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Spring 2016


The true job of parenting is to prepare offspring for successful adult lives by offering support, opportunities…and eventually independence. Every year I am impressed by the maturity displayed by Bertram candidates and the wisdom of their parents in empowering their children to pursue the educational paths that are the best fit for them. Some Bertram families have a tradition of attending boarding school and sagely believe in each student finding his or her own school home, regardless of where parents or siblings attended. We also work with many families for whom boarding school is a new adventure, with parents nobly following the child’s initiative to explore these opportunities. When college searches begin, we witness yet another level of mutual confidence and respect between young adults and their parents.

In this issue of the newsletter, we are thrilled to feature a guest interview with Michael K. Mulligan, Head of School at The Thacher School in California. Following up on my previous article about considering schools that are far from home, this is the first of a series profiling schools from different regions of the country. Also in this issue:

  • My column reflects on the bond that grows when parents recognize their children’s emerging independence in the school search process.
  • Holly explores how unique “semester schools” fit into a student’s educational plan.
  • Jeremy highlights the particular opportunities that such semester schools offer for students who are passionate about the environment.
  • Deena outlines the value of thinking about the college search even as a high school freshman. 
  • Audrey clarifies what educational experts really mean by a “growth mindset” and identifies how boarding schools support this learning philosophy.
  • Bertram News introduces our newest affiliate, Mike Balotti.
  • Worthwhile Detours announces an evening with expert Dr. Ray Kotwicki to learn about vital mental health strategies for college students. 

As always, we look forward to hearing from you.

Cammie Bertram and the Bertram Team

The Right Road

Every spring, watching families make decisions about school acceptances is deeply rewarding. I relish the trust and respect that flows between parents and children at this exciting time. Candidates are grateful for parents’ support of their emerging maturity. Parents are proud to let their budding young adults choose which school is best for them. 

One of the most inspiring parts of my work is personally witnessing how a school search prompts families to build stronger bonds... read more

From the Quad

As a follow-up to Cammie Bertram’s column about considering schools that are far from home, this is the first of a series profiling schools from different regions of the country. The Thacher School exemplifies how some boarding schools in western states take advantage of natural resources in profound ways. Michael Mulligan has been Head of School at Thacher since 1993.... read more

Action Steps

Imagine being a high school student engaged in real-world research to preserve coral reefs in the Bahamas. Or meeting weekly with nonpartisan policy experts in Washington, D.C., to develop a brief that you then present to legislators. Or fulfilling honors-level academic courses while undertaking wilderness trips in the Appalachian Mountains. These are the kinds of opportunities offered by Semester Schools.

These programs offer a semester’s worth of rigorous academics, including... read more

College Bound

Even as freshmen and sophomores, students can begin planting the seeds for a successful college search. When I meet with students shortly after they settle into secondary school, some are surprised to hear that everything they do in high school—not just the classes and activities of upperclassmen years—is reviewed by college admission officers. This reality should not create panic. Instead, I hope it inspires a growing awareness about making choices that corresponds with students... read more

The Flip Side

The words “growth mindset” have become one of the most influential phrases in the field of education. The concept was pioneered by Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck, who published her bestselling book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success in 2006. Based on 35 years of research, this seminal work demonstrates how students’ perceptions of their abilities affect their achievement. Most recently, however, Dweck has been writing about common pitfalls in how... read more

Bertram News

Having grown up attending a Quaker school, Mike Balotti, believes in the importance of students taking ownership over their own experiences. Says TBG’s newest affiliate: “The more invested students are in directing their own course, the more dedicated they are to meeting educational goals—because they chose those goals for themselves.”

Mike is based in the Philadelphia area, home to many excellent independent school options. He also spends between one-quarter... read more

Sustainable Paths

Secondary school students interested in other cultures sometimes spend a semester as an exchange student living in other countries. Similarly, students with a passion for the environment may want to spend a semester studying along the coast of Maine or in the Rocky Mountains. The Semester Schools Network includes a variety of programs to make this possible.

Many of these programs, which comprise half of a school year, are located in wilderness settings of incredible beauty. The mission... read more

Upcoming Event

When: 7-8:30pm, Thursday, October 6
Where: Westport Library, 20 Jesup Road, Westport
Event is free to the public. The Bertram Group is proud to co-sponsor this event with Skyland Trail.


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