HISTORY: THE ORIGINS OF BLACK PINE CIRCLE SCHOOL
Black Pine Circle School is a non-profit educational organization incorporated in 1967 and granted tax-exempt status in 1970. It was founded for the purpose of providing quality educational programs in a friendly and open environment. Founders, Oscar Pemantle, Frances Kandl and Carmen Gonzalez were committed to creating a learning environment that married arts and academics in a way seldom seen in American schools.
The first program created was a summer session of small tutorial classes for bright college undergraduates, who felt neither inspired nor challenged by the lecture courses of larger institutions. These salons took place in the high Sierra, where the surrounding trees provided the inspiration for the name of the organization. The Black Pine Circle “College” attracted renowned guest lecturers, including John Searle, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and Allen Ginsberg.
As this new and important concept expanded, a few interested parties encouraged the founders to pursue elementary and middle school education, as well. The Arts & Sciences Workshops were created in 1971 to offer enrichment programs in math, music, art, and languages for elementary school-age children who were not being sufficiently challenged by the regular school curriculum.
Black Pine Circle Day School was developed out of these specialized workshops into a full-scale elementary school, eventually expanding into the junior high level.
Along with the development of the school, the Black Pine Curriculum Institute (BPCi) was created for the purpose of training teachers and funding new curriculum projects and materials developed by Black Pine Circle School’s talented staff.
IMPORTANT YEARS IN BLACK PINE CIRCLE SCHOOL’S HISTORY
1967 Inception of idea for Black Pine Circle “College”
1968 First Black Pine Circle College Workshops offered
1970 Black Pine Circle School granted tax exempt status
1973 Black Pine Circle Day School opens doors at Seventh Day Adventist Church, Oscar Pemantle, Director
Founders: Oscar Pemantle, Frances Kandl, Carmen Gonzalez
1975 Black Pine Circle School occupies former Nervo stained glass factory
(current Lower School)
1980 Frances Kandl begins summer music sessions
1984 Black Pine Circle School acquires Upper School building from Tehiyah Day School
1993 Black Pine Circle School acquires “Workingman’s Hall” – Facility for Arts and Drama (FAD)
1995 Frances Kandl becomes Director of Black Pine Circle School
1998 Lawrence James becomes Director of Black Pine Circle School
2001 Facility for Arts and Drama renovation completed
2005 Founders’ building with classrooms and libraries completed
2005 John Carlstroem hired as Director of Black Pine Circle School
2008 Black Pine Circle School celebrates 35 years as a day school