Admissions

Join Our Community

Thank you for your interest in Black Pine Circle School. We look forward to introducing you to our community. Our goal is to partner with your family and provide support throughout the admissions process.

While the best way to learn more about our school is to visit us in person, with social distancing precautions in effect, you can start your tour with the interactive campus map and find helpful information throughout our website.

Please also take a moment to fill out our inquiry form so you can learn more about Black Pine Circle. Our admissions events have been reimagined; we will invite you to sign up for one of our virtual events so we can share the Black Pine Circle experience and get to know your family.

If you have any questions about the admissions process, please feel free to get in touch with us. We look forward to getting to know you and your child.

Warmly,
Greta B. Wong & Lydia Chow

admissions@blackpinecircle.org
510-529-2719

Visit Black Pine Circle School

Please click the link below to sign up for one or more virtual visits. Feel free to explore our website and fill out an inquiry form to receive more information.

Interactive Campus Map

Touch/click map areas to learn about our campus where every day our teachers weave together arts, academics, and social & emotional learning.

Campus Map with Map Key Letters
(A) Athena Building (B) The Q Lab: A Space for Science & Inquiry (C) Upper School Yard (D) Facility for Arts & Drama (FAD) (E) Upper School Art Studio (F) Climbing Wall (G) Garden & Outdoor Cafeteria (H) Addison Administration Building (I) Athletic Field (J) Music Studio & Performing Space (K) Kindergarten & First Grade Classrooms (L) Lower School Art Studio (M) Second & Third Grade Classrooms (N) Lower School Yard (O) The Oasis (P) Library Deck (Q) Lower School Garden (R) Fourth & Fifth Grade Classrooms (S) Library (T) Play Structure Map Key

(A) Athena Building

athena building

Houses English, Math, History, and Spanish classrooms, the upper school office, and social spaces.

Through regular inquiry, our students develop deep understanding and exceptional critical-thinking skills. Through differentiation, we are able to understand the strengths and challenges of each student, discerning where and how they can grow both academically and emotionally. Through this partnership, students feel safe taking risks and practicing intellectual generosity.

(B) The Q Lab: A Space for Science & Inquiry

Features include a fully-equipped maker space on the first floor and a traditional life sciences classroom on the second floor.

Our teachers create classroom environments where questions and strategies for understanding outweigh facts and answers. We cultivate our students’ natural curiosity, encouraging them to make careful observations, to ask thoughtful questions, and to make connections in their world. Students leverage their own developmental maturation with an intellectual and emotional growth that comes from being part of a safe, caring, and intelligent community of learners.

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(C) Upper School Yard

Used for physical education classes and at recess for all manner of games including basketball, volleyball, and tetherball.

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(D) Facility for Arts & Drama (FAD)

The FAD

Both a classroom for drama and music and a rehearsal and performance space for the BPC bands and orchestra. Student Town Hall meetings and Parent Education Events are also held here. We provide opportunities for students to discover and explore their own creative strengths through following a variety of paths of self-expression.

Our exceptional arts program is just one way that our students learn confidence, collaboration, and communication skills. By graduation, they have developed individual passions and have learned how to share that love with their communities. Students pursue mastery in the arts, in math, in our award-winning maker program, and in countless other areas that prepare them to enter high school with academic confidence and intellectual enthusiasm.

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(E) Upper School Art Studio

Light-filled studio for 6-8 grade art classes. Our program is designed to create a safe space in which students are encouraged to explore, create, and experiment while learning how to communicate and collaborate effectively.

There are many opportunities for self-expression. Our exceptional arts program is just one of the many paths our students follow to discover and explore their own creative strengths.

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(F) Climbing Wall

climbing wall

Used during physical education classes by all grades.

(G) Garden & Outdoor Cafeteria

garden and outdoor cafeteria

A range of multi-use spaces for recess, hot lunch, classes held outdoors, tending the chicken coop, and playing foosball.

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(H) Addison Administration Building

Home to Black Pine Circle’s administrative team and head of school, this space allows our staff to collaborate while working in partnership with our families. Our experienced group of administrators share a commitment to BPC’s mission and core values of curiosity, community, inquiry, and voice.

(I) Athletic Field

Addison field

Used by all grades, K-8, for physical education classes and at recess for soccer and dodgeball games.

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(J) Music Studio & Performing Space

A multi-purpose room where Performances of Understanding come to life, K-3 music fills the air, and our K-5 community comes together for Monday’s Community Gathering.

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(K) Kindergarten & First Grade Classrooms

Enrolling in a K–8 school provides wonderful opportunities for students to expand their sense of family and feel connected to a variety of students of different ages, ethnicities, cultures, family structures, and personalities. In the Black Pine Circle School community, students learn to engage with diverse viewpoints from a place of humility and self-reflection. Cultivating empathy and active listening supports academic as well as social and emotional growth.

