Each September, the entire BART community climbs Mount Greylock, both for the fun of it and to emphasize that we can achieve big things together. We enjoy apple cider donuts from Jaesche’s, have a big lunch, and share roll calls that each Advisory devises for the occasion.
College Bells and College Acceptance Wall
Each time a 12th grader receives news that they have been accepted to a college, they ring a special bell over our intercom and the entire school cheers for them. Next, they place a piece of original art up on our “College Acceptance Wall” representing the school they’ve been admitted to so that everyone can see their good news.
In each grade level at BART, a small group of students meets with a faculty advisor twice weekly. These advisories are meant to serve as small “families” within the larger school community. They form group cultures, climb together on Mountain Day, and engage in activities designed to help them get to know each other more deeply. All advisories use Restorative Practices circles as a way to build relationships.
Student-Led Conferences and Portfolios
In place of parent-teacher conferences, we prepare our students to lead twice-annual Student-Led Conferences at which they share their work, reflect on challenges, successes, and key learning takeaways from the year so far, and take questions from family and advisors.
In the spring of the 8th, 11th, and 12th-grade years, students undertake a much bigger, more formal, and more powerful version of this work that we call our Gateway Portfolio.
Twice a year, our Student Councils host Spirit Weeks in which everyone in the building is invited to dress in themed ways, such as “Twin Day”, “Superhero Day”, and “Red Carpet Day”.
Twice each year, in the fall and the spring, our music teacher, Mr. Bergin and a group of upperclassmen work together to host a schoolwide talent show. Students share work ranging from dance to solo vocals to rock bands to stand up comedy with a hugely enthusiastic audience.
Arts & Tech Showcase
Twice each year, students display their best work created in electives and enrichments for the full BART community to see. Arts & Tech teachers identify the best in show work and award ribbons for these works.
In the last week of school each year, the whole school spends the day at Windsor Lake in North Adams, canoeing, hiking, swimming, and competing in our legendary schoolwide volleyball tournament. The volleyball tournament is so popular that it isn’t unusual for us to see alumni show up at the field hoping to compete.
Waving Away Buses
On the very last day of school each year, all faculty and staff gather around the exit to our bus loop to cheer and wave at buses as they depart to bring our students off into their summers.
First Semester Celebration Lunch
Each December, before going on winter break, we invite back the previous year’s graduates for a pizza lunch with teachers to reflect on and celebrate the completion of their first semester of college. Our alumni are excited to see one another (some have just returned from campus hours before this event!), catch up with teachers, and share stories of their college journey thus far.
Special Grade-Level Traditions
At BART, all grade levels cultivate and maintain traditions that are special to them. Below are some of the biggest traditions that we’d like to share:
A few days before graduation, as part of our Senior Week activities, the entire senior class, with the supervision and support of many of the staff who have worked the most closely with them, holds a sleepover in the school. This fun and sweet tradition features whole group games, movie marathons, a Nerf gun battle (with teachers!), a nostalgic storytelling tour through middle school classrooms, and s’mores around a campfire.
Overnight College Trips
Some of the students’ favorite memories by the time they graduate BART come from two key experiences that are primarily designed to bring students to college campuses farther from home but end up becoming so much more than that.
In the 10th grade, all students visit New York City for 3 days. While there, they visit multiple college campuses; learn new travel skills; try lots of new foods; see sights such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Brooklyn Bridge, and Times Square; and bond deeply with one another--as well as with teachers!
In the 11th grade, all students travel to Boston for 2 days to visit colleges. As with the NYC trip, we pack in a lot of bonus experiences, like touring the State House, exploring Harvard Square, and enjoying the many delicious foods available in Quincy Market.
8th-Grade “Move Up” Activities
As students prepare to transition from our middle to our high school, we celebrate their accomplishments and this rite of passage in some key ways, including an 8th grade banquet; a semi-formal dance; and our 8th Grade Move-Up Ceremony, a special graduation-style event held on the last day of school.