Beechwood School 1/9

Beechwood’s Mission

Beechwood is a private, non-profit school. It goes from kindergarten to eighth grade, and is attended by 170 students who are taught by 30 teachers and staff members. Volunteers from the community also support the school. Its official mission statement: “We believe that all students have within them the power to succeed. The mission of Beechwood school is to teach students to take personal responsibility to: find their strength and build upon it, prepare to establish strong families, and serve in their communities” (Beechwood School website). Beechwood School was founded by Dick Jacobson when he noticed that some middle school boys were struggling to read at a first grade level. This led Dick Jacobson to found Beechwood School in order to satisfy the need for education.

-Claire, Colby

 

Our Experience

When some of us went to volunteer at Beechwood, we first started reading with the kids. We had them look for words they didn’t know and then we would talk about them. When we finished reading we asked them questions about what the book was about, trying to get a deeper understanding. Up next was recess. We made up games with soccer balls and watched them play foosball. They each had a little snack and then we went back into the classroom. Each ninth grader and third grader got a set of prompts to write a paragraph. We then brainstormed ideas with another ninth grader and third grader pair. Then each third grader started writing their paragraph with the help of their buddy. When everyone finished their paragraphs we gathered in a circle to start sharing stories. Almost everyone got to share their story! Helping the kids with their school work was a way to encourage them to enjoy school and working hard.

-Celia, Kelly

What We Learned

One thing we learned at Beechwood School was that the students – both girls and boys – wanted to play together, rather than purposefully being separated. It was very impressive because as younger students ourselves, the boys and girls played very separately. The boys played more sports and it was generally assumed that the boys would be superior to the girls in anything athletic. However at Beechwood School, all of the kids played kickball together, regardless of if they were a boy or girl. They were excited to all be on the same teams, and they had similar abilities. Our media often portrays young boys as the more athletic ones, participating in sports and doing more masculine activities, whereas girls are shown playing with dolls or dress-up. However, the majority of students at Beechwood School interacted with one another in activities that may be considered “feminine” or “masculine” whether they were boys or girls. This was really interesting, because it was not only a more equal and inclusive experience than what we had in elementary school, but also broke down the social assumptions we have about sexism.

-Hannah, Shivani

 

How We Can Help

We can further our partnership by going to Beechwood on a constant basis and by helping out in many different ways.  High school students can participate in tutoring the kids, as well as becoming after-school helpers that not only help with homework but also initiate games. Some future goals of the organization would be to eventually create long lasting relationships with the kids.  Another future goal for this organization would be to initiate fundraisers for the school to help supply for bigger accommodations and general supplies or needs of Beechwood.  One can also support the school by gathering books and supplying for general needs. These books and donations would come in handy because of the bad fire that recently ravaged the library last September, and the school’s capital campaign for a new and permanent campus, so they can move out of their current modulars. Another goal would be to make volunteer work at Beechwood more accessible to high school students around the area.  Power comes in numbers, and the more high school students willing to help, the better.  It is also important to encourage Castilleja students to volunteer and help out on a constant basis, not just once or twice a year.  Students should be encouraged to volunteer at Beechwood not because Castilleja is making them help but because of the joy students receive from helping another person. There are programs that allow volunteers to provide “even a small amount of time to our children” (Beechwood Website). These programs include but are not limited to Reading Buddies, which pairs volunteers with 2nd through 4th grade students, “who meet for 45 minutes one day a week during the lunch hour to read and discuss a good book”(Beechwood Website). More details can be found on their website.

-Meg, Kate, Rosie, Heejung

 

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Showing 5 comments
  • Anu Iyer

    Nice pictures!

  • Molly

    Wow! This looks like so much fun. Everyone looks so happy in all the pictures. I would love to go and visit Beechwood sometime. 🙂

  • Pooja

    Looks like you had a great time!

  • Mimi

    I really enjoyed my visit to Beechwood and I loved the fact that the students were so enthusiastic about learning! (They were really cute too!)

  • Madeline

    This sounds like so much fun! It is awesome how much you learned!

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