Updates about The Future is Here

Find the latest news and information about the R+D Center project and The Future is Here Campaign below

R+D Center Opening Celebration

September 26, 2017

More than 450 parents and community members joined us at the Opening Celebration of the Research + Design Center on September 26. Visitors took self-guided tours of the Research, Design, and Classroom levels using our new BVR Tours app. Faculty and students were also stationed at various hotspots throughout the center to provide more in-depth explanations of the “why” and the “how”of the space.

Additional event highlights include:

  • Keynote speakers Andrew Kim and Frank Graziano – lead education researchers from Steelcase – who spoke about the future of work and learning, and the about thoughtful design of the R+D Center.
  • Students talking about the current projects they’re working on and their plans for the future of the space.
  • Peter Hutton, Head of School, and Tomas Bergstrand, President of the Board, sharing the background of the project and celebrating the many groups who have had a hand in its success.
  • Randi Cutler, Co-Chair of the Future is Here Campaign, highlighting the tremendous philanthropic support raised to-date for the R+D Center, and expressing gratitude for the continued momentum. $3.5M to go!

After the program and reception, parents attended cocktail parties sponsored by the Parent Association.  

Thank you to everyone who attended! It was a great way to kick off the school year and celebrate this amazing accomplishment.

Pictures from the celebration:

The R+D Center opens for the first day of school!

September 5, 2017

After a summer filled with construction and planning, the Research + Design Center officially opened today – just in time for the first day of school! After celebratory ribbon cuttings for both the Middle and Upper schools, students explored the new space and made themselves right at home. Watch all the excitement in the video below:

We can’t wait to see the innovate ways students use the R+D Center. It’s going to be a great year!

The “Who” + “How” of the R+D Center

June 30, 2017

At Beaver, we’re committed to hiring, developing, and retaining teachers who are genuinely excited about what the future holds for our students and whose skill-sets go beyond knowledge of a single subject matter. They are open to change, practice innovation, and empower students to be both learners AND teachers. The team we’ve assembled to lead the R+D Center reflects this commitment: The individuals listed below all have a wealth of experience with technology as well as backgrounds in both creative and entrepreneurial fields. They’re experienced thinkers, makers, and collaborators – and we can’t wait to work with them in this new space!

WHO makes up the R+D Center team?

Meet the team:

    Joined Beaver in 2013
    Roles at Beaver: Innovator in Residence, Robotics Coach
    Education: MIT, PhD in Electrical Engineering & Computer Science; University of Adelaide in South Australia, BS in Organic Chemistry, Computer Science
    Former roles: Systems Engineer, Electrical Engineer, TV Producer, and Company Founder
    Joined Beaver in 2015
    Roles at Beaver: US Math teacher, MS Girls Code Club Leader, Robotics +Engineering at Beaver
    Education: Harvard University, Ed. M in Mind Brain and Education; Asbury University, MAT in Secondary Mathematics; University of Illinois, BS in Mechanical Engineering
    Former Roles: Manufacturing Engineer, Productivity + Process Improvement
    Joining Beaver in August 2017
    Roles at Beaver: Director of Research and Information Services, 6th Grade Advisor
    Education: Barnard College, Columbia University, BA in English/Creative Writing; Middlebury College, MA in English (in progress)
    Former Roles: Director of Flagler Library, Director of Writing Lab, MS English and History Teacher. Project Manager for Indie Press.
    Joined Beaver in 1998
    Roles at Beaver: Math Department Head, Upper School Math, Upper School English, & NuVu Coordinator
    Education: Emerson College, MFA in Creative Writing; Wesleyan University, BA in Mathematics
    Former Roles: Published Poet, Entrepreneur
    Joining Beaver in July 2017
    Roles at Beaver: Chief Technology Officer
    Education: Brandeis University, MFA in Design; SUNY New Paltz, BFA in Design; Apple Distinguished Educator 2011; Google Certified Teacher 2012
    Previous roles: Strategic Technology Director at Concord Academy and has held technology roles at The Winsor School and Noble & Greenough School. Set Designer, Scenic Artist, Props Artisan.

HOW are we planning to use the R+D Center?

The R+D Center provides many spaces and opportunities for students and teachers to work together in new ways.

How? Well …

  • Let’s start at the top. At the top of the building, that is. We give this space a “10” … as in ten new academic classrooms on the new third floor. Each room has Beaver’s signature flexible furniture and writable surfaces as well as huge windows that let in plenty of natural light. These classrooms are flanked by two open student work areas. There will be a mix of Upper School classes on this floor – switching each term – which means you might walk down the hall and see a science class, an English class and a math class all in a row. Classes currently on tap for this space include Game Design, Paradigm Shifts, and Senior Colloquium.
  • Do you remember our old Library (aka the Bibliotech)? Except for the ceiling and the steel framing from the ’60s, you likely won’t recognize it when you come in September. As a school known for being on the leading edge of education, we recognize the importance of our physical space supporting and enhancing our pedagogical philosophy. Our library needed to shift away from being simply a warehouse of books with static information to an active center focused on providing pathways to high-quality information from myriad sources – print, digital, and human.
  • Check out the Materials Library. Wait … what’s that? Located on the Design Level, the Materials Library is a collection of exactly that: Materials. From cardboard to fabric to plastic to wood, this is a space – built up over time – for students and faculty across all departments to rethink traditional materials and their purposes.
  • Say goodbye to recording those iMovies and podcasts in your closet. And say hello to audio and video recording studios with professional acoustics! These studios are on the Design Level and available to all students and faculty. Also coming in the 2017-18 school year: an Upper School podcasting class!
  • There is a place to go “make” stuff.  The Design Workshop features a laser cutter, 3D printer, wide-format printer, and the technological resources to power them. Looking to go more analog? Head over to the sewing machines or the band, table, and mitre saws. Don’t know how to use them? No problem. We’ll train you!
  • Look out the windows. If you look down, you’ll find a new and accessible courtyard for students. Look across, and you’ll see the big windows of the new, open Art Gallery on the first floor and a renovated Faculty and Staff workroom on the second floor. Not to mention, the exterior is now covered in a beautiful facade made of uniform wood material (goodbye, stucco!).