All facets of school life reflect our understanding that we are one interconnected family, and we succeed together. In a community that sees and values each individual, students build connections that last a lifetime. Academic excellence comes naturally to students who feel a sense of belonging in a joyful, safe, and engaging learning community.

(L) Lower School Art Studio

Painting, sculpting, and creating take place in this beautifully lit studio for K-5 art classes. Our program is designed to create a safe space in which students are encouraged to explore, create, and experiment while learning how to communicate and collaborate effectively.

There are many opportunities for self-expression. Our exceptional arts program is just one of the many paths our students follow to discover and explore their own creative strengths.

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(M) Second & Third Grade Classrooms

We nurture innate curiosity: Our most essential duty as educators is to protect, nurture, and inspire the curiosity that is inherent in young children. We do this by encouraging them to make careful observations, to ask thoughtful questions, and to make connections to their world.

Differentiated learning and Responsive Classroom practices are elements of this environment where a child’s natural drive to ask more and better questions is refined with the guidance of expert teachers who support and enhance each student’s sense of wonder. Curiosity and the willingness to try, fail,   and learn from mistakes is viewed as an essential starting point for learning. 

(N) Lower School Yard

LS Yard 2

Used for physical education classes and at recess for all manner of games including basketball, four square, kickball, and soccer. Lunch is eaten outside on picnic tables (weather permitting).

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(O) The Oasis

lower school oasis

Includes a sandbox, turf area, and outdoor activity tables for kindergarten & 1st grade students. The Oasis is enjoyed by all of the lower school students.

(P) Library Deck

A sunny spot where children in aftercare eat their snack under market umbrellas.

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(Q) Lower School Garden

Where students have lower school garden class and grow fruits and vegetables.

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(R) Fourth & Fifth Grade Classrooms

What is Socratic Learning? As students analyze works together—such as books, paintings, songs, historical artifacts, or mathematical formulae—they improve their close reading, critical thinking, and oral communication skills. Because they are in a conversation, they practice civility and listen to diverse points of view. Even the kindergarten class engages in a way that acknowledges the richness of questions instead of quickly answering them.

As a facilitator and co-learner, teachers model genuine curiosity, ask clarifying questions, keep the discussion focused on the text, and ensure that all students have the opportunity to participate. A learning environment like this, in which scholarly conversation is central to the culture, nurtures both the intellectual as well as the social and emotional life of the child.

(S) Library

Library 2

Multi-purpose room with 6,000 volumes used for library lessons, author visits, Spanish classes, strings lessons, and Extended Daycare. Evening meetings and events are held here too.

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(T) Play Structure

A popular spot at recess and also where many parents linger after dismissal.

Map Key

UPPER SCHOOL
(A) Athena Building
(B) Q-Lab: A Space for
Science & Inquiry
(C) Yard
(D) Facility for Arts
& Drama (FAD)
(E) Art Studio
(G) Garden & Cafeteria

ALL
(F) Climbing Wall
(H) Addison Administration
Building
(I) Athletic Field
(P) Library Deck
(S) Library

LOWER SCHOOL
(J) Music Studio &
 Performing Space
(K) Classrooms
 - Grades K & 1
(L) Art Studio
(M) Classrooms
- Grades 2 & 3
(N) School Yard
(O) Oasis
(Q) Garden
(R) Classrooms
- Grades 4 & 5
(T) Play Structure

Admissions Timeline

APPLY
by January 22

All Applications are due no later than Friday, January 22, 2021. Use the Application Checklist for your grade (below) to help you organize your application process.

Transcripts and recommendations are due no later than Friday, February 26, 2021.

After you submit your application, you will be contacted by admissions to schedule a student visit in January-February.

DECISION
by March 18

Decision letters will be emailed, and a separate email with enrollment agreements and financial assistance awards will be sent, on Thursday, March 18, 2021 at 12:00 pm.

We mail additional information via USPS to accepted students only.

ENROLL
by March 25

Families who choose to enroll must complete and submit the enrollment agreement and tuition deposit no later than 10:00 am on Thursday, March 25, 2021.

You can check your application status in your application portal account.

first graders in circle / high five

Tuition

2020 - 2021 School Year

$27,900 Grades K–5
$32,300 Grades 6–8

Sibling Discount

Families with more than one child attending Black Pine Circle School receive a 5% discount on the total tuition for the younger sibling.

Tuition Payment Plans

Pay annual tuition in full by May 14 (2% discount) - or - nine monthly payments (July-April) with mandatory tuition insurance fee (1% of tuition, invoiced in October)

Financial Assistance

Our admissions decisions remain separate from financial assistance decisions. For current families, financial assistance PFS filing deadline is Wednesday, January 6, 2021. For new families, financial assistance PFS filing deadline is Friday, January 22, 2021.

