Berkeley Preparatory School is a diverse community comprised of many thousands of students, families, employees, alumni, and alumni parents. The school is mission-driven to provide the best possible environment for the intellectual, emotional, spiritual, and physical development of each student, and to instill in them a strong sense of morality, ethics, and social responsibility. In fulfillment of that mission, the school offers its students curriculum that considers a broad range of perspectives and views history through multiple lenses. Age-appropriate programming is intentionally designed to challenge assumptions and prod flexible, open, and growth-minded thinking, and we take a strong stance on matters related to the expression of disrespect or unkindness by community members against any individual or group.
Our school community knows that our commitment to our core values, which include the aforementioned, guide how members will interact with each other; we hold all our people to these high standards, all the time. Our Episcopal identity guides us to respect the worth and dignity of each individual and promote forgiveness, and the school’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, also promulgated by that guidance, is evident through our actions daily, and over the years. And, it is clear from recent survey data and the level of student engagement that Berkeley students from every racial background feel known and nurtured here.
Amongst the myriad ways in which we help our students develop into responsible world citizens include, but are not limited to: the Global Scholars program; Berkeley student service in the Berkeley Academy; our International Travel program; our school’s significant service requirement and demonstrated faculty support for student service endeavors; guest speakers sponsored by the Diversity Program team; required world language studies offered in Spanish, French, Chinese, and Latin (at least through level 3); World Language Cultural Immersion Clubs; Middle and Upper Division service trips to countries including the Dominican Republic, Bahamas, Peru, Ghana, and many others; Diversity Club; Diversity Program Team; Cultural Appreciation Club; Jewish Cultural Club; Masala Mix (Indian Culture Club); Gender and Sexuality Discussion Group; Who We Are Club with convocation presentations; Eat and Speak Lunch Group, and more.
While the majority of the above serves our Middle and Upper Division students, we also guide our youngest learners to appreciate and accept the broad range of diversity that exists in the world. Our primary goal in the Lower Division is ensuring that students develop a positive identity that is well-rounded; this includes ensuring that they develop positive racial identities. While this looks different across the Pre-K - grade 5 spectrum, the focus is on helping each student understand their identity and how they are impacted by and can impact our community and the world. Social-emotional learning is a hallmark of the Lower Division curriculum, and these skills are the foundation upon which we begin to build cultural competency skills. Children develop awareness of their world view and positive attitudes towards cultural differences. They gain knowledge of different cultural practices and skills for communicating and interacting across cultures through Social Studies coursework, community service, and age-appropriate and diverse children’s literature.
We believe religious diversity enriches our experience, as each member brings important gifts to our community. As such, Berkeley offers spiritual enrichment opportunities including: a World Religions course required in the Upper Division that engages various traditions around the globe; the Sacred Texts Club that draws from over 15 religious traditions; the Chaplain’s Council in the Lower Division that helps students understand diverse religious observances; a Spirit World elective in the Upper Division that reflects on how different cultures and religious traditions understand the movement of the holy, and cultural awareness and observance of the world’s religious holidays and traditions.
Beyond our campus, Berkeley sends several students to the National Association of Independent Schools’ Student Diversity Leadership Conference and sponsors faculty attendance at their People of Color Conference yearly as well.
EDUCATION IS KEY
Berkeley believes that an excellent education is the best countermeasure to injustice in the world. Each year we work to make the curriculum and programming referenced above even more robust and impactful, and ensure we make ever more space for the exploration of difficult, uncomfortable topics. We do so in service to our mission to develop moral, ethical, socially responsible citizens. The education we offer at Berkeley fosters confidence and builds critical thinking skills so that as students grow and eventually attain their highest potential, they are fully prepared to comment on and take action against injustices as they see them - to make a positive difference in the world. Actions speak louder than words, and our actions, for decades, have palpably demonstrated our commitment to making the world a better, more just place.