is at the core of the Beacon Community?
Beacon is an inquiry-based,
college preparatory school. The heart of Beacon’s curriculum
is dynamic classroom teaching and performance-based assessment. Some
At Beacon, classrooms are based on critical analysis, discussion, and
debate. Inquiry learning includes requirements for original research
and experiment design, emphasis on analytical writing, revision, and
Habits of Mind and Work
Consistent throughout Beacon is an inquiry stance: encouragement of
students to examine content from a variety of perspectives, to debate
and discuss views, to support opinions with evidence, and to develop
and use study and organizational skills.
Performance-based projects required for graduation
To graduate from Beacon, students
must present and defend selected projects each year. Some examples
of the performance-based projects are: an original science experiment
and oral defense of the findings; application of higher-level mathematics
to real-life situations; an original history research paper that includes
an interview with an expert in the field; analytical essays on literature;
and oral, written, and listening assessment in foreign language.
services to support students
Students get many opportunities
to revise work and to discuss work with teachers. Students receive
detailed responses on their written work, narrative reports on their
progress in each class twice per year, and in-school and after-school
tutoring. Homework and assignments are made available to parents and
students though this website (see Parent Resources).
Our website was launched in September 1997 and has continued to adapt
to the demands of our community. Our website has become the hub of
our learning community. It is a unique, individualized site, providing
essential information to students, teachers, and parents. We publish
important notices and news on a daily basis; teachers, parents, and
students are encouraged to check the website on a daily basis.
Every student and staff member has an account which gives them space
on Beacon’s file and web sever, an email account, and access to
an individualized portal.
Logging into the portal provides a number of services including:
- Entering homework assignments, accessible to both students and parents
- Access class lists, student information, contact information etc
- A variety of email functions to whole classes, parents, specific
- A variety of online discussion forums
- Student Reporting System where staff can both enter and access information
- Online anecdotal progress reports, entered each semester
- Online performance-based assessment scoring using rubrics
Logging into the portal provides a number of services including:
- Access to their email account
- Access to all homework assignments
- Access to class and school-wide
- Quick access to all teachers’ email addresses
- Access to all
their performance-based assessment scores and rubrics
Parents use our portal system via their child’s ID number. This
allows them to:
- Access homework assignments
- Access course descriptions and expectations
- Contact teachers via email
- Sign up to receive ‘Beacon Announce’ emails from administration
and/or our Parents’ Association
- Access Parent Association and Fundraising information
EXCELLENCE IN ACADEMICS
The science curriculum focuses on key concepts supported by regular lab experiments. 9th graders study Advanced Biology. 10th graders study Chemistry. 11th and 12th graders select from challenging electives such as Advanced Immunology, Data Modeling, Environmental Chemistry, Forensics, Immunology, Interactive Technology (Robotics), Physics, Physics of Sound, as well as Advanced Placement class
in Biology, Chemistry and Physics.
The math curriculum focuses on problem-solving and abstract thinking. Math
classes offered include Algebra I and II, Geometry, Pre-Calculus, Calculus, College Algebra, Fundamentals of Pre-Calculus, Probability and Statistics, and Advanced Math Applications, as well as Advanced Placement classes in Calculus.
The English curriculum focuses on critical analysis of literary texts
and creative writing and poetry. 9th, 10th and 11th graders complete
analytical essays and creative pieces for their final assessments. Seniors
choose from electives such as: African American Literature, Bad Romance: Doomed and Disasterous Love Stories Throughout Literature, Existential Literature, The Philosophical Journey, Writing Women, Wonderlands and Nightmares: Studying Magical Realish Through a Psychoanalytic Lens, as well as Creative Writing.
The history curriculum focuses on multiple perspectives, cause and effect,
and argument and evidence. 9th and 10th graders complete a two-year
global history sequence. 11th graders explore themes in US history. Seniors
select from electives such as: Constitutional Law, The
Global Cold War,
History of New York City, Gettysburg, India
from Independence to Information Technology, Modern
Chinese History, International Political
Economy, Modern American Foreign Policy, Reel-to-Real:
Can and Should We Learn History from Movies? and 20th
Century American Social History.
The foreign language curriculum practices speaking, listening and writing
language, along with cultural study. Chinese, French, and Spanish languages are offered. Advanced Placement courses are offered
in Spanish and French.
Arts and Technology Electives
The arts curriculum offers different ways of understanding reality and
expressing one’s self. Ninth grade students get an exposure
to different arts through the arts rotation which includes drama, dance
and visual arts. 10th, 11th and 12th grade students select from an
array of arts and technology electives each semester which include:
Digital Film and Advanced Digital Film, Black
and White Photography and Advanced Photo, Advanced
Theater Arts, Capoeira, Choreography,
Computer Animation, Creative Writing, Guitar/Songwriting, Hip
Music Theory and Ensemble, Musical Production, Percussion, Studio Arts
classes in Drawing, Painting, or Sculpture, as well a Studio
Arts Honors program.
At Beacon, a small-group support
system headed by a faculty advisor allows each student to grow with
the same “home-room” group
for four years, progressing towards the college acceptance process. Here
students can discuss topics of teen concern in a non-academic atmosphere,
and maintain a sense of continuity in a supportive, supervised environment.
The advisor is also the primary contact between the school and the parents/guardian.
At Parent-Teacher Conferences, parents/guardians meet with the advisor
to discuss the student’s progress.
Every 10th grader at Beacon
does Community Service through the advisory. Community Service allows
students to explore their political and social interests. Students
are placed in internships that are educational for the students and
at the same time meaningful for the community.
The Beacon School has secured
internships at organizations like Councilperson Gail Brewer, Assemblyperson
Daniel O’Donnell, Congressperson Jerold
Nadler’s offices, or the Public Advocate’s Office; Amnesty
International and New York Civil Liberties Union; Planned Parenthood;
Foundling and Mt. Sinai Hospitals; Global Kids; Harlem Live; the Museum
of Natural History; the Central Park Conservancy and Brooklyn Zoo; the
92nd Street YMCA and many local schools and community centers.
For more information
about Beacon's Community Service Program, click HERE
The Beacon School offers a wide range of extra-curricular activities as
part of its mission to broaden the horizons of its students outside the
classroom. Beacon strongly encourages all students to participate in some
area of extracurricular life. Beacon clubs include: a Book Club, Beacon
Otherground, Dance Club, Debate Team, End of the Tunnel Press, Gay/Straight
Alliance, Live Poets Society, Mural Project, Music/Band, Photo Club, Smackdown
Chess Club, Students Organizing Students, Student Council, Beacon Fellowship,
The Catalyst, Theater, and Yearbook.
For more information on Beacon clubs, click HERE.