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The Beekman School's Unique Admission Process: Immediate Entry

Authored by Maren Holmen, Academic Liaison

Navigating the complexity of New York City’s high school admission process is not an easy task: tests, auditions, screenings, etc.—all to determine whether a student is “well-suited” for a school. There is nothing more discouraging than being rejected the right to learn because you are not considered to be the “right fit” for a school. Apart from depriving the student of the opportunity to demonstrate his or her true potential, we believe that this practice poses the risk of making a student lose confidence and motivation for individual achievement. Instead of creating a prolonged process to decide whether a student is “ready” to learn, at Beekman we take a different approach. We give every student, regardless of his or her background, a chance. Our unique admissions policy is a reflection of the best message we could give a student: we believe in you. The Beekman School does not rely on admissions tests to determine a prospective student's eligibility to attend the high school....read more

Topics: admissions, alternative high school, Beekman School, personalized education, Maren Holmen

5 Tips for Staying Focused During Summer Break

Authored by Maren Holmen, Academic Liaison

It's summer again—a long-awaited time of rest for many students, time to have fun, explore, travel or dedicate yourself to a new or an old hobby. Who doesn’t want that? As we’ve said in the past, we all need a break, and we probably deserve it. However, long summer vacations could also make you forget a lot of what you’ve learned over the past school year. And we value the time and effort you’ve put during that time, so we’ve come up with the following five tactics to help you stay focused, avoid summer learning loss, and get ahead with your future goals. Beat procrastination. It’s human nature to tend to put off what we should be focusing on right now instead of starting on time and stretching the work out over a longer period. But it’s not recommended. This is something teachers tell their students constantly: it is better to do work little by little over multiple days than to cram it all into one marathon session. Regardless of your objective—whether it's learning a new language,...read more

Topics: vacation, Summer School, Summer, Maren Holmen

Incidentally Teaching Ethics in Digital Art and Design Instruction

Authored by Cavin Thuring, Technology Teacher

After teaching Digital Imaging with Adobe Photoshop and Digital Illustration with Adobe Illustrator here at The Beekman School, I’ve come to realize the classes not only serve to teach the students various aspects of art and design, but also give rise to teachable moments in the responsible use of technology. Students, as with any adult who has used the Internet, will stumble upon images on that are used to convey messages that are either constructive (uplifting or supportive) or destructive (denigrating or disparaging).  It is these images that influence what students want to create in my digital classes with the powerful image manipulation programs they learn.  It’s never an issue when a student’s source of inspiration is constructive.  It’s when it’s destructive that it gives rise to a moment of ethical and moral discussion. Every now and then a student wants to use the image of another person in a way that can only be taken as insulting.  I once had a student in my Digital Imaging...read more

Topics: Cavin Thuring, teachable moments, Photoshop

The Perfect Graduation Gift

Authored by Vanilla Macias-Rodriguez, Science Teacher

It's that time of year again.  There will be pomp and circumstance, robes and mortarboards, parties and celebrations to which you will be invited.  According to the rules of etiquette, that lovely invitation with an overly posed portrait and a little name card that you’ll hang on the fridge (or not) means you owe a gift.  What will you buy the graduate?  Your pride in their accomplishment is simply not enough.  Money or a gift card is always nice, but where's the sentimentality?  Before you opt for the cliché gift of Dr. Seuss' Oh the Places You'll Go, let me provide you with a little insight.  These naïve, wide-eyed 18-22 year olds think they're going somewhere and they'll post the selfie taken with their handy selfie stick on Instagram just to make sure you know it.  What they need is something that will help them get to and stay where they're so boldly dreaming of going...etiquette. While there are many young entrepreneurs these graduates may go to work for, many of their future...read more

Topics: graduation, etiquette, Vanilla Macias-Rodriguez

Just Say "No": A Guide for Parents (and Teachers)

Authored by James Vescovi, English Teacher

In a recent column that appeared in The Federalist, managing editor Joy Pullmann noted parenting factors that she believes contribute to raising children who are stable, independent, and aware of the world in which they live. She begins with the importance of responsibility, reaching back to her own experience when she had a friend, Nikki, whose parents believed in “giving kids their space.” Pullmann was jealous when “Nikki” received a car at sixteen, while her own parents made her buy her own wheels, insurance, and gas. As an adult, the author now realizes that accountability and responsibility have helped her in her own life. Pullmann writes, “Kids who learn self-control at an early age earn more money, achieve more in school, and have more satisfying marriages.” Pullmann is also a great believer in parents saying “no”—respectfully yet firmly. Though seemingly counter-intuitive, saying “no” to children communicates that you “care enough to step in and teach that child how to live.”...read more

