Engage, Discover, Share

We combine challenging core academics with hands-on activities that engage students in interdisciplinary learning. We also believe deeply that social emotional learning goes hand in hand with academic readiness. Our curriculum is made even deeper and richer through our nine outstanding specialist classes. Additionally, every Bertschi student benefits from our Learning Services team, which helps each student reach their potential and address areas of challenge.

Comprehensive Academics

At the heart of Bertschi School’s rigorous academic curriculum are math, reading, writing, and social studies. Students move through scaffolded instruction and practice that meets their “just right” level. This may look like instruction in and exploration of new material, independent or collaborative practice and problem solving, or application of the learning to real life situations and independent projects. Small, flexible groupings made possible by our low student-to teacher ratio are used to differentiate instruction to respond to the ever changing needs of each student. Our graduates know how to learn both as independent thinkers and as part of a collaborative team.

Academics at Bertschi are also interdisciplinary and rooted in real-life experiences. Topics explored in math, reading, and social studies are infused with cross-curricular connections to our specialist classes in art, P.E., language study, drama, music, science, and technology. Bertschi believes that children thrive when they are given opportunities to see themselves reflected in the literature they read, the projects they create, and the problems they solve. They increase their capacity for empathy and collaboration when they are offered a diversity of perspectives and ideas. This belief informs the curriculum across all content areas. As equity-focused educators, we focus not just on exposing students to multiple perspectives but also raising students’ awareness of their role as change-makers. Moving from compassion to action happens on the playground, in classroom projects, and in spontaneous teachable moments. Bertschi students learn that their voices matter and that their actions can make a difference.

Social Emotional Learning

Bertschi School believes that the foundation of academic readiness includes a strong sense of self and safety within a community. Our curriculum includes a detailed scope and sequence for each grade level, reaching across the four competencies of social emotional learning: self-awareness, self-management, relationship skills, and decision-making. Our teachers are trained in a variety of strategies that are specific to the social emotional needs of each child and each grade level. In 2018, Bertschi School became an Institute for Social Emotional Learning (IFSEL) school, engaging in a year of work with the Institute to strengthen practices and curriculum.

Specialist Classes

Academics at Bertschi are interdisciplinary and rooted in real-life experiences. Topics explored in math, reading, writing, and social studies are infused with cross-curricular connections to our nine specialist classes.

Specialists collaborate with classroom teachers to deepen learning and provide multiple perspectives.

Each specialist class is led by expert faculty in their own teaching space. Specialist classes offered at Bertschi:

  • Art
  • Creative movement
  • Drama
  • Library
  • Music
  • P.E.
  • Science
  • Spanish
  • Technology & robotics

Each class, pre-K through 5th, performs a full-scale drama production each year.

Science and technology classes take place in the first certified “Living Building” in Washington State.

Environmental Stewardship

Our campus is at the center of our commitment to sustainability, with a LEED Gold-certified building and the first certified “Living Building” in Washington State. These buildings were designed to serve as exemplars and teaching tools so that children will discover principles, strategies, and technologies that prepare and empower them to create a more positive and sustainable future. Our curriculum is full of interdisciplinary through-lines that delve into the ways that we can be stewards of our environment, taking action to care for the global world we live in.

Curriculum Highlights:

Pre-kindergarten students explore their wonderings and ideas during studio time by constructing, creating, and experimenting with a variety of materials and tools.

Kindergarten students practice developing writing skills and proper letter formation in meaningful ways such as notes to their third-grade buddies or a card for a neighbor.

First graders read “just right” books, try writing in persuasive, narrative, and informative styles, and are introduced to robotics and coding using LEGO® Education WeDo 1.0 materials.

Second graders explore the biodiversity and ecosystems of the local temperate forests of the Pacific Northwest and engage in a farm to table market study.

Third graders do a complete recycling, food waste, and trash study—including an audit of the school—and dive into Seattle history and local community service projects.

Fourth graders learn about the history of the disability rights movement in the US, study five major religions, and examine the local economic impact of salmon.

Fifth graders work cooperatively to play the World Peace Game, a hands-on political simulation that explores economic, social, and environmental crises in a global context.