Signature Programs

Berkshire’s 10 Signature Programs--Advanced Math/Science Research, Advanced Humanities Research, STEAM, Pro Vita Winter Session, Sabin Entrepreneurial Prize, Aviation Science, Independent Study, Black Rock Scholars, Sustainability, and Ritt Kellogg Mountain Program--are all designed to expand minds, provide real-world experiences, and help distinguish our students in an increasingly competitive college process.

Signature Programs at Berkshire

Advanced Humanities Research


This course is offered to students with a deep interest in the humanities—languages, literature, history, philosophy and the arts—who wish to build on the knowledge acquired in the traditional humanities curriculum.

After an introductory course in contemporary cultural and critical theory, students utilize Berkshire’s resources to define and research a topic and question, and prepare a full-length literature review in which they summarize and critique the contemporary scholarship relevant to their topic. Students also work with their instructor to find appropriate professionals in their fields—mostly scholars, but also trade professionals, such as architects or filmmakers—to supervise and comment on their work.

The year-long course culminates in a publication quality paper, which the students present to members of the Berkshire community. When feasible, students make visits to archives, examine primary documents firsthand, attend academic conferences and/or submit their work for publication consideration.

AHR Director

A.J. Kohlhepp

A.J. Kohlhepp


"Advanced Humanities Research is a unique program. Students learn how to do research at the university level. It's really exciting work and I'm quite impressed with the level of engagement with their material that our students show."



The Berkshire Scholar

The Berkshire Scholar is a publication that features outstanding academic essays written for history and English classes during school year. The essays appearing in the journal are selected from a pool of many worthy papers nominated by individual teachers. The Advanced Humanities Research class makes the final selections, editing and publishing the Scholar as part of their course work.


Recent Advanced Humanities Research Projects

(Mentor listed below project title)

On The Edge: A Social Psychology Analysis of Freestyle Skiing
Jon Silverman, Professor of English, UMASS-Lowell

The Contested Construction of China’s Soft Power Profile
Sam Crane, Professor of Political Science, Williams College

Edward Said’s Orientalism and Herman Hesse’s Siddhartha
Gunther Gottschalck, Professor of Germanic, Slavic & Semetic Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara

Walton Ford’s Unique Status in the American Art World
Karen Kurczynski, Professor of Modern & Contemporary Art, UMASS-Amherst

Pearl Harbor: A Day of Infamy or a Platform for Deceit?
Harold Goldberg, Professor of History, Sewanee, The University of the South

The Politics of Language in Rwanda’s Genocide
Chris Cook, Professor of Political Science, University of Pittsburgh

Fate in Ancient Greece, Elizabethan England & 20th-Century France
Keith McPartland, Professor of Philosophy, Williams College

Female Artistic Participation in the Minimalist Movement
Mary Sheriff, Professor of Art History, University of North Carolina

The Development of Christianity in 4th-Century Rome
Thomas Martin, Professor of History, College of the Holy Cross

American Political Rhetoric after September 11
Jon Silverman, Professor of English, UMASS-Lowell

Gender Representation(s) in Popular Music
Jennifer Scanlon, Professor of the Humanities, Bowdoin College

Women’s Lives Under Queens Elizabeth & Victoria
Mary Conley, Gender, Sexuality, & Women's Studies, College of the Holy Cross

An Analysis of Study Abroad Programs Through Cognitive Theory
Sean Kang, Professor of Education, Dartmouth College

Something Rather Than Nothing: An Interdisciplinary Exploration
Peter van Inwagen, Professor of Philosophy, University of Notre Dame

Psychoanalytic Investigation of Adolf Hitler
Fred Coolidge, Professor of Psychology, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs

Advanced Math/Science Research


The Advanced Math/Science Research program is one of a handful of such secondary school courses offered in the country. What sets Berkshire’s course apart is the program’s design: students intern with a professional scientist or qualified mentor to conduct real-world research in world-class facilities and institutions. Students do actual scientific investigations in fields seldom open to high school students, in some of the top laboratories and think tanks in the U.S. Currently, there are three tracks of AMSR: Laboratory Science, Economics, and Engineering.

Students work intensely with their mentors, in a field of their choice, for four to eight hours each week either on campus or off-site. The course culminates with a critical review paper and a research paper, both in scientific format. Students then present the results to members of the Math and Science Departments and the Berkshire community at the end of the year.

