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Spring 2015


At this time of year I extend our sincere congratulations to all Bertram candidates. Every young person with whom we work is currently looking forward to some event that is the result of a family’s thoughtful planning and investment in his or her education. I am delighted to report that all our candidates who applied through the primary admission season for secondary school and college are preparing for attendance at schools of their choice in the fall. Many have identified productive plans for the summer months. Still others are just now beginning the journey through the school search process. All have reason to celebrate and contemplate exciting futures.

We look forward to staying in touch with graduating students after they matriculate. It is truly rewarding to see how young people blossom in the right educational environment.

In this issue we feature a guest interview with Cliff Brownstein, executive director of the National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs, to cover trends in this important and growing field.

In addition:

  • Audrey explores the unique cultures found among small boarding schools with enrollments of 200 or fewer students.
  • Deena articulates the significance of summer internships for undergraduate and graduate school candidates.
  • I highlight “preliminary visits” as one strategy for launching a school search.
  • Holly offers perspective on the increasingly high-pressure culture of youth sports.
  • The Bertram News column introduces our newest affiliates, James and Kathryn Meyer, who are transplants from the East Coast now working in Park City, Utah.
  • Jeremy outlines a range of secondary school options for students to develop their knowledge and interests relating to the environment.

As always, we look forward to hearing from you.
Warmly, Cammie Bertram and the Bertram Team

The Right Road

Schools with a student body of 200 or less are a distinct and vibrant subset in the boarding school world. When first hearing of this niche, some parents may initially wonder if the size of enrollment would feel limiting to teens. Instead, many discover that the small scale of this environment translates into big opportunities for students.

The years spent in secondary school are all about helping children develop their personal identities and build an understanding of themselves as... read more

College Bound

Each year as families consider the various options for summer, many inquire about the value of internships on a college applicant’s resume. Of course internships can be a constructive and enjoyable life experience. Their significance to admission officers differs at the undergraduate and graduate levels and depends directly on how meaningful they are to students.

First, let us clarify the difference between an internship and a job. The activities of a job are... read more

Action Steps

A new trend is on the rise. Increasingly families are launching their searches with “preliminary visits” to schools of interest. These interactions consist of a campus tour and a brief introduction to an admissions officer. In fact, admissions offices are increasingly welcoming of such visits because it is a chance for both schools and students to make first impressions during a less busy time of year than the primary visiting season in fall and early winter.

With flowers... read more

From the Quad

Winning is not always the path to success. One of the best places to see this play out is in contemporary youth sports culture, which often prioritizes short-term wins over long-term development.

John O’Sullivan, an experienced coach and prominent speaker on youth sports, founded the Changing the Game Project to highlight this issue. In a blog titled, The Enemy of Excellence in Youth Sports, O’Sullivan outlines the types of decisions made on a daily basis by... read more

The Flip Side

Meet Cliff Brownstein, executive director of the National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs (NATSAP).  This organization was founded in 1999 to serve as a national resource for professionals assisting students in overcoming emotional and behavioral challenges. Cliff joined NATSAP in 2009, bringing a passion for helping young people and a background in association management.

What role does NATSAP play in the field of therapeutic programs?
We bring together the complete continuum of programs serving this specialized group of students. Our members range from boarding schools to wilderness programs, from residential treatment centers to transitional environments. The mission all our members share in common is promoting the healthy... read more

Bertram News

The Bertram Group is excited to announce its newest affiliate relationship, with James and Kathryn Meyer of Park City, Utah. This partnership enhances our ability to serve families throughout the United States, particularly because more than half of the country’s therapeutic programs are located in the western mountain region.

The Meyers specialize in serving young people whose challenges are preventing them from reaching their full potential and are putting their health and well... read more

Sustainable Paths

Opportunities for high school students to study environmental science are growing alongside the frequency with which issues relating to sustainability are featured in the media. Documenting this trend, Education Week reported that of the 30 topics available for AP courses, geography and environmental science are among the fastest growing in recent years. The number of students taking the AP exam in geography, for example, quadrupled between 2006 and 2011.

Curricula and activities to build such knowledge also expand far beyond such classes. Some schools, such as Millbrook School, in New York, have integrated environmental stewardship into their mission statements. Others, such as... read more

Worthwhile Detours

Increasingly, the field of neuroscience is getting more specific at articulating the ways in which the process of making music—not just listening to music—stimulates the development and function of our brains. This TedEd video, by music education professor Anita Collins, explains how and why learning to play an instrument has effects on the brain that differ from any other activity, including other arts activities.

Meanwhile, researchers at Northwestern University have shown that students get the most out of their musical education when they are genuinely engaged, and not just showing... read more