2015 National School of CharacterWhat does character education look like at Berkshire?
Berkshire PRIDE communicates our core values to students, staff, and all who visit our building.Positive AttitudeRespectIntegrityDependabilityEmpathyBerkshire PRIDE can be found in classrooms, throughout hallways, in common gathering areas, and in student planners. It is also addressed on our student reflection forms and verbally communicated through C3. Berkshire PRIDE encourages clear, consistent, and high-expectations for all behaviors at Berkshire.
C3 Class: Creating a Caring Community
C3 is the cornerstone of Character Education at Berkshire Middle School. During this daily, 21 minute long class, teachers and students participate in intentional activities that create community within our classes, school, and community. C3 classes take on the persona of the teacher and students in the class! They decide as a team what projects they'd like to take on to create a caring community. Other fabulous things happen during C3, including Bridge Builders (see below) and Wildcard Day. There are so many ways to build connections both within our school walls and outside of them, and we make the most of our 21 minutes a day to do that. See the link on the left to learn more!Bridge BuildersBridge Builders ia a peer-to-peer mentorship program at Berkshire. Piloted in 2018-19, and expanded in 2019-20, our 100 NJHS students are paired up with younger Berkshire students. Together our groups make valuable connections and provide support for each other through games, strategy-sharing sessions, and other activities.Each month the character education committee selects character values for the students, staff and community to reflect upon. Different classes "adopt" these values for deeper study. They create posters celebrating and sharing these values, and spread them throughout the school. We share inspirational messages reflecting these values with our community on our school's roadside sign and during our morning announcements. These values are further discussed in C3 through word studies and videos.2019-20 Character Themes of the MonthSeptember: PRIDEOctober: Healthy Body/Healthy MindNovember: ThankfulDecember: Diverse DecemberJanuary: New Year, New MeFebruary: Black History Month - learning strength from leaders, learning empathy as we hear storiesMarch: World Language Month, Reading Month, and Women's History MonthApril:Celebrate our different learners and spread awareness about AutismMay: Mental Health Awareness MonthRestorative PracticesRestorative practices seeks to help students grow in their behavior and attitudes and actions. Restorative practices, like the name implies, encourages students to restore their behaviors by practicing behaviors that are positive rather than negative, help instead of hurt.
With the assistance of Mrs. Garbutt, student volunteers in seventh and eighth grade share announcements with the students and staff at Berkshire. Announcements help build character through clear communication and student leadership, and by promoting events, activities, and quality behaviors.
The LEADERS Class
Under the leadership of Mr. Baldridge, select students participate in a C3 class and Directed Studies class that focuses on building character through honest and applicable discussions and service-learning activities.
Our curriculum in all content areas reflects the diverse nature of our learners and participants. Our curriculum intentionally addresses concerns and needs of present-day learners while encouraging character and academic growth through reading and learning from historical and classical documents.
Our Character Education Leadership Team consists of a diverse group of adults and students from Berkshire. Teachers, administrators, counselors, parents, and two student representatives meet monthly to reflect upon and work towards improving character at Berkshire.
Proud Dad's Club
With genuine, hard-working Proud Dads as the captains, this group encourages all parents and guardians to get involved with their children and the Berkshire staff members to create a giving community that creates and seeks opportunities to benefit the entire community in Birmingham, Beverly Hills, Southfield, and other surrounding neighborhoods.
"Demonstrates respect", "Is accountable", "Conscientious, hard-working student" = these are some of the comments parents/guardians and students may see on their online report card indicating the character they demonstrate in their classes at school. Additionally, each month we recognize "Students of the Month" who are nominated by their teachers for displaying the character word of the month.
Students meet as a grade level with administrators during these quarterly town-hall meetings. During these meetings students are encouraged to continue modeling The Berkshire Way and challenged to continue to live up to high expectations and "be amazing" as one of our recent assemblies reminded us.
Dedicated Team Members
Berkshire staff members (secretaries, administrators, para-professionals, counselors, social workers, speech pathologists, support staff, teachers, cafeteria workers, custodial staff) care about their students and strive, through direct instruction, role-playing, modeling, ice-breakers, and other intentional lessons, to create a welcoming environment where positive relationship flourish, active learning happens, and academic and behavioral growth is supported and celebrated.
Visual Displays of Character
Under the leadership of Mr. Orlando, artwork around the school celebrates Berkshire's diversity. Moreover, our bulletin board created by Mrs. Garbutt and Mrs. Jefferson, creatively displays our character word of the month through visual representation and student interpretations of that word in action. In addition, we have invested in different visual representations of Berkshire PRIDE and diversity all around Berkshire for the 2018-19 school year. Visitors to the school will notice right away that Berkshire values character when they walk our halls.