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Should we teach English grammar in our schools?

Authored by Daniel Shabasson, language teacher

Is it important to teach English grammar in our schools? Do kids need to know the difference between a noun and an adjective, or between the subject and the direct object of a sentence? Before the 1960s, educators generally believed that understanding grammar was crucial to becoming an articulate speaker and a good writer of English. But a sea change in thinking occurred in the late ’50s and early ’60s. In the words of David Mulroy in his book The War Against Grammar, opponents of grammar teaching commenced a “war against grammar.” This was a systematic effort to eliminate grammar instruction from the classroom on the grounds that learning grammar was supposedly a waste of classroom time. The opponents of grammar instruction won this war. Nowadays, grammar is rarely taught to our kids, which Mulroy thinks is very unfortunate. Mulroy believes that the loss of grammar instruction has led to the deterioration of writing skills. I’m not sure I agree with Mulroy in his claim that the...read more

Topics: grammar, English, writing, Daniel Shabasson

Crafting an Essay with Curiosity

Authored by Ian Rusten, History teacher

How do we become historical writers who don’t merely write about facts, but write strong informational essays that develop ideas, arrange facts, and provide supporting evidence and details, all while making connections and drawing conclusions? Every year, I ask my students to write several informational essays. Essays that require research and research questions, a topic sentence, a main idea, supporting evidence, an introduction, and a conclusion. Inevitably, upon receiving the assignments, students panic and feel unsure of how to address at least one of the stages of the writing process. Sometimes the struggle is with getting started, developing research questions, or writing a strong and relevant topic sentence, and other times it’s with finding sources or adding and citing supporting evidence. However, the skills required to craft an effective and powerful informational essay are not just important for your high school history class, they are skills and tools that can be used both...read more

Topics: research, research papers, writing, essay writing

The Sound (and Math) of Music

Authored by Linli Chin, Physics teacher

Every year in my Theoretical Physics class, we learn about vibration and waves using the wave equation, which relates the speed of a wave to the product of its wavelength and frequency. We naturally progress into the physics of music, which marries the concepts of ratios and patterns in mathematics, standing waves in strings and air columns, pitch, resonances, and so much more! During this chapter, the students get a chance to showcase their love for music by completing a project dedicated to their instrument of choice where they get to do background research, learn about the evolution of an instrument, and, most importantly, how the parts of the instruments work harmoniously to produce consonant sounds, and present it to the class. In the past years, I have had students present a myriad of instruments from the common pianos and violins, to glass harmonicas, ukuleles, cellos, and even a didgeridoo! Some students even go above and beyond (for extra credit- of course!) and bring in...read more

Topics: physics, math, music, Linli Chin

Beekman - The Best Little School You’ve Never Heard Of

Authored by Maren Holmen, Head of School

One of the comments I hear most often from prospective families in my 20+ years here at The Beekman School is, “…but I’ve never heard of you!”  I’ve heard this from lifelong New Yorkers who thought they knew all of the local schools, and I’ve heard this from educational consultants who have been placing students in larger Metro-area schools for years.  Are we a new school?  No; we’ve been around for almost 100 years.  Are we (gasp) not very good?  While I typically jump to the defense of my beloved school, I will take this opportunity to let others speak on my behalf. Niche.com publishes school rankings each year to help parents (and students) who are looking for guidance during their school search.  There is, of course, no one way to evaluate all schools, but Beekman is consistently in the top 10-25% (based on the ranking metric) of its peer schools. One of those rankings is for “most diverse private high schools in New York” (where we are in the top 10%).  With typically a quarter...read more

Topics: small classes, college prep, Maren Holmen

Acing the College Interview

Authored by Krista Sergi, Director of College Guidance

“So, tell me about yourself.” *Student stares at me like a deer in headlights* This is how I like to start mock-interviews with my students, and I’m not going to lie, it’s 100% because I like to elicit this classic bewildered reaction. More on this later. Interviews are wonderful tools for colleges to get to know students and vice versa. For students who are naturally gregarious, this process can be pretty fun, but for students who are a little more shy, this process could become anxiety-inducing. If you fall into the latter category (or you’re a pro and just want some tips), fear not! I’ve got you covered. Generally, my students do a great job preparing for interviews because they follow the golden rules we establish during their eleventh grade year. Here they are: Do the research. This is the most critical step. By the time you interview, you should already have a firm grasp of the majors and minors that interest you, the clubs and organizations you may want to join (and, if you see...read more

Topics: college, college prep, interview

What Do the Newest Changes to the SAT Mean For College Admissions?

