Professional Development

A Period

Haïti, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Guyane française, Sainte-Lucie, Dominique, Île Maurice, Île de la Réunion, Saint Barth, Les Seychelles, and Lousiana: What do these places have in common? The Créole language and culture, of course! There are millions of Créole speakers worldwide, yet only a few colleges and universities in the US teach Créole as a foreign language. In this course we will explore the linguistic origins of Créole to understand the differences between the Créole spoken in Louisiana and that spoken in Haiti or Cuba. We will then look at the language as a cultural and historical vehicle. From that point on, the immersion begins and only Créole will be spoken using conversation drills and role plays.

Pro Vita Legal Potpourri


This course will cover a range of common legal issues students are likely to experience directly (or indirectly) as they transition from living at home to college. Contracts, leases, credit cards, small claims, Intellectual Property (trademarks, copyright and patents), online privacy, online rights, law school, legal research and more. Using a mixed format including lectures, guest speakers, short case studies, light reading, interactive client representation moot (practice) court, videos, role playing and lots of Q&A, you’ll pick up tips sure to save you time, money and avoid unnecessary emotional distress in the future.  Plain language, no legal experience required.


The Sweat Lodge Ceremony is an adaptation of the sweat bath common to many ethnic cultures found in North and South America, Asia, Eastern and Western Europe, and Africa. Some say it is a tradition that is thousands of years old. The Sweat Lodge is a place of spiritual refuge and mental and physical healing, a place to get answers and guidance by asking spiritual entities, totem helpers, the Creator and Mother Earth for needed wisdom and power. Spend the week learning about the various types of lodges and the rituals involved. The week will culminate with an actual sweat in a Cheyenne Little Boy Lodge. Come delve into the spirit world!



The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization believes that 925 million people are undernourished in the world. According to the World Health Organization, 1.8 million deaths a year can be attributed to a lack of a sanitary water supply. These are preventable issues that the Peace Corps is addressing using American volunteers. Using Peace Corps’ Webquest Program, students will choose a development topic ranging from closing the gender gap to improving environmental sustainability, perform guided research and analysis, generate their own suggestions for the Peace Corps, and present their findings to the class.   Students will also follow a current Peace Corp volunteer’s blog throughout the week. By the end of the course, students will understand the mission of the Peace Corps, have a good understanding of what often appear to be intractable issues, and may have already prepared an application to join the effort to help humanity.



Our school motto, in fact our Pro Vita week, is hotly contested in both translation and pronunciation. Come to Dr. Merrill’s introduction to Ancient Greek class and learn components of this 2 millennia old language. In addition, the course will combine the study of Greek with a look at some important cultural elements of the ancient Greek world that have had a profound impact on Western culture, including art, architecture, and literature. Each class will include a brief lesson in basic Classical Greek and the balance of the class will focus on Greek culture and its influence. Pro Wita?


B Period


Want to know what athletic trainers really do? This course will give students a better appreciation of how athletic trainers diagnose injuries, establish rehabilitation programs and handle emergency situations on the playing fields. Get to know the educational background and courses required of athletic trainers while getting hands-on experience with all the modalities (whirlpools and electric stimulation units), as well as emergency and rehabilitation equipment.




The martial art of Aikido, translated loosely as "way of combining forces," provides its followers with a way to defend without doing great harm to an attacker. However, more than just self-defense, the practice is based on specific ethical principles and was considered an expression of universal peace and reconciliation by its founder.  Students in the class will discuss these principles, compare them to their own, and learn some Aikido technique from Sensei Sato in Great Barrington.  The course will be your first step in your quest for oneness with "ki" or the cosmic power.  Students will also compare Aikido's style to Korea's Tae Kwon Do, which emphasizes the use of leg kick and has its roots in traditional Korean martial arts.  Master Brown in Great Barrington will introduce the class to the philosophical pillars of the practice.  Beginners and suitors of "ki" are welcome.

A 70 year-old Nobel Prize-winning physicist and a 19 year-old electrician are brought to an emergency room with critical injuries following a car crash in a remote rural town. In both cases, without immediate surgery, the patient will die. The small hospital has one surgeon and one operating room. Who receives the life-saving surgery? How do we make such challenging decisions? What makes something morally right or wrong? Is stealing food to feed a starving child ethical? Have you ever wondered what makes a good person? The aim of this course is to hone your ethical awareness and try your hand at debating the large and small moral conundrums of the day.



Deborah Barnett-Brandt CP ’14

How do you respond to stress, social challenges or physical injury? Do you usually blame yourself when things go wrong? Using a powerful blend of western psychology and eastern meditation, and drawing on the research of leading psychologists, students will explore the concept of ‘self-compassion’, and learn new ways of responding to challenging moments. This experiential interdisciplinary class will ask you to re-examine your view of happiness and teach you how to motivate with kindness rather than self-criticism. The result will transform your relationships. No pre requisites required other than to come with an open mind.

Berkshire School

245 North Undermountain Road
 |  Sheffield, MA 01257
 |  T: 413 229 8511

Berkshire School is a co-ed, New England college preparatory boarding and day school offering a rigorous academic course of study. Our campus, located in Massachusetts, has state-of-the-art academic, artistic and athletic facilities on a stunning 400-acre campus in the Berkshires.

Berkshire School received 5 out of 5 stars from over 3 Google reviews.

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