Technology has reshaped how we experience music in countless ways. What people might not know is that Mr. Heilbronn, one of our own faculty members, has been at the forefront of the changes in the music industry. For a select group of our high school students, each year he shares his knowledge and expertise during the Digital Music elective he teaches. The class has just one prerequisite – an interest in and love of music.
For more than 30 years, Mr. Heilbronn has been creating, editing, and producing music. He broke into the music scene as a teenager stepping in one night when the booked DJ failed to appear at a local club in his native Germany. He found his calling, and his love of music soon brought him to New York City with an opportunity to learn from music industry giant Francois K.
At New York City's famous Axis Studio, Mr. Heilbronn worked extensively in sound engineering and editing with a who's who of the most famous musicians in the business including Beyoncé, Jason Derulo, Michael Jackson, and Mariah Carey.
Students in Mr. Heilbronn's Digital Music elective learn the basics of measure and beat at the beginning of the class and progress to create final productions by the second and third trimesters.
As Head of the Lower School, Ms. Shari D. Cameron proudly leads BASIS Independent Brooklyn's expansion to a brand new PreK through grade 2 campus in Downtown Brooklyn. Starting in fall, the new 62,000-square-foot Lower School campus will serve our youngest scholars. When the doors open at City Point (413 Albee Square West), Ms. Cameron will be right there with her hand-picked team of faculty and staff warmly greeting each student and family.
For the past five years, Ms. Cameron thrived leading teams at BASIS Independent Brooklyn across Academic Programs, Admissions, and Student Affairs before assuming the role of Associate Head of School for the Red Hook campus in 2019. With roots firmly in the classroom, Ms. Cameron started her career as an award-winning middle school teacher cultivating in her students a love for history and English. She then rounded out her experience in the classroom by nurturing student curiosity teaching science in addition to English to elementary students. Ms. Cameron was tapped early for a department chair position, and she found she could make a difference in administration. She graduated from Virginia Union University on a full academic scholarship and earned an MBA with a focus on leadership management.
"Cultivating love and excitement for learning in the foundational years of a child's educational experience is key for sustained passion and success as students advance in their educational journeys," shared Ms. Cameron when talking about her vision for the Lower School at BASIS Independent Brooklyn.
Founded in 1929, the National Junior Honor Society (NJHS) is an internationally renowned student organization committed to upholding the five pillars of scholarship, character, citizenship, service, and leadership within secondary schools. NJHS chapters can be found in all 50 states, and it is estimated that approximately one million students participate in chapters throughout the world. Members of this organization engage in local and school based community service projects, and meet regularly with the support of chapter advisers.
This year, 7th and 8th grade students at BASIS Independent Brooklyn became eligible to participate in our school’s very first NJHS chapter. Our school already has an established National Honor Society, and our chapter advisory board was thrilled to present this opportunity to some of our younger students. Our faculty council selected students to apply based on past academic and extracurricular achievement (students must maintain an overall grade point average of 3.5), and exemplary behavior. Once selected, students were required to write an essay outlining their interest in the organization, and their commitment to serving their school and local community.
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 (405 Gold Street). 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."
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.