• We are lucky to spend the school day with your children, and we do everything we can to make their time here worthwhile and their character education meaningful. Once they go home, their character education doesn't stop!

    As parents, you are uniquely able to make our world a better place by the values and lessons you impart on your children. To assist you in your task, to the right are some inspirational links we've come across.  Watch them, share them with your family and friends, and thank you for all you do to grow your child's character at home. Your good work shows!


  • Building Assets in Middle and High School

    Posted by Character International on 6/3/2019

    In middle school, our young people are growing physically, emotionally, and intellectually. During this time of rapid change and development, they need your support and guidance more than ever! We came across this great list of ways to build their social and emotional assets and wanted to share these with you, their biggest supporters.

    Boundaries and Expectations:

    • Be patient, calm and consistent as young teenagers test the boundaries you set.
    • Negotiate new boundaries as young people grow older. Work together on what is acceptable and what is not.
    • Ask teenagers where they are going and who they will be with.
    • Help them think about their future goals and what kind of boundaries they'll need to meet them.
    • Continue to have boundaries for appropriate behaviors and consequences for violating those boundaries. Do not negotiate. Be consistent.
    • Respect their privacy needs while showing interest in their friends and activities.

    Constructive Use of Time:

    • Help young people look for positive, stimulating activities that match their talents, interests, and abilities.
    • Engage young people in recognizing and defining what positive quality time within their family would be.
    • Encourage them to be involved in at least one activity that may continue into their adult years.
    • Help them think about how the time they spend on different activities helps or hinders them in reaching their goals.
    • Foster opportunities for teenagers to get involved with younger children through reading, mentoring or other activities.
    • Encourage teenagers to volunteer in programs or activities.

    Commitment to Learning:

    • Find creative ways to help young people link their interests with school subjects.
    • Ask young people to teach you a new skill or about something they've learned.
    • Help them think about their future goals and the discipline required to reach them.
    • Encourage teens to take an active part in a community issue.
    • Emphasize lifelong learning.


    • Be available to listen.
    • Affirm independence and interdependence. People need each other.
    • Find out what teens care about and help them advocate for their causes.
    • Ask teenagers for their opinion or advice. Engage them in the process of finding solutions to issues that need to be addressed within the school, family or community.
    • Continue to show teens you care about them by spending time, asking questions, or simply comment on an observation you have made about them.

    Positive Values

    • Interact in caring responsible ways with people of all ages. Encourage and find opportunities for young people to do the same.
    • When you watch a movie or a video together, discuss the values you see.
    • Talk to young people about your values regarding honesty, sexual activity, alcohol, nicotine and other drug use and relevant topics.
    • Engage teens in discussions about how their values guide their choices and behaviors. Let them know how your values influence you.

    Social Competencies:

    • Help young people use healthy coping skills when difficult situations arise.
    • Be gentle and supportive in how you respond to teens' fluctuating emotions.
    • Help young teens find ways to deal with conflict without violence (verbal or physical).
    • Allow teens more freedom to make decisions while clearly defining consequences and boundaries.
    • Ask teens about their future dreams, help them with planning how to achieve them.
    • Encourage teens to practice healthy responses to situations where they might feel pressured or uncomfortable.

    Positive Identity:

    • Expect young people to experience ups and downs of self esteem during these years, and for it to increase as they get older.
    • Avoid comparing young people with other young people.
    • Let teens know you are proud of and excited by their talents, capabilities and discoveries.
    • Support teens as they struggles with issues and questions of identity.
    • Let them know you are willing to listen if they want to talk about their sense of purpose in life including their ideas about how they would like to contribute to their community or the world.
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  • Table Talk – Food For Thought - Memorial Day – May we celebrate citizenship

    Posted by Christy Booth on 5/27/2019 9:00:00 AM

    “Originally known as Decoration Day, Memorial Day originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971. Many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings and participating in parades. Unofficially, it marks the beginning of the summer season. The Civil War, which ended in the spring of 1865, claimed more lives than any conflict in U.S. history and required the establishment of the country’s first national cemeteries. By the late 1860s, Americans in various towns and cities had begun holding springtime tributes to these countless fallen soldiers, decorating their graves with flowers and reciting prayers” (history.com).

    This month we have discussed citizenship and belonging. We have focused our C3 work on understanding the need for belonging, desire for belonging, and how to include others so that they feel that they belong. This connects nicely with our three-day weekend and Memorial Day celebrations coming up. This weekend, please take a minute to gather with your family to discuss Memorial Day, where it originated and how people, and you, celebrate it. Please also take time to consider those who have fought and are fighting. Did you know that at 3:00 pm (local time) there is a national moment of silence on Memorial Day around America? Perhaps you might set an alarm in your phone and encourage your family members to partake in, belong to, this greater movement of silence, of remembrance.

