Bentley School, Lafayette, CA
Recently, I had the honor of visiting Bentley School, a K-12 independent school in the East Bay. Bentley is a wonderful community that puts relational teaching into sharp relief. I started my visit by having an hourlong student roundtable in a recently completed centrally located dining room and commons space. Afterwards, I met with the senior administration, observed engaging classes, and proceeded with a lengthy keynote on the power of relational teaching. The reason Bentley stands out is because of its strong emphasis on community. Each student I spoke with mentioned how known they feel at this school. They agreed that there is always someone in the wings to go to if they feel like they need support. Their peers are supportive, not competitive. While sitting in the glass, modern commons area, I couldn’t help thinking that this young upper school is poised to be recognized for its relational strengths. My only regret is not having spent time in the lower and middle school campus.