We are coming to the end of 2013. It is always nice to look back at the past twelve months and reflect on past accomplishments. I have taken time to reflect on many of the ways Berkeley has progressed over the past year. We have come a long way in a relatively short time. Please take a moment to look back at how we have grown-
Twelve months ago, in December 2012, we closed for the holidays with 139 students. Our current enrollment is 181, with more students coming in January. Through this increase, we have opened up a second section of grade one, have between 14-15 students in second to fifth grade, and continue fill up our middle school.
We have been buoyed by the energy, enthusiasm, and expertise of eight new teachers. Each has brought a strong commitment and desire to create the best possible program for each child. I am grateful to have such a dedicated staff!
New High School
We opened our first-ever high school with the addition of ninth grade this year. Over the past semester, Mr. Jeff has been working with individual students to create four-year plans for university admittance. We are starting now to make sure they will be able to get into the college of their choice.
English as a Second Language Programs
Ms. Holly and Mr. Ben have created Berkeley’s first ever ESL programs in the elementary, middle, and high school to help our English language learners develop their English literacy skills. We continue to modify and improve the program to best meet our students’ needs.
Berkeley hosted our first ever interscholastic-athletic tournament- the Friendship Cup Futsal Tournament- in November. This was soon followed by friendly competitions with other schools. Coach Michael is establishing our athletic department for all students. More sporting events are coming up in the second semester- basketball, swimming, and more soccer.
Parent Teacher Organization
The PTO became organized and led two dynamic and highly successful events. International Day was a huge success in the spring of 2013. The wonderful Christmas Carnival followed. The growing development and participation in the PTO is great to see. I look forward to more great things!
We made great strides in our online presence. From creating a newinformative website to building our social media footprint to using search engine optimization techniques to move us higher in Google searches. Combined we are making sure that Berkeley is well represented in cyberspace.
Overnight School Trips
We had our first overnight excursions this calendar year. We started by taking the seventh and eighth graders to Khao Yai for two-nights of adventure in the spring. Last week, Mr. Ashley took the grade five students on an exciting overnight river excursion. More trips are planned for the middle and high school.
Middle School Lock-In
On top of our school trips, we also had our first overnight Middle/High School Lock-In. The teachers planned a fun-filled evening of team-building and wacky activities for the students in October.
Teachers have spent significant time and effort improving all aspects of the Berkeley curriculum over the past twelve months. The work has moved Berkeley past most schools in Berkeley in creating a clear curriculum aligned through all grade levels that is rigorous and meets the needs of all students.
WASC Accreditation Progress
Our WASC accreditation work continued with great progress being made in our self-study. We are looking forward to the final accreditation visit in late-April to see if we can achieve fully accredited status.
Our middle and high school mathematicians continue to impress in competitions. We took home three trophies over two competitions. More to come!
After School Activities
Our After School Activity program has blossomed over this past semester. The number and diversity of the activities has dramatically improved. Even though we are a small school with a limited staff, Ms. Sophie has created a fantastic program.
Summer Trip to New Zealand
We teamed up with another agency to bring 11 Berkeley students to New Zealand for a summer school and learning adventure. All of the students had a great time and cannot wait for the next destination over the summer.
Back at Berkeley, we had our very first summer school program. For three weeks last summer, students had a great time learning, doing art and crafts, swimming, sports, and other great activities.
On top of adding resources and computers, Mr. Michael has significantly increased the usage of the library by all students. Particular improvement has come through Ms. Tonya and Ms. Holly encouraging the middle school students to read more. Great work!
Wow, this list has grown quite long. I still haven’t mentioned the move to a standards-based report card, development of our strings program and first interscholastic music participation, improved resources, and the general great things that have been happening each day in the classrooms. We certainly are a busy and improving school.
I look forward to another year at Berkeley.
Thank you for all of your support and I hope you have a wonderful new year! We are Berkeley!