This encapsulates how I feel about Beacon: I have two daughters, one a Beacon senior, one currently in 9th grade. Last year, while my Younger was applying to schools, we were subtly steering her towards private school, because we find Beacon to be chaotic (tricky, because we didn't want to make Older feel bad about her school, which she likes). Not knowing if Younger would get into any of these privates, we hoped to secure a spot at Beacon, just in case. I was all over each daughter's application and I can tell you, they were the same: same school, same grades, strong portfolios, same test scores, same! I let Beacon know Younger was a sib, my Older told a few teachers as well, Younger ranked Beacon as her first choice and guess what? Rejected! Guess what else? The majority of girl applicants from her small, private K-8 were accepted, making the rejection more humiliating & baffling. How do you explain this to a 13 year old ? Older is a great student, nice kid and just got in ED to a top, top college, so it's not like she ruined it for Younger. Finally, we had been "good" parents, donating money and volunteering, There's no explaining it -- just chaos. That's Beacon.
This is the second year for my son at Beacon. He is a sophomore now and he can not be happier to be part of this school. I love that the school focuses on preparing kids for University with the type of projects they receive. Teachers are great, the communication between the school and parents is fantastic. The only thing I would like the school to consider is to integrate all classes into engrade, this way is easier for us parents to keep track of our kids progress and be more supportive. Overall I am very satisfied and happy with the school experience and my son's performance so far.
Our son entered Beacon recently as a freshman and is having a very favorable experience thus far. He knew no other students upon arrival but has quickly felt at home and made many new friends. The workload is heavier some evenings (3+ hours) than his fairly rigorous middle school -- but the assignments are generally interesting. Teachers are available for students to consult for extra support as needed and there is a genuine feeling that teachers, advisors and coordinators really care and want the students to succeed. Additionally there is a "big sib" program which provides "sponsorship" of each advisory group by two senior mentors. There is a wide range of extra-curricular activities for students and there are meaningful avenues for parents to get/stay engaged as well. We are so happy to have found a good fit and it is wonderful to see how comfortable our son is already and how good the academics seem to be. He is working hard but really enjoying the experience. This school was well worth every step of the application process. It is clear why it is so well-regarded.
prepare to feel heavily alienated if you don't live in manhattan and your family is below middle-class
Beacon is a really good school. The kids are highly engaged in academics and extracurriculars, and overall teacher quality is strong. That said, there are some real stars and a few duds, but by and large nearly all really appreciate and understand how to work wit the bright, creative teenagers that go to Beacon. Coursework in the humanities is quite rigorous -no need for AP English or History because they are already teaching at college level. Math and science (at least in 9th and 10th grade, and even for students in accelerated math) is not as rigorous as it could be. We are hoping for more demanding courses in the upper grades. Yes, there are plenty of kids who party, but I don't think the scene is atypical of nyc high schools that draw a substantial middle class crowd- and there are plenty of kids at Beacon who don't smoke or drink. On balance, we are very pleased with our choice and are confident that our daughter will be well-prepared for a demanding college program.
when I first came to beacon, I loved it. I met new great friends and most of the teachers are amazing and care about you. it is a little over crowded but they are moving to a new building in like a year or so. It feels like home, and I don't associate with the crazy party goers, but overall beacon is great
Beacon is fantastic for the right student - but this is true everywhere, no? My child went to an elite private school from pre-school through 8th grade (the private schools is one of the most difficult to get into in NYC, crammed with celebs & movers & shakers) & Beacon's teachers are, at minimum, 100% better - many 1000% better - than the teachers he had. Yes, Beacon's crowded, yes there are kids who smoke everything & do everything, get high during the day etc etc - but that's true EVERYWHERE. It's all about the teachers - the athletic teams (hello, the tennis program is insanely good - best in NYC public or private) - the theater program BDAT. The one area the school sucks in is the college office. Beacon doesn't seem to care AT ALL about getting their kids into top-ranked colleges. That's kind of refreshing in the world of college hysteria but if your child wants to go to a top 50 school you have to make that happen yourself. Beacon will not help you. You need to hire a college counselor, tutors, do research, talk to people etc. In every other way, this school is amazing. But you and your child have to get involved, be part of the community, and support the teachers!
My daughter is a sophomore at beacon this year and she loves it but I'm not sure I do. I'm not sure I love her friends. She comes home after a late night of partying each night with the scent of cigarettes and other bad things. She learns a lot at beacon but I'm afraid her bad habits will interfere with that :(
I graduated from Beacon this June and wanted to share some of my experiences/insights. Teacher quality at Beacon is spotty for such a well respected place. Overall I have had more awful teachers here than great ones. As a freshman, there is little support and guidance, however I know there have been recent efforts to improve upon this through summer bridge and big sibs. In my experience the advisory program has been useless and a waste of time, that said other students were luckier with this. Academically, Beacon does have an innovative approach to learning. Students have the ability to select a lot of unique classes and their college program with Fordham is fantastic. However, the classics are entirely neglected (we never once read a Greek tragedy and only read one Shakespeare play) and the lack of textbooks/regents can give teachers an excuse to teach irrelevant course material. Socially, Beacon is home to a lot of hipsters and brooklyn artsy types and drugs and partying are rampant. I would not recommend Beacon for anyone who is not incredibly self-motivated. If you are not, it is just far too easy to slip through the cracks here, academically and otherwise.
Committed, hardworking, caring teacher dot this school, flooding their crowded classrooms with joyful exhuberance. Is there a lot of work here? Oh yes...expect your child to have hours of homework that they will have to negotiate. But somehow, they work hard for these teachers because the payoff is so great. Could not be more thrilled to have my child attend here.
this school prepares you so well for college . its one word amazing, take it from me i graduated from there !
I am interested in acdemics, but I also love the arts?? Is Bard a good school for me??
Beacon is not all it is cracked up to be. Overcrowded, overworked staff and it is hard to find any personalized attention. Leadership is focused on helping the ones that are doing very well do better and turns its head on those who are struggling. Drug and alcohol issues that the school turns a blind eye to. Too much solicitation from the PTA for money. A very elite Manhattan Public school that behaves like a private school. Was hard to get quality advisory attention without pressing. Leaves a very bad taste in the mouth, will be glad to be done with it. Having had 3 kids in NYC Public High Schools, I fail to see where Beacon has earned its quality reputation-
My daughter is a freshman and I am so glad she attends Beacon. It is a very safe school. The population is diverse and my daughter has learned so much about different cultures. The teachers/advisors cause the students to think for themselves and to question things and not just accept things as they are. My daughter is excited to go to school and often comes home discussing topics she learned in school. She has grown so much as an individual and I am so happy. I am proud to be a Beacon parent.
Beacon is a progressive school that values education and requires students to proudly present their work at the end of the year as opposed to taking a silly, bubble and answer regents exam. THANK YOU, BEACON!!!
very warm and nurturing environment. Cares about the love of learning not just test scores...
My child is excited to go to school. When ever I ask' How was school today' the response is ' great', My child is challenged academically and artistically. Beacon is everything a parent could ask for in one school.
My son could not be happier and nor could I. He is getting it all, academics, the arts, sports, and supportive teachers.
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The Community Rating is the school’s average rating from its community members (e.g., parents, students, and school staff). The highest possible rating is five stars; the lowest is one star.
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