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Notable Student Success Stories: Kate Bendrick

Authored by Kate Bendrick, Math Teacher

American students are plagued with the belief that math is a talent. In one study comparing American students with Japanese students, American kids gave up on a problem after 30 seconds. The Japanese students, by contrast, struggled for an hour to solve a problem. That’s 120 times as long! “Sit on a stone for three years to accomplish anything.” This Japanese proverb might have something to do with this enormous difference. The proverb means that with patience and perseverance, anything can be accomplished. The outsider’s pessimistic interpretation might be twofold: sitting doesn’t accomplish anything. Sitting doing nothing is boring. And indeed, perseverance happens when the glamor of novelty has worn off. There is no glamor in my students’ successes. There is no lightbulb moment in which suddenly ignorance is replaced by vast understanding. It’s a process of slow realization, that patience and perseverance does in fact work. My student came to me at the beginning of the year in...read more

Topics: Kate Bendrick, homework, math, persistence

Homeschooling: Think Outside the Home

Authored by Maren Holmen, Director of The Tutoring School

For many homeschool parents, high school is the most difficult time to meet the educational needs of their children.  There are certain subjects that will seem easy to handle; many people are fairly conversant in topics related to English and history, but I’ve spoken with a number of parents who tell me they can’t help their teen with his math homework.  What do you do when you’re supposed to be the person who teaches that math? Homeschool enrichment classes might be the solution.  In a growing number of communities (and most notably, in larger cities), retired teachers, freelance tutors, and other homeschool parents offer classes that are open to families in the homeschool community, from screenwriting to the French language to Calculus.  Not only is this an opportunity for homeschool students to follow their passions or discover new interests, it’s also a chance to meet other homeschool students (which is one of the biggest challenges of homeschooling—there’s no built-in social...read more

Topics: homeschooling, Maren Holmen

How to Inspire Creativity

Authored by Cavin Thuring, Technology Teacher

I am teaching Digital Illustration again at Beekman.  Surprisingly, it is one of my more challenging courses.  Too many students are taken aback by the amount of effort Adobe Illustrator is to use when weighed against their desire to create. It’s ironic that my 3D students have no problem learning and using Autodesk Maya, a far more complex program (by an order of magnitude or two), to create objects and construct scenes (that final render or 3D printed object makes the work worth it). I stumbled upon one device that helps to improve that effort-reward ratio: flippancy.   One student swore he could not design: he could come up with nothing and the final assignment was just too hard. (Mind you, this student also complained about my teaching method--that in his home country everything is rote: tasks practiced over and and over.) How many times did he need to practice taking the cursor and selecting an object (which was the problem at hand)? When he said he couldn’t come up with an idea...read more

Topics: Cavin Thuring, Adobe Illustrator, Autodesk Maya

How to Fight "Brain Drain" and Still Enjoy Your Summer

Authored by Maren Holmen, Director of The Tutoring School

We’ve written in the past about how to make sure that summer school won’t ruin your summer or how to make summer courses help you in meeting your educational goals.  However, if you are like most people, you don’t want to think about anything school-related during the summer!  How can you enjoy your summer vacation while not giving in to the “summer slide?” Summer school tutoring may be your answer.  Unlike taking a full-blown summer school course, engaging the services of a summer school tutor means that you can cover the topics you want on a schedule that works for you.  Are you worried that you’ll forget all of that Spanish vocabulary while you’re not in school?  Arrange for a Spanish tutor to work with you once a week reviewing your grammar and maintaining your vocabulary.  Are you going away to soccer camp in July but need to work on your essay-writing skills?  Work with a tutor before you leave and after you return to focus those analytical techniques.  Do you have a summer job...read more

Topics: tutoring, Summer, Summer School, Maren Holmen

Science Ruins Everything--or Does It?

Authored by Vanilla Macias-Rodriguez, Science Teacher

There are many things we experience in our day-to-day life that we believe just can't be explained, like déjà vu, love, the amazing feeling that washes over you when you feel the warmth from the sun on a winter day, or that distinct smell that only comes right before it rains.  As Mark Twain said, "It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." These incredible phenomena that many of us deem so personal and unexplainable can be explained with scientific theories.   ·      Déjà Vu   While I'd like to believe déjà vu is due to my realizing an experience bizarro-me is having in a parallel universe, science will tell you that unsettling déjà vu feeling, no matter how strong it feels, is your brain playing tricks on you.  While scientists don’t know exactly what is going on, explanations include a possible glitch between your short- and long-term memory, or simply the message from your right eye reaching your brain faster than the...read more

