Striving to cultivate intellectual curiosity and a lifelong love of learning in all of our students, while preparing them to meet the challenges that lie ahead.What defines the Beacon experience? Initiative, independence, insight, creativity, and intellectual curiosity are all central to our school culture; these values shape our upper school academic approach. But more than anything, what sets Beacon apart is how we enable our students to be the agents of their education and chart their own paths for meaningful personal and academic success at the highest level. At Beacon, the experience is all about balance: we seek to prepare our scholars to gain acceptance to and thrive at highly competitive universities, while at the same time ensuring they enjoy their time here, stretch their imaginations, and develop a sense of direction that will serve them throughout their lives.Through one-on-one and small-group instruction in a community of inspired learners, Beacon students achieve academic excellence while following their own unique passions. Students are actively engaged in every lesson, contributing to class discussions, responding to interactive lectures, and solving problems collaboratively. Advanced art and music instruction, comprehensive gifted education, self-directed learning, passionate teachers, research-based strategies for different learning styles, with no limitations on course selection and design — these are only a few of Beacon’s hallmarks. At Beacon, our students are our focus, and our dedicated team of experienced educators is able to facilitate success through customized academic programs. Our ultimate goal is to equip every student with the tools they need to grow as individuals. We challenge our students to discover their distinct interests, abilities, and ambitions, and we are committed to unlocking and enhancing learning potential. To this end, we engage our students in the learning process, emphasizing advanced study and self-directed education. It is our belief that by involving students in the academic process, we can foster a lifelong love of learning. Paramount to the Beacon experience is the expectation that every student will excel academically, thrive socially, and achieve personal success.In the lower and middle schools, classes are offered at the standard and advanced levels and exceed national standards. Because Beacon implements a gifted education model, there are no curricular ceilings; all students are pushed to achieve up to their ability. The challenge level of each course can be modified to meet the needs of our most advanced scholars while still supporting students in areas of relative weakness. Our scholars are also able to take accelerated classes and do not have to wait until high school or college to be challenged. For example, our advanced math program enables students to take Algebra 1 when it is appropriate for them instead of waiting until 7th or 8th grade. In addition, scholars in advanced courses are grouped with students close to their own age instead of being placed with much older students; this approach allows us to meet their developmental needs as well as their intellectual needs. Eighth grade students also have the opportunity to take upper school courses by departmental recommendation.In the upper school, classes are offered at the standard, honors, and advanced levels and exceed national standards. We instruct students in all AP-level courses and prepare our students to receive superior scores on their AP exams. However, 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 advanced 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 classes are unparalleled, with Spanish, French, Italian, German, Latin, Ancient Greek, Mandarin, and Japanese featuring as standard course offerings. In addition, Beacon has 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.Our facilities near the Old Greenwich border in Stamford provide an atmosphere unparalleled by any school. We have two student lounges in which students have the freedom to work independently, collaborate in groups, play music, and socialize. Classes take place in comfortable classrooms designed to facilitate discussion and interaction. Highlights include our open art studio, professional dance studio, new science lab, cafe-style dining hall and dueling baby grand pianos in one of the student lounges.Our athletic facilities are housed at the newly-built, state-of-the-art, Chelsea Piers CT. Here, trained athletic instructors offer students expert instruction and guidance. The facility has 400,000 square feet of sports facilities and a vast array of sports classes, and programs such as turf sports, gymnastics, pool access, climbing walls, trampoline room, batting cages, and athletic equipment. Education without boundaries…At the core of Beacon’s philosophy is the tenet that students’ unique perspectives fuel education. We believe that we have a great deal to learn from our students, and that it is our role as educators to guide, challenge, empower, and inspire–not to dictate or confine. The elements of the Beacon experience are:I. Individualized EducationThe hallmark of a Beacon education is our completely individualized approach. We believe that every student can harness his or her own learning style and flourish under the guidance of committed teachers and mentors. This means that each student, from our youngest to oldest, is involved in course selection and program design. Additionally, our individualized approach gives the unique advantage of offering extra challenge or support on a course-by-course basis, rather than assigning students to an overarching “track” that defines their experience. Thisapproach can offer students an otherwise elusive balance in the classroom.II. Intellectual InquiryA key aspect of the individualized programs at Beacon is their inherent focus on intellectual inquiry. Students are encouraged to think across the curriculum, engage in interdisciplinary exploration, and discover learning not as an accumulation of facts, but a pursuit of understanding. To this end, students who express a strong interest in a certain subject are encouraged to explore it through coursework and independent study. Courses can be built with a definite focal point in mind, or evolve as an interest is piqued. There is no limit to course selection, and our teachers work with students to assure that they are continually engaged and inspired by their learning.III. Compassionate CommunityThe Beacon community is founded on mutual respect between students, teachers and administrators. When students are engaged in a positive learning environment, they become more willing to take risks and grow as individuals. We find that our relationship-based approach leads to teachers assuming a mentorship role with their students; there is constant dialogue and interaction, in and out of the classroom. Within the student body, there is a daily emphasis on interpersonal virtues such as kindness, courtesy, empathy, and respect for differences. Beacon aims to foster in our students a lifelong commitment to and awareness of others.IV. Academic ExcellenceAt Beacon, we understand that self-esteem and self-efficacy are born of real accomplishment. For this reason, the centerpiece of each student’s program is his or her areas of strength. We challenge our students to achieve their goals and equip them with the tools they need to excel. Academic excellence goes beyond an “A” on the report card–it entails above-grade-level study, authentic products and sustained commitment.V. Self-Directed LearningUnder the guidance of our motto, “Find your own light”, each student plays an integral role in creating his or her course of study at Beacon. This is the perfect opportunity for avid students to follow their interests and create their own ideal school. Self-directed learning fosters intellectual curiosity, intrinsic motivation, a sense of ownership and a desire to learn, whether it manifests as a love for mathematics, expressionist painting, mechanical engineering, foreign languages, elite athletics or violin performance. Beacon students relish the opportunity to build programs that reflect their passions and help them realize personal goals. Their input is not only heard; it is actively solicited on a daily basis.