Beacon Day School has been a home away from home for both of my children since ECP (early childhood program). I have a 3rd, 5th grader. Teachers are caring and loving. Staff will act immediately to resolve any issues if one arises. My children have become the most amazing readers, they are thriving in the Beacon's environment which is focusing on the whole child. They are learning at their own pace. No homework and year-around school has been a blessing for us. We still go over our work with both of my children weekly, it's a way to check in to see where they are. We also get bi-weekly report of the classroom from the teachers. The playground has been improved with the wonderful garden area. Overall, It has been a Great experience for our family.
Beacon Day School offers a well-rounded education that has helped my daughter and her school mates to develop a love of learning, self-confidence, creativity, and respect for others. As I reflect on my daughter's 8+ years at Beacon from her early childhood program to now being a 6th grader, I see the results of their small class sizes, knowledgeable and experienced teachers, and attention to the needs of each student. My child thrives in Beacon's environment where academic coursework and the arts are seamlessly woven together. In Beacon's diverse student, teacher and family community, my daughter has learned to respect and embrace others' differences, and to appreciate her own individuality. Beacon's approach to educating students produces young people who can face any challenge because they have been allowed to learn at their own pace and encouraged to think outside of the box.
I searched high and low for the right school for our son. We knew we found it at Beacon. This is a nurturing, caring environment that focuses on the whole child. The emphasis on the arts, dance, music, language, motor skills, plus math and reading, really make it a hidden jem in Oakland. They treat each child as an individual, and cater to each child's needs. The staff is warm and friendly and the small class sizes foster a love of learning for each child. We really could not be happier with this school, the teachers and the education.
I moved from San Diego where my girls loved & thrived in their school. Anything less would thwart our relocation. Beacon has exceeded a very high bar by huge margins. Beacon at its core believes that children love to learn, & its role is to facilitate children to become good learners & good people. Specifically it believes: 1) that every child learns differently & therefore needs individualized expectations & support; 2) that emotional & social intelligence are critical components of learning; 3) that appreciation & skills of the art are vital to overall growth; 4) that learning takes place at home & therefore has a no homework policy for elementary school; 5) that learning is about a deeper understanding of the subject matter - therefore elementary school is a year long program & middle schools has block scheduling and 6) that children learn with & from each other, and therefore has in the elementary school some multi-grade classes and reading time, and multi-grade electives in middle school. If I was to asked to make changes - I would add more field trips for all grade levels and more active opportunities for involvement in social justice issues.
The level of professionalism is only outweighed by the caring of the teaching staff. The children are encouraged to 'do stuff', to explore, to share. As a grandparent, I am very pleased that my grand child is attending this school.
Small classroom size was extremely important to us and Beacon was the only school we found that kept them small. No larger than 18 in the lower school. We value education more than anything, thus the sacrifice to pay for private, but we didn't want our child pushed and stressed just to show off her education. Kids develop at such different paces, and are almost all caught up by 3rd grade, so we wanted a school that allowed her to develop at her own pace in each subject. The one review complaining that their elementary child was behind when she left is a bit unfair because Beacon doesn't teach "just to test" or push/drag kids when they really aren't ready. They teach to each child's needs! They really focus on the whole child, nurturing a child's individuality and specifically allowing expression through the arts. They have a separate studio for dance lessons, art, motor, and music. Plus they teach Spanish. We know children in many different schools and I can guarantee my daughter is right on pace with her non-Beacon peers. Beacon was also the only private school we looked at that was truly diverse in population. We love it!
My children have both been at this school since pre-K. The oldest is now in Middle School, and the youngest is in upper elementary. There is no other place we would consider sending them. This is a school that puts children and their needs first. If there was an ideal place for children to learn, it is Beacon. This is a school where children are cherished and made to feel good about who they are, as they are, instead of pathologizing them for not fitting into the norm. One of my children is far ahead of the curve, and the other is slightly behind. Beacon has managed to accomodate both children, and allows them to feel competent and good about themselves. My kids love going to school, and often will ask to stay at school if I pick them up early. Beacon understands working parents. The year-round model, the no homework policy, the seamless before and aftercare...makes you wonder why no one else has gotten the memo that this is what really works best for everyone in the family.
My son is thriving both academically and socially at Beacon Day School. He is finishing up sixth grade, and has been at Beacon since 2nd. The Beacon approach knows just how to get the absolute most out of your child. By the time he was done with 5th grade, he was reading at the high school level and doing algebra. He is excited about school every day and has become a passionate learner. I have Beacon to thank for that. He is truly becoming "fearless" when it comes to taking on new academic, social and athletic challenges. He is becoming very well-prepared to take on the rigors of high school academics. I have been very impressed to see the top schools to which Beacon students have been accepted, year after year. The high schools know they are getting life-long learner who is prepared for the academic, social, and time-management challenges the next level presents.
The ratings of the Beacon School on this list do not reflect the dozens of families who have pulled their children out of Beacon in the past three years becauce of its failing academics, lack of community, and the dearth of communication on the part of the school's administrative staff. My child attended Beacon beginning in pre-school. The pre-school was quite good as was the K-1 teacher and curriculum. In 2nd grade Beacon's no homework policy, limited facilities and lack of community begins to hit home. No homework seems like a great idea except kids at Beacon LAG in learning and skill development by 1-2 grades compared to their peers in other schools as many of us discovered when are children re-enrolled in other, sometimes public schools! Beacon is located in leased space that provides sub-par facilities including a library that consists of hallway rolling carts and a bleak, paved playground that is not commensurate with a decent public school, let alone a private one. If you're stuck in a bad OUSD elementary district you may want to consider Beacon as an option. Otherwise, do not waste your child's foundational years in what has become a very, very weak institution.
