Berkeley Carroll School
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|Berkeley Carroll School|
Park Slope, Brooklyn|
1886 (Berkeley Institute)|
1966 (Carroll Street School)
|Head of school||Robert D. Vitalo|
|Faculty||Fulltime : 110|
|Grades||PreK - 12|
The Berkeley Carroll School is a coed independent college prep school in New York City. Located in Park Slope, Brooklyn, it has a Lower School (preK - grade 4), Middle School (grades 5-8) and Upper School (grades 9-12). Its mission is "to prepare our graduates for success in college and for the greater endeavor—a life of critical, ethical, and global thinking."
The school has three educational divisions, from preschool through high school. All divisions focus on the school mission of preparing students for success in college and a life of critical, ethical and global thinking. The Lower School, with preschool through grade four, focuses on the fundamentals of reading, writing, math, science, technology, the arts, and social studies. In 2012, the Lower School started a Spanish partial-immersion program, in which all classes are partially taught in Spanish to help students become comfortable hearing and speaking Spanish at an early age.
The Middle School, grades five through eight, promotes social and intellectual growth with an academic program that includes science, humanities, math, physical education, the arts, Spanish, and speech and debate. Every fifth and sixth grader learns to play a wind and string instrument and performs in concerts for the community. In 2016, the Middle School math team (the Quantifyin' Lions) won the Brooklyn MathCounts competition and the Middle and Upper School speech & debate teams won any awards at the state and local level.
In the Upper School, grades nine through twelve, academic programs include English, science, math, history, computer science, the arts, world language, and speech and debate. Additionally, the Upper School has partnerships with NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering, which provides engineering classes for Berkeley Carroll students, and Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Talented Youth, which offers students online Mandarin and Arabic courses. Research and independent courses include a selective three-year Science Research and Design program, a two-week Spring Intensives program, and a Senior Scholars program. The Upper School also offers academic travel programs to France, Africa, India, and Spain. Every senior gives a speech to the entire Upper School, a long-standing Berkeley Carroll Tradition.
Many students are also involved in varsity and JV athletic teams, student government, orchestra, choir, jazz, student clubs, and affinity groups.
Berkeley Carroll has an athletic center at its President Street location. The facility has a four-lane, 75-foot (23 m) long swimming pool, a full-size gymnasium, a mezzanine area for fitness and strength training, and an open rooftop playground.
Including alumni of The Berkeley Institute and Carroll Street School, Berkeley Carroll School has over 2,000 alumni.
Over the summer, Berkeley Carroll offers two summer camp programs: The Children's Day Camp (for ages 3 to 8) located at Carroll Street, and the Creative Arts Program (for older children and teenagers) at Lincoln Place.
In December 2006, given the "brownstone-Brooklyn baby boom", Berkeley Carroll experienced an unprecedented overload of preschool applicants. This led the school to stop accepting applications early, much to the dismay of parents, as reported in New York magazine.
A New York Sun article on January 31, 2008, noted that the "amped-up academic program at the artist-chic Berkeley Carroll School in Park Slope, Brooklyn, has been expanding the school's family base: Not just brownstoners, but many Manhattanites now attend. Still, the school's parent base is heavily drawn from the publishing world, and the editor-novelist crowd affects the school. After tenth-graders read "Motherless Brooklyn," author Jonathan Lethem came in to lead some classes on it. A Writers in Residence program has included Pulitzer Prize winner Jhumpa Lahiri."
An honor code was implemented in the Upper School at the start of the 2007-2008 academic year. In 2013, the school implemented free bus service to students who live in all boroughs of NYC.
In 2011, the school bought 152 Sterling Place from the First Church of Christ Scientist, Brooklyn for $3.8 million. The church continues to hold services in the building and is now home to the school's 300-seat Marlene Clary Performance Space, which was finished in 2016.
As part of The Berkeley Carroll School’s mission is to offer global minded education, all Lower School students participate in a Spanish partial immersion program. This program is run by a head teacher with bilingual associate teachers in each classroom. During a portion of each day, lessons are conducted exclusively in Spanish, making the language a necessary tool for student discovery in the classroom. The teachers use context clues and familiar routines in order to help students participate and learn Spanish.
In addition to routines that students already know and understand, they also participate in new activities such as songs, games, and read-aloud groups. Middle School students also take Spanish instruction and, at the Upper School level, students can choose between Spanish, French, Latin, Mandarin and Arabic, which is offered online as part of the school’s partnership with Johns Hopkins’ Center for Talented Youth.
Berkeley Carroll’s arts programs run the breadth of the school from PreK through 12th grade and include music, theater, the visual arts, and dance. Arts facilities include five music and theatre rooms, six visual art studios, and a performance space.
At the Lower School level: Dance, movement and music have a regular place in the curriculum. Students meet for visual arts class once or twice per six-day cycle.
At the Middle School level: All fifth and sixth grade students learn a string or wind instrument and visual arts is a required course. Dance and theater are electives, and neither is a prerequisite for performing in the Middle School theater productions throughout the year.
At the Upper School level: The Upper School has a two-year visual or performing arts requirement, but most students take arts classes for each of their four years in high school. On the performing arts side, students choose from a wider variety of electives including orchestra, wind ensemble, ja ensemble, choir, dance and theater. On the visual arts side, they choose from Drawing/Painting, Video/Digital Arts, Photography and Ceramics/Sculpture.
