What does it take to build life-long skills of self-advocacy and independence?
At BASIS Independent Schools, our educational philosophy is centered around student autonomy and self-advocacy. We want to empower our students when they come to school each day; to do so, we believe students need to learn to exercise their autonomy, which allows them to take greater control of their education.
Our global classroom initiative recognizes the importance of exploring, understanding, and celebrating cultures around the world. This year, students added a new, rich layer—recognizing the responsibility to help the under-served not just near our campus but also across the world. Two of our high school students organized a project that models a sense of civic responsibility as global citizens that we wanted to share in the hopes of inspiring others.
In the fall, junior Himani S. and freshman Riana S. decided to organize a clothing drive to benefit the Mother Teresa Orphanage that serves children with disabilities in India. Families at our school were quick to respond generously, sending in enough clothes to fill seven suitcases. Himani and Riana then traveled to India with their parents and personally delivered the donations and proceeded to volunteer their time.
Many of you have already met Dave Carty, who at 6'4" quite literally towers over our other faculty and staff on campus. He signed on as our Head of Operations this summer and quickly become an integral part of our community, overseeing all operations from facilities to bus service. Mr. Carty also happens to be a former college basketball player and stepped up to be the assistant coach of our Gr. 6–8 CONSAT basketball team!
Driven by a focus on his own three children, Mr. Carty followed an interesting road to a career in education. We wanted to share his perspective as our Head of Operations as well as a parent of three who all attended independent schools from PreK through high school.
There’s been a lot of buzz in the news recently about student performance on the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). While PISA results are informative from a data standpoint, there is not much information about how these exams lead to nationwide or global improvement in the classroom. At BASIS Independent Schools, we are excited to explore the implications of our results.
“It makes a huge difference to have teachers who are passionate about the subjects they are teaching in every class. It makes you more excited to learn!” –Sophie, BASIS Independent McLean
BASIS Independent Schools raises the standards of student learning to the highest international levels through our advanced, globally benchmarked curriculum. However, our schools are only able to achieve such incredible outcomes thanks to our passionate expert teachers—not just because they teach with expertise, but because each one inspires students to truly love learning. Good luck asking any of our students who their favorite teacher or class is; they will usually answer, “all of them!”
When our students enter the Middle School Program in grade 5 at BASIS Independent Schools, they leave behind the two-teacher model that defines grades 1–4 and are solely led by Subject Expert Teachers (SETs). Focused on high-level mastery, SETs are the shepherds of academic content; they have real-life experience in the discipline they teach, and often even hold advanced degrees in the field.
For PreK through high school, our Student Affairs team has launched a stepped up wellness initiative in September that will span the full academic year. Our deans and directors partnered with faculty to lead the charge for a "Wellness Year" that integrates wellness themes into year round programming.
"The whole Student Affairs Team had a meeting of the minds this summer, and all deans and directors discussed ways a Wellness Year focus could span all grades with themes that are relevant for students in PreK to high school," said Dean Darcy Golka of Primary Grades (2–4). "We worked on what students in our different age bands need to hear, and we spent time ensuring messages were age appropriate."
Monthly programming themes were designated based on what deans and directors knew were happening in students' lives and thinking through what was appropriate developmentally. They wanted to create a more robust program that would spark conversations among students about themes that go beyond wellness and tap into social-emotional learning.
Middle school is a time of substantial transition—academically and emotionally—for students as they leave the more nurturing elementary years and begin their preparation for high school and beyond. Because these years are filled with increasingly complex content, it is critical for students to build and fortify their foundational knowledge across a wide variety of disciplines.
This is the first in a three-part blog series that will provide an in-depth look into the BASIS Independent Middle School Program, which is designed to ready students with the knowledge, confidence, and independence needed to excel inside and outside the classroom, as well as provide them ample opportunity to discover their passions. This first blog post will focus specifically on the BASIS Curriculum in the middle school years, which has been honed and optimized to reflect today’s growing expectations in education.
At BASIS Independent Schools, we are constantly looking for ways to optimize our program while staying true to our foundation of academic excellence.
SPORK is an exciting new tablet-based math textbook program implemented at BASIS Independent Schools after being successfully piloted at our campus. The program is a new tool for BASIS Independent students and teachers in select math courses: Pre-Algebra, Algebra I/Geometry, and Algebra II/Geometry. Keep reading to learn more about how this initiative is elevating our curriculum.
Approximately 60 percent of all our 2018–19 high school students earned an AP Scholar award, which the College Board just released. AP Scholar awards are recognition of performance on 2019 AP exams. Additionally, the National AP Scholar award is typically the highest honor granted to a student before graduation and is granted to less than 1% of students nationwide. We are proud to share we have seven National AP Scholars in the 2019 report just shared with our school.
AP Scholar awards recognize students who have demonstrated both a depth and breadth of knowledge and whose work has shown college-level mastery across multiple disciplines.
Competitive athletics and sports can play a key role in the development of students. Our sports program aims to create a strong culture that brings our BASIS Independent Brooklyn community together regularly to cheer on our BEARS.
"My goal is to enrich our school culture with a healthy dose of competition," said Mr. McCollum, Physical Education Faculty member. "I want to show our students they can be scholars and athletes. In addition, I intend for our program to build a stronger sense of school spirit and sporting culture. It is my desire to see a thriving and competitive student body that continues to pursue excellence through both academics and sport."
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.