to welcome new members to our talented and dedicated faculty.

Like the new students and families, the new faculty members had lots to learn with regard to settling into their new home here on campus. Each of them worked diligently in an open-minded and caring manner to get to know the culture, the community and at getting down to the business of planning and delivering their areas of expertise to our children.

Recently, I took some time to connect with the new teachers, to ask them some questions about BCD now that they are one of us. Read their thoughts below:

Julia Kreilkamp, Beginner 2s Teacher

When someone asks you about your job, what do you say?

I say that BCD is an extremely friendly and supportive school community and that the families are a dream to work with. I feel so much more at home among this group of colleagues than I have at any other school where I’ve taught. I am among kindred spirits in terms of values, commitment, and sense of humor!  I also say that working with 2-year-olds is as interesting a challenge as I expected it to be.

What is something that surprised you as you settled in BCD over the past term?

At each of the faculty meetings, the content has been worthwhile, and the attitude of collaboration and respect has been consistently present.  I wouldn’t say this surprised me, but it has made a strong impression on me, as it provides a distinct contrast to my past experiences in public school faculty meetings.

What do you most look forward to when you come to work each day?

The surprises that come with hanging out with two-year-olds. Having the freedom to respond to the mood and interests of the children, to wander outside for long periods of time, or to have a spontaneous singing or dancing session. I also look forward to knowing that I will be greeted warmly by many people and that I am surrounded by many colleagues who seem to be completely happy to be here.

Mary Daire, French Teacher and BCD parent

What are some of your perceptions of the sense of community at BCD?

I’m blown away by the sense of community here at BCD and by the feeling of inclusiveness, support, and kindness. I say this from several vantage points; as a teacher, a colleague, and a parent.

Participating in my first ‘Thanksgiving Soup,” the revered and celebrated tradition at BCD, confirmed the present and enduring level of community at BCD. It was amazing to see so many alumni return and to see parents working hard in the kitchen to pull together a meal for the entire school.

What is your favorite place on campus and why?

The Learning Commons. It is such a refreshing space to be in. The natural light is amazing, and the space just exudes a fresh and bright energy! The Distance Lab, the glass room within the Commons, is a close second. The students love to have class in there.

When someone asks you about your job, what do you say?

I say that I have my dream job: teaching the language that I love and sharing my passion for the language and a culture that I care so much about with students in my home county of the Berkshires!

Ashley Junod, Preschool Assistant Teacher and BCD parent

What are some of your perceptions of the sense of community at BCD?

For the last 2 years, I saw the community from a parent’s point of view. Now seeing it from the teachers’ side as well, it is even better. The involvement level of each and every teacher with each and every individual student is so amazing. I knew it was great when I was a “just” a parent who simply dropped my son off. But now being there each day, even just a few days a week, it’s so apparent how much these teachers appreciate what they do, and their freedom to teach the way they feel is best at this great school.

When someone asks you about your job, what do you say?

Three years ago when my husband and I decided to bring our son to BCD, we knew it was going to be one of the best things we ever did for him. Now that I have had the opportunity to be a part of the internal team of teachers, I know even more certainty that we were right. To be able to see firsthand different elements of my son’s day while I am on campus with him is so awesome.

Lia Russel-Self, Theatre Director and Development Associate

What are some of your perceptions of the sense of community at BCD?

BCD is focused on the wellness of each other. The entire community is focused on uplifting each other and supporting one another. The environment reminds me of a book a read as a child, It Takes a Village. Parents and students are attentive to each other, creating this loving extended family. The community of BCD is one that is open and supportive, both on campus and off.

What do you most look forward to when you come to work each day?

The creativity of my students. Every time I step into my classes, I feel as if they have become the teachers, introducing new concepts and perspectives that keep me on my toes. Whether it’s a new music-composing software or just an inspiring moment, the students are teaching me every single day.

What are you looking forward to in the year ahead?

I am really excited about the collaboration among myself, other arts teachers, and the support of the school administration as we go into production for the winter performance. It’s been an all-school effort, and it’s such a rare commodity to work with such enthusiastic and inspiring educators and students.

Carli Imreh-Allgretta, Beginner 2s Assistant Teacher

What do you most look forward to when you come to work each day?

