BEAM 7 Director of Residential Life
This summer, change the lives of motivated, high-potential students from underserved schools: help them build a supportive community together and develop a love of mathematics.
This page contains information about working at BEAM 7, our residential program in upstate New York. We also hire for a Director of Student Life at BEAM 6, our non-residential program in New York City and Los Angeles.
About the Program
Bridge to Enter Advanced Mathematics (BEAM) is a free, high-impact program for underserved students with demonstrated potential in mathematics. Our goal is to give our students access to the same resources for advanced study as their more affluent peers by helping them get into top high schools, summer programs, enrichment programs, and other opportunities for success. All of our students attend schools where at least 75% of students receive free lunch. For most of them, programs like this would otherwise be completely out of reach.
We aim to create a life-changing experience for all the students that attend BEAM 7, our residential summer program for students who just finished 7th grade. We expose them to mathematics that they've never dreamed of before. Meanwhile, they're in a community of peers, perhaps for the first time, all interested in mathematics, and we supplement that social environment with activities, field trips, and more. You can see more about the program's details on this website (just explore the links above).
The summer atmosphere is vibrant and engaging for everyone who is there. Many staff return from year to year because they enjoy it, and the students always wish they could come back again and again. We are informal and seek to build as many friendships as possible: students and staff are on a first-name basis, and we encourage interactions during meals, in activity periods, and throughout the non-academic times.
This is BEAM's eighth year in New York. As far as we know, nothing quite like this exists elsewhere. Our experience has been that the program really changes lives and serves as a model for outreach across the country, while expanding the talent pool for mathematics and related fields.
BEAM 7 will have two locations in the summer of 2018: one at Bard College and one at Union College. The Director of Residential Life position is open in 2018 only at the Union College site. As housing, food, and transportation are provided, we are conducting a national search.
About the Students
Our students are bright and motivated, but they have had very few opportunities (if any) to explore serious mathematics. The 40 students at your program site site come from 18 middle schools totaling 2500 candidates. As a result, students feel like they were very special to be selected and they usually take the opportunity very seriously.
Our students are bright and motivated but can't get sufficient challenge at their existing schools. On a social level, students are often living away from home for the first time; they are adjusting to their new environment and learning important lessons about independence and community membership.
While they may be discovering serious, advanced math for the first time, the students are also discovering a new world by living on a college campus and the many other experiences they get during the summer. They have the time of their lives: they stay in touch for years after the summer, and the program becomes a kind of family to them (their word, not ours).
BEAM has a strong focus on community-building and on choice for the students. In general, students grow and build self-reliance, but some students are not used to the relative lack of structure and require firmer guidance. Creating the structures that support students through this transition will be a major part of your role.
In the end, you will be amazed at how much students change both mathematically and through their personal growth during the summer.
Program Structure and Staff
The summer staff at BEAM work together to make the program happen. The team consists of:
- The Site Director, a member of BEAM's year-round staff, who oversees the site and manages the day-to-day.
- The Director of Residential Life (you!), who manages the counselor team and coordinates all of the non-academic aspects of the program from activities to discipline.
- A counselor team of eight college students. The counselors are the backbone of the summer: they live in the dorms with students and run hall meetings, are teaching assistants in classes, run activities, and assist with some of the program's administrative functions.
- Seven or eight faculty members who teach classes and also run some activities.
- A nurse to manage any needed medical care.
For students, the day includes seven hours of math (divided into six hours of highly-interactive classes and one hour of independent study in the evening), two hours of counselor-led activities, meals, and evening free time. Weekends include field trips (a hike, a water park, a field day on-campus, and a trip to Six Flags) as well as time to relax and hang out.
The Director of Residential Life is on the program's leadership staff, coordinating all non-academic components of the program. You will report directly to the Site Director.
Your primary responsibility will be managing the counselor team. We are fortunate to run an extremely competitive hiring process; our counselors are highly motivated and energetic, and generally amazing to work with. Still, most of them are still learning how to function in a work environment and how to work with younger students, and your leadership will have to take this into account.
Beyond the counselor team, you will coordinate several other non-academic components of BEAM 7. By its nature, a summer program requires flexibility and adapting to new needs so any list of responsibilities will be incomplete, but here is what we expect:
- Managing the counselor team:
- Assisting in their training in the days before the program.