Students have collaborated with mentors at the University of Albany–SUNY, SUNY Polytechnic Institute, Wadsworth Center, Albany Medical Center, Union College, University of Massachusetts Amherst, University of Iowa, University of Arizona, Bucknell University, Williams College and other institutions based on their research interests.

AMSR Director

April Burch

April Burch


"When students are given extended periods of time to investigate a research question of interest, amazing things happen! Students in the AMSR program are provided with the time, guidance, and resources to be curious and to ask complex research questions."


AMSR Research

Laboratory Science

Eligible students interested in Laboratory Science (Microbiology, Genetics, Cell Biology, Virology, or Biochemistry) are typically paired with Dr. Burch who coordinates a research experience for the student to conduct in our state of the art research laboratory on campus. If the student's interests are beyond the scope of what may be offered on campus (Neuroscience, Nanobiotechnology, Physics or Astronomy), Dr. Burch will arrange for a mentorship for the student with regional experts in that particular topic. Recent on- and off-site research projects are shown below. Topics in theoretical Mathematics research are also available.

RECENT AMSR LABORATORY SCIENCE RESEARCH PROJECTS:

OFF SITE

"Finding Semiconductor Devices with Efficient Thermoelectric Properties" **
Shuvam Chakraborty '16
Mentor: Dr. Shahedipour-Sandvik, University at Albany

"Highly conserved gene mab-21 does not function in the bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) signaling pathway in C. elgans"
Brian Yu '16
Mentor: Dr. Zhiyu Liu, Cornell University

"The Immunology of White Nose Syndrome: The Presence of Dendric Cell Marker IL-6 in Myotis lucifigus cDNA"
Gwynne Domashinski '16
Mentor: Dr. DeeAnn Reeder, Bucknell University

"Improving on our understanding of BK Virus Structure: Production of VLPs in Drosophila High 5 Cells"
Yuze Zhang '16
Mentors: Dr. Susan Hafenstein, Penn State College of Medicine, and Dr. April Burch

"Localization of L2 Protein on Human Papilloma Virus-16 by Cryo-EM of Hybrid L1/L2 Virus-like Particles"
Ann Phan '16
Mentors: Dr. Susan Hafenstein, Penn State College of Medicine, and Dr. April Burch

"Study of CRTS Binary Eclipsing Stars"
Jason Tao '16
Mentor: Dr. Julie Skinner, Boston University

"Structure-Function Analysis of ΦX174 Pilot Protein"
Andrew Pitcher '17
Mentor: Dr. Bentley Fane, University of Arizona at Tucson

"Novel Suppression Technique of Premature Termination Codons and its Application to Congenital Long QT Syndrome 2"**
Viggo Blomquist '17
Mentor: Dr. Christopher Ahern, University of Iowa

"Analysis of the waist section of the H protein in virus ØX174"
Ryan Zang'17
Mentor: Dr. Bentley Fane, University of Arizona at Tucson

ON SITE

"An Inorganic In Vitro Granuloma Infection Model with Implications Towards In Vivo Infection of Mycobacterium tuberculosis" **
Josiah Tolvo '16
Mentor: Dr. April Burch

UCH-L1 as a Potential Biomarker for Traumatic Brain Injury in Drosophila melanogaster"
Sophie Needles '16
Mentor: Dr. April Burch

"New methods for screening novel natural insecticides"
Eric Hwang '17
Mentor: Dr. April Burch

"BMAA: Could It be The Possible Cause for Parkinson's Disease and ALS?"
Jack Wu '17
Mentor: Dr. April Burch

"Isolation and Characterization of a Novel Phage for Anabaena variables"
Claire Lemker '17
Mentor: Dr. April Burch

** Regeneron/Intel Science Talent Search semifinalist

Economics

"Economic Analysis of the Stock Market 2015 Crash in China"
Jay Ma '16
Mentor: Dr. Max Gulker

"Quantitative Easing: An Analysis Of The Unconventional Monetary Policy"
Jake McLanahan '16
Mentor: Dr. Max Gulker

"Examining the Student Debt Reduction and Cost-Effective Education Solutions of 2016 Presidential Candidates"
Ehan Keator '16
Mentor: Dr. Max Gulker

"Projecting Japanese Economic Growth Using Historic Analysis of Fixed-Rate Long Term Monetary Policy"
Samuel Gatsos '17
Mentor: Dr. Max Gulker

"Analysis of the Chinese and American Entrepreneurial Worlds"
Siqi Zhou '17
Mentor: Dr. Max Gulker

Engineering

In 2016, Berkshire added an Engineering track of AMSR. Students with interests in engineering and self-guided, project-based learning in related concepts may participate in this track of the AMSR program. Students are mentored by Ben Urmston, Science Department Faculty, to complete engineering tasks such as quadcopter design and flight board programming. Through these projects, students learn concepts in aeronautical engineering, computer science and mechanical engineering foundations. In past years, select students have been paired with Engineering mentors at Sikorsky-Lockheed Martin.

Science Talent Search (STS)

Over the past eight years, eight Advanced Math/Science Research students have been named Science Talent Search (STS) semifinalists, a distinction earned by only 300 students in the country each year. Renamed the Regeneron STS (formerly Intel) in 2017, it is the most prestigious science competition for pre-college students in the nation. Working closely with professional mentors, student projects have ranged from better understanding cancer immunology to creating a new type of LED lighting.



Aviation Science


Aviation Science is a semester-long class that prepares students to pass the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) Ground School Certification Exam, an initial requirement for anyone hoping to earn a pilot’s license. The course focuses on the study of aerodynamics, meteorology, navigation, radio communication, and instrumentation as they relate to flying an airplane; each student takes between six and ten hours of flight training at Great Barrington Airport, located about five miles from the Berkshire campus. In addition to the semester-long classroom experience, students also have the opportunity to participate in the Aviation Science program's Pro Vita trip to Lakeland, Florida each March.

Aviation Science Director

Michael Lee

Michael Lee


“Flying gives the kids a tremendous sense of accomplishment and makes them better decision makers. They realize that flying is the ultimate freedom and the ultimate responsibility at the same time. And then they start applying that principle to the rest of their lives.”

Black Rock Scholars


The Black Rock Scholars Program encourages students to participate in experiences, both inside and out of the classroom, that prepare them to be exemplary citizens of the global community. Black Rock Scholars engage in five core areas related to Berkshire’s mission: Sustainability, Diversity and Inclusion, Community Service and Philanthropy, Sense of Place and Global Awareness. Students complete a culminating project that they design and execute and lead an initiative that serves the local or global community.


In 2016, Evan Liddy '16 led an effort to bring a working bee colony to Berkshire's campus. The project was part of his Black Rock Scholar studies.



Black Rock Scholars Criteria

Curricular requirements: Black Rock Scholars must successfully complete two Black Rock focused courses. A Black Rock focused course is one in which the content is concentrated explicitly and intentionally in one of the 5 core areas: Sustainability; English VI: The Mountain and Me; Economics and Philanthropy; Race, Class and Gender. Semester programs such as High Mountain Institute, The Chewonki Foundation, Island School, School Year Abroad offer Blackrock focused and related courses.

A Black Rock Scholar must also successfully complete two academic experiences in Black Rock related courses. A Black Rock related course is one that includes experiences concentrated on one of the focus areas. For example, English V, which includes a student-driven I-cubed project, is a Blackrock related course, as a student may opt to concentrate on one or more of the five areas.

Extra-curricular requirements: Black Rock Scholars will need to demonstrate participation in each of the five areas: Community (service and/or philanthropy), diversity, global awareness, sustainability, and a sense of place. These experiences may take place at any point during a student’s high school career, in and out of the classroom, on and off campus, and can take place at any time during the calendar year.

For example: summer work, travel, on and off campus service, sustainability related activity, conferences, workshops, etc.

Culminating Project: A Black Rock Scholar will design, execute and lead an initiative that serves the community, local or global. This initiative may be focused on one or more of the focus areas. The project must be approved and reviewed by a panel made up of teachers and students. The project must be goal oriented, and include a public presentation or culminating experience in and/or out of school.

E-Portfolio: Document each of these requirements in an e-Portfolio

Eligibility and Entry into the Program:

Fourth form students who are interested in entrance into the Black Rock Scholars Program begin the process by discussing their interest with their faculty advisor. Advisors may also reach out to fourth form advisees who they believe are well suited for the program. Students who enter Berkshire in the fifth form are eligible for entrance in the second semester of their fifth form year.

Fourth Form Applicants:

Advisors nominate fourth form advisees by submitting a letter of recommendation to Mr. Rob Lloyd, Director of Sustainability by April 15.

