School Communications


Finding Balance: Why Extracurricular Activities are Vital for Students

May 5, 2020


Although social distancing measures of the COVID-19 crisis have limited in-person extracurricular activities in Minneapolis and beyond for the short-term future, these pursuits remain an important part of child development. As you plan for your kids to return to school later this year, explore the benefits of afterschool activities and encourage your children to sign up for both old favorites and exciting new challenges.


Improvement In Grades

While parents may have concerns about extracurriculars taking time away from regular course work, research has shown a correlation between high academic performance and participation in activities. The reasons for this effect are unclear but are likely associated with improved time management and concentration skills developed through sports and clubs. For example, a student who takes part in an afterschool club will have to schedule a time for homework in the evening.

Students who join school clubs also tend to have more school spirit and a positive attitude toward academics that will serve them well through high school, college, and beyond. According to data reported by the National Center for Education Statistics, participants in extracurricular activities are more likely than students who do not participate in:

  • Have perfect attendance in class with no unexcused absences
  • Plan to go to college to earn at least a bachelor’s degree
  • Place in the 75th percentile or above on math and reading assessments
  • Have a grade-point average of at least 3.0 (B)

Set Your Student Up for Better College Prospects

According to the College Board, colleges and universities are impressed by students who shine in extracurricular activities as well as academics. As your child enters high school, building a portfolio of strong extracurricular interests will result in a stronger college application. For example, students can demonstrate a commitment to teamwork with sports participation or leadership skills by serving on student government. Many clubs also provide scholarship opportunities for participants at the high school level, which can help families cover the rising costs of college tuition.

Explore New Interests and Untapped Skills

From photography to chess club to cheerleading, students can find clubs to suit most of their existing interests. Extracurricular activities also provide a low-cost, low-pressure way for kids to explore something new. In fact, broadening one’s interests can even lead to a new path of study, college major, or career. The Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University reports that extracurriculars help students develop soft skills, like public speaking and networking, that will eventually contribute to career success.

They Can Expand Your Child’s Social Circle

sports-and-activities-for-studentsIf your child is interested in making new friends and meeting new people, a club or sport can be a great way to connect with others who have similar interests. The teamwork and cooperation required for sports and other afterschool activities help students develop these critical social skills, particularly during the middle school years. When you are planning a move to a new area, switching your child to a private school, or simply preparing for the graduation from middle school to high school, encouraging your kids to seek out interesting extracurricular opportunities within the new community is important. Doing so can enhance adjustment and create a sense of belonging that improves a teen’s self-esteem.


Learn About Extracurricular Activities We Offer Students at Beacon Academy Today!

Families in the Minneapolis area who are seeking new educational opportunities should consider Beacon Academy, a tuition-free charter school in Crystal for students in kindergarten through eighth grade. In addition to a comprehensive academic curriculum that complies with state grade-level standards, we offer a diverse range of nearly two dozen extracurricular activities, including but not limited to band, drama club, volleyball, floor hockey, and yearbook. Whatever your child’s interests, we are ready to prepare him or her for the rigors of high school life. Contact us today to learn more about Beacon Academy, schedule a tour, or begin the admissions process for your student.


Homework Strategies for Success

March 11, 2020

strategies for helping kids with homework

For parents and students alike, homework can often present a myriad of challenges. From fitting homework time into an already busy schedule to helping children master stress management strategies to make the process easier, establishing an effective homework routine is often a difficult task. All too often, students are either struggling to complete the work, feeling frustrated by the assignment or unable to finish the task within the available time.

What are some Homework Strategies & Tips?

If homework time has become a daily battle for your family, you aren’t alone – in fact, homework is often one of the students’ most challenging parts of the school day. However, with the right approach, a few smart strategies, and a handful of tips for stress management for students, your family can make homework a positive part of your everyday routines.

Make Homework a Regular Part of the Daily Routine

One of the simplest ways to eliminate the homework hassle is to solidify homework time as part of the daily routine. Set aside an appropriate block of time for homework every day so that your child knows what to expect. For example, you may designate homework time between 4 and 5 pm every afternoon. Try setting the alarm on your phone to provide a reminder to your family and stick to it. For some families, the homework schedule may need to vary slightly to accommodate extracurricular activities, work, etc.

Depending on your child’s grade level and classroom, they may have homework every day (including weekends) or only a few days a week. It’s up to you if you’d like to implement homework time even on their “off days” – some parents choose to have their children read quietly, draw, or also use educational workbooks during this time.