Topics: Vanilla Macias-Rodriguez, science, love

Preparing for AP Exams

Authored by Maren Holmen, Director of The Tutoring School

Even though the AP exams aren’t until May, now is the time to start your AP test prep, particularly if you aren’t taking an AP course.  (Yes, that’s correct—it is possible to take an AP exam even if you aren’t taking an AP course in that subject area!)  Because AP exams are what colleges use to judge whether or not you are granted college credit for your knowledge in a certain subject, they are more comprehensive and require a greater knowledge than an SAT Subject test.  Understandably, they will require more preparation than you would devote to most other standardized tests. If you are taking an AP course, the material taught in that course should prepare you for the AP exam.  However, as with school exams, you will need to study outside of the class for the AP exam and, for some people, they will also look to get some AP tutoring in order to help them with focused preparation for the exam. What are the hallmarks of a good AP tutor?  Clearly, you should find someone who is familiar...read more

Topics: AP exams, test prep, tutoring, Maren Holmen

Scholarships, and Why a Private Education is Worth the Cost

Authored by George Higgins, Headmaster

Each generation has looked at the cost of private education and wondered if it was worth the money when there are free public schools available.  For some, those public schools can actually rival many of the good private schools.  But for most, there is a huge gap between the two programs in the quality of education received. Many families have found that their local public school is sufficient through the 8th grade, but as college-bound students begin to prepare for post-secondary education, the game changes.  If you want to stay competitive in the college application race, you are probably trying to figure out a way to manage the ever-growing costs of a private high school education.  When published comparisons are made by independent third parties, the public high schools just don’t measure up to most of the private schools, and the advantages a student will receive during those four years of high school will pay off when trying to find a spot at selective colleges. The most...read more

Topics: scholarships, George Higgins

Notable Student Success Stories: Michelle Koza

Authored by Michelle Koza, English Teacher

Andrew* was a demanding student. He was a challenge to have in class, since he appeared to have no filter when he was sharing his thoughts during discussion. He would interrupt me and his peers frequently, and he was notorious for not listening to others’ perspectives. He had many challenges in reading and writing, but he was extremely hard working. In the end, this made all the difference. As teachers we have to engage even our most difficult students, and I came to admire Andrew and his work ethic. I may have disagreed with him on most things, but he worked hard, as did all of the Beekman teachers he encountered during his time here. It paid off.  Sophomore year, Andrew’s research paper was marked by bias. Andrew did a remarkable job with his research, even if he didn’t properly vet all of his sources. He documented and explained his way through sixteen pages, while at the end filling his conclusion with ad hominem attacks. It was a disappointment for me. He had shown he could do it...read more

Topics: student success, Michelle Koza

Finding the Best Private School - For You

Authored by George Higgins, Headmaster

Perhaps you’re one of those people who have already applied to several schools for next fall and are now waiting to see which schools offer you a seat.  Hopefully, you will receive several letters and have many options.  With choices comes the hard part; what are the best private schools from the selection you’ve been given? Manhattan private schools are extremely varied and those “top ranked” schools aren’t always right for every student.  Before sending your tuition deposit to a school, take a closer look at the choices you have.  The best NYC private schools have many extras and deciding which of those are most valuable to you will have a strong influence on your final decision.  While some schools focus on their sports teams, others focus on the creative arts.  Find our what types of extracurricular activities are available, since rounding out your school day with less-academic pursuits should also be important to high school students. If you’re someone who is just beginning your...read more

Topics: New York City private schools, private school, George Higgins

Alumni Stories: Coco Yang, Class of 2015

Authored by Ke Xin (Coco) Yang

My career at Beekman started in my second year in the U.S.  At first, I chose Beekman simply because I needed to attend a private high school in order to continue studying in the States. But I hoped the small-size classes could help me more than my previous public high school (which had 2500 students). By the time I entered Beekman, I appeared to be introverted because of the language barrier and did not have much of a plan for the future. With two years of help from Beekman, I am now able to study at a U.S. college and pursue a definite goal. The most obvious advantage Beekman has is its small class size. Classes with no more than 10 students allowed me to receive more attention from teachers and allowed teachers to understand me as an individual. When I was in Linli’s Physics class, she would help us one by one if we could not understand the class materials. Even if everyone had different questions, the small size of the class gave us time to solve problems with her. Linli was also...read more

Topics: alumni, The Beekman School

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