The Bentley School is continually tracking news and information about the spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in our region. Please check this page regularly for updates.
   
Special Announcement
Regarding Campus Closure
Dear Bentley Community,
 
As we come to the end of the first two weeks in the implementation of Bentley’s Remote Schoolhouse, we have very favorable news to report, much of which is included on the new website for this signature program that I am happy to call to your attention. Key reasons for our success include all of you, our Bentley parents, who have helped ensure that students are fully participating and helping our youngest learners to be prepared and engaged. Thank you.
 
I am grateful for Remote Schoolhouse for many reasons. Well beyond the continuance of excellence in teaching and learning, we have the opportunity to address Social/Emotional Learning (SEL) even with the challenges of physical separation. Having engaged in several morning meetings and lessons in the early grades myself, students’ eagerness to learn is outpaced only by their clear joy in seeing and speaking with one another and, of course, with their teachers. 
 
This week, under the continued direction of Nick Pukstas, Director of Remote Teaching and Learning, Bentley is building a leadership team of faculty members whose understanding of educational technology combined with coaching ability will provide more resources for every Bentley teacher and learner. This model of shared leadership exists throughout our various programs and is particularly useful in our current efforts supporting a culture of shared leadership. 
 
Undoubtedly one of the most upsetting components of our current situation is unpredictability. There is no formula or crystal ball informing us as to when we will be able to reopen our campuses. We continue to collect all information from reputable sources and to pay attention to what schools in our area are contemplating. That said, we have extended the period of school closure through May 1. We continue to plan for the possibility that Bentley will not reopen until September.
 
Thank you for your continued support. Receiving encouraging emails from so many of you has made a positive difference for faculty, staff, and administration. We look forward to delivering our best to your family through Remote Schoolhouse.
 
Gratefully,
Arlene 
Previous Correspondence

List of 6 frequently asked questions.

  • Community Message: March 19, 2020

    Dear Bentley Community,
     
    As each day goes by and we receive additional information concerning what might lie ahead for us individually and as members of the Bentley community, keeping in touch is more important than ever. Alone we may experience a sense of hopelessness but when we stay connected we have the power of an entire community behind us. This week, Bentley’s Remote Schoolhouse is off to a great start. As with any other new program or pedagogy, there are glitches to be addressed but, overall, what has been accomplished in the first few dynamic days bodes well for the future. 
     
    At this point, we can only best guess about when we will be returning to campus. Our initial announcement of being closed for two weeks has proven to be vastly unrealistic in light of current information. The Shelter in Place mandate is expected to last until at least April 7, and  we will continue to update you on the duration of school closure as new information becomes available. While we can’t predict the future, we remain hopeful of reopening before the end of the school year as we continue to develop solid plans for the distinct possibility that we will not be able to operate on campus until September. The spectre of a hiatus of this duration is daunting, but we are now clear that within or without the walls of the classroom, Bentley teachers will continue to teach in ways that students learn best. Following the power outages and accompanying loss of school days last fall, under the leadership of Dean of Teaching and Learning, Nick Pukstas, Bentley began to delve into the hows and whys of remote learning. This early interest, coupled with intense faculty meetings and training sessions held last week, resulted in the successful execution of Remote Schoolhouse beginning Monday which was noted in a Wall Street Journal article that we are proud to call to your attention.
     
    Along with the charge of meeting the academic needs of each student, we remain forever mindful that school is first and foremost a place of community. When positive, consistent contact with one’s community is interrupted, it takes an emotional toll that may interfere with maintaining hope and optimism. For these reasons - and because we miss our students terribly - each day we are providing specific opportunities for socializing and FUN. Next week we will launch our Remote Schoolhouse webpage on the bentleyschool.org site. We look forward to sharing some images and videos of the lighthearted aspects of remote teaching and learning in action at Bentley.
     
    So many of you have been in touch with various teachers and administrators offering congratulations, encouragement, suggestions, and support. We are very grateful for all of that and more as we see daily signs of the strength of the Bentley community. Throughout its long and distinguished history, our school has weathered downturns at critical times, most notoriously in the Oakland Firestorm that destroyed the Hiller Campus. We earned our mascot, the PHOENIX, by rising from the ashes and adding an Upper School to the K-8 experience in the process. Today the Bentley Phoenix rises yet again as the Remote Schoolhouse becomes an essential component of teaching and learning for Bentley’s second century. 
     
    Even remotely, I am proud to be standing among us as we create the best of Bentley out of one of the worst of times. 
     
    GO PHOENIX!
     
    Wishing all of us well,
    Arlene
  • Community Message: March 16, 2020

    Dear Bentley Parents and Guardians,
     
    Today marks the official launch of our Remote Schoolhouse program. While we all wish the circumstances surrounding the need for this endeavor were different, we can still relish the excitement that comes with new ventures.
     
