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."
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.
Today we feature one of our second grade Learning Expert Teachers Ms. Cameron-Scott, who is about to start her third year teaching on our campus. Ms. Cameron-Scott hails from a family of educators, and she always knew she was a teacher at heart. She believes in the power of early literacy to assist students in reaching their academic potential and work at an accelerated pace. “If you introduce a child to literacy at an early age, they will make great strides in all academic areas," shared Ms. Cameron-Scott. "For reading is the key to all understanding.”
If you ask students at BASIS Independent Brooklyn what makes their school different, they will tell you “the teachers.” The foundation of our culture and the success of our students lie in the hands of our faculty. We look for inspiring, expert teachers who believe that with the right support and encouragement any student can excel. With that in mind, we kick off a blog series profiling faculty members who recently joined our school.
Today we feature Ms. De Leon, who leads students in Engineering and Math in both our Early Learning and Primary Program. Ms. De Leon is intrigued by the contexts under which the brain develops conceptual mathematical knowledge, and she finds it fascinating how every individual has creative and unique solutions for any given mathematical task. As a 4th grade Math and Early Learning Program Engineering Teacher, she set out this year to cultivate a growth mindset culture, so her students can achieve at their highest levels.
Ms. De Leon is excited to have found a community of like-minded educators at BASIS Independent Brooklyn. We asked her some questions to help families get to know her better as a teacher and a fellow parent at our school.
Our global classroom initiative recognizes the importance of exploring, understanding, and celebrating cultures around the world. This year, students added a new, rich layer—recognizing the responsibility to help the under-served not just near our campus but also across the world. Two of our high school students organized a project that models a sense of civic responsibility as global citizens that we wanted to share in the hopes of inspiring others.
In the fall, junior Himani S. and freshman Riana S. decided to organize a clothing drive to benefit the Mother Teresa Orphanage that serves children with disabilities in India. Families at our school were quick to respond generously, sending in enough clothes to fill seven suitcases. Himani and Riana then traveled to India with their parents and personally delivered the donations and proceeded to volunteer their time.
Many of you have already met Dave Carty, who at 6'4" quite literally towers over our other faculty and staff on campus. He signed on as our Head of Operations this summer and quickly become an integral part of our community, overseeing all operations from facilities to bus service. Mr. Carty also happens to be a former college basketball player and stepped up to be the assistant coach of our Gr. 6–8 CONSAT basketball team!
Driven by a focus on his own three children, Mr. Carty followed an interesting road to a career in education. We wanted to share his perspective as our Head of Operations as well as a parent of three who all attended independent schools from PreK through high school.
On a rainy Saturday evening right before Mother's Day, our parents gathered on campus to socialize and hear Head of School Hadley Ruggles present her annual State of the School address. It was an opportunity to relax together and celebrate student accomplishments while looking ahead to the future and upcoming academic year.
Below, we've included several excerpts from the State of the School address:
"As a school, we have much to celebrate. In the past year, we won second place in New York City’s Science Bowl, coming close to defeating the reigning champions of several years. One middle school student not from our school described our team as 'the crowd favorite' for being the new team to take on the old champs!"
"We sent our first debate teams to city championships and to state championships, where our 8th grade students (who were granted special exception to compete against much older students) earned 4th in the state."
"Our girls’ volleyball team continued their streak of athletic success, and joining their ranks; our boys’ basketball team also made it to play-offs. These accomplishments serve as a few highlights among many more—accomplishments at all grade bands and disciplines."
The BASIS Independent Upper School Program is recognized as one of the most academically advanced high school programs in the country. By the time our students are ready to graduate, they have gone through extensive college preparatory courses of study, including a full year of economics in grade 8, a variety of AP course electives, and in-depth college counseling courses, fully preparing them to excel in college and beyond.
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.