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Happy Holidays From The Bertram Group 2020


For many reasons, the theme of this year is resilience. Throughout 2020, we at The Bertram Group have been so impressed by the fortitude and positivity of students, parents, and schools in the face of tremendous obstacles. The optimism that is inherent in education was borne out as students found success this fall through on-campus and remote learning. We are proud to hear anecdotes from candidates, parents, and colleagues that demonstrate our human potential to be compassionate toward each other and creative in pursuit of our educational goals.

In recent months independent schools and colleges nationwide have built confidence in their ability to keep students and faculty safe while furthering students’ intellectual, social-emotional, and physical growth. Their significant investment in infrastructure, testing, adjusted operations—and most importantly in community trust—have brought wonderful returns.  While experts caution that public health protocols will remain important throughout 2021, the launch of a vaccine program suggests the prospect of even more students returning to campuses. This is promising news for all of our candidates, whether they are now wrapping up applications for next year or are planning further out.

To conclude our series from this fall, we bring you three articles to help weather winter storms:

  • Deena offers tips for supporting this year’s seniors as they finalize their college applications;
  • Jeremy outlines why COVID-19 protocols are particularly difficult for teens and how parents can help;
  • Holly has a guest interview with AJ Yates from The Thacher School, as an excellent example of how boarding schools are prioritizing diversity, equity, and inclusion practices.

To pause and reflect back on 2020 is profound. We feel deep sadness for those who have lost loved ones or who face significant health and financial issues. We also feel infinite gratitude for the tireless efforts of frontline health care professionals and other essential workers. As we look ahead to 2021, we feel humble. This past year reminds us how each individual has the capacity to impact others, and of our shared responsibility to cherish each other. Thank you for letting us be a part of your family’s or school’s educational journey.

We wish you a healthy and hopeful holiday season and look forward to hearing from you.


College Bound

While some candidates are celebrating the results of early decision applications, many are still working toward January deadlines to pursue a full range of opportunities for next fall. Students and families often experience stress around the college application process in a normal year. And this year was…well, 2020. With that in mind, the most important support we can offer students this year is compassion and perspective.

Here are five strategies for helping students clear the... read more

Action Steps

Living through a global pandemic is hard for everyone. It is especially hard for teenagers. Neurologically, adolescent brains are wired to decrease dependence on their parents and increase attachment to their peers. Exploring the world outside our family unit is critical for building identity in the world as independent, self-actualized adults. This innate drive is the plot of every coming-of-age story. So, it is not surprising that teens feel complex emotions about currently spending so... read more

From the Quad

In recent years independent boarding and day schools have significantly expanded initiatives relating to diversity, equity, and inclusion. The emergence of a major civil rights movement in 2020 brought increased visibility and urgency to this work. Conversations have transpired on campuses and social media about the variety of ways in which these schools reflect systemic racism in our broader society, how they can better serve students of color, and what they can do to deliver an education... read more