A New Kind of Middle School
When we decided to open Berkwood Hedge Middle School, we knew we wanted to build a program unlike any other. Middle school students are curious and creative. They grapple with tough topics, such as identity, justice, self-expression, and changing relationships with family and peers. They need to feel seen and that their opinions are respected and valued--that they have a place at the table. In addition to science, math, language and history, they need opportunities to practice the skills and develop the confidence that will help them make a difference in the world--communication, empathy, critical thinking, collaboration, and problem solving.
We are building on our core values--courage, creativity, compassion, and confidence--and applying them to a new model designed to meet the needs of middle school students. Our goal is to ensure that our students know that they belong to our academic community, that competence and ability grow with effort, that they can succeed, and that their work has value. We achieve this goal by providing a program that:
- Stimulates cognitive engagement through hands-on learning tasks
- Encourages collaboration
- Establishes clear links between learning tasks and students’ experiences
- Gradually builds a set of skills
- Provides structured opportunities for students to make choices and act
- Instills a sense of acceptance and inclusion in the learning community
- Builds relationships that are warm and supportive
At Berkwood Hedge Middle School, you will find a program that centers:
- Excellence: Excellence is at the core of everything we do, whether that is how we show up at our basketball games or the effort we bring to a paper we are writing.
- Identity: We understand that identity is central to wholeness and middle school is a time of critical identity development. We help our students discover who they are, what they want and need, and how they fit into the bigger world.
- Environment: We are one of a handful of schools in the Bay Area focused on and designed around teaching young people about their relationship to the environment. We have a moment right now when we need to change the human trajectory for this planet, and young people are going to make the difference.
- Service: Our primary role is to empower young people to connect with themselves and with others, to feel powerful inside so they can feel powerful as they move through the world. Through exploration of identity and passion, participation in service to the community, and ultimately development of an individual advocacy proj- ect, students learn that they have the power to be a force for change in the world, for the greater good.