From the very first day BASIS Independent Brooklyn opened to students, Michael Mandeville stood apart as a leader among our faculty. He shaped our French program from the middle school years through high school, including a very popular Senior Capstone class exploring French literature. For the past several years he also served as the French Subject Expert Advisor across all BASIS Independent Schools. Now he is excited to lead our Middle School program in collaboration with Dean Holly Goodin.
Mr. Mandeville received his Bachelor of Arts magna cum laude with a double major in letters and French from the University of Oklahoma in 2010. In 2014, he received his master’s degree in French literature from the University of Oklahoma, and he was formally recognized for excellence in teaching by the University Provost. During his master’s program, he received a scholarship to participate in Middlebury College’s summer Russian program.
On June 24th family, faculty, and students gathered together at the Palm House in the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens to celebrate the accomplishments of our Class of 2021. Our thirty-two graduates are now poised to continue their academic careers in top colleges and universities across the country.
During the ceremony, valedictorian Elizabeth C. and co-salutatorians Jacob H. and Joshua S. offered thoughtful reflections on their experience as a class and looked ahead to all that is in store for them. We wanted to share with our community since we were inspired by their words.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many things were disrupted. A large number of students, staff, and families found ways to cope and deal with the changes through service projects, which we have profiled extensively in the past year. One other trend we recently became aware of was the proliferation of businesses in our school community. While sequestered at home, some of our students and staff began to find their entrepreneurial side. Today we wanted to profile a few of these for you.Mackerel Studios
Junior Andres M. enjoyed learning AP Economics with Mr. Duwan this year, and he just shared with us a project creating nautical-themed bracelets he has been working on for months inspired by the class. Mackerel Studios gave Andres the opportunity to combine his "love for the ocean and the idea of how mental and physical restrictions should not stop you from doing anything in your life."
Growing up Andres and his family were always drawn to the water, due in large part to his father's experience in professional sailing. Andres' sister has Cerebral Palsy, and the family looked for ways to allow her to enjoy and learn as much as anyone. They worked hard to find programs that make sailing possible for people with disabilities.
A team comprised of four BASIS Independent Brooklyn 7th grade students -- Olivia M., Polly S., Sabrina M., and Sahana C.-- was just named the New York team winner in the You Be The Chemist Challenge. The Challenge is a competition hosted by the Chemical Educational Foundation (CEF) in which teams of 5th-8th grade students explore chemistry concepts and the role of those concepts in their community.
The competition was held virtually this year due to COVID-19. Teams participated in a virtual event where they answered timed questions and submitted a video on sustainability, scientific phenomena, and ways that problems faced by people in their community can be solved using their knowledge of chemistry and science. Ten thousand students from 266 schools competed in the challenge this year.
We believe celebrating student accomplishments is important for not only recognizing excellence but also inspiring our students across the grades. Please join us in congratulations our Bears for a number of recent developments:
Debate Team Coach Brown was thrilled to announce Junior Peter Mugaba-N. won overall City Champion in the New York City Urban Debate Team City Championships. Our own Isaac W. '24 was the runner-up!
In the recent State Competition, our Bears made us proud. Coach Brown shared:
One tradition we are proud to continue this year is featuring student art on our 2021-2022 Communication Journal (CJ) covers. Creativity and expression through the Fine Arts thrived during the pandemic, and we received very strong entries to consider from across the grades. It is our honor now to unveil the art gracing our CJ covers next year!
Gr. 9-12 CJ Covers
Courtney H. '22 designed a very elegant version of our mascot on the Manhattan Bridge for our 2021-2022 cover. Luca S. '22 imagined a giant, mutant bear roaming through New York City skyscrapers like Godzilla for our back cover.
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.
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.
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.