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About Us

Strategic Plan

The Courage to Climb: Berwick Academy's Strategic Plan for the Future

Propelled by its aspirational mission and the courage to evolve, Berwick Academy's innovative curriculum prepares students for a rapidly changing world. A Berwick education positions students to confidently take on and adapt to the dynamic opportunities that will exist for them in the future.

Berwick will harness its culture of innovation and continuously reflect on the ways it can challenge and support students to reach their full potential. Inspired by the high aspirations of our students, this plan will enhance the tenets of the Berwick curriculum:
  • Student-directed learning
  • Skills over content; depth over breadth
  • Innovation
  • Wellness, character education, and public purpose 
  • Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI)
To accomplish this, the strategic plan enhances student opportunities through after-school and summer programming; partnerships that provide internships and learning opportunities; and a focus on environmental stewardship. The strategic plan fortifies Berwick’s approach to justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion and ensures that our essential academic systems fully support this work in our curriculum. The parallel support of The Campaign for Berwick will ensure Berwick’s future durability and flexibility to thrive for generations to come.

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  • Read More from Jim Hamilton

    Since arriving at Berwick Academy in the summer of 2018, Head of School Jim Hamilton has made it his mission for the School to be increasingly intentional about all it does—from teaching, to learning, to financial planning, to everything in between. It was with that mindset that Hamilton and the members of the Board of Trustees, supported by the full Berwick community, entered into the strategic planning process. 

    “I think what most excites me,” Hamilton says, “is envisioning the confidence and pride we will feel, as a community, when we successfully achieve these goals. To me, this is about strengthening and enhancing our foundation in a way that will allow us to be continuously bold going forward.”

    (Hear more from Hamilton in the "Read More" dropdowns below)

Systems for the Future

Berwick will strengthen the infrastructure that supports its student-centered, skills-based curriculum. With a continued emphasis on the positive relationships between teachers and students, a cornerstone of success at the School, we turn our focus to key initiatives that facilitate instruction and learning on campus. This work will be strengthened in several important areas, including division-to-division transitions for students; faculty professional development; faculty hiring and retention efforts; and the use of data to inform future decision-making.

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  • Read More on Systems for the Future

    While Curriculum 2020, a key component of the previous strategic plan, focused on what Berwick needed to do to enhance the preparation of its students for a world beyond the School, the plan for the next five years will address the how. The School is evaluating how departments are structured, how chairs are selected, how long they serve, and how to offer the best professional growth opportunities for faculty.

    “We’re looking at scope and sequence in terms of graduation requirements,” Hamilton says. “And we are also focused on how we can be the best teachers. How can we grow as individuals? How can we be structured in such a way that the School operates at its highest potential? We are matching the work we did in terms of the what and overlaying that with a better understanding of the how so that when those two things marry, the program continues to move forward.”

Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI)

Berwick will finalize a curricular JEDI approach, increase opportunities to host creative programming and partner with local organizations to solidify the School as a resource both on campus and throughout the Seacoast, and continue to build a community that more closely reflects the world beyond the Hilltop.

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  • Read More on JEDI

    Critical to Berwick’s success is the School’s work around justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (JEDI). Building on the work of the previous strategic plan, which focused on increasing cultural competency at Berwick, this essential goal of the new plan will incorporate inclusive programming into all three divisions. When evaluating JEDI, the School will look at how that translates in terms of faculty and staff hires, who sits on the Board of Trustees, and what it means in general to be a community that values diversity and inclusivity.

    “We’ll be thinking about where we want our fourth graders to be in this,” Hamilton says. “Where do we want our eighth graders to be? And then, ultimately, have we given kids the tools they need when we send them off into the world?"

Auxiliary Programs

Auxiliary programs will provide Berwick and the greater Seacoast community opportunities to engage in innovative after-school and summer experiences. This additional programming will provide families with services to enhance the Berwick student experience and increase local visibility. Auxiliary programming will also create access to campus facilities and generate additional revenue sources to bolster financial sustainability.