I look forward to the greetings I give to and receive from my colleagues on a daily basis. BCD has opened my eyes to how a school community should operate. Waves and smiles from across the courtyard and friendly hellos on the playground have begun to make my day.

What is your favorite place on campus and why?

My favorite place on campus is the playground! This is where children of all ages come to play and explore. Each day on the playground children emerge with excited faces ready for their next encounter. It is nice to witness the familiarity the students of various ages, including the B2s, have with students in others grade. On the playground, children are aware of their older peers who are looking to lend a helping hand and their younger peers who may need that same hand. This is where long-lasting friendships with their fellow Penguins are created.

What a pleasure it is to see these dedicated new community members in action each day. They bring a sense of joy coupled with professionalism to all that they do. We were so delighted to have welcomed them in August and to continue to witness their successful settling in to all things BCD. True gems!



By |2018-01-22T16:11:44-04:00January 22nd, 2018|

To Puerto Rico with Love…From Puerto Rico with Love

In our vested efforts to grow our commitment to Service Learning at Berkshire Country Day School, as a community, we chose to participate in Make a Difference Day, 2017. One of the largest annual single-days of service national wide, Make a Difference Day seemed like a wonderful way for BCD to come together in action toward a cause.

Initially, we contemplated encouraging our families to collectively volunteer in a local agency/issue. Being that Make a Difference Day is on a Saturday, we even considered the idea of families choosing how to be of service in their own neighborhoods, not necessarily toward one communal cause but toward an effort that they as a family connected with. However, as we began to flesh out our ideas together in a Parents’ Association meeting, our direction for action for Make A Difference Day 2017 was brought to light before our eyes. 

Hurricane Maria had just recently ravaged the island of Puerto Rico and while the island itself may be an ocean away from our physical community, Mayra Rodriguez, parent of Alex in grade 8, had much to share about the impact on many, including her friends and family, since the hurricane hit. Mayra, a Puerto Rican American who trained as a teacher in Puerto Rico, brought Puerto Rico and her plea for their dire need for our service to us in illustrative emotion.

Coincidentally, and simultaneously, our caring and intelligent Upper School Student Council, under the guidance of faculty member Sarah Pitcher, had also been concerned about Puerto Rico and wondered what they could do to help to show that they care and to provide service toward a solution.

So, we rallied! As a community, we decided that rather than go through a large national relief organization we would organize to collect items needed by the people of Puerto Rico. Mayra collated a needs list based on her knowledge of how the people of Puerto Rico live and what they were in the greatest need of.

Items included beans, rice, flashlights, batteries, mosquito repellent, and pillar candles. We created a detailed donation, collected the items, and on Saturday, October 28, 2017, volunteers from our community, which included students, teachers, parents, alumni, neighbors, and administration, came together to create an active and energized assembly line, packing boxes to be sent off to people in Puerto Rico.

Seventy-eight boxes were packed and sent to Puerto Rico from the BCD community! Inside each box, we included lovely cards, letters, drawings, and even tissue paper flowers made by the students of BCD. We also included a self-addressed, stamped envelope with paper inside and a letter inviting the recipients to send us some mail back.

The letters from the people of Puerto Rico have been pouring in! Drawings, poems, photos, letters, videos, and even a handmade doll from our grateful new friends who continue to struggle to live life as they knew it before the hurricane hit. The gratitude, appreciation, and human-to-human connection are palpable from each piece of mail written by children, teenagers, adults and the elderly.

And, our own students have been moved and delighted to read the mail, see the drawings and photos, and feel the full circle of love from the action our community took. Thank you to the BCD community for coming together to show we care.


By |2017-12-19T08:55:06-04:00December 12th, 2017|

Academic Conversations in the Classroom

At our Faculty Meeting on November 8, 2017, Berkshire Country Day School’s Kindergarten through Grade 6 teachers participated in a workshop, here on campus, related to the topic called Academic Conversations explored in the book of the same name by authors Jeff Zwiers and Marie Crawford.