    Reading through various communications from teachers to parents yesterday and last week, I am so grateful to our talented faculty who want the best academic and social experience for their students whether in the classroom or in remote locations. Emails to parents consistently reflected these goals. While the parent partnership with Bentley is always important, right now it is even more critical. Please read what you are receiving from the school so you can provide the optimal situation for fostering learning at home.
     
    Along with consistent hand washing and keeping hands away from the face, social distancing is essential in curtailing the spread of Coronavirus. At this time, do not make arrangements with other parents for play dates or study groups. Undoubtedly, this presents one of any parent’s greatest challenges, but it is essential to isolate as much as possible. During this period, we encourage you to explore alternatives to in-person contact, such as Facetime or other video conferencing and sharing apps. Even brief encounters like these can serve as encouraging reminders of connection and provide a sense of social rhythm. As we learn more from our community about what works particularly well, we will share that out with everyone during the course of regular communication. 
     
    As we adjust to our new ways of operating, keep in mind that this magnitude of change is hard on everyone, young and old. While we will not be face-to-face, we still have our Bentley community surrounding us and in our hearts. Working together, we will figure out best ways to access the strength and support that it affords each of us.
     
    Cheers to all of us as we move forward together this week!
     
    Wishing you WELL,
    Arlene
  • Community Message: March 12, 2020

    Dear Bentley Community,
     
    What a week it has been for all of us! Almost minute by minute, we’ve been bombarded by information about the spread of the coronavirus. Myriad sources are supplying information that is often contradictory to other sources, causing further worry. With fear and uncertainty swirling around us, I am still able to share with you that this has been a remarkably positive and productive week for Bentley School. With faculty, staff and administration all pulling together and guided by Bentley’s Director of Remote Learning, Nick Pukstas, we are better prepared to face school closure knowing that our online resources will be able to serve students’ needs off campus as the coronavirus pandemic works its way through our communities. 
     
    While we have no direct knowledge of contamination within our community, based on information we have received concerning school closures and the need to socially distance in order to help prevent the spread of this highly contagious disease, I share with you the following important decisions:
     
    Beginning Monday, March 16, all teaching and learning will occur remotely and both campuses will be closed to students for a minimum of two weeks.
     
    Tomorrow, March 13, all Upper School students will attend their classes remotely from home so Nick Pukstas and Bentley’s Tech Team can troubleshoot to further ensure a smooth start on Monday, March 16. Upper School students will be receiving an email later today from Upper School Head, John Walker, which will include instructions for tomorrow’s remote learning schedule.
     
    Students in K-8 will attend their regular classes at the Hiller Campus on Friday, with faculty focusing on ensuring that students have what they need to fully engage in remote learning on Monday, March 16.
     
    After School Program (ASP) on the Hiller Campus will continue through tomorrow, March 13, at 6 p.m.
     
    We are well aware that changes of this magnitude require serious reorganization in all of our lives. I am particularly grateful that we have had the opportunity this week to prepare ourselves and our students for these next steps. We recognize the enormous amount of flexibility this requires from our families who have younger children.
     
    You should have already received the Remote Learning Survey regarding your in-home capability to support online learning. If you have not completed the survey, please do so here and let us know if you will need assistance by indicating such on the form.
     
    We continue to be grateful to you, our Bentley parents and guardians, for the outpouring of support we have received as we navigate these new challenges. Your trust in our decision-making process along with your acknowledgment of our dedication to the welfare of the whole child - academically, socially, emotionally, physically - helps energize all of us as we move forward. Students are genuinely excited about online learning, and they will look to you for confirmation of their feelings as they took their cues from the enthusiasm of their teachers this week.
     
    Thank you in advance for your support,
     
    Arlene F. Hogan
    Head of School
  • Community Message: March 11, 2020


    Dear Bentley Athletic Community, 
     
    We want you to know that as a precaution, and in line with yesterday’s Contra Costa County Health Department’s directive of mass gathering/social distancing guidelines, we have decided to suspend all athletic practices and competitions beginning tomorrow, Thursday March 12, through the end of Spring Break on Sunday, April 12. We are applying this activity restriction to all athletic activities grades 6 to 12.
     
    We are taking this step in the interest of every student and every member of our community’s health, and believe that the restriction of these co-curricular activities and social gatherings is a prudent step that will be a benefit to everyone. We will continue to monitor future developments and communicate any other decisions along the way, including plans to resume athletic activities on Monday, April 13.
     
    If you have any further questions, please email your respective coach directly or the Athletics Department.
     
    Sincerely, 
     
    Rob Rafeh 
    Director of Athletics, K-12


  • Community Message: March 9, 2020


    Dear Bentley Community,
     
    As you know, Bentley, along with several other independent schools, has rescheduled the Annual Gala due to concerns and directives around the spread of the coronavirus. While we were all looking forward to this once in a hundred year Centennial Gala to occur on March 21, we are pleased to announce the reschedule date of September 26, the first month of the 2020 school year.
     