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  • May is Mental Health Awareness Month - tips for caring for your mental health!

    Posted by Pam Lucken on 5/1/2019 9:00:00 AM

    We've found some great tips to share with our Berkshire family this month. We'll be reading these edited tips at announcements each morning, and sharing them in other ways throughout the building. I'm sharing them here in case you can use these at home, too!

    1. Track gratitude and achievement with a journal. Include 3 things you were grateful for and something you were able to accomplish each day.

    2. Look forward! Having something to look forward to can boost your overall happiness. Great weather and long days are coming – what are you looking forward to doing?

    3. Work your strengths. Do something you're good at to build self-confidence, then tackle a tougher task.

    4. Get a good night's sleep. Put away your screens at least 30 minutes before you go to bed. Studies show that middle school students need 9-9 ½ hours of sleep per night!

    5. When facing something you aren’t looking forward to doing, break it up into smaller pieces. As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”

    6. Spend some time being creative! Creative expression and overall well-being are linked.

    7. Show some love to someone in your life. This could be your parents, your siblings, your friends. Close, quality relationships are key for a happy, healthy life.

    8. Feeling anxious? Print out a coloring page and do some coloring for about 20 minutes to help you clear your mind. Pick a design that's geometric and a little complicated for the best effect.

    9. Take time to laugh. Hang out with a funny friend, watch a comedy or check out cute videos online. Laughter helps reduce anxiety.

    10. Go off the grid. If you have a phone, turn it off for a bit to disconnect and relax. Spend time doing something fun with someone face-to-face. Limit your interruptions from your devices.

    11. Try to be optimistic. Focus on the positive as much as possible.

    12. Dance whenever you can! Turn on your favorite song, but instead of just listening, dance! Dancing reduces levels of cortisol (the stress hormone), and increases endorphins (the body's "feel-good" chemicals).

    13. Feeling stressed? Smile. It may not be the easiest thing to do, but smiling can help to lower your heart rate and calm you down.

    14. Go ahead and yawn. Studies suggest that yawning helps cool the brain and improves alertness and mental efficiency.

    15. Has something been bothering you? Let it all out…on paper. Writing about upsetting experiences can reduce symptoms of depression.

    16. Spend some time with a furry friend. Time with animals lowers the stress hormone - cortisol, and boosts oxytocin - which stimulates feelings of happiness. If you don’t have a pet, hang out with a friend who does.

    17. Take a look around. Often times people only explore on trips, but you may be surprised what cool things are in your own backyard.

    18. Try preparing the night before for school the next day. Lay out your clothes, pack your backpack and think of anything else you might need. You'll save some time in the mornings and have a sense of control about the day ahead.

    19. Practice forgiveness. People who forgive have better mental health and report being more satisfied with their lives.

    20. "What appear to be calamities are often the sources of fortune." - Disraeli
    Try to find the silver lining in something kind of stinky that happened recently.

    21. Take 30 minutes to be outside in nature. Research shows that being in nature can increase energy levels, reduce depression and boost well-being.

    22. Do your best to enjoy 15 minutes of sunshine, and apply sunscreen. Sunlight synthesizes Vitamin D, which experts believe is a mood elevator.

    23. "Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new." -Albert Einstein
    Try something outside of your comfort zone to make room for adventure and excitement in your life.

    24. Send a thank you note - not for a material item, but to let someone know why you appreciate them. Written expressions of gratitude are linked to increased happiness.

    25. Think of something in your life you want to improve, and figure out what you can do to take a step in the right direction.

    Enjoy these tips we've put together to share with our Berkshire Community. Share them with your family! If you'd like to get more involved with planning activities for Berkshire students during Mental Health Awareness Month next year, please contact Pam Lucken - plucken@birmingham.k12.mi.us, or 248-203-4706.

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  • World Language Week

    Posted by Pam Lucken on 3/8/2019 2:00:00 PM

    World Language Week at Berkshire was not only a celebration of the languages and cultures taught here at Berkshire, but a colorful and inspiring week of learning about the diverse and interesting world in which we live!

    Sponsored by our World Langugages Department, our door decorating contest had all students engaged in learning and teaching about a country decided upon by their C3 classes. The artistry displayed on these doors belied a LOT of time and effort on behalf of our students. What a great way to share learning and to brighten up our hallways in this long winter!

    Each day during the World Language Classes, students had a chance to celebrate a different aspect of culture. The week culminated with a terrific World Language Expo where all of the students came together during 5th and 6th hours to enjoy foods, music, art, a display of martial arts and dancing.

    Thanks to Mme Takenaga, Senoras Rivera and Rodriquez, and Sensei Cooper for sponsoring such a great week for Berkshire.



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