After decades of working within the traditional public school system, Beacon’s founders shared a vision of establishing a new kind of educational community that would become a model school.
In 1980, Thelma Farley, a seasoned public school educator, and Leslie Medine, a community organizer and social worker, envisioned a school that by the very way it was organized, by its laser-sharp focus on serving the real needs of its students, and by its open encouragement of a vital community interest in its work, would set a new standard.
In 1982, Beacon Day School opened its doors -- first as an early childhood program in a few rooms in the Oakland Hills, and in 1987 encompassing an elementary school in its present location on the Oakland Waterfront. By 1991 it had grown to include grades 6 to 8.
Today, the Beacon model boldly asserts that a developmental approach to education is universally valuable for children, and that education can succeed in the face of adverse social circumstances. Therefore, Beacon’s ultimate aim is to make our innovative model of education available to children, teachers, and parents everywhere, by serving as a laboratory model for the public schools.