When I arrived at Berwick’s campus in the summer of 2016, I wandered around the campus to explore my surroundings. Along the way, I stumbled into the Fogg Memorial Library, where 227 years of Berwick Academy’s history were captured in time – framed photographs of previous heads, memorabilia, and past written publications including the School’s founding mission: “Promoting virtue and useful knowledge among the rising generations.” I stood transfixed by those words. So simple. So thoughtful. So timeless. So interconnected. So inclusive. So forward-thinking.
Every day, I witness firsthand how Berwick’s mission of “promoting useful knowledge” guides our academic decision-making whenever considering programmatic changes at Berwick, requiring all of us to ask the following: Why are we doing this? How might this change support our mission, our students, and our School? The mission also connects directly with the Middle School’s integrated learning approaches to education, especially our project-based learning approach. In our efforts to encourage students to discern, question, and examine useful knowledge in their everyday lives, we’ve used project-based learning as the vehicle to deliver transformative learning experiences that 1) Support our vision of student-centered learning, 2) Punctuate a student’s academic and social-emotional journey through the Middle School, 3) Empower them to be change agents for their community and world, and 4) Cultivate perspective-taking and empathy. Our School’s mission of “promoting virtue,” requires all of us – administration, faculty, and students – to be empathetic, courageous, and active citizens, to challenge the status-quo, refrain from judgment, build connections, and, above else, be the best version of ourselves. Our Middle School sees the value in practicing these virtuous tenets in all aspects of School life, whether in advisories or on the playing field, but we also recognize that they represent our School and it’s mission, even when others aren’t watching.
Finally, our mission has served as a rudder navigating us through the ever-changing landscape of the Berwick community. Throughout its history, Berwick has remained at the forefront of innovative education in the Seacoast area, and around the country. Even today, our mission continues to emphasize the importance of developing student-centered experiences, encouraging civil discourse, creating an inclusive community, and developing lifelong learners.
Berwick is well-positioned for the future, and armed with its mission, our School will continue to adapt and evolve successfully for years to come.