Fourth Form Students submit a letter of interest to Mr. Lloyd by April 15.

Finalists will interview with Mr. Lloyd and the Black Rock Scholars committee of students and faculty by May 15.

Fifth Form Applicants in their first semester at Berkshire:

Advisors of new fifth form students nominate advisees by submitting a letter of recommendation to Mr. Rob Lloyd, Director of Sustainability by December 15.

Fifth form students will submit a letter of interest to Mr. Lloyd by December 15

Finalists will interview with Mr. Lloyd and the Black Rock Scholars committee by January 15.


Independent Study


Berkshire students may work with a faculty mentor to design a course that allows them to pursue an academic interest beyond the core courses and electives offered in the regular curriculum, and which mirrors the academic rigors of college. Independent study courses may be designed for one semester or for the entire year, with the option to combine academic work on campus with shadowing area professionals or volunteer internships at local organizations. Students—primarily in Fifth and Sixth Forms—present written proposals to a panel of faculty members for approval, meet with mentors weekly and are assessed through written materials, critiques, projects or compositions. Each independent study culminates in a final presentation before the school community.

Independent Study Director

Linda Bellizzi

Linda Bellizzi


"Creating a unique course gives a student ownership and pride. They are energized by the chance to explore things they truly care about with an adult mentor who is invested in their work."



Recent Independent Study projects

•Advanced Astro-Imaging

•Astronomy

•Biodiesel Fuel Engineering

•Digital Music Composition and Sound Design

•Fly Fishing Rod Building

•History of Graffiti

•Mathematical Modeling and 3D Art

•Playwriting

Ritt Kellogg Mountain Program


Berkshire School boasts an asset no other college preparatory school can claim: Mount Everett, the second highest mountain in Massachusetts. Berkshire celebrates the mountain it lies beneath with the Ritt Kellogg Mountain Program (RKMP), named after a 1985 alumnus who died in 1992 while climbing Mount Foraker in Alaska.

The RKMP encourages students to interact with natural resources and fosters an interdependency between the campus and its natural surroundings. More specifically, the RKMP uses Berkshire’s natural resources to promote academic growth, to challenge athletically, to teach leadership, to develop character and to foster environmental responsibility.

RKMP faculty offer afternoon alternatives to traditional team pursuits, as well as a Beyond the Mountain program through which they guide students on domestic and international wilderness trips. The program also promotes a healthy group dynamic among sports teams who use the low and high initiatives of the school ropes course. The RKMP provides both leadership and financial support in the campus-wide commitment to environmental stewardship. Through these many activities, students gain greater insight into themselves and the world around them, and learn to develop as individuals within the natural environment.

RKMP Director

Nadine Lloyd

Nadine Lloyd


"The goal of the program is to encourage students to spend time in the outdoors, spend time on the beautiful mountain we have."



Join RKMP

Students may participate in RKMP programs in lieu of a competitive sport. Programs run for approximately eight weeks, or the duration of each athletic season.

Generally, a student need not have any wilderness experience to go on a trip, and most of the needed equipment is provided by the RKMP. The trips vary according to the interests of the student body.

Ultimately, this program gives students memorable experiences by exposing them to uncertain outcomes and acceptable risks through the exploration of exciting, yet unfamiliar cultures and environments.

About Ritt kellogg

"Ritt Kellogg didn't just live life — he devoured it," says Steve Kaczmarek '85, a friend and classmate of Ritt's at both Berkshire and Colorado College. "For him, life was a spectacular journey, never a destination."

Above all, Ritt Kellogg loved the outdoors. His affection for the Berkshire campus and the mountain that surrounds it, inspires everyone at Berkshire School to study, respect and preserve our natural environment.

In 1994, Ritt's friends and the Kellogg family celebrated his life with an endowment to establish the Ritt Kellogg Mountain Program.

Fall

Rock Climbing, Canoeing, Camping, Mountain Biking, Trail Building, Backcountry Skills

Winter

Boat Building, Paddleboard and Surfboard Building, Nordic and Backcountry Skiing, Ice Climbing, Mountaineering

Spring

Mountain & Road Biking, Trail Building, Backcountry Skills

Clubs

Fly Fishing, Hiking, Maple Syrup Corporation

Trips

Rock Climbing
Hiking and canoeing off-campus excursions will be offered in the fall and spring.