    I will be reaching out personally to the parents of the Class of 2020, encouraging them to return to Bentley to join us as newly inducted centennial alumni parents to this momentous occasion. Additionally, we will now be able to include the new families who will be joining us for the first time in September. In the meantime….
     
    The online auction is open and awaiting your bids. One-of-a-kind K-4 class projects will be showcasing next week along with other new items. Centennial Online auction 
     
    Thank you to all of you who donated your time, talent, and treasures to our Gala efforts. The roaring 20s will be back in September in a spectacular fashion. To all of the volunteers who began the process of planning for this evening, the Commons will remain decorated with our work, to be enjoyed over the coming months.
     
    Change brings challenges and opportunities. We have a fantastic Gala committee and know that we will deliver an even more grand Centennial Gala in the fall.  
     
    Gratefully,

    Annie Hahn
    Bentley Gala Chair


  • Community Message: March 8, 2020


    Dear Bentley Parents and Guardians,
     
    This is to update you on several immediate changes we are making this week and beyond in response to the local spread of coronavirus: 
     
    • Upper School Mini-term has been cancelled
    • Field trips for second and fifth grades have been cancelled
    • Centennial Gala has been postponed
     
    Last week, colleges and universities including Stanford moved to online teaching and several K-12 schools (including two independent schools) closed due to suspicion of contamination. In the last 48 hours, a number of centers in San Francisco closed based on similar fears. Conferences are being cancelled and companies are insisting that their employees work remotely. While Bentley has no current knowledge of exposure to the virus among our community members, we serve over 700 students and their families from throughout the Bay Area. Our families have members who travel abroad regularly and cover a wide range of local territory in their daily lives. We remain optimistic concerning our steps to keep the campuses sanitary and our students aware of their role in hand-washing, cough and sneeze covering, etc.Nonetheless we must be realistic in anticipating that we too may have to face school closure as we become aware of any potentially harmful situations.
     
    All of this considered, we have, as noted above, decided to cancel Upper School Mini-term this week and to hold classes as usual until we have reason to do otherwise. The majority of the Mini-term trips were headed for San Francisco and other public spaces throughout the East Bay, and many students were to be transported on BART. These plans are no longer in accordance with the San Francisco Department of Public Health and Mayor London Breed, who have recommended a policy of “social distancing” and “cancelling or postponing large gatherings.” One of our Mini-term trips already departed this morning bound for the Lost Coast with thirteen students and three very capable chaperone teachers. Upper School Head, John Walker and Dean of Student Affairs, Ana Anderson, are working on best solutions for that particular group and those families will receive communication about their plans. All other Upper School students will meet with their T3 teachers tomorrow morning at 8:10am for an overview of the new trimester and discussions on ways to maximize online learning. 
     
    It is now clear that we are very likely to face school closure in the next weeks and months. This necessitates making the most of our current time together, especially in honing our skills in delivering remote education, a process that began last fall with the fires and subsequent power outage. We will continue to be barraged with contamination information on a minute by minute basis and we will all need to remain flexible. We are well aware of the toll school closure takes on families especially where both parents work outside the home as we also recognize clearly our primary responsibility for student and employee safety. Please make plans now for that likelihood.
     
    Our Centennial Gala scheduled for March 21st is now postponed. Having received an outpouring of generous donations from so many of you including faculty sponsorships from grateful, supportive parents. We can assure you that, under the leadership of Annie Hahn and her Gala Committee, the end product, while delayed, will be better than ever.
     
    Thank you for coping with these changes. We look forward, hoping for news of coronavirus abatement very soon as we plan for the possibility that the current situation may possibly get worse before it gets better.
     
    Wishing you well,
     
    Arlene F. Hogan
    Head of School


Local News
   
   
The safety and health of our students, faculty, and staff is our number one priority. Here are some measures we are taking as an institution.
 
  • Meeting daily to assess the situation
  • Consulting health authorities and local law enforcement
  • Disseminating information to faculty and staff
  • Reviewing hygiene with students
  • Adding more hand sanitizer units
  • Deep cleaning all classrooms and community spaces
  • Working with vendors to evaluate and increase cleaning protocols
      
As with common respiratory illnesses such as the cold and flu, you can take the following measures to minimize your risk. 
 
  • Stay home if sick
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose, or mouth
  • Cover coughs and sneezes
  • Disinfect surfaces and objects frequently
  • Wash hands for 20 seconds
  • Use 60–90% alcohol hand sanitizer, if you can't wash hands



    • Bentley centennial logo w words 082919

      New School Logo

      Bentley centennial logo w words 082919

K-8 Campus

1 Hiller Dr.
Oakland, CA 94618
(510) 843-2512

9-12 Campus

1000 Upper Happy Valley Rd.
Lafayette, CA 94549
(925) 283-2101
© 2019, Bentley School
Terms & Conditions