Homework Strategies to Help Kids Learn How to Deal with Stress at School and Home

As an adult, it may be a challenge to remember the unique stressors of your younger years, but there’s no doubt that children and teens face a unique assortment of problems. For most students, the most common stressors in their lives revolve around school, homework, extracurricular activities, and social relationships. It’s virtually impossible to protect your child from all stress, but instead, you can help them learn how to manage it successfully.

Here are a few practical strategies for reducing stress for kids:

  • Rest, exercise, and eating well: Healthy habits can have a significant impact on stress. Aim for at least eight hours of sleep every night for your child, regular physical activity, and nourishing meals and snacks.
  • Breathing exercises: Take a deep breath for a count of 8, then exhale for a count of 8. Repeat four to five times to calm the body and mind.
  • Calming music: Classical, jazz, and even new age-style music can often serve as peaceful background noise.
  • Positive thinking: Instead of getting caught up in negative viewpoints, encourage your child to practice switching their perspective to a more positive one.
  • Self-affirmations: Affirmations are beneficial for children and adults alike. Help your child choose three to four positive statements (such as “I am smart,” “I am capable”), and state them aloud before beginning homework.

Minimize Distractions During Homework Time

Creating an environment that sets the stage for homework success can make a big difference for students of all ages. Make sure your child has a designated work area (such as the kitchen table, a desk in their room, or another space), and ensure that they are well-equipped with all necessary supplies.

Turn off all screens, unless a computer is required for homework, and reduce noise and other distractions. Finally, consider putting smartphones and tablets away until their homework has been completed, ensuring that random notifications don’t disrupt them.

Encourage Your Child to Make Use of Teacher-Provided Support

If your child is struggling with the content of their homework, it’s possible that they aren’t fully grasping the concepts they’re learning at school. Generally, homework is designed to provide students with the valuable opportunity to practice the concepts they covered that day in class – but if your child didn’t understand the lesson, completing their homework will be very difficult.

Depending on their teacher and classroom, your child may be able to request additional support to help them successfully master a concept. For example, at Beacon Academy, our small classroom sizes allow teachers to work closely with students, providing tailored educational support as needed. Not only are students encouraged to request help from their teacher, but our staff is exceptionally skilled at observing when a child may need extra support.

Choose a School that Balances Rigor with Quality Content

Ideally, homework should provide a moderate challenge without overwhelming your child – but if you’re noticing that their homework assignments are missing the mark, the issue may lie with the school’s curriculum itself.

Whether your child is finding their homework too easy or too difficult, consider taking a closer look at the school’s curriculum philosophy. Your child’s teacher or the school staff should be happy to provide you with information about their selected curriculum, including details about how and why they’ve chosen certain materials. At Beacon Academy, our expert curriculum committee has created an exceptional curriculum, presenting rigorous materials at an age-appropriate level.

Reach Out to Your Child’s Teacher When Needed

If you’re attempting to implement all of the above strategies without success, it may be time to ask your child’s teacher for guidance. Because they work closely with your child in a classroom setting, they may be able to offer their useful insight and educational experience. For example, perhaps the teacher has noticed that your child tends to struggle to concentrate when the classroom is too noisy – understanding this may help you establish a more productive working environment at home.

At Beacon Academy, it’s important to us that families know they are always welcome to connect with teachers, support staff, and administrators. Our goal is to provide an outstanding learning experience for every student, working together with families to help children achieve academic success.

Discover the Charter School Difference by Enrolling Your Child at Beacon Academy

One of the most effective ways to make school (and homework) a more positive experience for your child is to ensure that they’re enrolled at a campus that suits their individual needs. Instead of settling for a traditional educational environment, one in which far too many students’ needs go unmet, why not give your child something more?

Beacon Academy is a Minnesota charter school dedicated to providing families with an exceptional option for a tuition-free, charter school education. Our exemplary teachers are passionate about inspiring their students to love learning and work closely with parents to help build positive habits that will last well into adulthood.

Here, we’re proud to provide individualized support for every student, creating a learning environment in which they can pursue academic success. At Beacon Academy, homework is about reinforcing the exceptional curriculum taught in our classrooms in new and creative ways – and we want to help you learn how to make homework time fun again in your home.

Learn more about how choosing the right school can make a significant difference in your child’s future by contacting Beacon Academy today.