Leadership Award at Berkshire

Each year, two students are awarded the Leadership Award at Berkshire. The award recognizes students who have shown genuine leadership potential and provides scholarships for them to attend the Hurricane Island Outward Bound School in Maine. The School offers a rigorous hands-on learning model through outdoor adventure including sailing, sea kayaking, and rock climbing programs.


Hurricane Island Outward Bound Leadership Awards were created to bring top students from select schools on an expedition course in the summer after their sophomore or junior year of high school. Award recipients are individuals who have shown genuine leadership potential at their alma mater. Outward Bound courses challenge participants to learn new skills, work as a team, care for the environment and further develop leadership skills. Berkshire School officials will determine the award selection process. Examples of leadership considered in the application process may include: student government, community service, or other activities where students demonstrate a determination for excellence.

High School Applicants: The Leadership Award at Berkshire School will be awarded to two high school students, either sophomores or juniors, with demonstrated leadership potential and a desire to take a wilderness expedition course. The award covers full-tuition* for two students to attend a Hurricane Island Outward Bound School (HIOBS) course in Maine for sailing, canoeing, and/or backpacking. Award recipients might be limited on course choice by age or time commitment. HIOBS offers 14-day courses to 14-, 15-, and 16-year-olds and 22-day courses to 16-, 17-, and 18-year-olds. HIOBS recommends eligible students to maximize their Outward Bound experience by taking a 22-day course.

Additional Policies: Previous Outward Bound scholarship recipients are not eligible. The Leadership Award at Berkshire School covers full tuition for either a 14- or 22-day wilderness expedition. Once the selection committee at Berkshire School choses the award recipients, the Leadership Award Recipient Course Application form should be completed and returned to Debbie Murray at Hurricane Island Outward Bound School (address below) by close of business on March 31, 2014. Applications may be submitted any time prior to the deadline, as the sooner a course application is received the better chance the award recipient has to be placed on their top choice of course. Note: Berkshire School’s selection committee hopes to announce the award recipients sometime in early to mid-February.

*A $125 application fee and $125 transportation fee are not included in the award. Travel to and from the course start and end, clothing and gear necessary for the course are also not included in the award. Berkshire School’s Ritt Kellogg Mountain Program may be able to assist with some of the camping gear required. Financial assistance may be available for an eligible student.

For further information on this award contact Mr. Dalton at mdalton@berkshireschool.com

Maple Syrup Corporation

The Berkshire School Maple Syrup Corporation makes maple syrup and provides students, faculty, and staff with opportunities to participate in this process. Sap is collected across campus and boiled down in the Arthur C. Chase Sugar House, named for the legendary Berkshire teacher. The Berkshire School Maple Syrup Corporation's goal is to create a strong sense of place and ownership in the school community through hard work, fun, and delicious maple syrup.



Pro Vita Winter Session


For one week every winter, Berkshire students take a break from the traditional curriculum to participate in two unique, intensive courses of their choosing, taught by Berkshire faculty, parents, alumni and friends. Following the school motto, Pro Vita Non Pro Schola Discimus (Learning—not just for school but for life), the weeklong courses allow students to uncover new talents and discover lifelong pursuits.

More than 80 courses are offered each year and have included Entrepreneurial Studies, the Art of DJ’ing, Chaos Theory, Fine Furniture Making, Designing Android Apps and Intellectual Property Law, to name a few. Guest speakers have included National Geographic adventure photographer Tommy Schultz, international marketing consultant Sheila Roche who launched the (RED) AIDS organization, social entrepreneur Alvaro Rodriguez ’85, and comedian Gary Vider ’02 of America’s Got Talent fame.

Pro Vita Director

Bebe Bullock

Bebe Bullock


"Pro Vita is all about pursuing a passion. Some students come to Berkshire knowing what they love and what they're already good at but Pro Vita gives kids a chance to try something new."


Pro Vita Course Catalog

Sabin Entrepreneurial Prize

Each year, Berkshire students compete for the Sabin Entrepreneurial Prize, a prestigious honor awarded to the team with the best business plan for a financially feasible product, service, project or program that can also contribute to living in more sustainable communities. Through a collaboration with the Yale Center for Business and the Environment, competing students meet with professionals from the business and environmental worlds to develop their plan.

The Sabin Entrepreneurial Prize seeks to:

•Introduce students to the essentials of writing a business plan;

•Provide a real-world platform to practice public speaking and presenting;

•Promote the entrepreneurial spirit;

•Stimulate creativity and critical thinking as it applies to the area of sustainable living;

•Reward effective collaboration in the construction and promotion of a coherent and sustainable business plan.



