Cultural Competency and Inclusion
Berwick Academy actively works to integrate themes of multiculturalism, inclusion, and diversity into all divisions and subject areas. Below are just a few examples of some of the curricula and pedagogy already in place at Berwick.
The Lower School utilizes a “mirrors and windows” approach with integrating cultural competency and multiculturalism in their curriculum. Throughout the year, students have multiple opportunities to learn about the identity and experiences of others (windows) and have theirs reflected in what they read and the projects they engage in (mirrors). This understanding of self and others is critical and becomes interrelated to the division’s focus on social-emotional learning as students build skills of self-awareness, social awareness, and relationship skills.
The curriculum in the Middle School spans a variety of topics and subject matters with a multicultural focus. Sixth grade humanities focuses on ancient cultures from around the globe. Seventh grade world cultures works closely with science in their Global Ex project, focusing on cultural and geographic study of Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Eighth grade history explores “The American Experience” (“TAM”) through the following thematic units: Perspectives on Democracy - including an in-depth analysis of the Bill of Rights and Civil Liberties; Race, Civil Rights, and Social Justice in America; War, Trauma, and the Veterans Experience; and Industry, Innovation & Entrepreneurship - an empathy and innovation-driven unit. Finally, eighth grade ethics explores the themes of moral decision-making, ethical leadership, and appreciating difference through empathy.
Many of our Upper School history and English classes challenge students to engage with the narratives of people whose cultures and lives differ greatly from their own. For example, in our 9th grade history classes, we ask our students to explore the myriad of spiritual traditions within Hinduism in one trimester while learning about the intricacies of the Koran and the triumphs of the medieval Islamic empire in another. By immersing our students in such vibrant and diverse stories, Berwick humanities classes help our students develop empathy and the ability to appreciate and leverage difference, preparing them for our increasingly diverse and connected world.
Upper School students also have the option to follow the Global Citizen Pathway as a framework for their academic experience.
Our commitment to travel as an essential element of building cultural skills has become more present in our community in recent years. In 2014, we began offering formal supplemental financial aid to students who require extra resources to enjoy these enriching experiences. Learn more about our Travel Program.
The Berwick Innovation Center allows students in grades 4-12 to pursue an area of interest or passion through self-directed study with the assistance of an involved mentor. Some of the pursuits involving a multicultural or inclusive theme include:
Musical expression and American Sign Language
Comparing differences in educational models on a worldwide scale
Sustainability of education in the developing world
A comparative study on the infrastructure of 24 countries across the globe
Exploration of social justice in different areas of the world
An original story inspired by an investigation of the Holocaust
Berwick Academy, situated on an 80-acre campus just over one hour north of Boston, serves 600 students, Pre-Kindergarten through grade 12, from Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine. Deeply committed to its mission of promoting virtue and useful knowledge, Berwick Academy empowers students to be creative and bold. Berwick strives to graduate alumni who shape their own learning, take risks, ask thoughtful questions, and come to understand and celebrate their authentic selves. Founded in 1791 and rooted in a tradition of college preparation, our culture of innovation prepares students for a complex and dynamic world.