This course combines the study of literature and history and includes a heavy emphasis on developing writing skills. The goals of the course include teaching students how to analyze literature, evaluate primary and secondary sources of history, develop strong writing and critical thinking skills, and expand their vocabularies. Students learn how to approach and conquer difficult texts, drive class discussion, and make thoughtful arguments.
Beacon’s math program is designed to provide students with the mathematical skills and academic habits necessary for success in a rigorous independent high school. The academic program begins in the summer with a thorough review of foundational arithmetic topics, such as operations with fractions and decimals. In the fall, students generally review early algebra with a focus on the topics that are the most conceptually difficult, such as ratios and proportions. Beginning in winter and continuing through the spring, students aim to complete a thorough and comprehensive algebra course, including but not limited to linear, exponential, and quadratic functions. Students then learn to construct, compare, and analyze functions through multiple representations. After successfully completing Beacon’s academic program, students are prepared to enroll in a Geometry or Algebra class at the high school to which they matriculate.
Pedagogically, the class is designed to align with teaching methods used at top independent schools. Math class is heavily discussion and homework-based. Students are expected to be active contributors and develop the ability to articulate and defend their solutions through frequent practice and feedback from their peers and teacher. Students also learn to construct their own understanding of the concepts through problem-based and exploratory activities. Additionally, students use a variety of technologies to develop and demonstrate their understanding of the concepts, such as graphing calculators, Desmos, and Google Classroom.
Research and Advocacy
This course is designed to help students learn the important skill of advocating for personal convictions, as well as the technical skill of writing a research paper. The course includes instruction in selecting a meaningful topic, identifying sources, organizing information, writing a formal paper with a clear thesis statement, using proper citations, and making a final presentation (with a visual aid).
Before selecting a topic, students are required to read newspapers and magazine articles, browse the web, and watch the news. In addition, the class also visits the Boston Public Library and meets with the reference librarian to learn how to identify sources and check out books. The goal is for students to identify issues they are passionate about and want to explore in greater depth. From this process and through direct instruction, students learn to advocate effectively for their topic, as demonstrated through their written work and a formal presentation to an audience.
Research topics in recent years have included:
- The Effects of World Hunger and Strategies to Make a Difference
- The Treatment of Black Men vs. White Men in Cases of Sexual Assault
- Advertising and Its Effects on Children
This course inspires scientific curiosity and prepares our students for their first high school science class. Through hands-on lab work, discussions, and textbook readings, students become familiar with reading scientific literature, collecting and analyzing experimental data, and presenting their results in concise lab reports. Students enter high school with a solid foundation of scientific knowledge and the confidence to tackle whichever class their school recommends in the first year.
Study Skills and Time Management
In this weekly class, students practice and master skills that will be helpful when navigating life in independent high schools, college, and beyond.
- General organizational skills, including the use of a planner
- Technology skills, including typing, Gmail, Google Docs, and Google Drive
- The art of the thank-you note
- Resumes, cover letters, job applications, and interviews
- Personal finance
- Health and nutrition