Head of School

Head of School2016-10-25T15:01:47-04:00

Head of School

8 ways to teach kids to see the best in others

By Sarah Hamaker

When my oldest daughter was in kindergarten, she was convinced a classmate didn’t like her because he would knock her book off the table and bump into her several times each day. The teacher observed that the boy wasn’t being deliberately mean — he simply liked Naomi and was rather clumsy, as so many kindergartners can be.

My daughter’s confusion wasn’t unusual. “When we are young, we are more concerned with ourselves,” says Melissa Divaris Thompson, a licensed marriage and family therapist and co-founder of Honest Mamas. “We learn through time to be more polite and regard others and their feelings.”

Every child — and adult — struggles with how to interpret others’ motives, often assuming the worst. It’s natural to think everything is personal, but we need to step back and look objectively, says Lynn R. Zakeri, a clinical therapist. Zakeri uses the example of someone cutting us off in traffic. Rather than simply assigning negative motives, she says, “we have to go that extra step to say the person might be running late or did not see me in his blind spot. Being a victim can become a habit.”

To read the full article, click here.

By |May 2nd, 2018|Categories: Head of School|

Why Learning Latin Stays With You Forever

Recently, I shared this video with BCD’s Latin teacher, Eugénie Fawcett, who is completing her 45th year of teaching at BCD this year, and I thought everyone would enjoy it.  Click on the picture to link to the video clip.

Earlier today, we celebrated the results of the National Latin Exam.  Sponsored both by the American Classical League and the National Junior Classical League, every Upper School Latin student at BCD took the exam in March.  They joined, and their scores were compared to those of, more than 150,000 students from all 50 states and 13 foreign countries.

14 Upper School students were awarded certificates and medals for their high scores on the 2018 National Latin Exam. For the Introduction to Latin on the National Exam, the following award was earned:

     Outstanding Achievement Certificate: Norah S

For the Latin I National Exam, the following awards were earned:

     Gold Summa Cum LaudeRafi K

     Silver Maxima Cum Laude: Sam C, Esme M, Petra O, Samantha S

     Magna Cum Laude: Lana M, Gevi S

     Cum Laude: Daniel C

For the Latin II National Exam, the following awards were earned:

     Gold Summa Cum Laude: Chase V

     Silver Maxima Cum Laude: Clara M, Keely O, Sean S

     Cum Laude: Henry VS

Bravo and congratulations, one and all!

By |April 26th, 2018|Categories: Head of School, Uncategorized|

Thank you, Natacha! Thank you, Andrea! Thank you, PA Steering Committee and community members, one and all!

Wow! What a week!

On behalf of the faculty, staff, and administration, I write to share a huge and heartfelt thank you for a week of expressions of appreciation provided by the Parents’ Association and our community!

The spectacular bouquets of flowers, the gracious words at a most delicious luncheon, the generous breakfast and cards from students, were received with gratefulness!  To cap off the week, everyone has taken home a prepared dinner for their family, further demonstrating the kindness and talents of our extraordinary, vibrant, and caring community.

While I’m confident that the smiles in these pictures say it most warmly and sincerely, thank you, one and all!

By |April 20th, 2018|Categories: Head of School|

We Can All Be Proud of the Outcomes of a BCD Education

This year was another successful one for BCD students applying for admission to independent secondary schools.  Applications went to eleven boarding and day independent schools, and every BCD student who applied was accepted at one or more of the following schools: Bard Academy, Berkshire School, Buxton School, Emma Willard School, The Ethel Walker School, Holderness School, The Hotchkiss School, Miss Hall’s School, Northfield Mount Hermon School, and Proctor Academy.

This is no small accomplishment.  The secondary school application process is rigorous, the admissions bar has been set higher at every school, and applications have increased exponentially during the past decade.  I am very proud of each of these students, and I know that these schools are excited that BCD students will be joining their communities in the fall.

I can share that we are just as proud of those students that will depart BCD in June equally prepared to flourish and meaningfully contribute at Pittsfield High School, Lenox Memorial High School, and Monument Mountain Regional High School next year.  Our students thrive at these schools and demonstrate their talents and agency as learners, and strengths as community members, year after year.  Graduates (from BCD’s class of 2014) are happily enrolled at colleges such as: Boston University, Bowdoin College, Brandeis University, Columbia University, Dartmouth College, Northeastern University, Skidmore College, St. Lawrence University, University of Michigan, and Wellesley College.

It is clear to me that the source of our greatest pride in Berkshire Country Day School is found in our students.  Smart, engaged, capable, and prepared – each has met with great success and achievement in the classroom, on our teams, in arts ensembles, and as involved community members, mentors, and classmates.

Credit for each child’s success at BCD must be directed to our deeply dedicated teachers.  Their passion for teaching, creativity, and enthusiastic involvement throughout our community has established the culture where each student’s promise could be recognized and inspired.

Everyone in our community, whether through their hard work, support for BCD, concern for our campus and the spirit of the community, and care for each child over these many years was evidenced in our students’ character, interviews, efforts, and performance throughout the secondary school application process.  For all of these reasons and so much more, and as we collectively celebrate the achievements of our students, we can all be proud of BCD.

