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Talking TOEFL

Authored by Touria Ghaffari

There are many tests to evaluate your ability in the English language. One such test is the TOEFL or the Test of English as a Foreign Language. It is the test most widely used during the admission process by schools, colleges, and universities in the United States to evaluate a non-native English speaker’s proficiency in English. There are two types of TOEFL currently being administered worldwide--the Paper Based Test (TOEFL PBT) and the Internet Based Test (iBT) that replaced the Computer Based Test (TOEFL CBT) in 2006. According to the official TOEFL website, 97 percent of TOEFL test takers worldwide take the TOEFL iBT. This is because it measures all four skills of reading, listening, speaking, and writing. The PBT TOEFL does not test speaking. All TOEFL scores remain valid for 2 years after the test date. To get a desired score, you must study strategies related to each skill. For example, to improve reading, you must know how to skim, scan, and find the meaning of words you do...read more

Topics: TOEFL, Touria Ghaffari, standardized testing

23 Questions to Ask When Choosing the Right Private High School – Free Guide

Authored by The Beekman School

High school years are some of the most pivotal years in one’s life. Children transition to becoming young adults and the surrounding environment, including the high school he or she attends, plays a major influence. But what happens when the student has a particular set of needs that don’t easily fit into a mold? Since its founding in 1925, The Beekman School, a coeducational college preparatory school located on Manhattan’s East Side, has been providing differentiated instruction based on each student's unique interests and needs through flexibility, focus on the individual, and compassionate educators. Beekman is offering families a free 23-question guide to help parents and students evaluate and choose the right private high school. Here are some of the most important questions to ask during your school evaluation process, and Beekman’s responses. What is your school’s educational philosophy and what are its values? During its existence, The Beekman School has remained true to its...read more

Topics: high school

Living in Spanish

Authored by Daniel Shabasson, Spanish Teacher

Learning Spanish, or any foreign language, is great for many reasons. It develops the language center of your brain, which helps you speak, read, and write better in your own language. It teaches grammar. Studies show learning a foreign language can protect against mental deterioration as we age.  Some say that learning the melodious sounds and rhythms of another language develop your ear for music.  The benefits are many. Learning a language is within anyone’s grasp, but it takes patience and determination. Beekman´s high school Spanish curriculum is designed to give students the knowledge of vocabulary, grammar, and culture that they need to become proficient in Spanish.  Nevertheless, those of us teaching Spanish in high school can encourage our students to practice in their daily lives by implementing the following strategies both inside and outside the classroom: Begin to speak the language as soon as possible. Don’t worry about making mistakes. You aren’t expected to speak it...read more

Topics: Daniel Shabasson, Spanish, teaching

Ethical Thinking

Authored by Michelle Koza, English Teacher

I have always wanted to teach ethics and philosophy in a high school English class, and this year I started my AP Literature class with Aristotle’s Nichomachean Ethics. I like to call this an “anchor-text,” as it provides a framework for understanding the literature we will be investigating throughout the course. But it is really much more powerful than this. We can use ethics to see the choices of literary characters in a more objective way, and not in a morass of relativism and emotional confusion. But also, as literature imitates life, so can our analysis support a more robust understanding of ourselves and our own choices. Students need a framework to think about their values and how these connect to their behavior; ethics gives them that vocabulary. Aristotle in particular shows them that action is important above all else. I teach ethics in my high school English class because it helps my students understand how a character’s actions shape who that character becomes. By proxy,...read more

Topics: Michelle Koza, AP Literature, ethics, empathy

Holy Mole-y, That Was Fun!

Authored by Vanilla Macias-Rodriguez, Science Teacher

What specific lessons do you remember from your school days?  I remember Mrs. Gallegos letting us watch Romeo and Juliet after reading the book in English class.  In Spanish, Sra. Huerta celebrated Cinco de Mayo with a Hispanic food pot luck.  The cat dissection in Anatomy and Physiology is a memory I won't soon forget.  I can still recall the first 20 digits of pi thanks to the competition held in math class on Pi Day.  However, while I remember the fundamentals Mrs. Gibson taught me in high school Chemistry because I use them every day, I can’t say there are any lessons from that class that particularly stand out.  The high school science curriculum is rigorous.  We are preparing students for college.  Unfortunately, there aren’t many chemistry holidays where high school science teachers can be creative, go a little crazy, and throw a party.  We chemists are a sad bunch.  As a Chemistry teacher in my 17th year of teaching, I know that many of my students will not go on to be...read more

