Check back here in September when we’ll announce your BRAND NEW Grade and Neighborhood Parent Reps!
Frequently Asked Questions
What Should I Expect from Parent/Teacher Conferences?
Parent/teacher conferences at Beacon typically take place twice a year, in the fall and the spring. Your student’s advisor will send out an email to set up appointments. Conferences take place in the advisor’s office and last for 15 minutes. The advisor reviews the grades and comments from all of your student’s teachers, and you have an opportunity to ask questions and discuss any issues. Your student also attends the conference.
How Do I Get Information about My Student’s Homework/Grades?
Although teachers use it to varying degrees, all Beacon teachers migrated to a system called PupilPath last year. PupilPath enables students and parents to see homework assignments and grades for all classes. If you have a new student, they should have brought home a letter with a code for both parent and student registration. If you have trouble using PupilPath, please contact the parent coordinator, Erdene Greene (email@example.com). Some teachers also have their own websites where, in addition to Google Classroom, they upload homework assignments, lecture PowerPoints, exam study guides, etc. Teachers will usually list this information in their syllabus.
What Should My Student Expect from PBAs?
PBAs are Performance- or Project-Based Assessments. Beacon students will complete a PBA for each class every year. PBAs are in-depth projects that students are expected to spend a significant amount of time on preparing. Fortunately, teachers stagger the PBAs so that half are due at the end of the first semester (January) and half are due at the end of the second semester (June). The content of PBAs varies widely by subject and teacher. A geometry PBA might involve researching and constructing a nine-point circle; a biology PBA might involve designing a field study on a mammal; a drama PBA might involve learning/performing a scene from a play with others in your class.
What is Assessment Week?
Assessment week is the last week each semester during which students complete exams or individualized PBAs. Students do not follow their regular school schedule during assessment week, in fact they are discouraged from being in the school building during times when they do not have an assessment, because all spaces are being used for exams.
What are Expectations for Community Service in 10th Grade?
Each Beacon 10th grader is expected to complete 50 hours of community service during their sophomore year. The community service hours must all be with the same organization. There is an honors community service certificate if a student completes 75 hours. Although community service will be discussed in advisory, and Beacon provides a list of organizations that students have volunteered with in the past, each student is responsible for setting up their own community service project. Many organizations have deadlines in September for applying, so it is worth starting early.
What are the PSATs and What are They Used For?
In April, all Beacon 10th grade students will take the PSAT/NMSQT (Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test). The PSAT is used purely for diagnostic purposes, it is a means to see where students are and where they may need to strengthen their skills before taking the SAT/ACT. It is extremely difficult to qualify for the National Merit Scholarship (only the top 1.25% of students in the country become NMS Semifinalists), so most students do not spend time studying for the PSAT.
How Does my 10th Grader sign up for 11th Grade Math, Science & AP Courses?
In May, all Beacon 10th grade students who are interested in taking AP or advanced math/science courses will take a diagnostic math/science test. Based on the results of this test, their preferences, and teacher recommendations, students will be placed in math, science, and AP classes for 11th grade. There are a number of math and science electives, and students are asked to rank their preferences when they take the test. It is therefore useful to review the options with your student before they take the test, as well as reviewing the added workload that an AP class requires.
What is the College NOW program?
College NOW is CUNY’s collaborative program with New York City public schools through which Beacon students can apply to supplement their high school courses with College NOW courses. Many Beacon students apply in the spring of their sophomore year to take courses at Hunter and John Jay in the fall of junior year. Available courses include computer science, music theory, english, psychology, sociology, criminal justice, and more! For more information about the College NOW program, see their website at http://collegenow.cuny.edu/. Applications are submitted through Ms. Heller in the Beacon College Office.