Program Components

Our program is designed to bring students together as a community, within Brightworks as well as a part of the larger world. These staples of a Brightworks experience are designed to show our students that they have an important role and place in the community and the world, and that there are things to learn wherever they go.


IMG_1481 The all-school circle happens twice daily, a morning and afternoon moment of community and coming together. Circle is an anchor for the day and an important cornerstone to be able to see one another and play an active and responsible role sharing experiences and thoughts with each other. Morning circle is a longer gathering where we sing, play games, talk about the arc topic, and make discoveries. The day ends with a brief coming together and review of each band’s day before everyone heads to their afternoon activities.



The library space focuses on usability for the student and fostering a love of reading stories and finding information, coupled with the frequent use of the San Francisco Public Library system. Bands meet in the Brightworks library to continue on a group reading project (either read-aloud, individual reading, or discussion of a single book) or work on research skills. Students visit the public library to do further research, check out books, and participate in library programs.


Our day program is supported by fall outdoor school, a week of group bonding with entire school and staff, and a spring family camping trip weekend. Bands take regular field trips to local natural spots, including Glen Canyon Park, the Presidio, and Crissy Field. These frequent experiences in wilderness support students’ connection with and appreciation for the natural world.

Community Friday

On Fridays, regular band curriculum is replaced by an afternoon of community and togetherness. The students and staff spend Friday exploring and working on one of several open activities in the different spaces of the school. The Art Studio, Cork Floor, Science Lab, Workshop, etc. are carefully stocked with new “provocations,” intriguing and surprising materials that encourage open-ended exploration. The idea is to ignite passions on both sides of the table: community fridaycollaborators curate materials and experiences that are designed to pique curiosity free of arc topic (allowing them to pursue particular passions, inquiries or ideas) and children play a greater role in decision-making and space exploration, engaging in interactions across bands and ages, going where their pleasure leads them. Community Friday allows students and staff to share passions and make progress on individual or group long-term projects
Friday also brings an incredible Community Lunch tradition made by a rotating list of parents, bands, and community members that brings all of Brightworks to the table to share a meal. This weekly curriculum is designed to encourage community through a shared cooking and eating experience.

Urban/Citizenship Education Program

Brightworks has a strong commitment to and dedication to the exploration of our city, supported by navigation through public transportation, bicycling, and walking. We focus on neighborhood awareness and developing relationships with neighborhood organizations, businesses, events through patronage, participation and mutual support. We strive to help the students see the world as an open place and smaller than they think by making the divisions between the school and the world less strict and more permeable.