- Briefly checking in with each counselor daily, and being present to answer any questions or address concerns.
- Writing mid-program feedback e-mails for the counselors during the program.
- Coordinating program activities:
- Using counselor preferences to decide what activities to run and assign counselors (and faculty) to run them.
- Using daily student preferences to place students in activities.
- Purchasing all necessary supplies.
- Ensuring that all activities run smoothly and create an awesome experience for the students.
- Providing counseling and support for students, especially helping those students who are having difficulty adjusting to the program or who may simply need someone they trust to talk to; and advising the counselors (who will have close personal relationships with the students) on how to handle situations that arise.
- Managing program discipline: coordinating our system of warnings and "yellow cards" and dealing with any more serious infractions in consultation with the Site Director.
- Communicating with parents about any issues at the program.
- Miscellaneous roles as needed for the program's functioning.
In general, we want our staff to be informal mentors for the students. We stay on a first-name basis with the students and often join them for activities or meals. You will get to know the students well, and you will form close bonds with many of them. They're a wonderful group of kids, eager to learn, often without the opportunity to do so at this level, and we think you'll be as excited as we are to lead them on this journey.
As a residential summer program, this position is much more than a 9-5 job; we ask a lot of our staff. The result is a remarkable professional community and a program where all students feel comfortable and have a personal connection with us. Although there is a lot to be done, we offer flexibility about when it's done whenever possible, and we take seriously our responsibility to ensure that all staff get breaks and time to recharge. You'll have control over your own schedule, and in general most parts of the program will run without you, giving you the ability to take time off.
SALARY AND OTHER DETAILS
The program runs for three weeks, from Sunday to Sunday. Students will be on campus from July 8 to 29. Staff are expected to arrive a few days early and leave a few days late. Before the camp we will be preparing courses and dealing with the logistics of camp setup, while after the camp we will be evaluating the outcomes and cleaning up. Hence, the full term will be from July 5-August 1. The program runs on the campuses of Bard College and Union College, both in upstate New York. You will be placed at one of them, and are welcome to express a preference. (In summer 2018, only the Union College position is open.) There may also be a few hours of planning before the summer to coordinate the counselor team's activities or to prepare to lead parts of staff training.
The salary for the first year as Director of Residential Life is $4000 plus room, board, and travel to/from our campus. If you return for future years, you will receive an increased salary based on the number of summers in the same position. We hope that you will also see the program as we do: a labor of love that reaches the students most in need, and a program with the potential to have a transformative effect on achievement in mathematics and related fields.
Because this role combines aspects of management, student discipline, and student counseling, we are looking for someone with a wide variety of skills. However, much more important to us than any particular background is the right fit: someone who is entrepreneurial, loves making things happen, and loves working with kids. If that describes you, we hope you'll apply!
Specific qualifications we are looking for:
- An MSW (or comparable degree), with a valid license.
- Experience supervising and coordinating kids, especially in middle school.
- Good communication skills, including in-person, by phone, and by e-mail.
Significant pluses include:
- Leadership and management experience.
- Fluency in Spanish, Mandarin, Arabic, or other languages commonly spoken by our students' families.
- A background in teaching.
- An interest or background in math.
We encourage applicants to take a risk on the application and see what happens. BEAM loves welcoming new people into our family.
How To Apply
Please send a cover letter and resume to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will reply back and successful applicants will proceed to an interview.
If you're wondering if you're a good fit for the program, please contact us at email@example.com to discuss your background.
We aim to provide strong role models for our students, and that means finding a staff that shares the background of our students as much as possible. Thus, we especially encourage applicants who come from underrepresented minority groups, applicants who have faced financial hardship while pursuing their education, and/or applicants who have experience in the New York City or Los Angeles school system. We are an equal opportunity employer, and so persons of color, women, and those with disabilities are all encouraged to apply. Showing a diversity in mathematical achievement is critical to our program's success.
Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis. Successful applicants will proceed to an interview. If you are unsure of your summer plans, we encourage you to apply early and then work out the details with us afterwards. If you need a quick decision from us, apply and let us know of your constraints.
We are always available to answer any questions you might have, so please feel free to get in touch. We look forward to working with you this summer!
BEAM 7 Union Site Director
Director of Programs
BEAM 7 Bard Site Director