At the heart of Berkshire's academic program is an exceptional college preparatory curriculum that fosters critical thinking, problem solving and intellectual curiosity across all disciplines. Our curriculum affords students the opportunity to explore an intellectual passion or nurture a new interest. Five academic courses are the standard full load for most students, though many opt to take additional electives. Students are strongly encouraged to pursue a subject to the most advanced level possible, which challenges them to apply concepts and skills at a higher level, and which for many means taking courses well beyond those required for graduation. All departments offer Advanced Placement (AP) courses that can help motivated and qualified students prepare for the College Board Advanced Placement exams.
Located in the beautiful Berkshire hills at the base of Mount Everett, our surroundings factor into nearly every aspect of Berkshire life and provide a safe, almost idyllic, location for learning.
Our faculty is accessible, passionate, and engaged in guiding kids to stretch themselves, explore new interests, and work to reach new levels. The adults at Berkshire are coaches, teachers, advisors, dorm parents , and mentors who play a key role in the character development of our students. Our talented, diverse, fully invested faculty chooses to live here and devote their lives to helping students succeed.
Berkshire offers a broad selection of visual and performing arts courses, including studio art, ceramics, 3-D sculpture and design, photography, filmmaking, digital art, music, dance and theater. Introductory to advanced options are available, allowing students to explore new mediums or cultivate and existing talent.
Our first-rate arts faculty is matched only by the facilities in which they teach and the students they guide. On any given day, you'll find students performing on stage in Allen Theater, rehearsing in the Music Center or exploring their creative side in the Fine Arts Center.
The English curriculum emphasizes 21st century skills by building on traditional ones. It teaches students to read carefully and appreciatively and to write clearly and expressively, emphasizing critical thinking and problem solving throughout the curriculum. Paying attention to the traditional building blocks of communication while engaging students in Web research and interactive presentations prepares them for the varied demands of college and life.
While reading both canonical and contemporary texts in a thoughtful manner, students develop a more informed and compassionate perspective toward the larger community, with special regard to issues of sustainability. The fundamental assumption is that by working with language, literature and ideas in a dynamic fashion, students develop their abilities not only to communicate but also to think and reason critically, making them more aware of the multiple aspects of communication in a complex world.
The goal of the history curriculum is to introduce students to the rich cultural variety of the human community, to acquaint them with the development of the major traditions underlying civilization and to provide them with an opportunity to read history in depth. Topics include the recent development of societies around the globe, as well as the organization and dynamics of social, economic, religious and political institutions that shape the world today. Students learn through multimedia presentations, which include the use of SMARTBoards and tablets that help to spark debate and discussions.
The Language Department prepares students to live in a fast-moving, global society. Berkshire not only provides the opportunity for a language student to become fluent but also focuses on developing cultural sensitivity by studying each language’s unique civilization. Modern languages are taught in the target language, and the Department encourages each student to participate in immersion outlets such as clubs, language-based trips and exchange programs. Berkshire offers Chinese, French, Latin and Spanish. To support students and help them achieve their academic goals, a range of materials are employed that include work in Berkshire’s state-of-the-art Language Lab, as well as French, Spanish and Chinese satellite TV broadcasts.
The mathematics curriculum is designed to help students appreciate the nature, beauty, and scope of mathematics and to understand its potential in dealing with the world’s increasing technological complexities. Critical thinking, collaboration and mathematical modeling are emphasized at all levels. Advanced sections of courses in the core curriculum include AP Calculus BC, Multivariable Calculus with Differential Equations, Linear Algebra and Advanced Math/Science Research. Each allows students to pursue excellence in the subject at the highest level.
The science curriculum teaches students the skills of logical and critical thinking, problem solving, research and clear communication, and prepares students to find patterns underlying collections of facts. Students learn how to use an array of instruments (both in and out of the laboratory), to collect and analyze data and to present their results in professional scientific formats. Upper-level courses include further exploration in biology, chemistry, physics and environmental science as well as electives, including Sustainability, Astronomy and Aviation Science.