This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Beacon Day School5
Posted October 20, 2014
- a parent
This is our first year at Beacon Day School and I can't say enough about the community. My child has special needs and I was at a loss of where they would go and be successful in public school (and other private schools for that matter!). From the moment we entered Beacon the entire community welcomed us. The teachers are wonderful, they all know my name, and they treat children with the respect and rights that they deserve.
As an educator, the small class sizes and no homework are a plus. I love the extended year and the vast amount of field trips. So far, Beacon has shown my family their dedication to developmentally appropriate practices and the ability to work with children of all needs.
The addition of the new Head of School, Suzanne Abbey, has brought back the leadership, excitement and energy we have been missing over the last few years. The school was administratively adrift but no more and the future is looking bright. In the short time Suzanne has been here, welcome and positive changes have been made. Head Royce's loss is our gain! My daughter has been attending for the last 5 years and we have felt the quality of the teachers to be outstanding throughout. She is getting a top notch education that is preparing her to be confident learner and thinker. The year round program is something we feel very fortunate to have found. No homework until fifth grade is one of the benefits of having year round school. If I were looking for a school for my child I would definitely visit Beacon.
From its beginning Beacon has emphasized the school's support for students with learning differences. However, in our experience the school not only does not excel in this area, it actually does a poor job of helping students learn, grow and develop self-confidence. By the time our child was in 3rd grade, it became clear that she and many of her peers were truly being harmed by Beacon's educational approach and lack of community. Like many former Beacon families, we regret drinking the kool aid of smaller class sizes and no homework as beneficial. Sure, small class sizes matter, but a great school is more than a glorified day care center. At AUSD our child entered a school with strong leadership, a coherent academic pedagogy and good facilities. On every level the public school was a step-up from Beacon. In terms of homework, sure it's not always fun to deal with. But, it is a way to ensure you know what your child is learning. Unless your child's only school option is a really bad public school do your child a favor and choose another school. Good Luck!
Our niece and nephew (who we raise) were enrolled in a less than ideal public school while living with their grandmother in San Jose, and we jumped at the chance to take them into our home and have them begin attending Beacon up here in Oakland. Our niece has a fairly severe documented learning disability, but makes fast friends and loves social interaction. Beacon served her well in getting her the academic support she needed while giving her a wonderful and diverse group of friends. Her challenges were enough that Beacon worked with us to find an even better fit for her for middle school (Raskob), but we are very happy she was a part of the Beacon community for 2nd-5th grade. Our nephew is a bit of his sister's opposite, excelling in most academic areas but struggling sometimes with social interaction amongst his peers - he is blossoming on both fronts as a 6th grader now! It is a credit to Beacon that they were able to provide the academic support for our niece, while providing the needed social support for our nephew - while challenging them both in the areas that they excelled. The staff are skilled and caring, and we are so happy we were able to find this school.
This has been my first year with Beacon. The staff is friendly and very good at what they do. I have seen how the kids learn great manners and are so smart! I do hope that Beacon stays around for many years to come because so many families benefit from it.
Beacon Day School is a very special place. In my search for preschools and grade schools, I really found no other place like it. All the teachers are awesome, but unfortunately, the administration and the Board of Directors are not. They have made poorly planned cuts and very reactive decisions in just the short 2 years we have been part of the school. Their communications to parents is lacking of important, pertinent details, if not downright lies to save face or saying what sounds good. They have no strategic plans on how to recruit or turn the school around. And for these reasons, parents/students and good teachers are leaving. At this rate, they will be closed within 3 years. Beacon has lost on average 40 students each year, for 2 years!
This school has really help to turn our nephew around. Before he came to Beacon he was getting C's and D's in Public School. The individualized attention and small class size really helped him get the attention he needed that he was not getting in the public school. He has been at the school for the last two years. He now gets mostly A's, and just two B's this last trimester. This school has great teachers who keep parents informed of issues when they happen which allows you to deal with the issue as they come up. This school also has a great focus on the Arts (music, dance, and art classes). This school has an excellent after school program, too! This school really prepared him for High School. Becasue of the great education and support that he received at this school he was accepted into 3 of the best private high schools in the area.
Beacon Day School brings a wonderful value to education. All under one roof, Beacon offers fundamentals of reading, writing, math, and science taught by a dedicated staff with years of experience at Beacon. Additionally, class size is small and each class has a floating teacher . Consistency offered can not be beat! The school is year round (and the same price as many 9 mo private schools) and offers before care and summer activities at no additional cost. My son gets consistent attention and class time from specialists providing weekly dance, PE, Spanish, and art to support his learning again at no additional cost. Beacon is a great value and emphasizes increase family time encouraging family vacations on a year-round schedule (not just summer months) and school-work done at school with the education professionals until kids are developmentally ready for homework on their own (not until 5th grade). I wish all schools could be what Beacon is!
Beacon Day School has enabled our graandson to learn at his own pace w/loving, skilled teachers. Initially, he was challenged in all phases of education, but w/a little extra help in the classroom he has now become a good independent reader and math skills are becoming easier. The arts programs have given him an opportunity to thrive and find the self-confidence he needs to continue in the areas where he is challenged. most. Beacon has been a very positive experience for the family. The all-year school and after hours program is very helpful for working parents. It is more than a 'babysitting' service. All in all a positive experience and one we would recommend.