Need-Based Assistance

We offer need-based financial assistance to families at a variety of income levels. Our financial assistance program annually awards more than $1,200,000.

In past years, awards ranged from 5% to 70% of the annual tuition. Our need-based assistance covers tuition costs. School fees for extracurricular activities, field trips, and extended daycare will be subsidized at approximately the same level as the awarded scholarship.

Assistance Application Requirements

As with many other independent schools in the area, we utilize the service of the School and Student Services (SSS). SSS provides an objective and consistent method of determining a family’s ability to contribute to educational expenses.

All families must complete the application form called the Parents’ Financial Statement (PFS). You can apply online at the SSS website (Black Pine Circle School code is 1710).

For all financial assistance-related questions, please contact Bill Shea, director of finance and operations: (510) 529-2713 or by email.

Application Checklist

Select your the grade in the tabs below:

Kindergarten

Kindergarten Application Checklist


By January 22

or by December 7 for reduced application fee

  • Online Application

  • Minimum Age

    We accept kindergarten applications for children who will be turning five years of age by October 1, 2021.

  • Application Fee

    Submit your application no later than Friday, January 22, 2021 with non-refundable application fee of $95. Submit before Monday, December 7, 2020 (for reduced application fee of $75).

By February 26

  • Recommendation

    One preschool teacher recommendation form.
    Use the online admissions portal to send the request to the teacher (preferred) or download form and submit by mail or email.
    Kindergarten Recommendation Form

    We need to receive the teacher recommendation no later than February 26, 2021 (and ideally before your student visit).

January-February

  • Student Visit (we are in the process of reimagining the visit)

    Visit/assessment sessions occur in a small group format on a Saturday. After you submit your application you will be contacted by admissions to schedule the student visit.

Download Printable Kindergarten Checklist >

Grades 1-5

Grades 1-5 Application Checklist


By January 22

or by December 7 for reduced application fee

  • Online Application

  • Application Fee

    Submit your application no later than Friday, January 22, 2021 with non-refundable application fee of $95. Submit before Monday, December 7, 2020 (for reduced application fee of $75).

By February 26

  • Recommendations

    Two teacher recommendations are required.
    Use the online admissions portal to send requests to the teachers (preferred) or download forms and submit by mail or email.
    Grades 1-8 Recommendation Form

  • Transcripts/Report Cards

    Current school year AND previous two school years.
    Transcript Release Form

    We need to receive all teacher recommendations and report cards/transcripts no later than February 26, 2021 (and ideally before your student visit).

January-February

  • Student Visit (we are in the process of reimagining the visit)

    Student will visit a class of their current grade level for the morning, which includes an individual meeting with the teacher.

Download Printable Grades 1-5 Checklist >

Grade 6

Grade 6 Application Checklist


By January 22

or by December 7 for reduced application fee

  • Online Application

  • Student Questionnaire

    This portion of the application must be completed by the student.

  • Application Fee

    Submit your application no later than Friday, January 22, 2021 with non-refundable application fee of $95. Submit before Monday, December 7, 2020 (for reduced application fee of $75).

By February 26

  • Recommendations

    Two teacher recommendations are required.
    Use the online admissions portal to send requests to the teachers (preferred) or download forms and submit by mail or email.
    Grades 1-8 Recommendation Form

  • Transcripts/Report Cards

    Current school year AND previous two school years.
    Transcript Release Form

    We need to receive all teacher recommendations and report cards/transcripts no later than February 26, 2021 (and ideally before your student visit).

January-February

  • Student Visit (we are in the process of reimagining the visit)

    Visit sessions occur in small group format on Thursday mornings and include a math, reading, and writing assessment. After you submit your application you will be contacted by admissions to schedule the student visit.

Download Printable Grade 6 Checklist >

Grades 7-8

Grades 7 & 8 Application Checklist


By January 22

or by December 7 for reduced application fee

  • Online Application

  • Student Questionnaire

    This portion of the application must be completed by the student.

  • Application Fee

    Submit your application no later than Friday, January 22, 2021 with non-refundable application fee of $95. Submit before Monday, December 7, 2020 (for reduced application fee of $75).

By February 26

  • Recommendations

    Two teacher recommendations are required.
    Use the online admissions portal to send requests to the teachers (preferred) or download forms and submit by mail or email.
    Grades 1-8 Recommendation Form

  • Transcripts/Report Cards

    Current school year AND previous two school years.
    Transcript Release Form

    We need to receive all teacher recommendations and report cards/transcripts no later than February 26, 2021 (and ideally before your student visit).

January-February

  • Student Visit (we are in the process of reimagining the visit)

    Student will visit a class of their current grade level for the morning, and meet with admissions staff for a math and writing assessment after lunch. After you submit your application you will be contacted by admissions to schedule the student visit.

Download Printable Grades 7 & 8 Checklist >

Frequently Asked Questions