Past Winners

2017 - FMS

Matt McKinley '17, Will Perekslis '17, – Catherine Udodova '18

FMS, Food Management SystemTM is a novel analytical system that fits inside refrigerators and dry storage to provide large food service providers the tools to tackle the issue of food waste by increasing the efficiency of their inventory operations. FMS’s unique recognition system is driven by the integration of three devices: cameras, bar code laser scanners, and scales which will calculate the precise amount and detail of inventory left in storage.

2016 - EZ Park

Harrison Yaste '16, Andrew Koudijs '16, and Hanna Derrig '16

EZ Park is a new revolutionary parking meter technology. Our mission is to help large and small cities reduce traffic and cut the amount of pollutants released when searching for an open parking space. The app allows drivers to locate open parking meters and reserve parking spaces in advance. This app also comes with a security feature that helps protect your vehicle by notifying the user when the vehicle has left the parking meter while in “park mode.” The parking meter then camera snapshots the license plate as the car pulls out. We hope to one day be able to see our EZ Park in cities nationwide.

2015 - Pinnacle Cuts & Co.

Christopher Kreke ‘15, Daniel Beyer ‘16, PJ Webb ‘15, and Stephen DePietto ‘15

Pinnacle Cuts & Co. is a mobile barbershop and salon, offering its services to The Berkshires and surrounding New England region. Fitted inside a spacious Airstream, Pinnacle Cuts & Co. will be a custom‐made, full‐service barbershop and salon on wheels. Our mission is to provide easily accessible, high‐quality salon services to those who are burdened by long commutes to a proper barber or stylist. Currently, there exists a large demand for haircuts on boarding school campuses and in rural areas, and Pinnacle Cuts & Co. will tap into that market.

2014 - Campus Pizza

Regan Haas ‘14, Jeffrey Meeker ‘14, and Kevin Kang ‘14

Campus Pizza is an on-campus pizza truck, offering a quality product to the students and faculty of Berkshire School. Campus Pizza’s mission is to connect the students and faculty on campus with an easy and efficient source that puts their money to a good cause. Hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of deliveries drive up and down that driveway every year; Campus Pizza’s goal is to tap into this market and eventually take it over. Our goal is to create a sustainable pizza place serving great pizza at a competitive price and an opportunity to support your school and its future projects and endeavors.

2013 - Open Doors Live

Sam Clougher '13, Britt Brown '13, and Sam Friedman '13

Open Doors Live serves as an intermediary to successfully connect musical artists with venues (bars, restaurants, etc.) in local communities. This is achieved through helping unsigned artists find venues to perform live music at as well as streamlining the booking process for both venue and artist. The online service will include a profile containing a basic introduction to the artist, a resume with experience and references, plus sample musical pieces. Furthermore, it will include a downloading service to promote musical exposure for the artist. Utilizing this information, we will assist restaurants and bars in increasing their revenue by attracting more customers through live music performances.

2012 - The Dorm Store

Jack Nash ‘13, Phuong Le ‘12, George Zucker ‘12 and Pat Feeley ‘12

The Dorm Store is a system of services that is used to ensure a more fluid and less stressful move-in day for students attending a residential school such as a college or boarding school. Students will be able to digitally design their dorm rooms using an application on their computers or smart phones. Furthermore, they will be able to select the products and their locations all online. Once the list of items and the design of the room has been submitted, the Dorm Store staff will then set up your room and have it completely installed by the time the student moves in. The Dorm Store gives the students the ability to focus on what is most important when arriving at school, which is saying good-bye to their parents and becoming acclimated to their new social environments.

The Sabin Entrepreneurial Prize is an initiative created with the generous support of the Andrew Sabin Family Foundation to educate and expose Berkshire students enrolled in Advanced Economics to entrepreneurship and sustainability. The Prize was modeled on a similar program for Yale students which you can read about here.

STEAM

Berkshire’s STEAM Program provides students with opportunities to be designers, creators, innovators, risk-takers and entrepreneurs. In STEAM, students are asked to identify and tackle authentic problems in context and design solution-based prototypes using interdisciplinary approaches that bridge science, technology, engineering, math, and the arts. STEAM at Berkshire also fosters the true spirit of collaboration and teamwork to accomplish more than what would have been accomplished with a singular approach. By bringing together the diverse talents of Berkshire students and faculty, the STEAM program fosters a school-wide movement of collaboration and experimentation.

