What does the teacher hiring process look like at BASIS Independent Schools?
Everyone remembers that one teacher—the one that left such a strong impression that you actually started to call English your favorite class even when you’ve always been a “math person.” To paraphrase BASIS Independent Brooklyn French Subject Expert Teacher Mr. Mandeville, at BASIS Independent Schools, all teachers are that one teacher—each one forges a true connection between their students and the lessons being taught, instilling in them an avid love for their subject. Good luck asking one of our students what their favorite class is. They either tell you, “all of them!” or, “it changes each year!”
Our dedication to hiring world-class teachers is one of the reasons our network and students have seen such notable success over the years—from achieving top results on the OECD Test for Schools (based on PISA) and Advanced Placement exams, to our students gaining admission to some of the world’s best colleges, including Columbia, Yale, Harvard, Stanford, and more. Our robust teacher recruiting process is designed to find and hire high-caliber educators who inspire students to gain the knowledge, confidence, and critical-thinking skills to accomplish whatever they set their minds to.
To help families better understand what goes into ensuring every teacher at school is their child’s favorite teacher, we want to provide you with a look inside our teacher selection and hiring process.
What does BASIS Independent Schools look for in teachers?
The hallmark of our teachers is a combination of subject expertise and passion for their discipline. This means that students are growing under the mentorship and expertise of real mathematicians, chemists, musicians, writers, and more, most of whom have advanced degrees in their area of study.
For example, the Subject Expert Teacher for the primary Mandarin course will have a respective background and skill set in Mandarin while a Subject Expert Teacher in the middle school science sequence may have majored or specialized in physics. In addition to this expertise or experience, our teachers’ must have a passion for what they teach—this enthusiasm is key to helping students build confidence in the classroom as they gain essential content knowledge and critical-thinking skills.
While some new faculty members may have been teaching for years, other aspiring teachers come from non-traditional backgrounds, such as research or corporate positions. One of our current History Subject Expert Teachers was previously a lawyer at a large firm, which has influenced the skills he emphasizes in class: persuasive writing and critical thinking.
However different their route into the classroom may be, expertise and passion unite all of our educators.
How do our schools select new teachers?
We employ a unique approach to teacher hiring that puts the student front and center. After extensive, selective interviewing, final candidates are invited to teach a demo lesson in front of a group of our students at our Teacher Demo Days. Our Heads of School assemble a classroom, and candidates are encouraged to challenge the students, to prove their depth of content knowledge, and demonstrate their ability to communicate high-level subject matter to a full class.
We assess a candidate’s “fit” through student engagement. Even as young as Preschool, these students can communicate whether they were able to connect with the lesson or if a teacher was successful in getting them excited about a topic. Our students know their feedback is important to us and take their job seriously!
This format allows us to ensure only the top individuals are chosen to lead our classrooms, culminating in teachers who are suited for our high-energy, high-performing school environment.
Why do teachers want to work at BASIS Independent Schools?
First and foremost, our teaching philosophy is rooted in trust. BASIS Independent Schools gives teachers the autonomy and flexibility to do what they do best: teach! While the BASIS Curriculum does require teachers to meet a set of common standards, they have the freedom to determine how best to guide their students toward mastery. In the classroom, we empower our teachers to provide instruction and assess learning in the ways that fit their passions and their students’ needs.
Our teachers also benefit from a unique, collaborative network. From formal events throughout the year to day-to-day problem solving, our teachers are encouraged to share different techniques, pedagogical best practices, and lesson inspiration. This collaborative culture extends beyond the walls of any one BASIS Independent School or department; our teachers can work with their network peers and mentors across the globe.
Ms. Wendel, Math and Psychology Subject Expert Teacher at BASIS Independent Silicon Valley, sums it up for us:
“BASIS Independent Schools offers an amazing network of like-minded professionals. The collaborative environment is the best I have ever experienced. Teachers here work closely together within their own school but also across different schools and even different continents, sharing best practice material and helping each other become the best in what we do.”
What professional opportunities are available for teachers and staff?
We don’t put a cap on one’s professional trajectory. There is plenty of room for career growth: we offer network-wide trainings each summer and campus-based professional development programs that allow our staff and faculty to grow and become even better educators. For some, this means perfecting their teaching craft; for others, it means becoming a Subject Advisor, Teacher Mentor, or pursuing a path to administration.
To help our teachers grow and take advantage of the professional development opportunities our network offers, most of our campuses offer Mentor Programs. Mentor Teachers work closely with our faculty and give particular support to new members of our teaching community. These mentors host professional development sessions, provide direct feedback (and receive it) from colleagues, and assist school leadership with recruitment for open positions.
Further, our Mentor Teachers and Programs help our faculty discover new opportunities that best fit their skills and career goals not only at their current campus, but also across our entire network. BASIS Independent Schools is particularly unique because our teachers often have the chance to move around our network and to a campus that may be across the country from them. As a result of our high number of internal transfers, teacher attrition and retention at campus can vary year-by-year.
"When hiring teachers we look for subject expertise, for professionals with a demonstrated passion and dedication to their disciplines," says Mr. Toby Walker, Vice President of BASIS Independent Schools. "We ask teachers to share that passion in every classroom and to inspire our students to go deeper in every subject."
BASIS Independent Bellevue is a private school opening fall 2022. We will open with grades 3-7 to start and add a grade level each school year as we expand to a full middle school and high school. Please join our Interest List for updates, campus tours, upcoming event information, and more! Click here to join our Interest List!