Academic Conversations, a relatively new term in the education field, are purposeful and sustained conversations related to classroom content. Unlike typical classroom discourse, the skills for Academic Conversations are intentionally taught and modeled for students as they learn more about the process. The aim of Academic Conversations in practice is to help students learn from one another through active discourse and to intentionally work to build new understanding through the power of intentional discussion.

Led by local Literacy Consultant Kristin Burke, the workshop   presented at BCD outlined the skills students need to be explicitly taught to best succeed in high-level Academic Conversations:

  1. To elaborate and clarify
  2. To support their ideas with examples
  3. To build on and/or challenge a partner’s ideas
  4. To paraphrase
  5. To synthesize conversation points

Developing these key communication skills aligns strongly with the proficiencies needed for high-level academic reading and writing. Cumulatively, these are the skill sets that help students communicate in a variety of settings, including whole-class discussions and in small groups.

In the workshop, we practiced specific listening and speaking skills to help hit home the importance of varied specific skills. The team also participated in challenge activities that modeled for us the concept of explaining one’s thinking and there being more than one “right answer” in many instances.

Most impressive and illustrative to our group were the videos of real children in real classrooms having real conversations using the tools inherent to Academic Conversations. These videos, captured in Kristin’s former school in Framingham, MA, were truly inspirational and highlighted the fact that, if we believe that with the right tools and with explicit instruction on how to use the tools, kids can succeed, they will prove us right.

As a team, we had fun engaging in the activities. We thought and wondered aloud together. We shared practices and ideas. Additionally, we were excited by some new ideas to try with our own students back in class.

The very next morning after the workshop, I walked into Andrea Patel’s kindergarten class. She was in circle time with her class and she was explaining to them that they were going to have a discussion but that she, the teacher, was not going to run it; the students themselves would be in charge of listening to one another, not interrupting and learning to take cues from the group about when it the next person’s turn. Later, Gill Romano came to tell me was so excited by one the challenge activities, an activity that got kids discussing their ideas and their reasons for their positions that she was thinking of presenting a similar challenge every day to her third graders.

It continues to be a pleasure and an honor to work with the teaching team here at BCD. In the workshop, they demonstrated their curiosity, expertise, and passion for education as well as their open-mindedness to learn and try new ideas. We all agreed to try some of the approaches related to Academic Conversations over the next couple of months and we look forward to return visit from Kristin Burke in late January 2018.

By |2017-11-13T13:47:11-04:00November 13th, 2017|

Choices, choices: naming our school mascot

 Here Ye! Here Ye!

Attention, attention!

Let it be known that, the students of Berkshire Country Day School have spoken. Our penguin mascot, selected to represent our school back in the late 1940’s, now has a name.

The students at Berkshire Country Day School were invited to contribute their choice of a name for our penguin. Many interesting selections were provided. A list of final names – ones that had the most entries, were compiled into a short list. These six names were then shared back with the students for a final vote.

And…the winning name…BLUE! Our penguin mascot shall henceforth from this day forward be referred to as Blue.

How, you may ask, did the penguin come to be the mascot of BCD? According to Lila Wilde Berle, BCD class of 1950, when she was a student here, she and her Upper and Middle School peers also experienced a student voting process. Their vote revolved around naming the animal to represent the school. Animals considered included a wolf, a coyote, and a panther.

As Berle states, they were “fierce animals for the most part” that were being put forth for consideration.

“I remember,” says Berle, “It was a very civilized process to pick the animal. We went through every animal we could think of. It ended up being the penguin…we all thought that was very cute…it was kind of ‘this is who we are’. ”

Now in 2017, Blue won the BCD name contest up against other front-runners such as Waddles, Percy, Patty, and Marley.

Other interesting names that were suggested in the first round of student voting? Googenfox, Icy, Snowsquall, Juan, Peggy, and Chilly.

On Friday, October 6, 2017, the winning name was announced to each class via live penguin hand delivered scroll. A naming ceremony is in the works to officially bring Blue the Penguin to life. Look forward to increasing news about Blue’s adventures, to seeing Blue at BCD events, and to an annual birthday party celebrating Blue and BCD pride in the years ahead.

Go Blue!

By |2017-10-12T18:46:45-04:00October 11th, 2017|

Teachers Teaching Teachers…Take Two!

