Letter From the Head of School | Jeff Bell, Head of School
Next month we will be welcoming our inaugural class to Beacon Academy. This group of students has continued to grow in recent months; we currently will be opening with 35 students. Our student body is incredibly diverse, talented, and excited to begin this journey of creating a school. There are two anchoring ideas that will guide us as we navigate this first year.
First: empowerment. Beacon is a learning environment in which students are expected to self-advocate and direct their own learning. The start-up nature of Beacon empowers our faculty and administration to create an innovative academic and extracurricular program unlike any other in the Chicago area. Our interdisciplinary approach and strong partnerships with neighboring cultural (Piven Theatre, The Musical Offering, Evanston Arts Center) and athletic (McGaw YMCA) institutions provides our students incredible opportunities for growth.
Second: independence. From opening day, our students will have great freedom to explore their interests in the context of challenging academic offerings. We understand that most learning happens intrinsically and that students who feel trusted and are given responsibility from the beginning are more likely to work to mastery. Our teachers also recognize that every Beacon student has their own profile and can differentiate instruction very effectively. We encourage our students to strike out on their own to find what they are truly passionate about learning.
We can’t wait to begin and hope to see you at our ribbon-cutting ceremony on August 25th at 10:00am.
Notes from the Board President | Danielle Loevy, President, Beacon Board of Trustees
When I joined the board 3 years ago, it was our dream to welcome 35 amazing students to Beacon Academy under the thoughtful and talented leadership of incredible faculty and inspiring administration. We dreamed of a space that allowed both creativity and quiet contemplation, group work and small nooks for individual reflection, and most importantly, a community room for presentations, performances, and gathering informally. All these dreams are now reality, and so many pieces and people came together to make this happen! Thank you to our donors, families, students, faculty, partners, professionals, friends, and board members.
Thank you to Jill Greer and Mollie Stromberg, who are both rolling off the board. As the longest serving board member, Jill has worked tirelessly to help make the school a success.
This summer, we also welcome David Stone to the board. David worked with our board on visioning the school in his professional capacity 2 1/2 years ago, and is now pleased to be joining the ranks as a parent at the school.
Wishing you all a happy and restful summer.
622 Davis Street: Taking Shape!
We are finally moved into our new building, and the view is dramatically different from the construction site of the past few months. The furniture is starting to arrive, and students and faculty have already started testing out the whiteboard walls throughout the space. Check out photos of the brand new Beacon below!
Admissions and Enrollment | Kate Anderson, Director of Admissions
We are so thrilled to be welcoming our founding 9th and 10th graders this fall. Our students are coming from Long Grove to the South Loop, from Oak Park to the Lake, and we could not be more impressed by the inaugural classes of 2017 and 2018. We look forward to seeing everyone for orientation on Direction Day on August 1st!
Student body: 35
Feeder Schools: 23
Interested in Applying?
Please contact Kate Anderson, Director of Admissions, by email or at (224) 999-1177. Applications for the 2015-2016 school year will be available on September 1, 2014.
Welcome, Katie Petzer!
We are so excited that Katie has joined the Beacon team as our executive assistant. She will be sitting at the reception desk on the 2nd floor and will be overseeing all the main office operations around the school. Katie Petzer graduated from the University of Illinois with a BA in Speech Communications. She has many years of experience in event planning and, most recently, has volunteered her time within the school system in Lake Forest. Katie has served on various parent boards and in multiple fundraising positions. Stop by and say “Hi” to Katie!
“My Summer at Beacon Academy”
Words from our summer intern: thought-leader, problem-solver, and furniture-mover extraordinaire
The month I spent working this summer as an intern for Beacon Academy has opened my eyes. By giving me an example by which to judge my current and future educational experiences, Beacon showed me what is missing in my high school experience and gave me hope that a better high school exists. I have been incredibly encouraged by Beacon’s commitment to teaching their students not only the technical skills that I have learned in the last three years, but also the other life skills I have often sacrificed in the fast pace and pressure of high school.
Through my experience, I have learned the consequences of committing myself fully to studying something that I enjoy: sleep deprivation and falling behind on work. I have learned what it feels like to “work” 80-hour weeks for months on end. I have learned to staunch the flow of creativity at its source because it only leads me “off-topic.” I have learned what it feels like to wake up in the morning and feel like I am wasting my potential. I am grateful to my teachers for helping me to develop the skills that are of value to me in a pressure-filled academic setting. However, these skills will not be the only ones I will be required to use later in life.
Working for Beacon Academy made this fact explicitly clear. It was refreshing for me to see Beacon Academy as an environment where students don’t just study, they truly learn. That distinction is perhaps the most important one because for all the fuss we make about it, high school exists for one purpose: for students to learn. As I look toward college, I hope to once again allow my creativity to flow, rekindle the love of learning that my earlier Montessori education instilled in me, commit myself in order to gain a deeper understanding, and explore the world around me with the goal of living a happy and meaningful life. I will need devotion and effort to complete in-depth research projects, creativity in order to solve problems, and a love of learning that keeps me ticking throughout four (and maybe more) years of college and beyond.
I am honored to have had the opportunity to help build Beacon Academy as it prepares to host its first class of students. I hope that each and every student that walks through the doors of this place is touched by the environment and by the attitude that permeates the air here. And above all, I hope that Beacon Academy continues to grow and continues to shine the light of its message until we all know a brighter future for education.
September Trip to University of Wisconsin’s Treehaven
For the first week of September, Beacon students and faculty will be traveling six hours north to Tomahawk, Wisconsin, where the University of Wisconsin operates its Stevens Point campus and the College of Natural Resources. The school serves graduate and undergraduate students pursuing degrees in forestry, soil science, wildlife management, and water resources, to name a few, and Beacon students will have the opportunity to explore a wide variety of topics alongside experts in these fields. Students will participate in archery, canoeing, and hiking excursions, and we are excited for this incredible opportunity to form new friendships among Beacon’s founding students.
Please click here to learn more about UWSP Treehaven.
Student Trip to Chicago
Students from the incoming classes of 2017 and 2018 met in the city on May 4th for a scavenger hunt around Millenium and Grant Parks and a ride down the Chicago River to lunch in Chinatown. Check out photos from the trip!
Support Our School!
We are so grateful for the generosity of the Beacon community. Thank you. As of June 30, 2014, we have raised just over $2.2 million towards our start up campaign goal of $2.5 million. This is remarkable, but there is still work to be done. Funds raised are offsetting the typical expenses of opening a new school. The long-range plan is for Beacon tuition to cover yearly operational expenses.
Beacon is committed to an accessible education and firmly believes in the importance of tuition assistance in creating a diverse student body. Due to the extraordinary generosity of our donors, Beacon met 100% of the demonstrated tuition assistance needs of our incoming students for FY2014-15, a crucial part of Beacon’s strategic plan and our future success. Thank you!
Please consider donating to Beacon’s Integrating Learning and Life Campaign today to continue supporting the mission of Beacon Academy. Every gift matters.
Thank you for your support!
Beacon Academy is a 501(c)(3) educational institution. Donations are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.