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.
“It makes a huge difference to have teachers who are passionate about the subjects they are teaching in every class. It makes you more excited to learn!” –Sophie, BASIS Independent McLean
BASIS Independent Schools raises the standards of student learning to the highest international levels through our advanced, globally benchmarked curriculum. However, our schools are only able to achieve such incredible outcomes thanks to our passionate expert teachers—not just because they teach with expertise, but because each one inspires students to truly love learning. Good luck asking any of our students who their favorite teacher or class is; they will usually answer, “all of them!”
When our students enter the Middle School Program in grade 5 at BASIS Independent Schools, they leave behind the two-teacher model that defines grades 1–4 and are solely led by Subject Expert Teachers (SETs). Focused on high-level mastery, SETs are the shepherds of academic content; they have real-life experience in the discipline they teach, and often even hold advanced degrees in the field.
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.
Imagine that you are back at school sitting in a class you excel in. You might be a little bored because you already read ahead in the textbook, and you zone out when the teacher talks. You know this already! Or maybe you’re in a class you don’t like very much because you struggle with the material. Why is the teacher going so fast? You barely understood the last lesson! Now imagine there was a second teacher in that classroom, one who knew your strengths and areas for improvement, who could work with you to make sure you were achieving your potential in the best way for you. That second teacher in the class helping students while the first teacher leads the class creates the SET/LET relationship at BASIS Independent Brooklyn.
Donovan M. is a rising fifth-grader at BASIS Independent Brooklyn who also flexed his culinary muscles as a contestant on Season 5 of FOX's MasterChef Junior. His role on the show generated a great deal of excitement among our students, and it inspired our Manhattan admissions team to create an event for families with Donovan focusing on one of his favorite subjects - science. “Cooking is like chemistry, and that’s why I like science,” he recently told a reporter covering his appearance on MasterChef Junior.
Between undergraduate and graduate study, Mr. Chen volunteered for one year in Tibet, teaching Mandarin and math, organizing cultural events, and administering community surveys. "The volunteering experience made me realize that I receive great joy from helping others and being an educator. And I have always been passionate about learning languages.
We are excited to unveil to you the fruits of a couple of non-stop days in October - our BASIS Independent videos! Back in December, we shared with you our first video in the series, our BASIS Independent Parent Video. Check out the BASIS Independent Parent Video here.
Here's a refresher on the project: Over the course of three days, we filmed three separate videos: one about the family experience with our school, the teacher perspective on what it's like to work here, and the student perspective on what it is like to learn here. We love these videos and hope you do, too.
They are raw, spur of the moment, unscripted reflections of what it's like to be a part of the BASIS Independent community.
They breathe life into Education Redefined and demonstrate what happens when you combine an accelerated, rigorous curriculum with exceptional, expert educators in an environment of support and deep respect for the art and science of learning.
As we dive headfirst into fall, Back to School Reflections is a series designed to 'catch up' with members of our faculty and administration on how the ease into the school year is going.
A growing and thriving student population brings a number of exciting additions to our expert faculty. In the wake of our Meet the Teacher evening where parents and teachers met to get to know each other and discuss student expectations and plans for the year, Mr. Cunningham sat with Mr. Sean Griffin, a first year teacher to talk about "electric" excitement over poetry and how both him and his students are adjusting back to the start of school.
Steve D’Amato found his way to BASIS Independent Brooklyn by following his lifelong passion for teaching students of all ages to read literature. In the past seven years, Steve has worked as a dedicated Professor of English and Writing at both Brooklyn College and York College of the City University of New York, and as an expert 6th - 12th grade English and Language Arts teacher at other private institutions in the tri-state area. While he specializes in Rhetoric, Composition, and Literature, Steve has also created and taught specialty research courses in film and drama.
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.