We are at it again at BCD! Working together to grow and improve our practice, and having fun while doing it.

On Monday, October 2, we had a full day faculty in-service day. We spent the morning together and in teams looking intentionally into our social-emotional curriculum and program.  We asked ourselves: What is our purpose? What is going well with our current approach? What needs our attention for improvement?

We also spent part of the morning gearing up for the kick off of our through-school service learning focus, which launched into the inquiry and identification phases in all grade levels (except B2) on Wednesday, October 4 (more on that soon!).

During the afternoon of our in-service day, we were fortunate to participate in a mock version of Arts Blocks, our signature arts program for Upper School students (grade 7-9) where they choose two art electives per term. They choose between music, visual arts, and performing arts options, each of which meets twice weekly throughout the term. Yesterday, the BCD faculty also participated in selecting and attending Arts Blocks of their choice.

Led by three of our multi-talented Arts Team faculty, the following Arts Blocks options were offered.

Faculty Vocal Ensemble with Charles Zotique (Music Teacher/Private Instrumental Music Program Coordinator)

Do you love to sing? Let your voice soar with Faculty Ensemble. In this class, we will build each musician’s current skill level in vocal technique, sight-reading, ensemble skills, and music theory. We will prepare fun and engaging musical presentations and prepare to share them with the community. We will also grow as an ensemble and foster a supportive environment for musical discovery. Give it a try! You’ll be amazed by what you can accomplish.


A Version of You with Sasha Sicurella (Visual Arts Program Coordinator)

Create a mixed-media self-portrait that combines elements of photography, drawing, painting, and, of course, your own imagination! See examples of similar projects that Ms. Sicurella has done with children, youth, and adults in 20 different countries around the world and learn how this activity has helped people to discover parts of their own identity through the process. You will be amazed by your hidden artistic ability and by the version of you that will be created!


Theatrical Ensemble Building with Lia Russell-Self (Theatre Director)

Have fun and get creative with your colleagues! Be prepared to move around and collaborate. Through engaging exercises, we will create a short performance composition. No matter your level of acting or an aversion to theatrical specimens, you’ll fit right on in. There’s no right or wrong, just what you want to bring to the table!



The workshop titles and photos speak for themselves. Creativity was in action. Risk taking was abundant. Teamwork was flowing. Fun was had by all. Once again, Berkshire Country Day School teachers shared their dynamic teaching skills with their colleagues. Back together at the close of the day, we reflected and we agreed how fortunate our students are to have such talented Arts teachers, and how truly inspiring the arts program is here at BCD. What a wonderful way to spend a day together becoming intentionally enriched and thoroughly inspired.

By |2017-10-12T14:34:52-04:00October 4th, 2017|

Teachers Teaching Teachers

One of the key ingredients in any successful and cohesive community is being able to work well together, and to be able to have fun while doing it. The Berkshire Country Day School faculty did just that during our in-service week prior to the start of the new school year.

We came together, as we do every late August, to kick off the year. This year, rather than the administration (yours truly!) planning and leading all facets of the presentation portions of the faculty in-service days, we were fortunate to have some of our faculty plan and deliver important and intentional team building experiences and learning opportunities.

We engaged in a Break Out Box challenge. The Break Out Box, akin to the process of an Escape Room, is a cooperative problem-solving adventure. Led by veteran BCD Science Teacher,  Susan Benner, we divided into four teams and set out together to solve a challenge. We did this by collaboratively figuring out clues, and making connections toward a solution, which then provided access to a locked coded box, which then provided access to the next clue in the sequence. Our winning team cracked into the final clue box, and what did they find there? Chocolate for all!

It was wonderful to see the determination, the communication, and the intelligence of the faculty on display. My favorite part, however, was the laughter in the room. Such a wonderful way to begin a new school year together!

The activity served the purpose of the obvious: team-building and morale-lifting. However, Susan was also taking the opportunity to share a new resource we have on campus, the Break Out Box itself, and to share that she and the 7th Grade would be available to plan Break Out Box adventures for any interested teachers at any grade level. Look for more news about the Break Out Box in action in the months ahead.

