On September 5, 2017, BASIS Independent Manhattan opened its doors to 150 students for the first day of its inaugural year. For what seemed like an ordinary day to some was years in the making for us. At the helm of the journey has been Jesse Rizzo, Head of School. She, along with her carefully selected faculty and staff, dedicated countless hours to preparing for BASIS Independent Manhattan's opening on the Upper West Side. They've sown the seed of a world quality education unlike anything for years to come!
After the whirlwind of the first day of school, we sat down with Ms. Rizzo to ask her a few questions.
Head of School Ms. Rizzo’s experience in educational institutions around New York City – and around the world – makes her the ideal leader of our dynamic school community on Manhattan’s Upper West Side at BASIS Independent Manhattan.
Her love of education extends beyond playing the role of teacher or administrator; she, herself, has a long-held commitment to learning and growing her skills as an educator. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Siena College as well as three Master’s degrees from Fordham University in Education and Administration.
Ms. Rizzo, a native New Yorker, joins our program from BASIS Independent Brooklyn where she acted as Director of Academic Programs. During her tenure with BASIS Independent Brooklyn, she spearheaded the initiative for student participation in the International Student Assessment exam, a test of critical and creative thinking in math, reading, and writing—on which students beat national average scores by a few dozen points.
When parents are considering enrolling their children at BASIS Independent Schools, a lot of the questions we often receive at our Informational Events centers around ensuring a smooth transition into our program. We gathered a few of the most popular questions and asked the Head of School for our sister school BASIS Independent McLean to provide his insight into how our program is set up to ensure success before BASIS Independent, and after.
QUESTION: Are my children prepared for a rigorous academic program?"The greatest indicator of success is the child’s desire to be at BASIS Independent. If a student is hungry for more, wanting to be challenged, and craves more authentic learning experiences, then navigating some of the potential difficulties is always much easier.
Our program is designed to ramp up as the school matures. From a new school perspective, it is easier to enter BASIS Independent in a campus’s early years as opposed to when it is more established, as the content of the curriculum takes into account a wider distribution or prior exposure and preparation. Obviously, this conversation is different with a new 9th grader than a new 1st grader.
Inspired by the blissful feeling of uncovering connections, our blog Eureka! Manhattan is about sharing moments that capture the essence of what it is to be a BASIS Independent student, teacher, administrator, or family.