Congratulations to the 2021 winners of the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. We are thrilled to celebrate the inspiring student work, which in many instances powerfully documented life during the pandemic. Students have created visually stunning and meaningful imagery, and we wanted to share many of the pieces honored by Scholastic. We are proud to see them brilliantly uphold the BASIS Independent standard for setting the bar high for our school and entire community.
Across BASIS Independent Brooklyn and Manhattan, 19 students were recognized with a total of 40 awards in the Scholastic Art & Writing Competition.
The final installation of our Student Ambassador blog posts ends with a snapshot of our Middle School Student Ambassadors who are super excited to meet and welcome all of our newly admitted and prospective students. They have so much to share with you regarding their experiences at BASIS Independent Brooklyn and are super passionate to speak with more students about our amazing teachers, academic curriculum, and student life. If you missed the profiles of our High School Ambassadors, you can take a look here, but for now enjoy the profiles of our Grade 5 through 8 ambassadors.
Just to provide a recap of our Middle School Program, our students complete a rigorous schedule in all core disciplines, including three separate, concurrent science classes (physics, chemistry, and biology), economics, world language, and a course in logic. Students can choose an elective beginning in grade 6 and a world language option in grades 7 and above. The spiral of the curriculum is essential and highly apparent in these grades, particularly regarding the revisiting of concepts in the sciences in greater depth with each passing year, as students prepare for entry into Honors or Advanced Placement (AP) level coursework starting in grade 9.
Before our Winter Break, we shared the profiles of our Senior Student Ambassadors. We hope you were able to read more about the activities they are involved in at BASIS Independent Brooklyn, as well as their advice regarding navigating our program, community, and campuses. At our school, we have many Student Ambassadors who are passionately engaged within our community! In this next installment, we invite you to meet our Grade 9 through 11 Ambassadors in their own words.
Last year we unveiled our first-ever Student Ambassador Program to our school community. Our Admissions Team sought to work more closely with our current students in order to provide an authentic and immersive experience of our school, program, and community to our new families and students. And so, we opened a novel opportunity to our passionate and enthusiastic Middle School and High School students!
For the inaugural year of the Student Ambassador Program, current students applied and went through a selection process to be named a BASIS Independent Brooklyn Student Ambassador. These students have demonstrated their commitment to being an excellent student, community member, and friend. After our ambassadors were named, we placed more responsibility in their hands and made them instrumental to the Shadow Day experience. A Shadow Day provides prospective students who have submitted an application the opportunity to experience the life of a BASIS Independent Brooklyn student for a day. Students were paired with our ambassadors based on similar passions and interests and given a firsthand glimpse into our community on campus. Prospective students were introduced to their ambassador's friends, classmates, and teachers, participated in classes and experiments, and even made friends along the way! Our Ambassadors were excited to greet our new students, and bursting with pride to share what makes BASIS Independent Brooklyn an exceptional place to grow.
BASIS Independent Brooklyn is coming to Downtown Brooklyn! In fall 2021, a new 62,000-square-foot Lower School Campus will open at City Point (413 Albee Square West). The new campus offers the opportunity to customize a modern, large space to the needs of Early Learning and early Primary students in PreK through Gr. 2. After Gr. 3, students would then step up to the original 100,000+ square-foot Red Hook campus.
“For the past three years we worked to find the right real estate to realize our vision for a nearby campus designed for our youngest students,” said Head of the Lower School Shari D. Cameron. “Starting in fall 2021, we are excited to bring our well-rounded, globally-benchmarked program to City Point in Downtown Brooklyn for the youngest learners.”
The earliest years of a child’s education are marked by meaningful discoveries and “lightbulb” moments: students are solidifying their sense of self and their relationship to the world. Our Early Learning and Primary Program is designed to maximize these moments, creating a balance between a child’s natural tendencies—to question, explore, and create—and intentional academic learning. A key goal is to inspire students to delight in learning. Fostering this as early as possible leads to future academic and lifelong success.
In a global economy, in an environment that is hyperconnected to a substantial amount of information and knowledge sharing, students need to be prepared with the skills to actively participate, not spectate. When students are participants, they can synthesize large amounts of information to make significant contributions for themselves and for those around them.
For these reasons and more, BASIS Independent Schools adheres to a simple and powerful mission - to educate students to the highest international levels. We benchmark our program to the best education systems in the world and in the process, have developed a global best practices approach to education from toddlers to grade 12.
How do we measure the outcomes of our mission? We look to the gold standard, the OECD and PISA.
Our school aims to bring together educators who are knowledgeable, driven, and believe that with the right support and encouragement, any child can excel. As part of our teacher profile series, we wanted to feature someone who exemplifies that approach. Mr. Festo is one of our fourth grade Learning Expert Teachers. He leads students through what we call a "bridge year" -- a time focused on growing student independence and building the skills to make connections organically.
Mr. Festo is about to start his third year teaching at BASIS Independent Brooklyn. He graduated from the University of Vermont’s elementary education program, and he has taught in classes ranging from Kindergarten to grade 5 in Connecticut, Vermont, and even New Zealand during his time abroad. "I have never come across a school community so dedicated to the success of their students," said Mr. Festo. "Year-round, the BASIS Independent Brooklyn faculty and staff are excited about what they are doing for and with their students. Seeing this attitude and spirit is what made me realize this was where I wanted to teach."
In the midst of this period of change and uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, one thing remained true. Our students continued to work hard and excel. Today we can proudly share that more than 60% of our high school students qualified as 2020 Advanced Placement (AP) Scholars. AP Scholar awards are recognition of performance on 2020 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 BASIS Independent Brooklyn is home to 11 National 2020 AP Scholars.
“This past school year was an unprecedented one due to the pandemic, and I am truly proud that students continued to demonstrate exceptional performance on college-level coursework during a period of great disruption," said Head of School Hadley Ruggles. "In 2020, more students received the AP Scholar distinction than ever before for our high school. Moreover, our students sat for more AP exams in 2020 that ever before, and they received the highest scores to date."
New Chelsea Upper School Campus and Downtown Brooklyn Lower School Campus Slated to Open Fall 2021
BASIS Independent Schools, the world-acclaimed network of private schools, announced the expansion of BASIS Independent Manhattan to include a new Upper School campus in Chelsea that will house their growing High School Program. Meanwhile BASIS Independent Brooklyn will expand to a separate Lower School Campus at the City Point complex in Downtown Brooklyn due to increased enrollment. Both new campuses will open in fall 2021, and applications for the 2021-2022 school year were just launched.
BASIS Independent Manhattan will now serve students in PreK through High School across both campuses. The original BASIS Independent Manhattan campus at 795 Columbus Avenue will focus on students in PreK to grade 5. The new 34,000-square-foot Upper School campus is located at 556 West 22nd Street right across from the sports complex Chelsea Piers, and it will accommodate grades 6-12.
Our Admissions Team would like to extend our sincerest welcome to all of the prospective families on our interest list and to those who are just starting their school search. Our application process will be different this year, as it will be at all schools, but we are excited to get to know your family over the course of the next few months as we work together through the 2021-22 admissions cycle.
Informed by worldwide best practices, our much-anticipated “welcome back to school” has looked and felt different this year. However, it has been amazing to see our youngest learners walk through our gates and be welcomed with enthusiasm and joy by our passionate, expert teachers and staff. The laughter coming from our PreK wing is contagious and rings throughout the building. We’re also pleased that the smiles have not stopped there: families during arrival and departure (and over phone and email) have expressed their happiness and appreciation, renewing our team’s energy for the upcoming admissions season!
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.