8th grade

A Look Into BEAM Saturday Classes

In fall 2017, BEAM launched BEAM Next: a program that offers a range of prep and enrichment classes to students from grades 8 to 11 (we’re adding 12th grade opportunities next year!). Nearly every Saturday, students gather at Courant Institute*, the mathematics building on New York University’s Campus, to engage in classes catered to their interests in STEM. The year has been broken into three trimesters featuring different courses. A students day typically consists of two blocks of class and lunch. The morning classes, Things You Need to Know (TYNTK), are centered around the crucial topics students need to learn based on their grades.

8th grade students Yilin and Caroline team up for a combining like terms game in their Algebra class.

The topics grow as BEAM students grow. TYNTK covers:

  • 8th grade: SHSAT prep (fall) and Algebra 1 (winter, spring)

  • 9th grade & 10th grade: How to survive high school, a two-year sequence that covers everything from studying to outlining an essay to email management to calendars and organization

  • 11th grade: SAT/ACT prep (fall, winter) and college admissions support (spring)

  • 12th grade: college admissions support (fall, winter) and getting ready for college (spring)

Starting left, Zeina, Maryam, and Bryan walk through a problem with help from the Supplemental Algebra instructor Barbara.

Starting left, Zeina, Maryam, and Bryan walk through a problem with help from the Supplemental Algebra instructor Barbara.

Right now, 8th grade students enrolled in Saturday classes are taking either a Supplemental Algebra or Fast Paced Algebra course in order to ensure they have success on the Algebra 1 Regents in June, which opens the door to future math courses (especially Calculus!). Our Algebra classes are designed to help build a deeper understanding of the content and build on what is taught in their school’s curriculum. One student, Yilin says that “algebra class has helped reinforce a lot of past knowledge and has also helped to advance the foundation of important math skills”. The class isn’t meant to accelerate their learning but to add depth towards the material they already know. Algebra at BEAM gives students the opportunity to expand their problem solving skills and brings a fun challenge towards topics that they may have already learned.

After students leave Algebra, they scatter to their enrichment courses. Current offerings including computer programming in Python, graph theory, and evolution. We’ll share more about enrichment in a future week!

*We would like to thank the Courant Institute, the Center for Mathematical Talent, and New York University for the use of their classrooms, which are generously provided to BEAM at no cost.

BEAM's Newsletter is Here!

Earlier this week, BEAM's quarterly newsletter arrived in the inboxes of all our subscribers! The newsletter featured:

  • Student quotes about the joy of math
  • Job opportunities at BEAM (both full-time and part-time)
  • "What We're Reading"
  • High school outcomes for our 8th graders
  • Updates on BEAM Los Angeles
  • Congratulations to our own Dan Zaharopol

Missed the newsletter?  You can always read it online.  And make sure you don't miss the next one!  Sign up for our mailing list. 

Congratulations, 8th graders!

This month, BEAM students found out where they will be attending high school.  We are pleased to announce that, so far, 40% of our 8th graders have been admitted to highly selective high schools and 62% have been admitted to selective high schools.  At this point, 89% will be attending "trusted" schools, which meet BEAM's minimum standards for college preparation. We say "at this point" because every year a few students are undermatched in the process. We are currently working with students who were not admitted to high schools that meet our standards to make sure that they can navigate the appeals process and find a good fit for the next four years.

BEAM students were admitted to: 

  • Bard High School Early College (15)
  • Manhattan Center for Science and Mathematics (15)
  • Stuyvesant (3)
  • Bronx Science (3)
  • Brooklyn Tech (3)
  • The Beacon School (3)
  • Collegiate Institute For Math And Science (3)
  • Brooklyn Latin (2)
  • NEST+m (2)
  • Leon M. Goldstein High School for the Sciences (2)
  • Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) (2)
  • Loomis Chaffee
  • Poly Prep
  • High School for Math, Science and Engineering at City College
  • High School of American Studies at Lehman College
  • Manhattan/Hunter Science High School
  • Midwood High School
  • Millennium High School
  • Millennium Brooklyn High School
  • Manhattan Village Academy
  • Medgar Evers College Preparatory School
  • University Heights High School
  • Academy for Software Engineering 
  • Bronx Academy for Software Engineering 
  • Hostos-Lincoln Academy of Science
  • Urban Assembly Maker Academy

These 82 8th graders join 300+ BEAM students already in high school. We're so proud of you all!

Aisha Manhattan Center.jpg
John BHSEC.jpg

BEAM 8th Grade Visits Hudson River Trading

On Wednesday, February 21, 13 BEAM 8th grade students had the chance to visit Hudson River Trading's (HRT) Manhattan office. The afternoon began with a pizza lunch, and a chance to talk with HRT employees about their work. 

