Sasha I. is one of our grade 7 students! She knew another student who attended BASIS Independent Silicon Valley and that the parents were especially impressed. Taking initiative, Sasha spoke to her own parents and they attended an Open House to get to know more about the program. As she was not being challenged at her previous school, Sasha and her parents made the decision to join our learning community—she was excited about the prospect of learning new things right away. They discussed how it would be more work for her and for them as a family, but she was absolutely up for the challenge!
Physics is a great way to start the day because it taps into problem solving. According to Sasha, "Your brain is working so hard already and you know the end of the equation is coming which makes solving the problem exciting. Mr. Rocha is also really good at using every single minute to the fullest. We accomplish a lot in one whole class." Today, he gave the class a mini pop quiz called “Lucky number 13” based on the notes discussed the day before; this also allows the class to review together.
English with Dr. Jensen is the next class of the day. Sasha feels it is challenging because of grammar memorization, but she has always felt that English was difficult—even before she came to BISV. While it is not her favorite subject, Sasha loves that Dr. Jensen offers a lot of office hours to get extra one-on-one help. "Dr. Jensen gives us essays and we work on them for about two weeks at a time. He gives us a rubric that acts as a guide to writing the essays which is super helpful for me."
"Chemistry is really fun! The labs are really exciting," Sasha says. Once a student enters grade 7, there is a lot more freedom during the labs. "We are more mature and have more experience so we gain more trust with Dr. Bozidarevic by allowing us to run the labs ourselves." Sasha says she feels more responsible for her experiments and her surroundings. She also says she understands the material for Chemistry easily because Dr. B provides the class with packets to ensure each student has the same notes and materials. "It also helps when you are studying with friends or after school because we are all on the same page at the same time."
Biology is Sasha's favorite subject! "The class is so interesting and has such a great teacher. Mr. Barnes explains things in such a fun way and we work so hard in class that when I study for a test or quiz I always feel like I'm just reviewing notes that I remember or understood really well during the lesson." She says that Mr. Barnes uses Power Points that help guide their notes and simplify ideas the class may not have understood right away.
Logic is just twice a week, so it stays interesting. "It's a cool topic for 7th graders," says Sasha. "We learn how to think in a different way and study the facts of the situation." Right now, the class is going over social topics, which allows Sasha to relate to what’s happening in the world right now. Ms. Srivastava, the Logic teacher, lets them discuss the problems that are currently going on in their own state and country, giving the students a tangible sense of their subject matter and discussions. Sasha says it makes learning more interesting because it's problems and situations in the present time.
Math is a difficult subject, but Saxon allows students to have a lot of practice. "Math can become so fun once you learn how to solve one problem and can apply that principle to other problems," says Sasha. She said that Mr. Perry, her Math teacher, gathered the students' advice on what learning techniques and teaching styles worked best for them, and now the class is all caught up with the material.
When it's time for Latin, Ms. Odell helps students practice during class and provides a lot of outside activities to help them practice when class is over. For Sasha, Latin is a familiar language; she took it from grade 5 to grade 6, but she says she is sill continuing to learn. She also wants to keep taking Latin in high school—she wants to one day enter the Bio-Chem field and says that Latin will really help provide a solid foundation.
Sasha prefers World History but enjoys the many battles that have been discussed in U.S. History about her own country. Mr. Bennett also brings in outside topics from the time period, like culture, traditions, and more. "History can feel repetitive at times but Mr. Bennett does a really good job of making it interesting." Sasha has studied many of the conflicts in U.S. History and she has enjoyed learning how the United States came to be. "I also like learning about the places I've been to. It makes me excited to visit more states!" The quizzes and tests are common in this class, but Sasha says everyone has gotten the swing of things.
Sasha is a huge fan of her Art class with Dr. Charuhas. Since she takes zero period, Art is her last subject of the day. "I love knowing that I've finished all of my other classes and can now focus on Art. It's the best way to end the day!" Each project has a guideline, but students can interpret how they want to express each topic. Dr. Charuhas provides the class with different art materials to choose from for every new project, and Sasha says she is great at guiding the class on which materials work best with other materials.
Sasha's transition into becoming a fully-fledged BASIS Independent Silicon Valley Bobcat has been full of exciting lessons and new friendships! We are thrilled to see that she has so enjoyed our school and learned so much already.