Academics and Programming
BECA activities provide students with authentic opportunities to engage and respond to the kind of advanced academic material they will encounter in the city's selective high schools. Our curriculum helps students develop the skills of academic inquiry through active reflection, group discussion, and written analysis. With a strong emphasis on cross-disciplinary thinking and application, students are asked to draw connections between literature and the world around them; draw parallels between methodologies in science and math; see the difference between knowing and understanding.
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In addition to our full-time guidance counselor, students are provided with the support of Bard High School Early College peer mentors. Providing both academic and emotional support, these high school mentors work with BECA participants in and out of class to process the challenges facing young adults in school. The BECA coordinator works closely with the guidance counselors and parent coordinators from participating schools in order to provide BECA students and parents with a comprehensive dialogue on student performance.
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Eligibility requires that students are sixth, seventh, or eighth graders at either PS 188, PS 34, PS 140, School for Global Leaders, CASTLE or TSMS. Students should have strong grades, should have received a score of at least a three on their most recent state exams, and should exhibit maturity and a love of learning. Eligible students can receive applications from their school’s guidance counselors or contact the BECA coordinator directly.
Our Students BECA serves approximately 80 students each year in the sixth through eight grades from six high-poverty middle schools near BHSEC Manhattan. 99 percent of students come from minority backgrounds (44 percent Hispanic, 36 percent Asian, 19 percent African American), and most are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch.
Results Approximately 80 percent of students who have gone through the BECA program have been accepted to and have enrolled in selective New York City public high schools. BECA is a proven and replicable model for expanding access to selective high schools for students in under-resourced middle schools.
Funding BECA is honored to receive funding through the New York State Education Department and their Extended School Day/Violence Prevention Program grant, from the Pinkerton Foundation, and from the Charles Lawrence Keith and Clara Miller Foundation. Similarly, BECA students receive free after-school snacks and summer meals through the New York City Department of Education SchoolFood program.