Program

Academics

St. Bernard’s wants its boys to pursue learning before grades, to take pleasure in helping others, and to do their very best.  St. Bernard’s has three divisions.  Common to all three divisions of the school is a belief in the boys and in the value of learning, hard work, and fun.

A regard for the beauty and power of English and the confident manipulation of numbers are delightful in themselves and essential for future success.  Learning how to learn and mastering a body of knowledge are also of great importance.  We want our boys to develop good habits of study and a solid beginning knowledge of literature, history, geography, science, mathematics, foreign languages, and the arts.

JUNIOR SCHOOL

The Junior School introduces boys to reading, writing, and mathematics, to science, computer, and the arts, and to the very nature of school work, the habits of study, and cooperation.  From the start boys do a considerable amount of creative writing, including poetry.  With the support and encouragement of their teachers, it gives them a sense of the pleasure of learning.

Kindergarten offers readiness activities in reading, mathematics, writing, and social studies.  Classes in science, music, athletics, and visits to the library are also part of their day.  The arts are crucial to early development, and in addition to studio art and music, the school offers Junior School boys classes in crafts and carpentry.  These are particularly useful in developing their dexterity and teaching them to plan and carry out a project.  From this beginning we nurture and encourage qualities needed for all future schooling: independence joined to cooperative work and play, mutual respect, and flexibility.

MIDDLE SCHOOL

The Middle School deepens these habits while fostering growing independence.  Reading assignments probe more deeply, grammar is emphasized, note-taking is introduced in such subjects as history and science, and boys begin to study French, then Latin.  Boys also receive a special plan book to keep track of assignments and to budget their time.  The Middle School curriculum is structured to create awareness of diversity and offer opportunities to learn about it through reading, history, English, geography, general knowledge, current events, and field trips.

UPPER SCHOOL

The Upper School builds on the work of the other two divisions and strengthens an appreciation of the beauty and power of words and numbers — in literature, language, science, and algebra.  Upper School boys continue with Latin and may choose to study either Spanish or French.  They become keen readers and writers, enthusiastic historians and mathematicians, grounded in knowledge basic to our culture, confident in their abilities, and ready and able to use them to help others.

The ninth grade provides a unique opportunity for boys to develop academic and social confidence and to discover their talents in a thorough and stimulating manner.  The intimate nature of Grade IX makes it a demanding yet distinctive year.  The ninth grade classroom has no individual desks; boys sit at large tables, and great emphasis is placed on discussion and listening.  The boys may choose to study two of three languages: Latin, French, Spanish.  The ninth graders are the school's leaders and are encouraged to contribute to their community.  Every week, for example, they spend time working with younger boys in small groups.  Ninth graders are responsible for The Keg, the school yearbook.  The curriculum includes many interdisciplinary elements; for example literature, history, and current events are linked in the study of general knowledge.

The Upper School teachers believe that they should challenge boys, teach them how to study, master a traditional yet changing curriculum, and do so with affection.  The Upper School is the culmination of a St. Bernard’s boy’s experience.  We take great pride when our most recent graduates return and tell us that they were exceptionally well prepared when they arrived at their new schools.