Parent FAQ Series: "I have the option to apply this year for grade 5, or next year for grade 6. What is the benefit of applying for grade 5?" We've had many parents ask this question when they attend our admissions events, and we are excited to explore the answer in depth!
One of our BASIS Independent Brooklyn families worked diligently for months to secure a speaker for our BASIS Independent Thought Series, which explores many different views and perspectives across a spectrum of topics. As a school, we do not promote any single stance but encourage the conversation.
The Dubovs live in Park Slope with their three young children, and Ms. Lenore Skenazy's columns had inspired them to find ways to foster independence in their kids on a daily basis outside of school. We wanted to share some of their reasons behind recommending Ms. Skenazy before recapping her speech and talking about her non-profit organization's "Let Grow" project that would benefit from our community's participation.
What prompted you to allow your children to start taking on more responsibility?
We both were born in the former Soviet Union and there was very little of the overprotective culture witnessed here. We went into the yard (large building, not a private home) and played with other kids unsupervised from a very early age. Once we immigrated to the United States, at 9-years-old for both of us coincidentally, we were poor and our parents were mostly busy, thus leaving a lot of our time free for self-directed play. All this makes it very natural for us to let our kids take on tasks and responsibilities that others may feel the kids are unprepared for.
Our newest Associate Director of Admissions Sarah Ellerton wanted to help prospective families learn more about transferring into BASIS Independent Brooklyn during middle school from the experts—students who had just made the change themselves. Sarah sat down with several recent transfer students and reports back on what she learned.
When I joined the BASIS Independent Brooklyn Admissions Team last month and started leading tours for prospective families, I noticed the same question coming up again and again from parents of middle school students: How hard is it to start at BASIS Independent Brooklyn in middle school?
One of our BASIS Independent Brooklyn parents strongly recommended bringing Sam Chase to campus to work with students on mindfulness and meditation. She had seen Mr. Chase work wonders with her hedge fund employees who juggle high-stress projects and competing time demands. As part of Wellness Week for our Upper School, Mr. Chase spoke with our students about the use of mediation and mindfulness to reduce academic anxiety.
"When we have high demands on us, it’s tempting, as I say to students, to 'bulldoze,' but we have to insert pauses to think at our clearest and take stock of what we’re doing," said Dr. Cruz, Director of Student Affairs for the Upper School at BASIS Independent Brooklyn after Mr. Chase's session. "In order to learn well (inside or outside of the classroom), we have to pause, breathe, and listen—to others as well as our own thoughts and questions."
Exploring other countries and cultures first-hand is an amazing opportunity for students. BASIS Independent Brooklyn has hosted Middle and High School trips to Europe for two years in a row now. Last year we added a grade 5 tour of Costa Rica, which really allowed our physical geography students the chance see their lessons come to life before their eyes.
Based on extremely positive feedback from families and faculty, we are expanding tours offered to a wider range of students in spring 2018.
"These guided educational tours led by our faculty have been a highlight of the school year for many of our students," said Rachel Soszynski, Director of Auxiliary Programming. "We value the engaging, participatory learning experience that is very much in line with our BASIS Independent approach. Having a tour guide dealing with the logistics allows our faculty on the trip to focus on reacting to student questions directly and expanding the discussion."
This coming spring we are expanding the number of educational school trips.
We are proud to announce Ms. Lauren Fisher recently joined our BASIS Independent Brooklyn team as Dean of Students for Grades 5–7. Ms. Fisher brings a wealth of experience to this new role supporting student academic and social-emotional growth at our growing middle school.
After attending our network-wide training in Arizona in July, Ms. Fisher had a chance to settle into her new office and meet up with our communications team. We had the chance to ask her some questions, so our families could get to know her better.
Jessica Wolf joined BASIS Independent Brooklyn in its inaugural year in 2014. Ms. Wolf's path to teaching at BASIS Independent is quite unique, having had familiarity with (and being thoroughly impressed by) BASIS.ed students in other regions of the country.
"Prior to working at BASIS Independent Brooklyn, I was working in an administrative role at an educational non-profit in Washington D.C. My position gave me the opportunity to work with and mentor middle school students from a variety of schools (public, private, and charter). Among our 90+ scholars, there were three that attended BASIS DC.
When working with these students, I was constantly blown away by how advanced their work was and how confident they were with it. I specifically remember working with an 8th grader who was solving a multi-step equation, and thinking that it was amazing that she was doing math that is often not taught until 10th or 11th grade.
Even more impressive was the BASIS.ed students' desire to not just know the answer, but to really understand the 'why' and 'how' behind solving a problem and how the material related to other things they were learning. I now know that these students really embodied what it means to be a 'BASIS.ed student'… a student who works incredibly hard, takes pride in their work (and themselves), and, most importantly, has a genuine love of education and a desire to learn! When I learned that they were opening a school in Brooklyn (in my home state of New York) I knew that I wanted to be a part of it!"
As the 5th and 7th grade mathematics teacher, Ms. Wolf's goal is to use mathematics to, "challenge my students to become critical thinkers and problem solvers who can confidently tackle any obstacle...and of course to have fun!" Ms. Wolf received a Bachelor's degree from Clark University in studio arts and mathematics in 2009, and her Master of Arts degree in secondary mathematics education from Clark University in 2010.
"When I'm not in the classroom I love making books, trying out new restaurants, and telling everyone stories about how much I love my dog. A fun fact is that I know how to juggle!"
It feels good to be recognized for your hard work, doesn't it?
It is no secret that our students and teachers work so incredibly hard over the course of the school year. As such, it has been a delight to share with our readers more than a few instances of our students receiving impressive validation for their work from people and organizations outside of BASIS Independent. We're so excited to share this news with you that we'll cut to the chase:
Our students demonstrated exceptional performance on this year's National Latin Exam and National Spanish Exam! These exams test knowledge of grammar, vocabulary, and culture through listening and reading comprehension and are taken by middle and high school students across the Anglophone world.
NATIONAL LATIN EXAM
Between undergraduate and graduate study, Mr. Chen volunteered for one year in Tibet, teaching Mandarin and math, organizing cultural events, and administering community surveys. "The volunteering experience made me realize that I receive great joy from helping others and being an educator. And I have always been passionate about learning languages.
Inspired by the blissful feeling of uncovering connections, our blog Eureka! Brooklyn is about sharing moments that capture the essence of what it is to be a BASIS Independent student, teacher, administrator, or family.