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  • Read More on Auxiliary Programs

    To limit the draw on endowment and augmented tuition, the School must seek alternate sources of income in the form of auxiliary programs. This includes offering after-school or summer programs for both Berwick and community children and making school facilities more available for rental. Offering “one-stop shopping” for current Berwick families—music lessons or dance classes, for example—would benefit families and also generate additional income for the School. 

    “It has a secondary impact of bringing lots of kids to campus, whether that’s in the afternoons or in the summertime,” Hamilton says, “which we hope also impacts enrollment, which is critical to our success.”

Strategic Partnerships

Berwick will create and foster strategic partnerships that will provide opportunities to enhance the student and faculty experience. These partnerships will provide students with job shadowing, increased mentoring for Innovation Pursuits, and off campus trips to augment their classroom experiences.

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  • Read More on Strategic Partnerships

    The development of strategic partnerships is a goal that will carry over into many areas of school life. Among the initiatives is for Berwick to create an internship program that facilitates opportunities for students in a variety of industries on the Seacoast. This could mean providing practical experiences for students within the fields of medicine, law, engineering, and sustainability, among many other areas. Relationships with strategic partners will help make these job shadow opportunities happen and Berwick hopes to form alliances with other schools, the University of New Hampshire in particular.

    “We think a lot about UNH and other universities,” Hamilton says. “How do we create opportunities for our students to access all of the great things UNH has to offer? In turn, how do we entice more UNH faculty and staff to send their kids to Berwick? We are thinking about strategic partnerships with institutions of higher learning and potentially partnerships with other independent schools. Could someone teach Mandarin at multiple schools, for example? Could we share food service or custodial services? It will be important to be as efficient as possible going forward.”


Berwick will build a culture of environmental sustainability that empowers community members to be stewards of the natural world. This initiative will be pursued through education, partnerships, action, and self-assessment.

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  • Read More on Sustainability

    The School is steadfast in its desire to grow its commitment to the environment. In addition to recently hiring Sarah Jeanne Shimer as Berwick’s first Sustainability Coordinator, environmental stewardship will find its way into the classroom across all three divisions. Younger students will learn about what it means to be aware of their natural surroundings early in their Berwick careers through a planned outdoor education program.

    “We think a lot about our responsibility as an institution and how sustainability comes into our decision-making process,” Hamilton says. “We want to create a culture of environmental sustainability, which empowers community members to be stewards of the environment.”

Financial Durability

Berwick will secure its financial future through a $15 million capital campaign — a transformational investment in the School — and other fiduciary efforts that will provide financial durability and flexibility to support talented students and faculty for generations to come.

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  • Read More on Financial Durability

    A significant part of enhancing financial sustainability at Berwick is a $15 million capital campaign with a mission of “securing a financial future.” Growing the endowment is a top priority of the campaign, billed as a “transformational investment for our school” that comes with the “flexibility to thrive.” 

    “[The plan] is to be intentional, to understand the big levers that we have financially, and how we either control them or employ them,” Hamilton says. “I think about the cost of tuition, I think about the cost of health insurance and faculty salaries, making sure we’re being thoughtful in our spending and appropriately conservative in how we live our life financially.” 

Aspirational Leadership for the Future

Head of School Jim Hamilton is optimistic about the plan and its six strategic goals, though he is also working with the Board and others to make sure the goals remain incremental and achievable over the next three to five years. Referring to his leadership style as “aspirational,” Hamilton is hopeful that the School will be able to check off tangible items on its wish list, including construction of an outdoor education space, a new turf field, and an expansion of The Commons. 

He often uses the words “flexibility and durability” when describing how he envisions not only the plan, but Berwick itself in the years to come. Ultimately, Hamilton strives to build and expand on the many strengths of School. 

“I look at this time as a bolstering period, as a confidence-building period,” Hamilton says. “To me, waking up around 2026, with a successful campaign, with a successful strategic plan, I just think that our ability to make choices will be much higher than it is today. Ultimately, my goal is to have the work we do in the next few years not only benefit our current students and faculty, but secure Berwick’s future for years to come.”

Berwick Academy

Berwick Academy, situated on an 80-acre campus just over one hour north of Boston, serves 550 students, Pre-Kindergarten through Grade 12 and Post-Graduates. Berwick students are from Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and several countries. 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.