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Discovering History through Biography

Authored by Ian Rusten, History Teacher

As Marian Wright Edeleman said, “If you don’t like the way the world is, you change it. You have an obligation to change it. You just do it one step at a time.” History has been shaped and molded by many figures from the past and present. Some of these people are controversial and their impact has not always been seen as positive, however, their actions have left a deep mark on history. To learn more about these figures, you can read the autobiographies and biographies suggested below. Abigail Adams was advisor to and wife of John Adams, the second President of the United States.             The Letters of Abigail and John Adams by Abigail and John Adams Muhammad Ali was an American political activist and professional boxer.             The Greatest: My Own Story by Muhammad Ali and Richard Durham Winston Churchill was Prime Minister of Great Britain during World War II and had a great influence on the outcome of the War.             Churchill: We Shall Never Surrender | The Life and...read more

Topics: biography, Ian Rusten, history, U.S. History

How Do Educators Create Individualized Learning Plans?

Authored by George Higgins, Headmaster

The term Individual Learning Plan might be confused with an Individual Educational Plan, otherwise known as an IEP.  This is a document created through the public school system for a student with a diagnosed learning disability.  It describes how a student learns best and what accommodations should be made in order for that student to achieve specific objectives and academic goals.  A neuropsychological evaluation, often referred to as a neuropsych, is more common in the private school community, and tend to be a more detailed outline of a student’s learning profile and offers strategies to address specific points. Regardless of who does the testing, both documents help lay the foundation for a school to develop a plan that best suits the learning style of your child.  A series of test results will be included in your report.  While you may want to review this data, the most important information will be toward the end of the report.  Look to see what the conclusions and...read more

Topics: individualized learning, George Higgins

Extra College

Authored by James Vescovi, English Teacher

The following is an excerpt from English teacher James Vescovi's book "Eat Now; Talk Later": My father was the first person in the family to go to college; I was the first to go to graduate school. While my grandparents were proud of my father’s achievement, they were totally baffled by mine. Tony and Desolina Vescovi, Italians who’d immigrated to New York in 1930, had had to quit school after fourth grade to work on their farms. They’d always thought that college was as high as a human could go.             Desolina, said, “You mean you went to college for four years and now you can go higher?”              “That’s right,” I replied.                                                                     “What more can you learn after four years?” she asked, eyeing me skeptically.              What was I going to tell her? That I was going to deconstruct Shakespeare’s plays?             “Desolina, what’s the matter with you?!” my grandfather shouted from the couch, where he’d just awoken...read more

Topics: James Vescovi, Eat Now Talk Later

Why You Might Need To Restart the High School Admissions Process Now

Authored by George Higgins, Headmaster

It’s that time of year when public and private high schools will soon be informing applicants of their enrollment decisions.  Among all the top schools, seats are limited and stiff competition is an unpleasant reality. What happens when that letter arrives and it isn’t giving you the news you wanted to read?  It means it’s time to sit down and do some homework.  There are a lot of schools that will continue to have openings and you need to spend time researching the best ones for your specific needs. Private high school admissions can be a year-round endeavor for a number of schools.  Just as New York City has a constant influx of people, those people also have children that need to be placed in school and finding a seat may not be as difficult as you think.  Yes, NYC high school admissions to the best schools in the public school system probably won’t be an option, but with some Internet investigating on your home computer, you should be able to identify a suitable private school...read more

Topics: high school, admissions, private school, George Higgins

Notable Student Success Stories: Kate Bendrick

Authored by Kate Bendrick, Math Teacher

American students are plagued with the belief that math is a talent. In one study comparing American students with Japanese students, American kids gave up on a problem after 30 seconds. The Japanese students, by contrast, struggled for an hour to solve a problem. That’s 120 times as long! “Sit on a stone for three years to accomplish anything.” This Japanese proverb might have something to do with this enormous difference. The proverb means that with patience and perseverance, anything can be accomplished. The outsider’s pessimistic interpretation might be twofold: sitting doesn’t accomplish anything. Sitting doing nothing is boring. And indeed, perseverance happens when the glamor of novelty has worn off. There is no glamor in my students’ successes. There is no lightbulb moment in which suddenly ignorance is replaced by vast understanding. It’s a process of slow realization, that patience and perseverance does in fact work. My student came to me at the beginning of the year in...read more

