Dear Families and Staff,
During the quiet months of summer, I take time to reflect on the past year. 2018–19 marked a milestone year. Our school "turned five," and our first class of seniors graduated in June. Throughout the year student accomplishments across all grades also continued to reaffirm the vision behind all that we have built here in Brooklyn.
We want to recognize the individuals who have been here since our school doors first opened and those who have joined us along the way. No matter what year you began, you were—and are—intimately part of raising a school. As we like to say, “a school grows in Brooklyn,” and with it so many children and professionals. Betty Smith’s seminal work, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, serves as an iconic example for the school. We—like the characters in the book—have grown together and developed our community by facing common challenges and sharing in joys, successes, and celebrations. Like the symbolic tree, we have set down roots in order to preserve our ties to each other.
The 2018–2019 results are in! We have crunched the numbers and, once again, BASIS Independent Silicon Valley students are outperforming the top countries and regions in the world. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) developed the OECD Test for Schools based on their renowned Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). BASIS Independent students also outscored BASIS Charter School students in each category of the OECD assessment, which tests critical-thinking and the application of knowledge, not rote memorization.
Congratulations to students at our sister school!
Following is more information regarding the OECD test and our results. Next year our Brooklyn campus will have enough 15-year-old students to sit for the OECD test, and we look forward to sharing results across campuses.
Cognitive theorist Jerome Bruner wrote, “We begin with the hypothesis that any subject can be taught in some intellectually honest form to any child at any stage of development” (1960). We believe that even our youngest students at BASIS Independent Brooklyn are capable of engaging with and understanding the most difficult material if it is structured and presented appropriately. BASIS Curriculum Schools ensures major course topics are “spiraled,” or re-addressed at each grade level with increasing complexity.
When the BASIS Curriculum was launched in 1998, it quickly gained attention and acclaim for its breadth, depth, and ability to successfully teach high-level content and critical thinking to eager students at a younger age. We have seen the implementation, success, growth, and evolution of the BASIS Curriculum over many years, including at each of our five BASIS Independent School campuses.
Like the other BASIS Curriculum Schools across the network, each BASIS Independent School continues to place a heavy focus on college readiness, as well as on overall student performance. In the 2016 Advanced Placement® exams, BASIS Independent School students earned a pass rate of 87.9%, and an average score of 3.89, with nearly 1,000 exams taken. In just two years, BINS students’ 2018 pass rate rose to 94.3%, with an average score of 4.18 across nearly 2,000 exams.
Student performance continues to improve at BASIS Independent Schools in critical college readiness assessments. The same is true of schools across the BASIS Curriculum Schools network. As such, we are once again proud to share a glimpse of the latest 2019 U.S. News & World Report Best High School rankings, which showcase high rankings for seven BASIS Curriculum Schools, even after a change in US News’ ranking methodology. The new methodology, released on April 29, 2019, broadens the focus of the ranking, moving away from college readiness. However, in spite of these changes, the seven BASIS Charter Schools which were in the Top 15 in 2018, were all still ranked in the Top 35 in 2019 – despite a more than six-fold increase in the number of schools ranked, from 2,700 in 2018 to more than 17,000 in 2019. That is, those seven acclaimed BASIS Charters are in the top 0.2% of all ranked schools. Further, those seven BASIS Charter Schools are ranked as the seven best schools in the state of Arizona, and five of the BASIS Charter Schools are in the nation’s Top 20 STEM schools – and STEM rankings are perhaps the most similar to the ranking methodology used in previous years.
Read on for more details about yet another year of incredible national rankings in U.S. News & World Report by BASIS Charter Schools.
It is with excitement and pride that we usher in this year’s grand finale of the BASIS Independent Schools academic program: Senior Projects!
Graduation is almost upon us, and we want to celebrate all that our first class of seniors has accomplished. Our 16 seniors started with us right before or during high school, taking a risk to help build and start our learning community. They had to run harder and faster, rising to the challenge of the BASIS Curriculum in high school without the preparation of earlier years. We are now excited to watch them switch focus to college and embark on the next chapter of their lives.
"We are proud to share that more than 80 percent of our seniors received acceptance letters from one of the top 50 national universities," said Head of School Hadley Ruggles. "Our students are now deciding among universities such as Columbia, Johns Hopkins, Georgetown, Carnegie Mellon, New York University, Rice, and Northeastern. Additionally, thirty-seven percent of our seniors received acceptances to either one of the top ten ranked universities or top ten ranked liberal arts colleges in the nation."
Through the innovative co-teaching design of the BASIS Independent Brooklyn primary classroom—the Learning Expert Teacher/Subject Expert Teacher (LET/SET) model—two teachers work together to serve students’ different needs in each class throughout the school day.
Improving upon the traditional co-teaching model of lead teacher and assistant teacher, the expert knowledge of each individual BASIS Curriculum Schools teacher serves a unique purpose. Both teachers are experienced professionals who possess deep understanding of their respective fields.
Students at BASIS Independent Schools know a thing or two about hard work and persistence in problem solving. Our accelerated and spiraled math curriculum gives students ample time to strengthen their fundamental skills so that each year, when our schools facilitate opportunities for students to participate in competitions, clubs, and more, they can then show off their talents and achieve new goals. This year’s math wins across several of our campuses are a testament of how well our students thrive in competitive situations.
Read on to explore just a few of the math-centric accomplishments from our campuses in Brooklyn, Fremont, Manhattan, McLean, and Silicon Valley.
Approximately sixty percent of our 2017–2018 high school students have earned an AP Scholar award, recognition from the College Board based on their performance on their 2018 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 four National AP Scholars in our senior class comprised of 16 students.
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.
Ms. Wallace joined BASIS Independent Brooklyn earlier this year as the Dean of Students for our Upper School (grades 8–12). She came to our Red Hook campus from Beacon High School, where she focused on student support and college counseling. Prior to Beacon, Ms. Wallace worked at the Professional Performing Arts School leading individual and group counseling sessions for high school and supported incoming high school students as well as preparing seniors for college. Ms. Wallace obtained her master's degree in school counseling from Hunter College.
With all of her experience in the high school arena, Ms. Wallace says that her favorite part of working with students is "seeing the passion that students express when they encounter new and meaningful information.”
Ms. Wallace was drawn to BASIS Independent Brooklyn because students are encouraged to “immerse themselves at a high level of academic thought and rigor, while still being encouraged to practice individuality and personal creativity.” The balance of those qualities is something that she also appreciates from the teachers and staff whom she has started to work with at the school.
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.