Mission and History

Beacon Academy provides a transformational year between 8th and 9th grades to promising, motivated and hard-working students from Boston and surrounding urban areas.




Inspired by a challenging curriculum and stimulating co-curricular experiences, students learn vital academic skills and develop habits of mind that empower them to change the trajectory of their lives. They emerge as active learners with increased confidence, critical thinking skills, and broader vision, prepared to thrive at competitive independent high schools that share our commitment to their success. Beacon Academy supports its alumni as they continue their journeys. The school welcomes opportunities to work in partnership with teachers and schools to help create and maintain inclusive communities for all.



Founded in 2004, our school is the only one of its kind in the country and was founded by Cindy Laba, Chief Program Officer, and Marsha Feinberg, Chief Executive Officer. Cindy and Marsha are uniquely suited to lead Beacon Academy because of their combined past experiences in social work, education and non-profit leadership. Cindy had the idea for an extra year of school between 8th and 9thgrades after her work at a Boston charter high school. She was deeply disappointed by what she saw, especially compared to the education that the children of her more affluent friends were receiving in private schools. Cindy started Beacon Academy because she believes deeply in the ability of low-income students to excel in competitive educational environments, in their ability to positively impact school communities and in the social injustice currently characterizing our school systems.

A wing of classrooms in Temple Israel, located on Longwood Avenue in Boston, has been our home since the day we started. Temple Israel offers us the space for a nominal fee (approximately $35 a day), which dramatically cuts our costs and allows us to invest in our students rather than infrastructure. We quickly learned that students came to school hungry, so we added breakfast, lunch and some dinners at Simmons College to our program. The racial composition of our student body over the last nine years is 60% black, 26% Latino, 3% white, 3% Asian and 8% are bi-racial.