Image Credit: Shutterstock / Dragon Images

Thursday Communication – September 7, 2017

September 11, 2017
Events and Dates to Remember:

September 7

  • Executive Committee Meeting 4:30pm

September 8

  • Assembly 9:10am
  • IQS Scorecard Review 1:00pm

September 11

  • Curriculum Committee Meeting 3:45pm

September 12

  • Martial Arts 3:30-4:40pm
  • Executive Committee Meeting 4:30pm
  • PTO Meeting 7:00pm

September 13

  • 5th Graders at Wolf Ridge

September 14

  • 5th Graders at Wolf Ridge

September 15

  • 5th Graders at Wolf Ridge

September 19

  • Martial Arts 3:30-4:30pm
  • Cub Scout Info Night 6:00pm

September 21

  • School Board Workshop 5:00pm
  • School Board Meeting 6:30pm

September 22

  • Professional Development – No school for students

September 25

  • Chess Club 3:30-4:30pm
  • Governance Committee Meeting 5:30pm

September 26

  • Martial Arts 3:30-4:30pm

September 28

  • KidzArt Fall Workshop 3:40-4:40pm
  • Fall Family Picnic 6:00-8:00pm
  • Scholastic Book Fair 6:00-8:00pm

September 29

  • Student Picture Day


Welcome Back to School

We are excited to have you all as part of our Beacon community. Our school day is 9:00am – 3:30pm. Students who are not in their seats at 9:00am are counted tardy unexcused. Also, we ask that you call the office by 1:00pm  with any changes to your child’s end of the day routine. We will not accept changes after 1:00 unless it’s an emergency. You can review the attendance policy on pages 12-13 of the Family Handbook. Thank you for your attention to these attendance matters.



Beacon Academy Family Handbook and Family Calendar

Each family should have received a family handbook and a family calendar. They were given to the youngest or only child in each family at Back to School Night or on the first day of school. I am attaching an electronic copy of the handbook here. If you did not receive a calendar please ask your child. It’s very important that you have these items. Family Handbook



French Toast Uniform Shipment and Ordering

French Toast orders from the second shop are due at Beacon Academy the end of the day this Friday, September 8th. Orders can be picked up on Monday, September 11th. We have also opened up the ordering link for French Toast. Please note, orders placed will be sent to you directly for a small shipping charge. A uniform/spirit wear shop will be opening up in the next two weeks. In the meantime please click this link to order uniforms



Healthy Classroom Snack Guidelines If you are packing your child a snack to have during the day we ask that you follow the Healthy Snack Guidelines. We do not allow the students to have pop or candy as a snack. The Healthy Snack Guidelines can be found in the Family Handbook on page 19. Please review the guidelines and go over them with older students who might be packing their own snacks.



Carpool Connection

If you are interested in connecting with other families in your area to carpool this upcoming school year, you can sign up through the PTO Carpool Connection. This is for all families, both new and returning. More information and the signup form can be found at A map of the neighborhoods is at


Questions? Email Wendy at



School Board Committees  We welcome parent involvement on our school board committees. There are 5 active committees; Curriculum, Employee Retention and Compensation, Finance, Governance and Technology. You can see full descriptions of the committees on our website If you are interested in joining a committee please use the contact name listed below.


After School Activities

We have several after school activity offerings for students. All the current offerings are linked below. Please fill out registration forms completely and return with payment to the school office. Please note the grade level the activity is offered to as not all activities are open to all grades.  I will be emailing new offerings out as they are scheduled.

·         KidzArt

·         Piano

·         Board Game Club

·         Yoga and Mindfullness

·         Chess Club





Bus Captains We are looking for volunteers who are interested in being bus captains for the school year. Bus captains are needed for every bus stop. One person can be the captain or you can share the responsibility. Responsibilities include:

  • Being the link between the families at your bus stop and the school
  • Wait with students either in the morning or afternoon so parents can get to work on time or if they are running late getting to the stop in the afternoon
  • Watching for any safety concerns at your bus stop
  • You fulfill your family’s 20 hour volunteer commitment when you are a bus captain
  • Interested? Contact Nikki at


Box Tops for Education  

The next Box Tops for Education submission date is rapidly approaching.   Please send your box tops to school as soon as possible. Funds from this program, along with the other indirect fundraising efforts, make a significant difference for Beacon students. Nancy Vos Indirect Fundraising Coordinator



Save the Date: Fall Picnic We are celebrating the beginning of the school year with an all school picnic on Thursday, September 28th from 6:00-8:00pm. More information coming soon!