Also during our in-service week, we were fortunate to be guided in a presentation by 5th Grade teacher Dr. Jilly Lederman that focused on “growth mindset”(video link), an educational philosophy developed first by Dr. Carol Dweck of Standford University. Growth mindsets stand in contrast to a fixed mindset of which Dweck says, “In a fixed mindset,  students believe their basic abilities, their intelligence, their talents, are just fixed traits.” Dweck posits that in a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work. “Brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment,” shares Dweck.

In addition to presenting on current research in the growth mindset field, Jilly facilitated explorations into classroom-discussion techniques and shared specific activities that can be used to nurture students’ positive growth mindset in the classroom. Jilly also shared some model lesson plans, as well as approaches to assessment that aim to provide students with opportunities to show mastery over time. Dweck refers to this concept of “mastery over time” as the “Power of Yet” , which underscores that, although a student, or any of us for that matter, may not have achieved a certain grade or ability as of YET, there is a path into the future of possibility if we believe it is possible.

The crux of the message from Jilly’s presentation? Learning is positively impacted when we change how we speak about and present challenges to students, and how we support them in facing these challenges every day. Jilly’s presentation excited her colleagues, got them to reflect, and sent them away with a window into the idea, “Mistakes grow your brain.” They do not define a student.

Thanks to both Susan and Jilly for getting our new year off to a fun, inspiring, and reflective start!



By |2017-09-27T08:54:27-04:00September 26th, 2017|

How Does Our Garden Grow

This summer, the village that is BCD demonstrated their community spirit by caring for our new garden beds, originally planted by Berkshire Country Day School students late last spring. The garden-care calendar for Summer 2017 was divided into weekly increments, and we were delighted, fortunate, proud, and so grateful to have various BCD families sign up, committing to show up to water, weed, harvest as needed, and occasionally replant portions of the garden. Our garden was attended to every single week this summer!

Thanks for establishing the BCD gardens go directly to parents, Cynthia Pansing and Arlin Wasserman (parents of Orli, current Grade 4) whose generous contributions toward the garden made it possible. Early in the 2016-2017 school year, Cynthia brought the idea of new gardens to my attention. She then enlisted the support and talents of Chris Wellens of the Berkshire Botanical Garden. Together, the three of us spent time together, imagining and planning for the foundations of the garden beds, the planting process, garden care, and the hopes for the harvest.

The students and teachers in 2016-2017’s  Fourth Grade, First/Second vertical class, and our Preschool were the crew who worked to prepare and plant our garden in late April of 2017. The students took part in the spreading of soil in the beds, planting seeds, watering the beds, and looking after the gardens in the early weeks before summer. They planted kale, peas, tomatoes, potatoes, and zucchini, as well as dill, mint, and basil. The same grade levels will continue to care for the garden through the end of the season.

The current garden is essentially a revival of a similarly great project that happened in prior years at BCD. Our new garden addresses some of the challenges of the previous garden, such as it not being on a central path where eyes were on it regularly and the lack of regular care it needed during the summer months.

Thank you again to Cynthia and Arlin, to Chris from the BBG, to the teachers and maintenance crew of Dan and Chris for their interest and time, to the children who planted the garden, and to the families, children and parents who helped demonstrate that the garden is a wonderful metaphor, as well as a literal example, of how working together can truly make things flourish.

Stop by and see the BCD gardens, located behind Albright Hall outside of the preschool classroom windows!


By |2017-09-06T16:16:59-04:00September 6th, 2017|


August 29th, 2016

Dear All,

I wanted to share the letter below (which was sent to all BCD families back in early August) here on the BCD website as my first official blog post.

Tomorrow, we welcome back the BCD teachers for our annual, pre-school orientation days. I am so excited to have them all back here as we intentionally prepare for the year ahead, offering your children an incredible education among our vibrant community. With their impending arrival and the arrival of you and your children next week, there has literally been a shift in the energy here on campus. The excitement is palpable!

Some important dates to note: (details on all events will be forthcoming)

  • September 6th, First Day of School!
  • September 14th, Middle School and Upper School Back to School Night
  • September 16th, High Spirits: Welcome Back to School evening (adults only)
  • September 21st, PreSchool and Lower School Back to School Night

See you all very soon! Looking forward to a fantastic year ahead. Delighted to be here and to be a part of all things BCD!

