“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."
As the new school year begins for our five BASIS Independent Schools campuses, we’re seeing all of the crucial elements of our program and classrooms come together after a summer of brainstorming and meticulous preparation.
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.
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.