News

May 18, 2021

*Updated! Fall 2021: Full-Time In-Person School at Bertschi

Our Plans for the 2021-22 School Year

Below are some key elements of our initial planning for Fall 2021. We are hopeful that by the fall there will be more “normalcy.” But, as we have learned over the past year, we must all remain flexible. Our initial plans rely on the most current local guidance around health and safety for schools, which we will monitor throughout the coming months.

The first day of school will be Wednesday, September 1, 2021.

  • If you have an incoming Pre-k or Kindergarten student, those grades begin the year gradually with open house and/or half days

School Programming 2021-22

Here is what we currently know about the 2021-22 school year:

  • School will be offered five days a week in person.
  • Students will be assigned to full-sized classes with their teacher, without additional cohorting.
  • We will not offer a year-round, full distance learning program. Distance learning will be in effect if a COVID quarantine is indicated. If the Governor’s travel quarantine advisory is still in place, we will offer materials and modified distance learning for those whose travel qualifies only following regularly scheduled school breaks. We will not offer distance learning for families who choose to travel outside regular school breaks.
  • Extended day will be offered daily until 6:00 PM for Pre-K to 5th grade following the safety guidelines present at that time. Full-time, part-time, and drop-in options will be available.
  • We will be present and prepared to meet our students where they are academically, socially, and emotionally.

Throughout the summer, we will continue to monitor CDC and local public health recommendations specifically for schools, including guidance on:

  • Indoor vs. outdoor masking
  • Physical distancing
  • Mixed grade levels activities like buddies and after-school clubs
  • Parents and caregivers on campus or in classrooms
  • Community gatherings and events, both indoor and outdoor
  • Vaccination availability for children under 12
  • Federal and state review of required vaccination

Whatever the fall holds, Bertschi School will continue its commitment to meeting students and families where they are socially, emotionally, and academically. After a summer of renewal and rest for our faculty, we will return in the fall with renewed energy and enthusiasm for a year that will most certainly be less disruptive and unpredictable as the one we are currently experiencing. As our students become comfortable once again with the rhythm of full-time school, we will continue to meet each individual child in their “just right” learning place. Our faculty will work in partnership with families to ensure that every student is making appropriate academic progress. And, we will reconnect with the rituals and routines that are grounded in place and community.


January 21, 2021

Announcing a Head of School Transition & Search

Rafael del Castillo has officially let the Bertschi School community know that this will be his final school year as Head of School at Bertschi. We are grateful to Rafael for his many contributions over the past five years and his impact can be seen and felt throughout the school.

The Board of Trustees has unanimously appointed Teri Barnett as Interim Head of School for the 2021-22 school year. She will provide a deep knowledge of and commitment to Bertschi’s mission, values, and pedagogy and decades of experience and leadership in independent school education. The Board is grateful to her for providing leadership and continuity during the 2021-22 school year.

>>Click here to read personal messages from Rafael, Bernadette, and Teri with more information.

The Board of Trustees will initiate a formal search process for the next permanent Head of School. You can also look for updates on the transition and search process on the Head of School Transition & Search page of our website, which will be updated periodically.



October 07, 2020

Bertschi's School Continuation During the COVID-19 Pandemic

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Bertschi School is taking a data-driven approach to school continuation that preserves our pedagogy, ensures engaged learning experiences, prioritizes the physical and mental health of our community, and is sustainable and responsible.

To learn more about our school continuation planning, click here.


June 01, 2020

A Call for Justice and Humanity and a List of DEI Resources

Dear Bertschi Community,

As I write to you this morning, the right words are not coming to me because of the many feelings that fill my heart and my mind. I know that you join me in deep sorrow, outrage, anger, and perhaps even despondency. We must, yet again, ask why black and brown folks are at risk in our nation. George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor are only the latest victims. America is broken.

Tara Brach says, “We need a deep pause to feel our heartbreak as violence against black people continues daily in the United States. My prayer is that the horror of George Floyd’s murder will crack us open so powerfully that we collectively respond against the racism in and around us."

We can all stand in solidarity with a collective response that is specific and action-oriented. Listed below are steps we can all take in keeping with our school's strategic equity and inclusion goals.

  • Demand that black and brown folks be valued and afforded dignity.
  • Affirm that our nation has benefited from the unacknowledged brilliance and labor of people of color.
  • Double our efforts to recognize and mitigate implicit and unconscious bias. If left unchecked and un-interrogated, these are the very sources of violence against people of color.
  • White folks must take a stand as allies and accomplices, calling out the unjust and systemic violence against people of color in this country.
  • Consider donating to Black Visions Collective or the Minnesota Freedom Fund

And, as always, we can support our kids at Bertschi and beyond–even remotely–to be part of a future that includes these actions as an unremarkable part of everyday life. We are now seeing protests and gatherings across the country, as well as right here in Seattle. This is a response to the pain, both present and historic, that has been inflicted on black people in this country, and many protesters are expressing this outrage in peaceful ways. Advancing equity in meaningful and enduring ways requires all of us to speak out against violence and injustice with one voice.

Our focus at Bertschi will always be our kids. How do we help them make sense of what they hear and see? Some of them are experiencing current events outside their window. Many of our students will participate in (virtual) classroom conversations about what is happening locally and nationally, in developmentally-appropriate ways for each grade level. School leaders will make room to support the adult community. Our school leadership and members of our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee stand ready to help the community navigate these most difficult days, ready to facilitate connections and conversations.

For now, here are a number of resources passed on by our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee leaders.

Social Justice Resources: How to Talk With Your Children About Race

Anti-Racism Resources for Parents

Book Recommendations for Families | Racism and Race

  • Breaking News by Sarah Lynne Reul, Sarah Lynne Reul
  • All the Colors We Are by Katie Kissinger & photographs by Chris Bohnhoff
  • What's the Difference?: Being Different Is Amazing By Doyin Richards
  • I Walk with Vanessa: A Story About a Simple Act of Kindness by Kerascoët
  • Be Kind by Pat Zitlow Miller
  • All of Us by Carin Berger
  • Intersectionalities: We Make Room for All by Chelsea Johnson, Latoya Council, Carolyn Choi
  • The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander
  • Sulwe by Lupita Nyong'o, Vashti Harrison
  • Dictionary for a Better World: Poems, Quotes, and Anecdotes from A to Z by Irene Latham, Charles Waters, Mehrdokht Amini
  • Something Happened in Our Town: A Child's Story About Racial Injustice by Marianne Celano PhD, Marietta Collins PhD &Ann Hazzard PhD (upper grades)
  • Can I Touch Your Hair?: Poems of Race, Mistakes, and Friendship by Irene Latham, Charles Waters, Sean Qualls (upper grades)
  • Woke: A Young Poet's Call to Justice by Mahogany L. Browne, Elizabeth Acevedo, Olivia Gatwood (upper grades)

In solidarity,

Rafael del Castillo | Head of School