~ Leigh


August 5th, 2016

Dear Berkshire Country Day Families,

Here I am! After months of waiting for this day, I have finally landed in my new role as Associate Head of School here at Berkshire Country Day School. I have been spending my summer learning, asking questions, reading documents and curriculum overviews, meeting with teachers and generally getting acclimated to all parts of the school.   My brain is lit up with enthusiasm regarding all that is ahead as I slowly but surely become part of all that is BCD!

It is so great to be here, steeped in the pieces and parts that make up BCD; however, a school is nothing but a skeleton without the flesh and blood (literally) that make it what it is, and is the reason why we are all here.

I am so looking forward to the return of the teachers, parents and…mostly, the students!

Currently, as usual, there are the various camps in session here on the campus. I have loved hearing the children’s voices on the playground and have had the pleasure to overhear some wonderful conversations from 5-year olds sitting beneath my window, unaware of my vantage point for innocent eavesdropping. I arrive each morning to hear music pouring out from inside our campus buildings as the BUTI young adults practice their instruments with passion and commitment. This is all fabulous, and welcoming and heart-warming but…I don’t know these students, which only enhances my longing for the start of the new school year and to welcoming all of the Berkshire Country Day students, Pre-Kindergarten through 9th grade, back to the campus to make it come alive. The people are the heart and soul of any institution and like a fated fairytale, I am longing to meet the main characters.

I also look forward to forging relationships with you, the parents and families of the BCD students, as we partner to ensure that your child(ren) is seen and heard as him/herself and as we continue to be a powerful recipe in supporting each unique student into continuing to grow to be his/her best self.

As some of you may know, I have the Berkshires in my roots. As a child, I lived with my family in Sheffield, first as a second home owner, and then swept up in the magic of life here in the Berkshires, we became full-time residents for my high school years. Coming back to the area is familiar and wonderful, and also a new beginning, full of lots to learn, to explore, and to become accustomed to after many years as a city girl. I am delighted to wear the hypothetical BCD-badge as I make new local connections and navigate my new beginning here in the Berkshires.

I welcome you to contact me to set up a time to meet and to begin our connection. Or, if you prefer to enjoy the rest of your summer, and to settle into the new school year and then meet with me in due time, my invitation has no “sell by” date; it is an ongoing and sincere one that will remain open to you throughout the year ahead.

I am delighted to be here.  Absolutely delighted.

~ Leigh

By |2016-10-25T15:02:11-04:00August 29th, 2016|

ERB CTP4 – Information for Parents

Next week, Monday through Friday, we will be testing students in grades 3-8. Like many leading independent schools, BCD uses the CTP4 (Comprehensive Testing Program, version 4) distributed by the Educational Research Bureau (ERB).  You are likely to hear students and teachers refer to these simply as “the ERB’s.”

While we value the information these tests provide us about our students and our school, it’s important that we remember any standardized test is merely a snapshot – where a child is on one particular day at one particular time – and not an indication of his/her overall intelligence or chances for success.

Parents often have questions about standardizing testing. What are they? What do they measure? What kind of questions do they ask? How much time do they take? I’ve created the presentation below to try to address some of these questions and to provide general information about the CTP4 tests. Whether your child will be taking the “ERB’s” this year or not, it may be helpful for you to gain more information about this one small piece of the school’s comprehensive assessment and evaluation processes.


click the image to access presentation in Google Slides

There is no way to study for the ERB’s nor do you and your child need to prepare in any way. The most important thing you can do for your children next week is see that they get a good night’s sleep each night, have a good breakfast each morning, and arrive at school by 8:00 AM. Encourage them to do their best but DO NOT indicate to them that this is REALLY important. We hope students will put forth their best effort, but we do not want to put undo pressure on the children regarding these tests.

ERB will make the test results available to us in about 4-6 weeks. At that time, I’ll be arranging for another parent information session to explain the scoring process, the score reports, and how we can read and use the information they provide. Of course,  you are welcome to come in and talk to me about the ERB CTP4 any time between now and then as well!

Thank you for your support this next week.


By |2019-04-09T09:01:38-04:00January 21st, 2016|