Topics: Kate Bendrick, homework, math, persistence

Homeschooling: Think Outside the Home

Authored by Maren Holmen, Director of The Tutoring School

For many homeschool parents, high school is the most difficult time to meet the educational needs of their children.  There are certain subjects that will seem easy to handle; many people are fairly conversant in topics related to English and history, but I’ve spoken with a number of parents who tell me they can’t help their teen with his math homework.  What do you do when you’re supposed to be the person who teaches that math? Homeschool enrichment classes might be the solution.  In a growing number of communities (and most notably, in larger cities), retired teachers, freelance tutors, and other homeschool parents offer classes that are open to families in the homeschool community, from screenwriting to the French language to Calculus.  Not only is this an opportunity for homeschool students to follow their passions or discover new interests, it’s also a chance to meet other homeschool students (which is one of the biggest challenges of homeschooling—there’s no built-in social...read more

Topics: homeschooling, Maren Holmen

How to Inspire Creativity

Authored by Cavin Thuring, Technology Teacher

I am teaching Digital Illustration again at Beekman.  Surprisingly, it is one of my more challenging courses.  Too many students are taken aback by the amount of effort Adobe Illustrator is to use when weighed against their desire to create. It’s ironic that my 3D students have no problem learning and using Autodesk Maya, a far more complex program (by an order of magnitude or two), to create objects and construct scenes (that final render or 3D printed object makes the work worth it). I stumbled upon one device that helps to improve that effort-reward ratio: flippancy.   One student swore he could not design: he could come up with nothing and the final assignment was just too hard. (Mind you, this student also complained about my teaching method--that in his home country everything is rote: tasks practiced over and and over.) How many times did he need to practice taking the cursor and selecting an object (which was the problem at hand)? When he said he couldn’t come up with an idea...read more

Topics: Cavin Thuring, Adobe Illustrator, Autodesk Maya

How to Fight "Brain Drain" and Still Enjoy Your Summer

Authored by Maren Holmen, Director of The Tutoring School

We’ve written in the past about how to make sure that summer school won’t ruin your summer or how to make summer courses help you in meeting your educational goals.  However, if you are like most people, you don’t want to think about anything school-related during the summer!  How can you enjoy your summer vacation while not giving in to the “summer slide?” Summer school tutoring may be your answer.  Unlike taking a full-blown summer school course, engaging the services of a summer school tutor means that you can cover the topics you want on a schedule that works for you.  Are you worried that you’ll forget all of that Spanish vocabulary while you’re not in school?  Arrange for a Spanish tutor to work with you once a week reviewing your grammar and maintaining your vocabulary.  Are you going away to soccer camp in July but need to work on your essay-writing skills?  Work with a tutor before you leave and after you return to focus those analytical techniques.  Do you have a summer job...read more

Topics: tutoring, Summer, Summer School, Maren Holmen

Science Ruins Everything--or Does It?

Authored by Vanilla Macias-Rodriguez, Science Teacher

There are many things we experience in our day-to-day life that we believe just can't be explained, like déjà vu, love, the amazing feeling that washes over you when you feel the warmth from the sun on a winter day, or that distinct smell that only comes right before it rains.  As Mark Twain said, "It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." These incredible phenomena that many of us deem so personal and unexplainable can be explained with scientific theories.   ·      Déjà Vu   While I'd like to believe déjà vu is due to my realizing an experience bizarro-me is having in a parallel universe, science will tell you that unsettling déjà vu feeling, no matter how strong it feels, is your brain playing tricks on you.  While scientists don’t know exactly what is going on, explanations include a possible glitch between your short- and long-term memory, or simply the message from your right eye reaching your brain faster than the...read more

Topics: Vanilla Macias-Rodriguez, science, love

Preparing for AP Exams

Authored by Maren Holmen, Director of The Tutoring School

Even though the AP exams aren’t until May, now is the time to start your AP test prep, particularly if you aren’t taking an AP course.  (Yes, that’s correct—it is possible to take an AP exam even if you aren’t taking an AP course in that subject area!)  Because AP exams are what colleges use to judge whether or not you are granted college credit for your knowledge in a certain subject, they are more comprehensive and require a greater knowledge than an SAT Subject test.  Understandably, they will require more preparation than you would devote to most other standardized tests. If you are taking an AP course, the material taught in that course should prepare you for the AP exam.  However, as with school exams, you will need to study outside of the class for the AP exam and, for some people, they will also look to get some AP tutoring in order to help them with focused preparation for the exam. What are the hallmarks of a good AP tutor?  Clearly, you should find someone who is familiar...read more

Topics: AP exams, test prep, tutoring, Maren Holmen

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