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Accredited High Schools - What You Need to Know

Authored by George Higgins, Headmaster

You will find several options available as you look for the school that best fits your needs.  Be careful, however, because the diploma you think you are getting may not be useful for your goals. The first thing you want to establish is if the school you are investigating is an accredited high school or an accredited online high school and, if it is, which organization accredits it. What is an accredited high school? There are a number of organizations that accredit schools.  This means that the school has been evaluated by an outside organization and the evaluation is based on the quality of education and services that that school provides.  If the school meets that particular organization’s standards, then accreditation is granted to that school. You can imagine that there is a lot of room for variation in educational quality depending on a school’s accreditation.  This is why it is so important for you to acquire this information before you enroll, and it’s generally easy to find...read more

Topics: high school, George Higgins

Tuning into the Cosmic Symphony of the Universe

Authored by Linli Chin, Physics Teacher

One of my favorite TV shows is "The Big Bang Theory" and its theme song, with its catchy tune, summarizes the evolution of the universe, earth, and all things living on it quite accurately! If you are not familiar with the lyrics, or even if you are, read (or sing along) below: Our whole universe was in a hot, dense state Then nearly fourteen billion years ago expansion started, wait The earth began to cool, the autotrophs began to drool Neanderthals developed tools We built a wall (we built the pyramids) Math, science, history, unraveling the mysteries That all started with the big bang! Hey!* In a previous blog by our Astronomy teacher, Cavin, he discussed the existence of dark matter and energy, which is causing our universe to expand at an accelerated pace. However, this blog is looking at how the universe began, and the discoveries that served as evidence that the universe started 13.7 billion years ago and expanded to its current size. The Big Bang theory, first proposed by...read more

Topics: Linli Chin, physics, Big Bang, CMB

At What Age Should a Child Begin to Learn a Foreign Language?

Authored by Daniel Shabasson, Spanish Teacher

These days, many parents are eager for their children to begin foreign language classes at a young age because children seem to learn foreign languages faster and better than adults. Often, a child moving to a new country picks up the new language more quickly than their parents.  According to common wisdom, a child should begin foreign language instruction at a young age when he or she is most capable of absorbing the new language. Some children now begin as early as nursery school. Many parents think: with foreign languages, the earlier the better. But is this common wisdom accurate? The case for starting children in a foreign language at a young age is not as clear-cut as some may think. The case of the child who moves to a new country and rapidly acquires the new language may be misleading.  That child is truly immersed in the language, meaning he or she is exposed to many hours of the language every day. By contrast, a child who receives one hour of daily instruction beginning...read more

Topics: Daniel Shabasson, Spanish, foreign language

Oh, the Humanities!

Authored by Michelle Koza, English Teacher

I am an English teacher who is passionate about literature. Catch me in my AP class and you’ll see that I’m a superb lecturer (though I do stray from literature every so often; see my blog on why I teach Aristotle’s Ethics). In my standard English classes, however, as I have gathered experience over the last 10 years, I have moved away more and more from pure literature, and exposed my students to magazine articles (old and new), op-eds, and other types of non-fiction, like primary source documents such as historical memos, convention resolutions, and legal opinions. In the parlance of our times, I am not so much a traditional English teacher, as a teacher of the humanities. What are the humanities? The humanities are a branch of the liberal arts that cover human arts and attitudes through history, philosophy, religion, language and visual arts. All of these are reflections of human activity in the world, and as a steward of the new generation, I believe it is my duty to impart to...read more

Topics: Michelle Koza, Humanities, English

"Kvelling" about Our Kids

Authored by Gabriella Skwara, History Teacher

As teachers, we often spend hours discussing classroom and student problems and how to fix them. A phone call from one of us generally means that something has gone wrong or that some work has gone undone. I probably dread these conversations even more than the student whose parents I’m reaching out to does. I far prefer the quick words shared with a parent as they drop off their kid or getting to know people face-to-face at parent-teacher night. The reason? Teachers (not unlike parents) absolutely love being able to brag about their students’ successes and achievements. Which brings me back to my title and a wonderful Yiddish word I feel the need to use on a regular basis when talking about “my kids.” To kvell, according to the New Oxford American Dictionary, means to “feel happy and proud,” yet that definition hardly does the word justice. Linguistically, the word comes from the same Middle High German word that has come to mean “fountain, spring or source” in modern German. To...read more

