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.
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.
Graduation is almost upon us, and we want to celebrate all that our first class of seniors has accomplished. Our 16 seniors started with us right before or during high school, taking a risk to help build and start our learning community. They had to run harder and faster, rising to the challenge of the BASIS Curriculum in high school without the preparation of earlier years. We are now excited to watch them switch focus to college and embark on the next chapter of their lives.
"We are proud to share that more than 80 percent of our seniors received acceptance letters from one of the top 50 national universities," said Head of School Hadley Ruggles. "Our students are now deciding among universities such as Columbia, Johns Hopkins, Georgetown, Carnegie Mellon, New York University, Rice, and Northeastern. Additionally, thirty-seven percent of our seniors received acceptances to either one of the top ten ranked universities or top ten ranked liberal arts colleges in the nation."
Through the innovative co-teaching design of the BASIS Independent Brooklyn primary classroom—the Learning Expert Teacher/Subject Expert Teacher (LET/SET) model—two teachers work together to serve students’ different needs in each class throughout the school day.
Improving upon the traditional co-teaching model of lead teacher and assistant teacher, the expert knowledge of each individual BASIS Curriculum Schools teacher serves a unique purpose. Both teachers are experienced professionals who possess deep understanding of their respective fields.
Innovation is a founding principle of the BASIS Curriculum, and our network has some notable innovations for the 2018–19 school year. We wanted to share a few of these endeavors with our families, including a new best practice called SPORK that is rolling out across our network in select math classes, a new approach to content underway at a sister school in our network, and three campuses that opened internationally this year, further extending our global classroom.
BASIS Independent Brooklyn upper school students visited Milkmade scoop shop at 204 Sackett Street on the first day of Project Week. The adventure was part of the "Ice Cream & Books" project this past June. Students visited local small businesses, interviewed their owners about the challenges and benefits of starting and maintaining a small business, sampled the goods, and wrote reviews and/or business plans in response to what they learned and experienced.
Ms. Bailey is the Dean of Students for the Early Learning Program at BASIS Independent Brooklyn. She started her career in the classroom with Teach for America and received her master’s degree in education with distinction from Hunter College.
Ms. Bailey was drawn to BASIS Independent Brooklyn because of the culture and community she observed in her visits. “I want to work in a supportive, autonomous, and family-oriented environment, where I can use my past experiences as a Dean of Students to help BASIS Independent Brooklyn students and families feel successful in the BASIS Curriculum,” said Ms. Bailey.
By Ms. King - Faculty Chaperone and Parent
It was my pleasure and privilege to be a chaperone on the Education First trip to ICELAND during project week. Travel away from home, even for those who travel often, takes us out of our comfort zones and challenges us to see the world and ourselves from different perspectives.
Dear BASIS Independent Brooklyn Families and Staff,
Every summer once the halls are quiet, I spend time reflecting on the school year. 2017–18 was a year defined by extremes, since it encompassed challenging times that placed schools in the national headlines, as well as many exceptional accomplishments on our campus. My note will focus on the great news that deserves celebration, since I want our student accolades to receive the recognition they deserve from the entire BASIS Independent Brooklyn community.
Across the country this past school year, student voices rose to make an impact, and our community joined in proudly. High school students, with the help of faculty adviser Ms. Das, established our Leadership Club that set the stage for organizing school social events as well as student activism.
Ms. Miller-Sims is one of our grade 3 Learning Expert Teachers on the Brooklyn campus. She graduated magna cum laude from Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, majoring in modern languages with a focus on both Italian and French. After graduation, Ms. Miller-Sims went on to receive a Master of Arts degree in foreign language education then a Master of Science degree in general and special education grades 1–6.
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.