Mission and Vision
History and Onward
The Beacon School was created in 1993 by two District Three educators, Ruth Lacey and Steve Stoll, with help from parents and teachers who shared the hope that a small, selective secondary school could thrive within a large, heterogeneous public school system. Since its inception, the Beacon School has offered a challenging college preparatory program emphasizing inquiry-based learning, critical thinking, and creative endeavor. Our liberal arts curriculum features a wide range of engaging elective courses in all academic subjects. Technology and the arts play a center role in our curriculum, studied as separate disciplines and integrated into projects of other subjects. Most disciplines provide opportunities for advanced studies, including AP courses in Mathematics, Science, and Language, as well as Honors courses in the Arts. Beyond the academic program, Beacon gives students extensive opportunities to participate actively in clubs, sports teams, community service and international travel.
In 2015, Beacon moved into a magnificent, state-of-the-art building on West 44th Street near 10th Avenue in New York. Staff helped design the look and outfitting of the space, including classrooms, science laboratories, art, photography and film studios, an art gallery, dance studio, two new theaters, a full gym, exercise rooms, and a music suite.
Making a Difference
Beacon fosters a nurturing, collaborative work environment that promotes students’ appreciation for intellectual diversity, preparation for the rigors of college, and active engagement in their larger communities. Our humanities and science courses encourage students to search through multiple perspectives and to scour research and experimental data for the answers to difficult questions. Our focus on arts and technology reflects the creative, analytical skills we believe students need in an ever-expanding and complex world. From freshmen year, Beacon students actively engage in drama, dance, visual art, music, digital media, film, photography, graphic art, web-page design, and technological design. Through this engagement, they are able to heighten the ways in which they see, represent, and impact their world.
While traditional testing is used at Beacon, our students’ performance is largely assessed through performance-based assessments (PBAs), completed individually or in groups. This mirrors the demands of higher education and the way in which adults are evaluated in the workplace. Tasks are assigned, leadership roles assumed, deadlines met as students complete a project. To graduate, students at each course level present and pass a performance-based project or series of PBA assessments, enabling them to pass the course and proceed to the next level. In addition, to earn a Regents’ equivalent diploma (Beacon Diploma), Beacon students must pass the required English Language Arts Regents exam with a score of 65% or above.