And while doors to the R+D Center don’t open until September, our innovative teachers and students have already started to take advantage of the space during construction.

For example – to further their understanding of linear relationships – students in 7th grade math used our architect’s blueprints for the R+D Bridge, a ramp that will run from Beaver’s main entryway to the R+D Center. Using tables, graphs, linear equations, and 3D models, students constructed the Bridge to meet three separate ADA Accessibility Guidelines for length, height, and slope. “It was exciting to see students wrestle with the mathematical constraints put forth by the ADA guidelines while expressing empathy around why the guidelines exist,” said Tim O’Brien, Middle School math teacher.

And there’s much more innovation to come this year so stay tuned!

Two firsts for Beaver

May 5, 2017

We believe in the model of education that is happening at Beaver and are pleased to support teachers and students who are so passionate about learning. – Tracey and Bruce Berkowitz ’76

Eighteen months ago, Miami resident Bruce Berkowitz ’76 and his wife, Tracey, made a gift of $2.5 million through The Fairholme Foundation to help us launch our effort in funding a Research + Design Center at Beaver. They were the first to invest in the ideas behind the R+D Center, and since that time, have remained involved in life at Beaver. Bruce has come back to work with students in the entrepreneurship class and he has participated in a thought-leadership luncheon with faculty and administrators, sharing his invaluable insight and experience with our community.

We were overwhelmed by Bruce’s powerful story of how Beaver shaped his life. He grew up in Chelsea, and to help his family financially, he spent his mornings on his paper route and his afternoons working at Revere Beach. When he was accepted to Beaver, he was encouraged to attend by a local mentor from Chelsea, even though it meant he would spend an hour each way – on public transportation and on foot – to get here. (Bruce and Tracey tell us their kids still roll their eyes when they hear that story!) Bruce credits Beaver with opening up his mind to new opportunities and perspectives, and he says it helped inspire him to think bigger. After high school, Bruce graduated from UMass Amherst in 1980 and went on to work at Merrill Lynch and Lehman Brothers Holdings before becoming a managing director of Smith Barney. In 1997, he went out on his own and founded Fairholme Capital Management, which is based in Miami, Fla. Bruce is featured regularly in Forbes, US News & World Report, and other media outlets for his unique investing philosophies, which include: “be yourself”, “ignore the crowd”, “do what you like”, and “be what you want to be.” This is right in line with what Beaver stands for: We take pride in being described as an outlier in education, we bet on our best ideas, and we are doing what we feel is right to change education for our students.

Bruce and Tracey are incredibly involved in giving back. Their passions include the arts, sciences, medicine, entrepreneurship, and education. They are hands-on philanthropists and have launched many projects in their home city of Miami. Their foundation – The Fairholme Foundation – describes its investment in supporting schools as wanting to “help institutions circumvent longstanding roadblocks to educational success.” The Foundation also partners with Warren Buffett in supporting The Secret Millionaires Club “Grow Your Own Business Challenge” – a program and competition created to encourage kids to be entrepreneurial and practice good financial habits. In addition, The Foundation has sponsored The Women of Tomorrow Mentor & Scholarship Program, The Launch Pad at the University of Miami, and Breakthrough Miami.

The impact Bruce and Tracey are making is generous, rewarding, and a wonderful example of the mark we want Beaver to make on our alumni– and that we want our alumni to make on the world. It should come as no surprise Bruce was named Beaver’s 2016 Distinguished Alumni Award. Upon receiving the award at Reunion last spring, Bruce shared that one of the welcome gifts Peter Hutton gave him earlier that day was a copy of his transcript from December 1974, which Bruce quoted to the audience: “We want [Bruce] to succeed, and we will help support him. He deserves every opportunity to learn now, and to make Beaver work for him.”

You can imagine, then, how grateful we are that through the Fairholme Foundation, the Berkowitz family has recently added $600,000 in scholarship support, which will fund two students from his hometown of Chelsea for the next six years at Beaver. This additional commitment, which is named in memory of Bruce’s mentor Joel Uchenick, is the first scholarship gift of its kind to Beaver.

We are thrilled that Bruce and Tracey are making such a tremendous impact!

Beaver launches largest campaign in school’s history

November 16, 2016

More than 300 parents, alumni, faculty, and community members gathered to celebrate the launch of The Future is Here  Beaver’s largest comprehensive campaign to date.

At the “Genius Unleashed” event, attendees were able to move among “stations” in the gym – a Student station, a Faculty station, and a Campus station.  These areas provided a glimpse of what’s happening now on-campus as well as a sneak peek into the R+D Center.

The evening programming also included:

  • Three students interviewing Head of School Peter Hutton – asking questions on everything from “what’s your favorite part about coming to school every day?” to “where do you get your suits?” to “do you have a favorite cat?”;
  • The premiere of the Genius Unleashed video (which you can watch a shorter version of here);
  • Randi Cutler P’18 – Campaign co-chair – announcing the $25 million Campaign and revealing how much had been raised to-date ($13.5 million at the time; click here to see where we currently stand.)

We were fortunate to have many of the desserts for the event donated by the members of the Beaver community – Blackbird Donuts, JP Licks mini ice-cream cones, and Panera baked goods.

Thank you to everyone who helped make this event a huge success!

Snapshots from the evening: