This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Beacon High School5
Posted April 13, 2014
- a parent
Awesome school! We have been so happy with our experience at Beacon. As another parent wrote, we really feel like we hit the jackpot. This school is sought after for good reason. The students are provided with challenging/interesting work and are taught to think critically and to express themselves clearly. The advisors and administrators are very committed and the teachers are generally top notch and supportive of student success. Our son has found no shortage of really terrific classmates with whom to spend time and the friends he has made have his same good judgment and enthusiasm for learning. The music program is absolutely amazing and the wide range of sports and extra-curricular provide multiple great choices for nearly everyone. We recognize the school is crowded (but will be in a brand new and spacious location for the second half of our time there) and as with every school, is not right for everyone. It clearly is a good fit for motivated, well-rounded students who really want to learn. There are countless opportunities to lend value as a parent and the school has good communications with parents. This is a high quality high school.
I have two kids who have been at Beacon, one graduated last year and is attending a top college (was accepted almost everywhere applied), and my other child is currently in 10th grade. Yes its overcrowded and not every issue is handled perfectly, but both kids were stimulated, worked hard for their teachers, and excelled at their academics. There is drug and alcohol use at every school, its not about sanitizing their environment but raising your kids to make good decisions - No school is perfect, they both came from private school to Beacon - paying money does not guarantee that the kinks get ironed out. You will never meet a group of more committed teachers than at Beacon, and Ms. Lacey is hands-on active. Couldn't be happier with our choice - feel like we won the academic lottery.
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.
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.
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!