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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

Scholarships, and Why a Private Education is Worth the Cost

Authored by George Higgins, Headmaster

Each generation has looked at the cost of private education and wondered if it was worth the money when there are free public schools available.  For some, those public schools can actually rival many of the good private schools.  But for most, there is a huge gap between the two programs in the quality of education received. Many families have found that their local public school is sufficient through the 8th grade, but as college-bound students begin to prepare for post-secondary education, the game changes.  If you want to stay competitive in the college application race, you are probably trying to figure out a way to manage the ever-growing costs of a private high school education.  When published comparisons are made by independent third parties, the public high schools just don’t measure up to most of the private schools, and the advantages a student will receive during those four years of high school will pay off when trying to find a spot at selective colleges. The most...read more

Topics: scholarships, George Higgins

Notable Student Success Stories: Michelle Koza

Authored by Michelle Koza, English Teacher

Andrew* was a demanding student. He was a challenge to have in class, since he appeared to have no filter when he was sharing his thoughts during discussion. He would interrupt me and his peers frequently, and he was notorious for not listening to others’ perspectives. He had many challenges in reading and writing, but he was extremely hard working. In the end, this made all the difference. As teachers we have to engage even our most difficult students, and I came to admire Andrew and his work ethic. I may have disagreed with him on most things, but he worked hard, as did all of the Beekman teachers he encountered during his time here. It paid off.  Sophomore year, Andrew’s research paper was marked by bias. Andrew did a remarkable job with his research, even if he didn’t properly vet all of his sources. He documented and explained his way through sixteen pages, while at the end filling his conclusion with ad hominem attacks. It was a disappointment for me. He had shown he could do it...read more

Topics: student success, Michelle Koza

Finding the Best Private School - For You

Authored by George Higgins, Headmaster

Perhaps you’re one of those people who have already applied to several schools for next fall and are now waiting to see which schools offer you a seat.  Hopefully, you will receive several letters and have many options.  With choices comes the hard part; what are the best private schools from the selection you’ve been given? Manhattan private schools are extremely varied and those “top ranked” schools aren’t always right for every student.  Before sending your tuition deposit to a school, take a closer look at the choices you have.  The best NYC private schools have many extras and deciding which of those are most valuable to you will have a strong influence on your final decision.  While some schools focus on their sports teams, others focus on the creative arts.  Find our what types of extracurricular activities are available, since rounding out your school day with less-academic pursuits should also be important to high school students. If you’re someone who is just beginning your...read more

Topics: New York City private schools, private school, George Higgins

Alumni Stories: Coco Yang, Class of 2015

Authored by Ke Xin (Coco) Yang

My career at Beekman started in my second year in the U.S.  At first, I chose Beekman simply because I needed to attend a private high school in order to continue studying in the States. But I hoped the small-size classes could help me more than my previous public high school (which had 2500 students). By the time I entered Beekman, I appeared to be introverted because of the language barrier and did not have much of a plan for the future. With two years of help from Beekman, I am now able to study at a U.S. college and pursue a definite goal. The most obvious advantage Beekman has is its small class size. Classes with no more than 10 students allowed me to receive more attention from teachers and allowed teachers to understand me as an individual. When I was in Linli’s Physics class, she would help us one by one if we could not understand the class materials. Even if everyone had different questions, the small size of the class gave us time to solve problems with her. Linli was also...read more

Topics: alumni, The Beekman School

The Speed of Life: How and When Should You Accelerate Graduation?

Authored by Maren Holmen, Director of The Tutoring School

The four-year high school model works for most students; it provides enough time to adequately learn all of the information that we expect students to learn before they go on to other institutions or start careers as well as enough opportunity to mature and learn those “soft skills.”  However, there is a segment of the student population who would strongly benefit from an accelerated high school program, enabling them to graduate in less than four years.  Who are these students and how can schools support them? Often, the mind immediately goes to gifted students.  How can parents find programs for gifted students?  The not-so-obvious answer is that it isn't necessarily dependent on choosing one particular school or program.  While a program that meets your gifted child’s needs without going outside is certainly preferable, it’s possible to create your own gifted program.  For instance, would your child like to jump ahead in math by taking two courses at the same time but the class...read more

Topics: gifted & talented, flexible scheduling, Maren Holmen

A Beginner’s Guide to Art Class

Authored by Deborah Doering, Art Teacher

I am an artist-educator actively involved in making socially-engaged art using a variety of technologies and techniques. When I came to The Beekman School to teach drawing and photography three years ago, I was not quite sure how to approach teaching drawing and photography to students who might not be very interested in “art” of any kind. Serendipitously, I had one very talented and passionate art student in my first class – but his passion was Manga and Anime, and these were art forms that were largely unfamiliar to me. So my task as artist-teacher became to create a framework that would include examining and exploring many types of visual imagery – from Anime to Zephyr Art. My framework for the visual arts at The Beekman School includes basic Elements (line, shape, color, texture, tone/value), Principles (Focal Point, Balance, Leading Lines, Pattern, Perspective, Proportion, Scale), and Critiques.  We use three different critique methods in my art and technology classes –...read more

Topics: art, teaching, Deborah Doering

The Right High School: Myth versus Reality

Authored by Maren Holmen, Director of The Tutoring School

Numerous articles (including our own on this blog) have been written about how to choose the right high school.  Clearly, this is neither easy nor easily quantifiable.  There are many references to making lists, doing your research, and asking questions of everyone you know.  These are all part of choosing the right high school—but it isn’t the core, in my opinion.   Myth:  There’s a right school for every person. Reality:  The right school depends as much (if not more) on what a student puts into the equation. Much like the supposed “dream school” that students look for in their college-admissions hunt, there is no one “right” school for a student.  There are plenty of schools that are not a good fit for a variety of reasons (the pace is too fast, there isn’t enough support and structure, there is a religious component that is at odds with the student,) but no school is perfect for a student in every sense.  If the school is willing or able to work with you to accommodate those...read more

Topics: high school, admissions, choosing the right school, Maren Holmen

Notable Student Success Stories: Vanilla Macias-Rodriguez

Authored by Vanilla Macias-Rodriguez, Science Teacher

I grew up believing mediocrity was unacceptable.  In the Macias household, the only acceptable report card grade to bring home was an A.  B’s were considered failing grades and only God knew what would happen to you if you ever brought home a C.  Neither I nor my siblings cared to test out that scenario.  We worked hard to live up to and exceed the expectations our parents placed on our shoulders.  Life has taught me that not everyone had that same experience.  In fact, I think my tough-love upbringing is becoming quite the rarity in today’s world and average is unfortunately becoming the accepted norm in our touchy-feely society.  How different would life be without the overachievers of the world?  What if Edison had decided that candlelight was good enough or the Wright brothers felt that train service could get you anywhere you needed to go in a decent amount of time?  Would using a flip phone or a rotary land line be acceptable to anyone in 2016?  What if Yo-Yo Ma was thrilled...read more

Topics: Vanilla Macias-Rodriguez


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