STEAM specific courses include Engineering, 3D Design, iOS App Development, as well as integration with Bio Mathematics, Environmental Studies, Sustainability, Digital Music and more.



MAKERSPACE

Berkshire’s Makerspace is a creative place. From robots to interactive art installations, students are able to make their ideas into reality. It’s a platform for innovation and place to pursue personal int erests. In the Makerspace, the faculty is committed to creating a culture of innovation.

Students are lead through the design cycle. In particular, students are asked to identify real needs and work to develop a solution. That being said, many of the students’ first (and even second or third) solutions fail, and that is okay. After all, in reality, it is simply the first (or second or third) step toward success. No amazing innovation is created on the first try. This teaches students to take risks and iterate from “failures” to achieve success. In so doing, students develop a growth mindset that helps them to believe that they can learn to do anything.

The Makerspace encourages students to tinker, play, and explore without any clear end goal in mind. In the Makerspace, students have the opportunity to utilize emerging technologies along side of traditional shop equipment in order to bring their ideas to life. Students new to making are welcome to follow tutorials or step-by-step instructions in order to develop their skills so that eventually they will be ready to choose more challenging projects and more interesting opportunities in the future.

The Makerspace cultivates students’ and faculty’s enthusiasm for learning. Making also fosters character-building traits including creativity, curiosity, persistence, resilience, open-mindedness, social responsibility, and collaboration. In the Makerspace, teamwork and community are emphasized as students band together to come up with creative solutions that they might never have invented individually.

Sustainability


Berkshire School’s commitment to environmental stewardship harkens back to the school’s founding practices in 1907, when a respect for natural resources was exercised by all. Today, Berkshire is a leader among independent schools in advancing the principles of sustainability, with a culture of conservation and environmental responsibility ingrained across campus and throughout all programs.

Berkshire uses a conceptual model to present sustainability as the pursuit of three interrelated objectives: environmental integrity, economic justice and social equity. The school’s sustainability plan addresses short- and long-range objectives that include education (both internal and external), energy conservation, creating a sustainable food system, protecting and maintaining the natural campus environment and reducing waste streams on campus with the goal of a “net-zero”-waste campus through responsible procurement strategies and use of resources.

The most noteworthy aspect of Berkshire’s greening is that it’s the students who are leading most sustainability initiatives. Students in the Sustainability class have been the drivers—and the facilitators—of nearly all new sustainability programs on campus. They conduct background research, perform risk analysis, develop proposals and present their findings and ideas to the committee. Their latest initiative: the eight-acre, two-megawatt solar field with 8,332 photovoltaic solar panels—one of the largest solar fields of any school or college in New England. In the summer of 2016, Berkshire made a significant long-term financial commitment to a new solar field in Bolton, Mass. With this further commitment to renewable energy, the School has dedicated 60-65% of its annual energy budget to solar power. 100% of our energy needs continue to be covered by renewable sources.

Students are also in charge of day-to-day sustainability operations on campus, including recycling, composting, source reduction (decreasing the amount of materials or energy used during the manufacturing or distribution of products and packages) and data collection. From creating and presenting new ideas to detailing each sustainability initiative’s proposed benefits, the hands-on learning encompasses real-world problem solving and positions Berkshire School to be a leader in science and technology education.

Sustainability Director

Rob Lloyd

Rob Lloyd


"Sustainability is cool because it's real. It is rewarding to see kids facing real challenges, overcoming them and accomplishing their goals."

Sustainability Awards and Grants

2015 Massachusetts Electric Vehicle Investment Program Grant Recipient for an electric car charging station, a student-led initiative

2013 Named a Green Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education (One of just 64 schools to receive this distinction)

2011 The Sustainable Endowments Institute Billion Dollar Green Challenge, participant (Berkshire School was the only secondary school participant in the country.)

2011 Keep America Beautiful Recycle Bowl, Massachusetts champion

2010 DoSomething.org Community Garden Grant, recipient

2010 Student Conservation Association (SCA) Green Your School Contest, Biodiesel, finalist

2010 Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation Green Your Pastures Fund Grant, recipient

2009 DoSomething.org Increase Your Green Competition, winner

2008 Green Cup Challenge, 1st Place winner