Curriculum » Electives


Coding 1

This course is an introduction to Computer Science and programming. Students will learn the fundamentals of coding in JavaScript and create interactive applications, games, and websites. Problem solving, analytical thinking, and collaboration will be emphasized. Using introductory software Code Studio, students will learn about fundamental concepts like IDEs, data types, variables, conditional statements, loops, and more. By the end of the year, students will have developed a software project of one’s own choosing. Applied math skills are strongly recommended. Students who are serious about studying Computer Science or do well in this course can move on to Coding 2.

Coding 2

This full-year course is designed for students who showed aptitude and enjoyed Coding 1. Students will be surveyed on interest, and purpose. Topics covered in Coding 1 will briefly be reviewed, and then move towards topics such as: design strategies and methodologies, data structures, approaches to processing data (algorithms), analysis of potential solutions, and the ethical and social implications of computing and the Internet. The course emphasizes both object-oriented and imperative problem solving and design. Students will have more choice in assignments and complexity (based on time available) and will finish the year working on a more advanced final project. Students who are serious about studying Computer Science or have done well in Coding 1 may take this course.

Practical Life

This class aims to develop and strengthen independence. It’s a hands-on course that is both demanding and engaging. The work may be as simple as learning to sew on a button, or as complex as understanding a mortgage application, but it’s all intended to give older students confidence and experience in dealing with some of the basic tasks and challenges of the adult world. The term “practical life” is a phrase coined by Dr. Maria Montessori and is used intentionally. In a strict sense it applies to young children, but the basic idea -- that independence, gained through genuine engagement with the environment, is an essential goal of education -- is true of older children as well. Beacon students will soon enter an adult world where they must cope with all kinds of new challenges. For this reason, learning how to negotiate a laundromat is a valid, perhaps even urgent, educational experience.
As the World Health Organization has described it, “Health education teaches about physical, mental, emotional and social health. It motivates students to improve and maintain their health, prevent disease, and reduce risky behaviors. Health education curricula and instruction help students learn skills they will use to make healthy choices…” In today’s society, Social Emotional Learning [SEL] is the process through which adolescents and adults acquire and apply the knowledge, attitude, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions. In the broadest sense, these are the goals of our wellness program with drawn input from faculty, counseling, students, and parents that includes learning activities on a variety of subjects, including:
  • Healthy relationships
  • Self-image and self-improvement
  • Assertiveness
  • Myths and realities about alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana
  • Coping with anxiety and managing stress
  • Nutrition
  • Bully, bystander and up-stander responsibilities
  • Communication skills
  • Social skills and conflict resolution
  • Sexuality, social media and the Internet