“Brightwork” refers to wood or metal on a boat that has been varnished or polished, or “finished bright,” rather than coated with paint as protection from the elements. When you decide to finish something bright on the exterior of a boat, you make a commitment to a lifetime of attention and care far beyond what a painted surface requires.
Brightworks is based on ideas that were developed and tested in two pioneering summer programs started by Brightworks Co-Director Gever Tulley and Bryan Welch, who was involved in founding the school. Gever created Tinkering School in 2006 to explore the idea that children can build anything, and through building can learn anything. Bryan co-created A Curious Summer to develop the idea of rich, curated explorations that would inspire children. The response - both from the children that experience these programs and from the global community of educators who follow the programs - has been nothing short of amazing. Gever and Bryan felt inspired by each other's programs, and together they developed the pedagogical approach that is at the heart of Brightworks. The school opened its doors to students on September 6, 2011.
Brightworks is a nonprofit, private school, enrolling kindergarten through eighth grade students for the 2012–2013 school year. Brightworks follows the registration requirements provided for private schools in the California Department of Education. Our school's future high school students will graduate with a portfolio-based diploma, issued to graduating students by Brightworks.
For the 2012–13 year, our student body is made up of thirty students ages five to fourteen (grades K-8). Each year, we will bring on a small group of new students and eventually have a full student body of eighty.
Yes. We find that segregating children by age can pathologize normal, developmental differences and deprive children of the opportunity to bond with, teach, and learn from each other. Our low student-teacher ratio (8:1) allows parallel learning across our age groups, even within the same physical space. Our most developmentally-mature students are able to tackle projects that challenge and engage them, while the younger children work in a more play-based manner.
We work to balance four major criteria when accepting students: age, gender, economic situation, and cultural background. We seek to create a highly cohesive, productive, gender-balanced community of students that reflects the cultural diversity of the Bay Area. Please visit the admissions page for more information on the enrollment process.
We are flexible with regard to siblings, but they will always have priority at Brightworks.
Tuition for the 2013–2014 school year is $23,920. We offer a sliding-scale tuition model that will be evaluated each year based on each family's needs.
Parents help create better learning experiences at Brightworks by volunteering their time before and after school, contributing their ideas to the school community, sharing their skills and knowledge with the kids, helping with logistics, and engaging with the community that this school has formed. Brightworks greatly welcomes its parents and their massive contributions to this school, and we value their enthusiasm, trust, and generosity.
Brightworks is located at 1960 Bryant Street in the Mission district of San Francisco.
The school is located just a few blocks from the 16th Street Mission BART station and is on the 27 MUNI line. Brightworks is also accessible using the 9, the 22, and the 33. There is metered and unmetered street parking in front of the school and on the surrounding blocks as well.
Our regular school day is from 9:30 am to 3:30 pm. We offer childcare from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm.
Brightworks is built on a foundation of trust, and as such we have only one hard and fast rule: “Don’t hurt yourself, or anyone else.” We embrace this simple rule at all levels and interpret the notion of “hurt” to include both willful and accidental injury. We deliberately exclude both physical and non-physical violence from the experience at Brightworks and expect every child, parent, and staff member to uphold this ideal.
Because we are a small school and have a small staff that runs an ever-growing school, we are unable to offer personal appointments or one-on-one tours to many. In lieu of that, we offer group information sessions that double as admissions open houses for those who would like to learn more. Please let us know that you're interested in a future information session by emailing us.