My daughter started in preschool and is now in first grade. Her experience has been wonderful. But I actually want to express how great Beacon is for PARENTS: * All-year school -- Students attend all year. Summer vacation is a two-week break in August. Fantastic for their learning, and a dream come true for working parents. No need for camps! Kids stay put, with buddies, learning. * Vacations -- School is all year, so your family can go to Disneyland whenever it works for YOU (ie, NOT when every other family on Earth is there!). * Integrated after care -- Working parents relax. The kids are happy and their after-care teacher is integrated into the regular school day. Your child is a beloved member of the community, which is a wonderful feeling when you have to leave your child for extended hours. * NO HOMEWORK until 5th grade -- More days of school = no need for homework until it is developmentally beneficial. Beacon encourages quality family time and down time for children. Evenings are so pleasant when you play games and eat dinner together instead of battling over spelling words. Beacon is the way school should be, for students AND PARENTS in the 21st century.
I cannot recommend Beacon highly enough. It is very strong academically. And it also focuses on helping children make connections across disciplines in a way that is fun and valuable. For example 2nd thru 5th graders memorize and perform poetry for an audience which allows them to work on literature and public speaking/performance simultaneously. The philosophy of the school is to create thoughtful, confident, curious, well-rounded children -- and Beacon is succeeding in this endeavor. The community is welcoming and diverse. Teachers and staff go the extra mile and you can tell they truly love working at Beacon. The fact that it is year round can't be beat as students don't have to re-learn in the fall the math (or other subjects) they learned the previous spring but may have forgotten over the summer.
Beacon is a one-of-a-kind opportunity for children. Not only is Beacon strong academically, with a significant number of its graduates going on to attend top-ranking high schools and colleges. but Beacon's emphasis on manners and other "soft" skills gives the students an advantage in a world in which recent generations are often being criticized for lacking the same. Additionally, Beacon has an early childhood program that goes beyond "day care." My child LOVES the teachers and is already starting to spell and add!
My two children have attended Beacon Day School since they were three years old. They are now 7 and 9 years old and in the 2nd and 4th grades respectively. I still feel strongly that we made the right decision in our school selection. In comparison to other independent schools, Beacon offers a more personable experience. It is a small school with less than 300 students, and they are in touch with the students. The staff and families have established relationships and work well together for the benefit of the children. The academics are strong along with the development of social skills. No bullying is allowed and conflict resolution is taught so that children learn how to resolve issues before they escalate. I feel comfortable and confident that my kids are well taken care of, while I am at work. If we are fortunate enough, they will remain at the school until they graduate from the eighth grade.
This is an *excellent* place to send one's child. My daughter suffered at a public charter school prior to attending her eighth grade at Beacon.The teachers and staff warmly embraced her right from the beginning of the year. Her academic progress skyrocketed as a result of the approachability of the teachers and staff as well as the humble, caring attitude of the parent community as well. The best part of our one-year experience was the fact that the kids embraced her as a friend right from the "get-go". There were no student cliques and she felt welcome and appreciated. The school is well worth the $$$ and we will miss Beacon a lot.
We moved our 2 children from Thornhill Elementary in the Oakland Schools. They learn differently from one another yet neither's needs could be met once the class sizes at Thornhill increased to over 30, etc. Beacon has been able to be more accomodating and attentive, while still challenging our kids to be the best they can be. It is an especially appealing school for elementary school students because there is no set homework. Kids are able to have free reading time each day and there are book shelves along the hallways so kids can grab a book whenever they want. I could go on and on... this is just a wonderful school.... not perfect but still the best around. If you want your child to be truly nurtured and appreciated for the individual they are, please check out Beacon. Note also it is VERY diverse and alternative families fit in perfectly.
After looking at 9 schools in the East Bay Area, Beacon was by far featuring the best and most accountable program for my son. The 80% proficiency requirement gives me peace of mind that my son is accountable for his performance. The cores values Beacon supports insures that the community of students have a heightened awareness of diversity, respect and tolerance which I find refreshing from many 'elite' schools. As a 6th grade transfer parent last year, I'm very happy with our decision.
We enrolled our daughter in middle school here, 6th grade, and have had a great experience, after attending 2 other schools. The classes are small, the focus on academics is very solid, is very compassionate, and the 'whole student' is considered with the teaching. The staff is very well organized and attentive to the quality and well being of the student. Very highly impressed with this school and how it is run. Our daughter bounces out of bed each day to get to school, which was not true at other schools she attended.
Beacon is Great! We are new to the school and have boys in 3rd and 6th grade (middle school). We came from East Bay Waldorf school - a VERY damaging experience for our 6th grader. We can't say enough good things about Beacon. So well run, so responsive, a very well thought out academic approach, follow-through, small class size, the list goes on and on. We no longer worry about our sons' school experience. If you are looking for something different and have been frustrated elsewhere you should check into Beacon.
Beacan has great teachers and wonderful enrichment classes. The developmental curriculum allows each child to progress at their own rate seamlessly within the class.
Finally, a school that teaches to EVERY child. Their motto should be, Truly, NO child is left behind' It's a fabulous learning environment!
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