BSFCS has an intentional casual culture. Classroom seating arrangements are intentionally flexible in design and parent volunteers are present in all grade levels on a daily basis. Students are encouraged to choose learning locations and make their own choices for working with others. Alternative seating (couches, coffee tables, standing tables, pillows, individual chairs, etc.) is found within all classrooms. Traditionally, BSFCS students only experience having their own desks in fourth and fifth grades. While safety standards are taught and enforced, BSFCS students can regularly be observed transitioning independently to specified locations without rigid protocol for lining up. BSFCS students share everything from recess equipment to supplies. Recess and lunch are inclusive of all grade levels. BSFCS intentionally refers to general moral expectations, rather than explicit rules. Natural consequences and opportunities for individual choice are prevalent across the pedagogical design. Students regularly discuss choice and consequence rather than direct disciplinary action. The school encourages intrinsic motivation through exciting activity rather than extrinsic motivators or negative consequences for general education classroom management. The school has maintained an open environmental design that is mostly free of fencing and overt boundaries. The school believes in teaching students what to do correctly and allowing them the freedom to demonstrate the correct choice in both the classrooms and non-structured transitions, while still upholding expectations of behavior in accordance with policy.
BSFCS has a unique structure for an elementary school, with an optimal enrollment of 24 per class. From second through fifth grade, general education teachers “loop” with half of the class each year. In general, BSFCS students work at an accelerated pace due to the inclusion of a higher grade level the initial year and due to teacher knowledge of the student achievement level the second year. Students experience multiple transitions and varied classroom schedules due to pull outs for specialty classes. In general, a BSFCS student may experience two pull outs for Science, two pull outs for PE, a pull out for Garden, a pull out for Electives, and a pull out for the PTO supported Artists in Residence Program. BSFCS values specialty classes and recognizes that pull outs decrease uninterrupted blocks of instructional time for core subjects. Each school day begins with an all school Morning Assembly for students. Families are welcome to attend Assembly, but are encouraged to promote their child’s/children’s independence and connection with other students by encouraging him/her/them to sit with the student population. At Assembly, BSFCS staff members take turns surprising the students with different information, visitors, activities, books, games, and/or celebrations. Assemblies may also be used to clarify school expectations. Classes regularly perform plays or share projects with the school community at Morning Assemblies. For BSFCS traditions, the whole school schedule may shift due to limited space and the need for collaboration between staff members for specialty events.