Mr. Harmon is the Dean of Students for the Middle School Program (grades 5–8) at BASIS Independent Brooklyn. Joining our school first as an English and Latin Subject Expert Teacher, Mr. Harmon was excited by the vision, rigor, and breadth of the BASIS Independent Brooklyn educational experience. Now in a Student Affairs role, he enjoys working with students as a part of the school leadership team.
Mr. Harmon received his Bachelor of Arts degree from The Ohio State University with a major in Greek and Latin and a minor in English. He began his teaching career in central Ohio where he taught English and coached basketball. He then took his teaching career abroad to a private school in Istanbul, Turkey, where for four years he taught English Language Arts, helped to develop an AP English program, and began to develop an AP Latin program.
Upon returning stateside, Mr. Harmon starting teaching at BASIS Phoenix in Arizona, where he appreciated the curriculum and vision of excellence. He transferred to the Brooklyn campus in 2016 to teach and then moved into the role of Dean in the summer of 2018.
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.
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.
Ms. King is a trained yoga and dance instructor who brings mindfulness into her Movement Classes for our youngest students in the Early Learning Program and primary school. As the parent of a middle school student, she realized the techniques could benefit all our families and decided to draft the following blog post outlining information and exercises to use.
Mindfulness – What is it? How does it show up in the classroom? How can you use it at home? Mindfulness comes in many forms and practices, but the results are the same: the activation of the para-sympathetic nervous system, which naturally stimulates the body’s healing and de-stressing systems. Below are a few ways to classify mindfulness practices and some simple things to try. The key is PRACTICE. Make a clear time and place for your practice and commit to this time and place over time. A little goes along way. Even a minute of mindfulness has been shown to have a positive effect.
Parent FAQ Series: "I have the option to apply this year for grade 5, or next year for grade 6. What is the benefit of applying for grade 5?" We've had many parents ask this question when they attend our admissions events, and we are excited to explore the answer in depth!
One of our BASIS Independent Brooklyn families worked diligently for months to secure a speaker for our BASIS Independent Thought Series, which explores many different views and perspectives across a spectrum of topics. As a school, we do not promote any single stance but encourage the conversation.
Our newest Associate Director of Admissions Sarah Ellerton wanted to help prospective families learn more about transferring into BASIS Independent Brooklyn during middle school from the experts—students who had just made the change themselves. Sarah sat down with several recent transfer students and reports back on what she learned.
When I joined the BASIS Independent Brooklyn Admissions Team last month and started leading tours for prospective families, I noticed the same question coming up again and again from parents of middle school students: How hard is it to start at BASIS Independent Brooklyn in middle school?
One of our BASIS Independent Brooklyn parents strongly recommended bringing Sam Chase to campus to work with students on mindfulness and meditation. She had seen Mr. Chase work wonders with her hedge fund employees who juggle high-stress projects and competing time demands. As part of Wellness Week for our Upper School, Mr. Chase spoke with our students about the use of mediation and mindfulness to reduce academic anxiety.
"When we have high demands on us, it’s tempting, as I say to students, to 'bulldoze,' but we have to insert pauses to think at our clearest and take stock of what we’re doing," said Dr. Cruz, Director of Student Affairs for the Upper School at BASIS Independent Brooklyn after Mr. Chase's session. "In order to learn well (inside or outside of the classroom), we have to pause, breathe, and listen—to others as well as our own thoughts and questions."
Exploring other countries and cultures first-hand is an amazing opportunity for students. BASIS Independent Brooklyn has hosted Middle and High School trips to Europe for two years in a row now. Last year we added a grade 5 tour of Costa Rica, which really allowed our physical geography students the chance see their lessons come to life before their eyes.
Based on extremely positive feedback from families and faculty, we are expanding tours offered to a wider range of students in spring 2018.
"These guided educational tours led by our faculty have been a highlight of the school year for many of our students," said Rachel Soszynski, Director of Auxiliary Programming. "We value the engaging, participatory learning experience that is very much in line with our BASIS Independent approach. Having a tour guide dealing with the logistics allows our faculty on the trip to focus on reacting to student questions directly and expanding the discussion."
This coming spring we are expanding the number of educational school trips.
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.