Sponsor Spotlight: Black Pine Circle School

Sponsor Spotlight: Black Pine Circle School

Today we are visiting a beloved sponsor of 510Families.com, Black Pine Circle School, an independent school in Berkeley.

Black Pine Circle School nurtures curiosity

Black Pine Circle School, BPC, an award-winning K-8 private school in Berkeley, encourages critical thinking skills and fosters a lifelong love of learning through a Socratic inquiry-based education. They are celebrating 49 years of academic excellence.

BPC is a school where a focus on the arts enhances academics, asking thoughtful questions is highly valued, children can be their true selves as their social and emotional development is nurtured, and where students’ authentic growth as learners leads to subject mastery.

chalk art and small child
Chalk art on the lower schoolyard

Differentiation is the key to academic success and belonging

Differentiation learning, Responsive Classroom practices, and two full-time teachers in each K-5 classroom create an environment that nurtures critical thinking, the willingness to take risks, and the understanding that failing and learning from mistakes are essential to the learning process.

Academic excellence is driven through differentiation in all subjects. For example in music over the course of a K-8 education at Black Pine Circle, every child experiences many instruments in a thoughtful progression: voice, Orff percussion instruments, violin or cello, xylophone and recorder, piano, ukulele, and guitar. Students can also pursue additional musical education before or after school.

kids playing xylophone
Fourth graders playing Orff instruments | Photo: Black Pine Circle

Math differentiation means finding the zone of proximal development so mathematics is challenging and fun for each student. Math clubs and teams push each other toward mastery of new concepts.

Differentiation and paths of belonging are foundational in the Extended Day Program as well as the classroom. From drama to chess club, math team, maker club, chicken club, to middle school sports (cross country, soccer, basketball, volleyball, ultimate frisbee), BPC provides students with choices to support their various learning styles and interests.

kids doing science outside

Building community happens in so many ways. BPC hosts student affinity groups: Black Student Union, Asian Student Union, Latinx Student Union, and Queer Student Alliance. Students collaborate on performances and plays at every grade level. K-8 houses (think Harry Potter) foster cross-grade relationships, as do the lower school buddy class activities.

BPC Black Student Union gathering on playground
BPC Black Student Union gathering

The new Climate Positive Student Network takes action to support students to make earth-positive and proactive community actions in partnership with other area schools and businesses. This program provides students with a scaffolded opportunity to educate and become educators about the climate change crisis, its origins, perpetrators, solutions, and positive innovations. Learn more about this cool student-led program >

young scientists study rocks with magnifying glasses

Black Pine Circle School was, for the 9th year in a row, voted a top school in four categories in this year’s Parents’ Press awards:

  • Best Independent Elementary School
  • Best Progressive Elementary School
  • Best Independent Middle School
  • Best Progressive Middle School
three children reading together outside
Children reading together in the Outdoor Reading Oasis

“I am ever-mindful of the special gift I think they got at BPC: an awareness that what you love as a learner can guide your choices and pathway through the balance of your learning life. Both my daughter, now a sophomore in college, and son, a junior in high school, are empowered to lean into the things that bring learning joy, and that really makes school fun and more impactful.”
~ Parent of two Black Pine Circle School alumni

Visit Black Pine Circle School and See for Yourself

To experience BPC right now, enjoy this welcome video.

Welcome to BPC from Black Pine Circle School on Vimeo.

Admissions Information Day

Get all your questions answered — even the ones you didn’t know you had on the admissions information day!

  • K–5: Saturday, December 10, 10 am.
  • 6–8: Saturday, December 10, 1 pm.

School Tours

To visit BPC, RSVP for a tour on the school’s website, blackpinecircle.org. Tours are available now through January.

  • K–5: Tuesday & Thursday mornings, now through mid-January.
  • 6–8: Wednesday & Friday mornings, now through mid-January.

To schedule a tour, request an admissions packet, join the info day, and learn more about the school, please call Greta B. Wong, Director of Enrollment, at (510) 529-2719 or email gwong@blackpinecircle.org

To keep up with new happenings at Black Pine Circle School, follow BPC on Facebook.

“Our twins started as shy, quiet kindergarteners at BPC. They are now in their fifth year and are blossoming in countless ways. It has been amazing to watch them grow more confident and really come out of their shell. Their teachers have been so nurturing and lovely but always with a balance of consistency, routine, incorporating unique problem-solving and encouraging growing, questioning minds. Any day now they will outpace us in math!

Our daughter loves the art incorporated throughout the day, our son, the creative P.E. games that focus on cooperation and fair play and both have really embraced all of the music, singing and instruments. One plays the cello, the other the violin. It is astonishing to watch this diverse but small group of children so happy to play together, shifting between playmates and groups. Many of them have been together since kindergarten, yet they also welcome new children to their class readily. We really can’t say enough about what a wonderful environment BPC is.”
~ Parent of two Black Pine Circle School students

kids playing music
Seventh graders on their ukuleles | Photo: Black Pine Circle

Thanks so much to Black Pine Circle School for sponsoring 510Families.com. 

Find more on our Guide to East Bay Private Schools >>

[All photos provided by Black Pine Circle and used with permission]

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