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What It Takes to Learn Your Way: Flexibility

Authored By: 
Michelle Koza, English Teacher

This post is part of a series inspired by Dream School: NYC, a SundanceTV docu-series that follows 15 New York City teenagers who left high school and are now trying to get back on track to graduate. The Beekman School partnered with the show to help customize the learning experience for the students. Follow this blog to learn more and participate in the social media conversations using the hashtag #LearnYourWay

Personal growth requires curiosity and a variety of experiences. I remember being encouraged as a student to explore all opportunities presented to me and discover myself. However, every time I heard that advice I recall thinking “I can’t wait to graduate high-school and start my exploration phase.” As if, somehow, it was implied that the recommendation was to be followed only once I graduate and I have the time. Looking back, I realize that I felt this way because of the constraints of my school schedule.

It is true that not all activities require a lot of effort or time. As you will notice in tonight’s episode of “Dream School: NYC,” leaving your comfort zone for the simple act of ice-skating for the first time can be an enriching experience.

But what if you know that you want to be an athlete or an actor and you have to dedicate a big portion of your time, every day, to pursue that dream? How will your school work around that?

Teaching at The Beekman School and seeing the amazing things that our students explore during their time with us has been inspiring. Between our courses offered via The Tutoring School and our year-round teaching schedule, we can create the flexible schedules that our students need.

The Beekman students come from across the country and around the world with different educational backgrounds and talents. Because they are dancers, commute from far away, are athletes, or participate in pre-college programs, many kids need flexibility in their school day to thrive. For instance, one of the students who graduated last year needed to finish all her classes by 11:00 a.m. since she danced all afternoon. Others have health issues that require them to have a non-traditional schedule, and some want to graduate early and are able to do so because they can double up on courses.

Beyond the flexibility in scheduling we offer during the school year, we are also open year-round. Maybe a student missed a chunk of a quarter because the family moved from their home country to the United States. During the June mini-session, students can patch up any partial credits they are missing.

With flexible scheduling, you can learn your way, no matter what the world throws at you.

To learn more about why and how we got involved in the "Dream School: NYC” project, check out our earlier post: Learn Your Way: What it Takes to Build a Dream School