Topics: Parents, responsibility, James Vescovi

The Whitney Museum of American Art: Dedication Ceremony (A Student's Perspective)

Authored by Holly Russo, Class of 2015

Backstage, the motley lot of us huddled together in an attempt to calm our nerves. As participants in the Whitney Museum’s Youth Insights Teen Leadership program, it’s not a rare occurrence to find ourselves nervously awaiting a once-in-a-lifetime experience. We were all intently focused on a small cell phone screen that was playing the live stream of the dedication as we awaited our turn to take the stage as part of the ribbon cutting performance. We listened to First Lady Michelle Obama, as she stood at the podium only mere feet away, speak specifically about our program and the positive impact it was having on teens. It was surreal to hear her quote a few of my fellow teen-leaders as she explained how important it is to make all teens feel comfortable in the art world, regardless of where they come from. We glanced at each other with nervous and excited eyes, and, as she spoke, I couldn’t help but feel like we were a part of something important. Just then the audience began...read more

Topics: art, students, Whitney Museum

Fast and Furious: The Physics of Drifting

Authored by Linli Chin, Physics Teacher

Watching my sister burn some serious rubber drifting cars makes me think about the science behind her actions and how I can use physics to explain it all. As a professional Motorsport athlete and often regarded as the Queen of Drift in Malaysia, my sister Leona Chin shot to worldwide fame with her viral video, “Fast and Furious Nerd Pranks Instructor,” which has garnered over 32 million views in the first month since its debut. Watching her maneuver her car with such control and precision, I asked her what she thinks about when she is behind the wheel and if Newton’s laws of motion, momentum, centripetal force, friction and velocity were on her mind. Her answer: “YES!” As a math and science enthusiast herself, she does see the importance of friction and centripetal forces (the force that keeps us moving in a circular motion) when making donuts, and Newton’s laws of motion when drifting in order to anticipate how the car would react and keeping it under control. So, what exactly is...read more

Topics: Linli Chin, physics, cars

Summertime Viewing: 5 Great Historical Dramas

Authored by Ian Rusten, History Teacher

Summer, with its long, hot, unstructured days full of internships or jobs, trips to the museum, swimming, hikes, bike rides, books, television and films is right around the corner. What a great opportunity to watch some movies that capture key moments in American History! The following list highlights some of my favorite historical films that provide great insight into historical figures and present some inspiring life lessons. 1.     John Adams (2008 HBO miniseries): John Adams, on the surface is about the life of the second president of the United States, but through the prism of John Adam’s presidency, we are able to see the changes that took place during the nation’s infancy. Adams was a person willing to take an unpopular stance (as a young lawyer he defended the British soldiers after the Boston Massacre) and to fight for what he believed in. His policies and decisions set the foundation for the future of our nation. 2.     Lincoln: This 2012 Steven Spielberg film covers...read more

Topics: Ian Rusten, history, film, summer viewing, Summer

Just Say "Hi"

Authored by Anastasia Georgoulis, History Teacher

The one piece of advice I have for college-bound seniors is simple: just say "hi." The actual effort used in saying hi is minimal, but the confidence conveyed in the utterance is immense. Confidence is attractive and saying hi is friendly, so the two together help you gain the positive attention that you seek from those around you. Say hi to your professors. It doesn’t matter if your class is a lecture of 300 or a seminar of 10 people, your grade will most likely be based on an exam and a paper or two. This means you should understand the expectations of the person giving you those assignments – your professor. Your professor’s office hours will be listed on the class syllabus. Go to them the first week of class to establish a rapport. Just say hi. Say hi to your dorm mates.  You will come home happy one night and want to share. You will come home angry one night and want to vent. You will come home sad one night and want a hug. So go around to each room, knock, and say hi to ensure...read more

Topics: Anastasia Georgoulis, college, seniors

The Beekman Blue Jay Sings!

Authored by Michelle Koza, English Teacher

Last week we had our second ever Chirp Café, sponsored by our literary magazine, The Beekman Chirp. This event was even more successful than the last, with a bigger turnout of spectators and participants. Folks were sitting high up in the stairwell and packed into the study hall on the second floor. Students shared poems about friendship, heartbreak, joy, and even eating. Here are some reasons why these events are great for students and the school: 1.     It encourages students to engage the literary arts: Students don’t always understand why they learn literature in school. Why would they want to learn about people who never existed, or read poems that make no sense to them? By making them the poets and storytellers, students begin to understand the value of the literary arts as a means of expression and communication. If the raucous applause after each reading is any indication, they are succeeding! 2.     They get practice in public speaking: So many of our students are nervous...read more

Topics: Chirp Cafe, literary journal, Chirp, Michelle Koza


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