Performing arts classes are offered in:
- Choir (concert or chamber)
- Music (jazz, wind, or orchestra)
- Instrument Music Lab
- Speech and Debate
- Theatre (acting or technical)
Visual arts classes that are offered are in:
- Art History
Berkeley Carroll opened their 2,000-square foot Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (STEAM) workspace in the fall of 2017. The school also renovated several science labs and a studio for sculpture to enhance STEAM offerings for middle and upper school students. With these new and renovated spaces, students can do big scale projects, research, testing of prototypes and inventions, and explore robotics. The school has also expanded their science and engineering programs in the Upper School, the latter of which includes classes and a partnership with NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering.
Starting in the Lower School, Berkeley Carroll students experience Global Education through multiple programs, including their Spanish partial-immersion and social studies programs. Students are also exposed to technology early on, including the iPad initiative starting in third grade.
In Middle School, Berkeley Carroll’s Humanities program offers students classes in history, literature, philosophy, geography, and anthropology to encourage a stronger understanding of the world.
To study the economic and environmental impact of climate change, all 8th grade students travel for Virginia and Maryland’s Eastern shores, where many of these changes in the U.S. are first felt, to conduct hands-on field work. In grades 7 and 8, students can also travel to Costa Rica to participate in a program focused on community development and leadership.
Students in the Upper School can explore various global topics such as African postcolonial literature, Middle Eastern history, Modern India, and the political writer in exile through the school’s English and history elective courses. The school provides instruction in 4 world languages (Spanish, French, Latin, Mandarin) plus Arabic, via an online course in partnership with the Center for Talented Youth at Johns Hopkins University .
Global academic programs for 10th through 12th graders to India, Tanzania, Spain, France and Italy focus go a step beyond enhancing curriculum. They encourage students to investigate and explore local solutions to global issues and leadership.
As of 2017, Berkeley Carroll is the only high school in the U.S offering Linux OS Development classes.
The school is a member of the New York State Association of Independent Schools Athletic Association. The 2006-2007 girls varsity basketball team beat Dwight to become the champions of the ACIS (Athletic Conference of Independent Schools) league. On May 20, 2009, Berkeley Carroll won its first NYSAISAA baseball title, beating defending state champion Poly Prep 4-1.
Berkeley Carroll promotes fitness, sportsmanship, leadership, and responsibility through their athletic programs. Their athletic facilities include a 75-foot swimming pool, two full-size gyms, a mezzanine area for fitness and strength-training, and two play yards. 82% of Middle School students and 72% of Upper School students play a sport.
Interscholastic sports competition begins in 7th grade; the school fields more than 40 varsity and JV teams over three seasons including:
- Cross Country
- Ultimate Frisbee
- Flag Football
The school belongs to three highly competitive leagues at the Upper School level: ACIS, PSAA and AAIS. Some of Berkeley Carroll peer institutions are Saint Ann’s, Packer Collegiate, Poly Prep, Brooklyn Friends, Horace Mann, Spence, Brearley, Dalton and others.
Lower and Middle School students have intramural sports programs including:
Berkeley Carroll’s STEAM initiative and focus on the role of technology in education has received national attention. In 2016, Mashable called its visit to a sixth grade coding class “a riveting experience” and in 2014, the New York Times quoted Middle School Director Jim Shapiro on helping students unplug occasionally.
Berkeley Carroll was named a School of the Future by the National Association of Independent Schools in 2012.
- Fabiano Caruana '10 - Chess grandmaster
- Helen Gahagan Douglas '20 - Congresswoman and actress
- Margaret Farrar '16 - New York Times crossword puzzle editor from 1942-1968
- Maxine Greene '34 - Educational philosopher, author, and social activist
- Zena Grey '06 - Actress
- Karla Jay '64 - Professor and gay rights activist
- Rebecca Naomi Jones '99 - Actress
- Lucette Lagnado '73 - Journalist
- Lois Lowry '54 - Author
- Adam Ottavino '03 - Major League Baseball pitcher for the Colorado Rockies
- Dorothy Sarnoff '31 - Operatic soprano, musical theatre actress, and self-help guru
- Sarah Paulson - Actress
- Berkeley Carroll School
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- Gabby. "Berkeley Carroll Buys Sterling Place Church" Brownstoner (July 29, 2011)
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- Warren, Christina, “For students, the iPad is the ultimate computer,” Mashable (May 24, 2016) 
- [Holson, Laura M., “Social Media Vampires: The Text By Night,” The New York Times (July 3, 2014) https://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/06/fashion/vamping-teenagers-are-up-all-night-texting.html ]
- [“2016 Music Educator Award Semifinalists Revealed, Oct. 5, 2015, CBSNews.com (Oct. 5, 2015) http://www.cbsnews.com/news/2016-grammy-music-educator-award-reveals-25-semifinalists/]
- [Leland, John “The New York Gambit”, The New York Times (March 20, 2016) https://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/20/nyregion/vying-to-become-the-next-bobby-fischer-chess-championship.html - March 20, 2016]
- [Moore, Julianne, “Sarah Paulson,” Interview Magazine (Oct. 7. 2014) - http://www.interviewmagazine.com/culture/sarah-paulson/#_ ]
- [Schulman, Michael, “Sarah Paulson Opens Up About Acting, Marcia Clark and Dating Older Women,” The New York Times (March 2, 2016) https://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/03/fashion/sarah-paulson-opens-up-about-dating-older-women-holland-taylor.html ]
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