Today we are visiting (virtually) 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 48 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.
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.
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, 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.
Building community happens in so many ways. 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.
Black Pine Circle School was, for the 8th 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
“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
Virtually Visit Black Pine Circle School
To experience BPC right now, enjoy this welcome video.
Virtual Admissions Information Day
Get all your questions answered — even the ones you didn’t know you had at the admissions information day!
- K–5: Saturday, December 11, 10 am.
- 6–8: Saturday, December 11, 1 pm.
Virtual School Tours
To visit BPC, RSVP for a virtual 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 to learn more about the school, please call Greta B. Wong, Director of Admissions, at (510) 529-2719 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
To keep up with new happenings at Black Pine Circle School, follow BPC on Facebook.
Thanks so much to Black Pine Circle School for sponsoring 510Families.com.
[All photos provided by Black Pine Circle and used with permission]