Topics: Gabriella Skwara, history, kvelling, field trip

Your English Teacher’s Role in College Preparation

Authored by George Higgins, Headmaster

A weighty concern on many teenagers' minds right now is, "How strong is my high school preparation for college?"  Certainly, part of the responsibility for college readiness lies with the student: to best prepare for college while in high school, should you take college-level classes in high school or utilize some other tool? I believe that your English teacher is the key component in this preparation.   English is the one discipline that crosses all subjects and is crucial for success in college—whether it’s the ability to comprehend and analyze text or to communicate your thoughts with clear, concise, effective writing. Does your high school English curriculum contain the building blocks that will benefit you the most, improving your skills and allowing you to advance your knowledge in other general education courses?  Do the English activities in your high school benefit you by strengthening your foundation for higher learning? These are the questions that you, as a proactive and...read more

Topics: high school, college prep, English, George Higgins

Dark Matter and Energy

Authored by Cavin Thuring, Technology Teacher

One of the courses I teach, Astronomy, is such a delight. I get to see, again and again, the awe in my students as I show them images and videos of various objects in the universe. Just showing a close up of the Sun’s surface can elicit such gasps from them. And a few of these students have not been outside a metropolitan area with all its light pollution. They have no idea how majestic the night sky is with the Milky Way visible. Every year, however, I find that, whenever the topics of dark matter and dark energy come up, there is a momentary pause when invariably at least one student will ask whether or not these really exist. For the uninitiated, neither dark matter nor dark energy is known to actually exist. Both are theorized based on observations of the universe made within the framework of our already-developed gravitational model of reality. We see unexpected motion in galaxies that contradicts what our model predicts based on the amount of matter and energy that we can detect...read more

Topics: Cavin Thuring, physics, dark matter, dark energy

Are You Happy?

Authored by Kate Bendrick, Math Teacher

“Are you happy?” she said. I was in my early twenties, working on my masters degree, scraping together money where I could, and trying to figure out what to do next. I was stricken by the question, blindsided, like an interview question it had never occurred to me to prepare for. Because no one had ever asked me that. Am I happy? I reflected for a moment. Suddenly, in a cataclysmic moment of realization, thoughts flooded my brain. Among them various ideas about our culture’s relationship with happiness: studies showing that the happiest countries are not those with the most secure standard of living; studies showing that happiness, above all else, correlates with feeling that you are a part of a community; the cultural ideal of “pursuing happiness,” and how my home country latched on fervently to that ideal. And yet, no one had ever asked me. Not even me, in my years of introspection. The fact that I had not been asked to assess my life satisfaction up to this point was not born of a...read more

Topics: Kate Bendrick, Happy, Happiness, Pursuit of Happiness

Questions to Ask When Searching for the Right College Prep School

Authored by George Higgins, Headmaster

Like most specialized fields, education has its buzzwords. You’ve probably heard a few of them: grit, data-driven, student-centered, inquiry-based, flipped classroom, etc. Despite taking different approaches to education, all of these new perspectives on what teaching and learning could look like seem to be adding up to one big conclusion: college. As a result of the cultural emphasis Americans place on college, a plethora of “college prep” programs and “college prep” high schools have seemingly sprung up to meet the needs of students.  If all of these programs and schools are emphasizing college preparedness, how are you supposed to choose the right path? Students, parents, and teachers know that every learner has individual needs, and finding a college prep program that both supports those needs and pushes students to confront areas that need improvement is pivotal when preparing for college.   There are also some high schools and nonprofit-run programs that support students with...read more

Topics: George Higgins, college prep

How Does Beekman Meet Individual Needs?

Authored by George Higgins, Headmaster

As New York City’s oldest and best provider of personalized education, The Beekman School offers small classes averaging 5 to 6 students, as well as one-to-one classes, to college prep high school students on a year-round, rolling admissions basis.  Students can begin a course at any time during the day, and be admitted on a part-time or full-time basis. Please watch this video and contact us for additional information. read more

Topics: The Beekman School, individualized learning, George Higgins