Afterwards, BEAM students heard from an employee panel about their experiences working at HRT. They also saw a demonstration of using math and programming together to calculate the Fibonacci series. Three different ways of calculating the series resulted in drastically different computational times.


After the presentation, the students toured the office, including the gym and playroom, and took pictures on the terrace overlooking the Hudson. Everyone enjoyed the warm weather and great views! The day ended with games in the playroom and some awesome HRT swag. Afterwards, Porter said "It was cool!" "The had great views, and it was fun," said L.

BEAM would like to thank everyone at HRT for organizing and hosting an amazing trip. 

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NYC High School Admissions: Conquering the Labyrinth

Last weekend, thousands of eighth graders lined up outside of Brooklyn Technical High School to attend the New York City High School Fair. Students and parents had the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the high school admissions process and meet with representatives from high schools all over the city in hopes of finding the right ones to apply to.

It is no secret that the NYC high school admissions process is a maze! The application process has many obstacles to get through, some of which include: taking a test, writing an essay, submitting a portfolio, attending an open house and more - just to be considered! Without navigating through these obstacles, the chances of getting in to a great-fit high school are real hard. For BEAM students, a great-ft school is one that offers advanced coursework such as AP Physics and AP Calculus, the opportunity to take college courses, a supportive and nurturing environment and the opportunity for college guidance and readiness. 

Here are some common "big-picture" errors students make on their high school application (Round 1 form):

  • Not doing enough research. It's important that students do their research on each school they are interested in. Many high ranking schools require tests (like the specialized high schools), essays (like Manhattan/Hunter Science HS), portfolios (like Columbia Secondary HS), or a mixture of these (Bard High School/Early College, BHSEC). Do your research early so that you can be ahead of the game and have a plan to get all these things done on time. Go on school's websites, visit insideschools.org, or call the school directly. 
  • Be sure to know which schools are "limited unscreen." Limited unscreen schools are schools that only look at your attendance at an open house. They are a good opportunity to get a fresh start if your transcript is rocky. Open house dates are available online, usually on a school's website. Sometimes you might have to call a school directly and get information that way. Also, attending open houses allow you the opportunity to see if you can actually envision yourself in the school for four years. 
  • Look at the requirements of "screened" schools. A screened school is one that looks at your transcript - this includes: 7th grade grades, state test scores and attendance and punctuality. You want to make sure that you are applying to schools that you have a good chance of getting in to. When looking at schools that you are interested in, make sure grade ranges and state test scores match your transcript. If you have too many absences but have a legitimate reason (ie: medical, or family issues) don't hesitate to write the school a letter. Schools understand that life happens, and being honest and up front is the right thing to do. 
  • Rank schools in the order YOU want to go to them. Schools cannot see how you rank them. Some schools may tell you that you have to rank them #1 in order to be accepted - that is false information! Seriously, rank the schools in the order you want. Ultimately, you will be spending four years there. 
  • Know what a good schools has to offer YOU. Make sure the schools you are looking for have what you need in order to be successful. For most BEAM students this means: AP Calculus and AP sciences (Biology, Chemistry, Physics). For others it might be a great Lacrosse or Basketball team or the opportunity to join a Robotics or Debate club. Remember that you will spend almost half of your day in this school - make sure the school has things that you will benefit from and enjoy. 

Here are some small logistical things to watch out for:

  • Double and triple check your Round 1 form! Make sure codes and school names match. If they don't, your guidance counselor might not catch it and you may end up being accepted in to the wrong school. 
  • Use all 12 spaces. Make sure you completely fill out your Round 1 form. It is better to get in to a Round 1 school (even LOW on your list) than to have no school and be stuck in Round 2. 
  • Remember that some schools may count twice. For example, the Manhattan and Queens campuses of BHSEC or the multiple programs at Midwood. If you really want to go to these schools, use two spaces on your Round 1 form to put both programs down. Not only do you take up two spaces on your form, but you increase your chances of being admitted. Some of our alumni have even had luck transferring from programs in their first or second year in the school. 

Hear what our experts have to say about their high school admissions process!

“BEAM showed me my options. They provided me with personalized school directories which led me to search for best-fit schools, on my own.”
— Iroha, 10th grader, Manhattan Center for Science and Math
I went to the Citywide High School Fair with BEAM. They taught me how to shake hands and introduce myself. While there, I talked with the Assistant Principal of the Academy for Software Engineering (AFSE). I really liked her and the school, so I went to an Open House to learn more. I ended up ranking it first and got in.
— Mona, 12th grader, Academy for Software Engineering

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