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."
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.
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.
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.
Ms. Golka is the Dean of Students for the Primary School Program (grades 1–4) at BASIS Independent Brooklyn. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in theater performance from Winthrop University where she was a part of the theater honor society Alpha Psi Omega. After starting out in the book industry and then shadowing with a school in Brooklyn, she discovered her passion for teaching. She started her Masters of Early Education (Birth–2nd Grade) degree at Hunter College at CUNY.
Ms. Golka started as a grade 2 Learning Expert Teacher (LET) at BASIS Independent Brooklyn, and she is very excited about moving onto the Student Affairs team. She believes it is very important to not only help students grow academically, but socially and emotionally as well.
Ms. Golka feels strongly that BASIS Independent Brooklyn shares the same values for education and teaching as she does, especially the belief that every student is important and has potential to excel. She enjoys reading, doing improv, and traveling with family and friends.
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.
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.
Next week is an important one in the life of a BASIS Independent Brooklyn Middle School student. It's pre-comp time!
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.