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Banyan Teachers

Berenson, Kendra
Bond, Shaun

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Banyan Parents


The Banyan experience for our family has been wonderful. Our son was very hesitant at first. It was a new program and the commitment of 2 years seemed like a lot to him. As parents, we were thrilled with the concept from the beginning. We loved the idea of integrating the disciplines of each class, and were also excited that there would be collaboration among the students for various projects. We felt that these two main aspects of Banyan would be a good fit for him. And we knew the field trips would be fun. This was difficult to relay to our then 13 year old, but we persisted and he reluctantly agreed to enroll in Banyan.
We are now in the middle of the second year and we are amazed at how our son has blossomed and matured. He has embraced the Banyan program and is loving it. His father and I have been fortunate to be able to go on many of the field trips. It is truly heartwarming to see the kids, many from different backgrounds, with many different interests, all blending and communicating so well with each other.
The various projects that are assigned require individual responsibility, group collaboration, and communication.  This can be challenging for some, and was for our son, but the skill sets they are acquiring are invaluable and will serve the students very well now, and in later life.
Most importantly, the teachers are awesome! They are truly committed to Banyan and it shows in everything they do. We feel so lucky to have gotten to know them.

Banyan Humanities Academy

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Banyan Student Profile

Banyan Students Study, Apply, and Reflect

Banyan students STUDY a rigorous, interdisciplinary curriculum aligned to the current state standards and the soon to be adopted Common Core State Standards.  
All students

  • master academic subjects, making it possible to meet 9th and 10th grade A-G requirements, pass the California High School Exit Exam, and show proficiency on the California Standards Tests

Banyan students  APPLY their knowledge through the completion of tasks requiring them to master three central competencies: research, analysis, and inquiry.
 All students

  • complete performance assessments, showing proficiency in research, analysis, and inquiry
  • use 21st century leadership skills: communicating powerfully, thinking critically, collaborating productively, and engaging proactively with the community
  • complete one community impact experience each year

Banyan students understand themselves as learners and REFLECT meaningfully on their learning process. They are ready to succeed in upper division courses and act powerfully as lifelong learners.
 All students

  • recognize and articulate accomplishments, successes, and areas for growth
  • connect ideas within and across subject matter disciplines and understand the relevance of their learning to current global issues
  • seek and incorporate feedback from peers, teachers, and the broader community in order to reach proficiency in the core competencies and 21st century leadership skills

The Bigger Picture

A Banyan Student is a.....
Seeker of Knowledge:
  • masters core content in the lower division disciplines
  • engages in rigorous academic work
  • cultivates curiosity and asks meaningful questions
  • connects ideas within and across subject matter disciplines
  • relates knowledge to the larger world
Knower of Self:
  • envisions future pathways
  • makes healthy personal choices
  • understands self as a learner
  • reflects on learning process
  • takes risks and perseveres
Conscious Thinker:
  • explores multiple interpretations, solutions, and viewpoints
  • challenges the status quo
  • cultivates a positive relationship with the natural world
  • accepts responsibilities of global citizenship
  • makes ethical, responsible choices
Connected Community Member:
  • collaborates productively
  • develops leadership skills
  • resolves conflicts mindfully
  • communicates effectively
  • contributes positively to the community
  • identifies and uses resources to achieve goals

What is Banyan?

   The Banyan Small Learning Community is an interdisciplinary two-year program designed to prepare incoming 9th graders to transition successfully to high school.
   Students master the core content, exercise critical thinking skills, develop their sense of self, and learn how to relate and communicate effectively with one another, both in the school setting, and within the larger world and community.
   Students explore the core disciplines (English, history and health) by engaging in project based learning and by successfully completing rigorous academic performance tasks. At the end of the sophomore year, Banyan students publicly demonstrate readiness for upper division work by preparing and defending a portfolio of their learning.

Banyan Courses

Year 1 (2015-16, 2017-18)

  • English 1-2
  • World History, Cultures, and Geography 1-2

Health integrated across courses over both years

Year 2 (2016-17)

  • English 3-4
  • World History, Cultures, and Geography 3-4

Health integrated across courses over both years

Honors courses are available for sophomore history, and both years of English.