What defines the Beacon Upper School experience? Initiative, independence, insight, creativity, and intellectual curiosity are all central values of our program. But more than anything, what sets Beacon apart is how we enable our Upper School students to be the agents of their education and chart their own paths for meaningful personal and academic success. At Beacon, the Upper School experience is all about balance: we seek to prepare our scholars to thrive at highly competitive universities, while at the same time ensuring they enjoy their high school years, stretch their imaginations, and develop a sense of direction that will serve them throughout their lives.
In order to maximize engaged learning time, Beacon class sizes are very small, ranging from four to six students. In this intensive academic setting, our students spend their time contributing to class discussions, responding to interactive lectures, and solving problems collaboratively—all under the guidance of our expert teachers. Most importantly, Beacon’s Upper School teachers act as mentors, imparting an understanding of what it means to be a practicing professional in a field and a creative producer in life.
Upper School core classes are designed to introduce students to the essential knowledge they need for postsecondary studies. Classes are offered at standard, honors, and advanced levels and exceed national standards. At Beacon, AP is only the beginning—we offer a comprehensive array of advanced coursework so that students can delve into undergraduate-level studies before they even set off for college. Our upper level courses are ones that would never be offered at a typical high school, from multivariate calculus and architecture to Buddhist philosophy and chemical engineering. And our world language offerings are unparalleled, featuring Spanish, French, German, Latin, Mandarin, and Japanese.
Beacon has also partnered with the UConn Early College Experience program to offer students the opportunity to earn college credit while taking courses at Beacon, with Beacon teachers. Students who enroll in these courses graduate from high school with a UConn transcript as well as a Beacon diploma. See the UConn Early College Experience website for more details.
To complement their core academic courses, Beacon scholars have a hand in designing in-depth enrichment electives that feed their curiosity, cultivate specialized talents, and open up a world of learning. Our current electives range from forensic psychology and monologue studies to etymology and military history. Students are encouraged to participate in internships, independent studies, and service learning projects in order to obtain critical thinking and communication skills that they will carry through their high school and college careers.
In short, the Beacon Upper School balances the creativity and promise of an enriched education with the reality and demands of competitive college placement. Our students work closely with college counselors and are prepared to excel on college entrance exams without compromising the caliber and authenticity of their education.
If you know a student who would like to expand their educational horizons without expending their energy on high school “drama”, a student who thrives on freedom and mutual respect and drives their own educational trajectory, you may know a Beacon Upper School student. Join us for a high school experience like no other, in a warm, supportive community where students are accepted for who they are and celebrated for their unique gifts.