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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

Women's History is American History

Authored by Gabriella Skwara, History Teacher

This semester, a group of Beekman students have been exploring U.S. history and the history of the presidency from a new angle. In First Ladies, we are examining the evolution of the often full-time (and always unpaid) position that accompanies that of the President. At its most basic, the term merely designates the wife of a U.S. President, but it has also always signified a role as official hostess for White House events both large and small, be they social or political in nature. The best First Ladies have capitalized on their ability to wield soft power for their husbands, thus helping to further diplomacy and advance the President's domestic and international agendas (while carefully keeping this power hidden, and ensuring that he got the credit). They have campaigned and negotiated and been the female face of the country, whether or not they actually wanted this role. From the first, these women have dealt with public scrutiny of their looks, dress, education, spending habits,...read more

Topics: Gabriella Skwara, First Ladies, Women's History

How Do You Prepare For the Transition to a New High School?

Authored by George Higgins, Headmaster

By now, the letters of acceptance have been delivered and you’re choosing the high school you want your child to attend in September.  Once the contract has been signed and the deposit sent, it’s time to prepare your student for the transition to high school. Over the next several months, several things can be done to help make this move go smoothly.  A little planning now will pay off in the fall. Start by taking a look at the academic requirements at your new school.  Find out the courses that will be taken next year.  If possible, ask for the syllabi so you can review the expectations of each teacher.  Does you child possess the skill level required to enter these classes?  If not, many parents enroll children in summer courses that will enrich or review concepts to strengthen a student’s academic foundation before beginning school in the fall.  Having a strong understanding of the fundamentals of a subject will provide a safer starting point for new courses. Find some good books...read more

Topics: high school, George Higgins

Spring Ahead to Summer School

Authored by Maren Holmen, Director of The Tutoring School

Spring break is just around the corner, so why are we already talking about summer school curriculum??  When many people think of summer school, they envision a room filled with students who are goof-offs, woefully clueless, or angst-ridden.  I’ve been a teacher or administrator of a summer school for high school students for almost 15 years, and, in my experience, the stereotypes from comedy movies are outnumbered by the students who actually populate those classrooms. The student with a thirst for learning.  Often starting as early as January (although I fielded an inquiry this year in September), proactive parents begin the process of investigating local summer programs that can advance their child’s education or just provide an outlet for their child’s passions or creativity.  It might be as simple as contacting a tutor to work independently with their child or it could be taking a math or science class that could allow a student to advance to the next level. The student who wants...read more

Topics: Summer School, Summer, Maren Holmen

Going Analog in a Digital World

Authored by Linli Chin, Physics Teacher

Have you noticed how some filters on your Instagram snaps make your photos look “old-school” or “lo-fi” with a vintage feel? Using these filters, our photos go through a digital process of wear and tear in order to give it more uniqueness, depth and personality. In this era of bits, bytes, ones and zeros, there has been a renewed interest in going low-tech that is being seen in the fashion, publishing, music, art and technology world.    Sales of vinyl records hit a 28 year high and mainstream stores such as Barnes & Noble and Whole Foods carry albums released by today’s top grossing artists such as Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber. Nokia recently re-released their iconic 3310 model that has been reimagined with smart features but brings back the simplicity of a flip phone.    Following this trend, I took the opportunity to reintroduce my students to the golden age of photography with a project which had them constructing pinhole cameras from a kit made out of cardboard. This...read more

Topics: Linli Chin, Analog, digital, Pinhole camera

What is Personalized Learning and Why Can’t All Schools Offer It?

Authored by George Higgins, Headmaster

More schools are using the term personalized learning on their promotional materials so, naturally, this trending buzzword in education has piqued parents’ interest.  What is personalized learning?  And, if it’s such a good thing, why can’t all schools offer it? Personalized learning schools are places where there are a variety of approaches to learning subject matter.  Academic support is available that can address the specific needs of a diverse student body, and individual students can receive the educational experience that best suits his/her distinct requirements. By definition, that would explain why every school can’t offer a truly personalized education.  Most programs have a structure that doesn’t support the many aspects of a program geared to diverse teaching styles for a wide variety of learners.  Often, larger schools with larger classrooms are less flexible.  There are schools that, by design, have created programs to include the many approaches to learning that can be...read more

Topics: personalized education, personalized learning, George Higgins

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