Authored by Krista Sergi, Director of College Guidance

In a recent article, the College Board announced that it is no longer offering SAT Subject Tests or the SAT with Essay. Having worked in college admissions and as a high school counselor, I feel both relief and disappointment. Before I get into my feelings, however, I need to contextualize this a bit.   Removing SAT Subject Tests May Level the Playing Field The SAT Subject Tests are, as the name suggests, subject-specific exams that allow students to demonstrate advanced skills and knowledge in a particular subject area such as Biology, Physics, English Literature, etc. In my experience, these tests were required by more selective schools, including the Ivies and Ivy-laterals (Duke, MIT, Georgetown, etc.) and suggested by other selective schools (e.g., Lafayette or Bryn Mawr) as a way for students to distinguish themselves amidst a pool of other highly-qualified applicants. From an access and equity standpoint, I have never been a fan of any of the college entrance exams. I have...read more

Topics: college prep, College Board, SAT prep, AP exams, Krista Sergi

Online Homeschooling Tutors

Authored by Glenn Doering, Tutoring School Director

Online Homeschooling Tutors | Get Homeschool Tutoring Help Are you homeschooling your high schooler? That is often the right option for some teenagers, but it also presents some challenges for their parents. Let The Beekman School help you navigate those challenges. Parents who are homeschooling often feel that they must teach everything their children are learning. In truth – they do not. They just need to facilitate opportunities for their students to learn. This is where our online homeschooling tutor support can be very helpful. We can supply a private teacher for homeschooling those subjects that parents are not comfortable teaching or are not equipped to handle. For instance, does your son or daughter want to learn a foreign language? We have tutors that can teach Spanish, French, Italian, Japanese, German, Korean and more. Experienced Online Tutors to Meet Today’s Homeschooling Challenges Perhaps some math or science courses fall outside a parent’s area of expertise. Calculus...read more

Topics: homeschooling, online tutoring, tutoring, online school, Glenn Doering

The Beekman School's Reopening Plan

Authored by The Beekman School

Please find the reopening plan for The Beekman School and related community policies and guidelines.  Please note that these plans and policies are subject to change.   read more

Topics: COVID-19

Beekman’s Unique and Successful Response to COVID-19: A Personal Account

Authored by Vanilla Macias-Rodriguez, science teacher

On Friday, March 13th, we left Beekman for a two-week Spring Break vacation.  I told my students good-bye, be safe, and make good choices.  I made sure my room was tidy and the computer and SMARTBoard were turned off.  I watered my plants and rushed out the door to catch my flight home to San Antonio, Texas.  We had heard whisperings of a virus that was going to be a big problem.  In the last week of school, our administration trained us on Zoom and we made sure all students could log on and knew how to use the platform.  The students, of course, had great virtual backgrounds going within seconds of logging on.  Wherever we traveled, we were encouraged to take everything we would need to teach just in case things went sideways.  While we were prepared for the shelter-in-place order and knew we might not come back to school in two weeks time, none of us could have fathomed that we would not be returning to the Beekman brownstone this year. We had plans!  Prom, graduation, Art Shows,...read more

Topics: Vanilla Macias-Rodriguez, COVID-19

Personalized Virtual Learning Through the COVID-19 Quarantine

Authored by The Beekman School

As traditional high schools shift to virtual learning, the transition can leave students scrambling to manage. Large class sizes, limited support, generalized assignments, and heavy workloads can result in students struggling with school.  The Beekman School has responded to the challenge of COVID-19 by transitioning our students entirely into remote online learning. Our commitment to personalized, quality education and small classes continues with this transition. Students who are enrolled at Beekman can maintain their tailored courses of study and work toward their academic goals.  Our school has always offered students flexible, customized plans for learning. This flexible approach has allowed us to make optimal use of our remote learning resources. Class participants benefit from our student-focused classes and our ongoing commitment to provide personalized learning during COVID-19 social distancing. If your child is struggling to succeed in their “new normal” virtual classroom,...read more

Topics: personalized learning, virtual learning, remote learning, distance learning

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