Topics: Vanilla Macias-Rodriguez, Mole Day, Chemistry, science

Don't Do What I Did

Authored by Maren Holmen, Director of The Tutoring School

The following excerpts are from a speech delivered at the 2017 Beekman graduation and awards ceremony: Who hasn’t heard these phrases before: “Don’t make the same mistakes I did.” “I learned how to do this the hard way—learn from my pain.” “Don’t reinvent the wheel—just do it like I told you.” If students ever ask me about my college application process, the first thing I tell them is, “Don’t do what I did.”  In a manner that would give me heart palpitations if I tried it today, I didn’t even look at college catalogs (or their application deadlines) until winter vacation my senior year.  It was while I was sitting in my grandmother’s house snacking on hot apple cider and homemade monster cookies that I discovered that many colleges expected specialized standardized test scores that I didn’t have by deadlines that were coming in a matter of days.  I applied to two schools and was lucky to get into my first choice.  But it was precisely that—lucky.  Would I recommend this as the optimal...read more

Topics: graduation, failure, success, Maren Holmen

Summertime: Should the Livin' Be Easy?

Authored by Maren Holmen, Director of The Tutoring School

Summertime—a season that conjures up mental images of long, lazy days that you never want to end.   For some, it’s memories of sleepaway or day camps; for others, it’s recollections of family vacations far from school or work. However, for a growing number of families, summer is a time to continue the work that students start in the school year.  As one parent once stated, “For us, the only difference between summer and the rest of the year is the name of the months.”  As a young teacher who would have enjoyed the opportunity to not spend six weeks in a classroom, I was taken aback by his seeming-unwillingness to allow his child to have a vacation.  As I’ve gained more experience, I can recognize his statement for what it is—an acknowledgment that one can’t spend three months trying to forget about school without actually forgetting your schooling. So what’s the balance?  Everyone needs time away, and summer programs for high school students strive to balance the serious work that’s...read more

Topics: Summer School, Summer, Maren Holmen

Transferring Schools: What Should You Ask?

Authored by Maren Holmen, Director of The Tutoring School

So, you know that you need to change schools – you’re transitioning from middle school to high school, you’re moving from one town to another, or you know that the current school isn’t a good fit.  Which questions should you ask regarding how to transfer schools? First, it depends on when you’re transferring.  If you’re changing schools at the beginning of a school year, you’ll need to notify the previous school where they should send all school records; if you are transitioning mid-year, the most important document will be a current transcript.  Having a transcript in-hand will help the new school determine where to best place your student. How to transfer high schools also depends on why you’re transferring high schools.   If you need to change schools mid-year, you will likely need to locate transfer-friendly schools.  These schools will have rolling admissions and hopefully have some flexibility so that you can continue to take the same courses you’d been taking at your previous...read more

Topics: transfer, Maren Holmen

Alumnus Profile: NY AIDS Walk’s Star Elizabeth Nerich

Authored by The Beekman School

Whether it’s seeking personal satisfaction, meeting like-minded people, enhancing our opportunities for professional advancement, or because of a personal connection, we get involved in philanthropic causes for different reasons. “My Uncle Gary died from AIDS when I was 3 years old. My mom was always really open about how he passed away and answered any questions I had about it. I just felt a connection with GMHC and the NY AIDS Walk instantly,” remembers Beekman alumna and NY AIDS Walk volunteer and team captain, Elizabeth Nerich—a fearless, ambitious and kind-hearted young woman. Ranking as 24th-highest individual fundraiser during the 2014 Annual New York AIDS Walk, getting into her first choice college, and working for one of America’s communications giants are no small feats!  To this day, Elizabeth acknowledges the support she received at The Beekman School to allow her to pursue her dreams.“Beekman is a really unique school. I’ve yet to meet another person who has had the same...read more

Topics: alumni, student success

Should You Switch From Public School to Private?

Authored by George Higgins, Headmaster

Often at this time of year parents are questioning the quality of the public school system and wondering if a move to private schools next year would be a better choice.  For decades, the private vs. public schools question has been debated. Every city has one or more top public schools where admission is highly competitive and the quality of that education is excellent.  But what if your child wasn’t able to get accepted to one of the selective public schools?  Would the switch to a private school then be the better choice? Start with a close examination of the public schools that you have been offered.  How large is the average classroom?  What percent of the graduating class goes to college?  What does the college acceptance list look like from the past several years?  Is there a high teacher turnover rate?  What is the educational background of the faculty? If the answers to these questions leave you unimpressed, then go to the websites of the private schools on your list.  (You...read more

Topics: private school, George Higgins

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