By |April 10th, 2018|Categories: Head of School|

A Phenomenal Woman – Maya Angelou

In observance of what would have been her 90th birthday, I offer the following post about a phenomenal woman, a “she-ro” of mine, Maya Angelou.  During the 86 years of her life, she advocated for a world that would be more equitable through her work as a poet, civil rights activist, essayist, director, editor, playwright, dancer, singer, actor, composer and historian.

Colin Johnson, Angelou’s grandson, was at his grandmother’s side at just about every event she attended during the last 25 years of her life, he says. She—and her friends—called him “The Grand.”  In celebration of what would have been Angelou’s 90th birthday, Johnson spoke to Teaching Tolerance about who Angelou was when she was outside of the public eye.

“There are plenty of people who have gotten the individual awards she has gotten. … But the difference for me is the way in which my grandmother did it and her style and spirit while doing it. She had an amazing laugh and a singing voice that was full of life. And after the tough life she lived, it’s just amazing the spirit that she kept.

My grandmother found her voice twice: first after her mutism and then, once she grew up and had the number of experiences that she had, the voice that rose in her that would never be quieted. She felt like injustice and inequality were just not right for this world. … And she believed even before this phrase was popular that art is action, that you can move mountains, and you can move people, through your art form and giving truth.

She thought for a long time that she was a writer that could teach, and eventually she realized that she was a teacher who could write. … My grandmother believed that books were freedom from ignorance and that they could transport you anywhere. And in that very moment, when you transfer someone to West Africa or Egypt or Rome or London, you are taking action in that kid’s life and exposing them to something and somebody else’s ideas and the beauty that comes from everywhere and everybody’s writing.

As she would say, if you live with an open heart and you trust your gut and you love hard, you’re probably going to live an amazing life. And the only problems in life really come when you become calloused and you start to be jaded about what the opportunities in this world are and that people are innately great. Period. Everybody is innately great. Things might happen to them and make them worse people, bad people. … But in the heart of everybody is a really great person and everybody wants about the same thing you do. They want to eat, raise their kids, be successful, laugh a little bit, love a little bit. That’s it.”

“Dr. Angelou’s words sustained me on every step of my journey –- through lonely moments in ivy-covered classrooms and colorless skyscrapers; through blissful moments mothering two splendid baby girls; through long years on the campaign trail where, at times, my very womanhood was dissected and questioned. For me, that was the power of Maya Angelou’s words –- words so powerful that they carried a little black girl from the South Side of Chicago all the way to the White House.

And today, as First Lady, whenever the term “authentic” is used to describe me, I take it as a tremendous compliment, because I know that I am following in the footsteps of great women like Maya Angelou. But really, I’m just a beginner — I am baby-authentic.  Maya Angelou, now she was the original, she was the master. For at a time when there were such stifling constraints on how black women could exist in the world, she serenely disregarded all the rules with fiercely passionate, unapologetic self. She was comfortable in every last inch of her glorious brown skin.

But for Dr. Angelou, her own transition was never enough. You see, she didn’t just want to be phenomenal herself, she wanted all of us to be phenomenal right alongside her.  So that’s what she did throughout her lifetime -– she gathered so many of us under her wing. I wish I was a daughter, but I was right under that wing sharing her wisdom, her genius, and her boundless love.

She showed us that eventually, if we stayed true to who we are, then the world would embrace us.  And she did this not just for black women, but for all women, for all human beings. She taught us all that it is okay to be your regular old self, whatever that is –- your poor self, your broken self, your brilliant, bold, phenomenal self.

That was Maya Angelou’s reach. She touched me. She touched all of you. She touched people all across the globe, including a young white woman from Kansas who named her daughter after Maya, and raised her son to be the first black President of the United States.

So when I heard that Dr. Angelou had passed, while I felt a deep sense of loss, I also felt a profound sense of peace. Because there is no question that Maya Angelou will always be with us, because there was something truly divine about Maya. I know that now, as always, she is right where she belongs.

May her memory be a blessing to us all. Thank you. God bless.”  Excerpts from Michelle Obama’s speech at Maya Angelou’s service (June 2014)

By |April 4th, 2018|Categories: Head of School|

Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?

Jasu Hu

Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?  More comfortable online than out partying, post-Millennials are safer, physically, than adolescents have ever been. But they’re on the brink of a mental-health crisis.

This article from The Atlantic has been adapted from Jean M. Twenge’s book, iGen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy—and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood—and What That Means for the Rest of Us.

“Around 2012, I noticed abrupt shifts in teen behaviors and emotional states. The gentle slopes of the line graphs became steep mountains and sheer cliffs, and many of the distinctive characteristics of the Millennial generation began to disappear. In all my analyses of generational data—some reaching back to the 1930s—I had never seen anything like it.

Jasu Hu

At first I presumed these might be blips, but the trends persisted, across several years and a series of national surveys. The changes weren’t just in degree, but in kind. The biggest difference between the Millennials and their predecessors was in how they viewed the world; teens today differ from the Millennials not just in their views but in how they spend their time. The experiences they have every day are radically different from those of the generation that came of age just a few years before them.

What happened in 2012 to cause such dramatic shifts in behavior? It was after the Great Recession, which officially lasted from 2007 to 2009 and had a starker effect on Millennials trying to find a place in a sputtering economy. But it was exactly the moment when the proportion of Americans who owned a smartphone surpassed 50 percent.”

To read the complete article, click here.

By |March 26th, 2018|Categories: Head of School|