K-8 EXCELLENCE SINCE 1973
2027 7th Street, Berkeley, CA 94710 (map) • 510‑845‑0876

Message from Our Head of School

Our world needs places like Black Pine Circle School.

John Carlstroem

We are living in a remarkably dynamic era. On a good day, we can see ourselves heading into a new and brighter future filled with hope, cooperation, ingenuity, and innovation. On other days, the headlines portray this time we live in as a time where ignorance, fear, cynicism, and polarizing views of humanity dominate. One thing is clear: we need a global citizenry, able to navigate uncertainty—to think, dream, reason, solve, lead, and work diligently toward that better future.

More than ever we need places like Black Pine Circle School, where creativity, kindness, entrepreneurial spirit, and achievement combine to equip and empower young people to make the most of today, and break trail for tomorrow. If you are looking for a reason to be optimistic, just look around at our caring and engaged BPC community.

Community of Lifelong Learners

We are increasingly unique in holding true to our noble vision of a community of passionate, lifelong learners, not merely a lab for preparing young people for years of “schooling.” Each day, as I greet students and families, visit classrooms, and partner with our team of teachers and administrators, I realize how essential a school like BPC is. Everyone needs a place to be challenged, where they are encouraged to be the best version of themselves—a safe place to learn how to experiment, strive, fail, reflect, and ultimately succeed. BPC is a place to practice that most vital of all survival skills—critical thinking.

United by Common Ideals

A school like BPC does not happen by accident. We are a partnership of students, families, alumni, faculty, and staff united around common ideals. We are grateful to the many who give selflessly of their time and treasure to make our school exceptional. We are a diverse group, traveling to school each day from 35 different zip codes. Among us we count scientists, dancers, engineers, lawyers, doctors, firefighters, entrepreneurs, and tradespeople. I know for a fact we even have a priestess and a professional comedian in our parent body. How about that?

Strong Financial Position

Black Pine Circle School has never been more financially stable in its 45-year history than it is today. And we have never sacrificed our founding principles to achieve this. Through the years, we have grown thoughtfully, but we have never lost sight of what we are doing and why we are doing it. This is the BPC way. Our core strengths of Socratic teaching, differentiation, teacher/student ratios, music, arts, math, science, and humanities are only getting stronger. It’s fun to imagine what our school will be like 45 years from now! The sky is, indeed, the limit.

Our school is in great shape inside and out. And I am profoundly grateful to everyone who has played a part in making it so. Our collective commitment to creating a unique learning environment, in partnership with our families, has allowed Black Pine Circle School to thrive. The future looks bright.

Sincerely,
John Carlstroem
Head of School

circle of kids after rain