Today we honor our Class of 2021 and celebrate news of their college acceptances to date. A majority of our graduating students started with us in middle school, and they had a strong foundation from which to rise to the academic challenges presented in our high school program. Seniors began their last year virtually during a pandemic, and just this month the option of the COVID-19 vaccine was opened to them. This change hopefully marks a turning point that will permit them to experience campus life this fall. We look ahead to their bright future, confident in their preparation to be a force of positive change in our world.
"The class of 2021 should stand proud in their individual and collective accomplishments," said Head of School Hadley Ruggles. "Individually, they carved out personal identities that match their passions and what they hope to accomplish in the world. Collectively, they developed lasting relationships with teachers, friends, and administrators, which aided in their efforts in the college search process."
"It has been my greatest professional honor to witness their growth — supporting them when they requested it, but mostly granting them the autonomy to explore and achieve their goals," continued Ms. Ruggles. "These independent thinkers will not shy away from a challenge and will confidently go in the direction of their dreams."
Photo by Danny D. '22
Today we have great news to share that offers hope for the future in the midst of the current pandemic. We want to celebrate Class of 2020 college acceptances. Our 16 seniors started with us right before or during high school, and they were willing to rise to the academic challenge of a school unlike any they had attended before. We are now excited to watch them switch focus to college and grow into strong leaders poised to be a force for change in our world. Their varied interests span across disciplines ranging from medicine to humanities, social sciences to the arts.
"We are proud to share that approximately 75 percent of our seniors received acceptance letters from one of the top 50 national universities," said Head of School Hadley Ruggles. "When you expand that to the top 80 universities and colleges, that percentage increases to approximately 88%. Additionally, more than half of our students in our senior class of 16 received acceptances to universities or liberal arts colleges ranked in the top 30 in the nation according the U.S. News & World Report. These include Columbia, Wesleyan, Georgetown, UCLA, Carnegie Mellon, Barnard, University of Rochester, and University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill."
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.
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.
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.