The fulfillment of her expected role was dramatically challenged in the 1960's and 70's,
especially by the women's movement, and also by frustrating encounters as a parent with her children's educators and the values of the system they embodied. In response, she spearheaded a huge shift in her family's lifestyle and catalyzed the creation, with her husband Bruce, of Baker River School, the subject of Up the Hill to Baker River School, which operated from 1977 to 1983.
Since this unique experiment, which erased self-doubts about her intelligence and jump-started her self-confidence and motivation to learn, she has earned graduate degrees from Dartmouth
(MALS, 1988) and Antioch Seattle (MA in Psychology, 1991), and been a relationship counselor, coach, and workshop presenter specializing in work with couples. More recently she has added professional health coaching to her practice.
Up the Hill to Baker River School is a mother's story of overcoming the limiting beliefs and assumptions of her own childhood, as well as the rigidities of the educational system her family encountered in the 1960's and 70's. The powerful result of her dissatisfactions was the creation, with her husband Bruce, of the school that is her central subject.
Here she describes her upbringing, typical of suburbia of the 1930,s, 40's, and 50's: a world with scant awareness of emotions and their role, where school for girls and women served mainly as a place to find a husband, and where Betsy feared she was neither smart nor understood.
From there we follow her marriage and motherhood, and in the backdrop of a dramatically changing world, to a series of events that transformed her family's lifestyle and opened the door for the creation of Baker River School.
In an engaging description of pivotal moments in the life of the school, the book makes a strong case for the development of emotional literacy and real-world testing of important questions as critical to all students, and to teachers like Betsy Bergquist as well.