BASIS Independent Schools strive to raise the standard of student learning to the highest international levels. At the heart is a belief in never underestimating student potential and cultivating an environment of joyful learning. No one believes this more than Head of School Hadley Ruggles at BASIS Independent Brooklyn. She will quickly tell you engaged, independent students produce exceptional results in the classroom and beyond in the real world. She now proudly makes sure that belief is consistently put into practice at our Brooklyn campus.
Excited discussions of “false passages” and “queen’s chambers” echoed around the engineering classroom last week as first grade students began to build interiors of their Egyptian pyramids. Under the guidance of engineering subject expert Ms. Hagan, students began to create their own interiors after learning for weeks about ancient Egyptian history and the unique structures intricately linked to that civilization. Ms. Hagan had worked closely with the first grade learning environment teachers, particularly Ms. Gifford, and humanities instructor Ms. Lavely to develop the student project.
Just recently, BASIS Independent Brooklyn sixth grade students were challenged by our newest Visual Arts faculty member, Mr. Opirhory, to step into the shoes of Neolithic humans. Students broke into teams and began exploring design elements of Neolithic structures using only materials available at the time. The project fell on the heels of their History unit on early river civilizations. The idea was to make connections across classes and bring to life the challenges communities faced moving from nomadic life in the Paleolithic Era to agricultural living in stationary structures in the Neolithic.
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.
When it comes to finding the very best educators, whose opinion is often left out? The students' opinion!
Not at BASIS Independent Schools. We employ a unique approach to teacher hiring that puts the student front and center. Final candidates are invited to teach a demo lesson in front of real-live students. Read more about the teacher selection process and what we are looking for in our educators.
You're invited to this year's first Teacher Demo Day!
On Saturday, April 18, we will need students in grades K-5 to be student evaluators of teaching candidates for the 2015-2016 school year. Priority for participants is given to currently enrolled students and those committed to the 2015-2016 school year.
Students will need to arrive by 8:30 am and will be finished by noon. If a student cannot stay for the entire time, that is okay, just let us know when they can be here and we will accomodate.
If your student(s) can help us out and participate in this unique experience, please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org with student name, grade, and the time he/she can be here.
During Prospective Parent Information Sessions, we are often confronted with a variety of questions that range from the more operational “easy to answer” questions like class size to those philosophical questions that give us pause, that stick in the back of our minds long after we’ve said goodbye to the last lingering few guests.
The middle school science curriculum at BASIS Independent Brooklyn is expansive, breaking down the sciences into the core disciplines of chemistry, physics, and biology, each taken 3 times per week throughout the year. In biology, students just wrapped up a unit on functions and parts of cells, a fairly complex topic. Dr. Angela Hahn, Subject Expert Teacher for 6th, 7th and 8th grade biology and chemistry, works daily to break down complex subjects not typically seen until high school in American schools (or even college) to make them comprehensible to the 12 year old mind, finding key access points along the way to connect with students.
Dr. Hahn is, as all BASIS Independent teachers are, a firm believer that if a student really ‘knows’ something and they can teach it to someone else, in their own words, then they have mastered it. This simple concept is the genesis of what came to be an experiment in what it means to be a student – and a teacher – for our 7th graders.
One of the most common questions we get at information sessions or in conversations with families is: “how is it that you are able to teach advanced material to young students?”
History Teacher Matthew Goldman offers his perspective on discussing how his students master high level learning and critical thinking via access points.
“A big part of teaching is finding how to encourage students to see how their own experiences reflect broader societal trends or historical forces.For instance, when it comes to teaching students about the compromises made at the constitutional convention, things could get pretty bland. But I start out with a story about ordering pizza with a friend. I’m a mushroom guy, he’s a pepperoni man, we get into a fight, we don’t order any pizza. They clearly understand what we failed to do, they understand the nature of the conflict, and thus relate to the forces behind the compromises made at the constitutional convention. I do these exercises at least once in every class. I show my students that they already have access.
Here at BASIS, teachers recognize that students already understand influential forces. The fact that we are all content experts and masters over the subject we are teaching makes it that much easier for us to find these access points, these hooks to excite students. Non-content experts just simply have more difficulty finding these access points and therefore present information to be consumed superficially and not profoundly connected to student’s daily lives.
These access points are the key to showing students that they are ready to handle more challenge. Students often construct imaginary walls between their own experiences and what they learn in school. We are here to break down those walls.”
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.