Ojai (CA) – Besant Hill School was recently selected to host the Small Boarding School Association (SBSA) Educators Conference, which is scheduled to occur on the school’s campus from March 16-18, 2016.
To be selected to host the conference, a small boarding school must meet SBSA’s criteria for providing a venue that “promotes personal and professional dialogue among small boarding school educators and educational consultants.” Besant Hill School will host over 200 participants in this year’s conference from across the globe.
“Educators on a national level will be exposed to all of the wonderful opportunities that Besant Hill students have on a daily basis,” said Randy Bertin, Head of School, at Besant Hill School. Bertin went on to add that, “Besant Hill has experienced a period of tremendous growth over the past four years, not only in the many construction projects and facilities upgrades that we have had on campus, but more importantly, in our academic curriculum. We are looking forward to showcasing this work to all of the participants of the conference.”
According to Bertin, the success and quality reputation associated with Besant Hill School, combined with the school being known as a leader in the area of Small Boarding Schools, Environmental Sustainability, and Visual and Performing Arts, may have been an important factor in being selected to host the conference. Kristen Kaschub, the School’s Director of Admissions and Financial Aid, spoke to this point, “The [SBSA] conference has traditionally been hosted on the East Coast and has garnered solid attendance. This year marks the first-ever West Coast Conference. Besant Hill, a school of 100 students nestled in upper Ojai, has been a member of SBSA for five years and will welcome over 200 peer schools and 50 consultants to campus on March 16-18.”
Additionally, Bertin, Kaschub, and the entire team at Besant Hill have made a concerted effort to establish connections with local businesses to allow this event to benefit not only Besant Hill School, but also the greater community. Kaschub says, “We have the vast majority of attendees staying at the Ojai Valley Inn and Spa and have partnered with other local businesses for the various events that will take place on the school’s campus. Other partners include Rio Gozo Farms, Ojai Alisal Vineyard, and Watkins Ranch, to name a few.
Due to the notoriety of this event, Besant Hill has been able to coordinate expert speakers for the conference, including Dr. Robert Sapolsky, an acclaimed author, stress expert, biologist, and neuroscientist from Stanford University, and Dr. Christopher Thurber, psychologist, author, and consultant in the world of education.
Kaschub added, “All of the presenters are well-respected and widely known in the world of education. We are looking forward to hearing these keynote speakers, as well as other session facilitators share ideas and best practices that educators and consultants alike may use in their classrooms and organizations.”
Besant Hill faculty members, including Bertin, Kaschub, and many others are slated to lead several of the sessions with topics ranging from “Running an Effective Summer Program”, “Teenage Brain and Executive Function Skills,” “How to Change Problem Behavior with a Single Talk,” and “Successfully Bridging the Gap Between High School and College.”
Conference attendees are educators and educational consultants from all over the world and include representation from throughout the United States, Canada, Switzerland, Taiwan, and Colombia.
“Since 1987, SBSA has been THE gathering place for small boarding school professionals and educational consultants to share their expertise and insight, their recommendations and their contacts, their network of resources, and their wealth of knowledge,” said Joanne Caruthers, President of the SBSA Board of Trustees. “Many thanks are extended to our hosts, Kristen Kaschub, Director of Admissions and Summer Programs, Head of School Randy Bertin, and the rest of the team at Besant Hill for the tireless planning and effort which went into making this year’s SBSA conference what I expect will be nothing short of exceptional!”
The Small Boarding School Association was founded in 1987 by a group of people who felt that small boarding schools needed their own gathering to address those issues unique to their type of school. Conference attendees participate openly in a number of sessions which focus on the benefits of a small boarding school environment and how to effectively market their programs. The feeling of camaraderie and friendships, which evolved from this conference, has sustained itself and has become a tradition. The annual conference is the centerpiece of the organization and is the primary reason most schools and consultants join SBSA.
Besant Hill School offers a rigorous college preparatory curriculum with an emphasis on creative expression and divergent thinking for grades 9-12 and PG. Additionally, the school offers over 20 art electives, AP level courses, competitive athletics, travel and experiential education programs, small class sizes,a 4:1 student teacher ratio, and a student body of 100 students from 19 foreign countries and 13 states. Our motto of “Aun Aprendo”—I am still learning— reflects our belief that life can be lived in its fullest sense through lifelong efforts towards personal development and growth. We believe we are a model for the way education should occur, where students are taught how to think, not what to think, where our land is a laboratory for a sustainable planet, where rules are replaced with values and principles developed by all of us, and where the arts are a foundation for creative expression that is as important as reading, writing, and arithmetic. We are a school that believes that life isn’t about finding yourself — it’s about creating yourself.