Dear BASIS Independent Brooklyn Families,

I write to celebrate a wonderful year of growth marked by exceptional achievement in our community, and I trust you have already celebrated individual progress with your children.

The summer hiatus is when I like to take a moment to reflect on all that has happened in our community. This past year I have seen the emergence of awareness amongst our students—not just locally but also globally. As a school, we strongly believe in nurturing both perspectives.

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Perspective: Local Community

Since September, on a very local level we have seen new friendships form as our school grew significantly. We welcomed our first preschool families and watched our oldest students tackle the challenge of 10th grade studies.

We have seen students across all grades develop deep, long-lasting relationships not only with their teachers, but also their teachers’ disciplines, creating a love of learning. Next year we have some incredibly talented, credentialed faculty joining our ranks, so this will only grow.

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Academically, our students this year built on the success of past years. Of note:

  • Our high school students took 127 Advanced Placement (AP) exams marking a significant increase from the 16 taken last school year. Approximately 50% of the AP scores this year were 4 or 5s, and these results are exceptional particularly when you consider that our high school students were only in Gr. 9 and 10.
  • On benchmark learning exams (BLTs) taken by Gr. 3-5 students and comprehensive exams given in middle school, our students demonstrated great progress throughout the year and subject mastery by year end.

That excellence in the classroom also extended to after-school academic and arts competitions. Here’s an overview of students’ incredible accolades:

  • AMC 8/10 - Six of our Gr. 6-8 students were recognized nationally on the AMC 8 and AMC 10 exams. One Gr. 8 student scored in the top 6% of students nationally taking the AMC 10.
  • Mathcounts - Our inaugural team placed second in the Brooklyn regional competition with one Gr. 6 student taking home the first place trophy. We proudly cheered the team on to the state championships.
  • Math Kangaroo – Two students in Gr. 1 and 2 received national and state recognition.
  • National Latin Exam - Our Gr. 6-10 students proudly earned 2 perfect papers (Latin 1 and Intro exams), 8 Gold Summa cum Laude and multiple other high honors in our best showing yet for the national competition.
  • National Spanish Exam – Two-thirds of Gr. 7-10 students sitting for the test received a distinction with 6 Gold, 7 Silver and 6 Bronze Medals in our best showing yet for the exam.
  • Scholastic Arts Competition – Our students won several regional awards in photography (4 awards), mixed media (1) and painting (1). One student even received “Best in Grade” nationally for photography and will have the winning photograph displayed in Carnegie Hall this summer.

In sports, we cheered on our girls’ volleyball team to a regional win with great pride. Our first Junior High School (JHS) soccer team just missed the playoffs, and our JHS basketball team took to the court for the first time.

Our school also focused on enhancing communications by bringing on board Jo Goldfarb as Director of Communications. I am grateful she took a career shift and brought her experience from more than 20 years in the communications agency world to her daughters’ school. Another parent Rachel Soszynski also joined our ranks on our auxiliary team to strengthen that offering and grow academic competitions and sports.

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To me this is the definition of local community: from parents volunteering at the Red Hook Art Project to those who dedicate their professional focus to enhance their children‘s school. Looking ahead to next year, we have several new parent teachers lending their expertise to strengthen and grow our school.

Perspective: Broadening Globally

Consistent with our goal to raise learning to the highest international levels, our younger students in Gr. 3-5 sat for the International Schools Assessment (ISA). Their scores were consistently exceptional for the second year in a row and well above other “like schools” as defined by the testing organization behind ISA. International benchmarking will always be a critical focus for our school, but that is only one part of the global perspective we hope to cultivate.

Bearing in mind that we are a 21st century school and with that comes a certain responsibility always to look beyond ourselves and our own small community to something much larger, I am proud to share that we put into practice programs designed to push students to think beyond their local community and into global practices.

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Our “Global Classroom” program engaged some of our youngest students in kindergarten by connecting them with peers at our sister private schools in the U.S. and Shenzhen. Middle school and high school students researched worldwide concerns in the “Cultural Ambassadors” program, imagined themselves as country representatives through Model UN (taking home top honors of “Best Delegation Middle School” and “Best Position Paper Middle School”) and actually connected with other cultures as 5th graders ventured to Costa Rica and our high school students traveled to Europe (for some students, this was their first time abroad).

We aim to instill in our students a life-long desire to recognize who they are and develop a larger, global perspective incumbent upon 21st century schools to nurture.

Thank you for the honor and privilege of educating your children. Have a wonderful summer vacation, and I look forward to seeing you again in the fall!

Hadley Ruggles
Head of School
BASIS Indepedent Brooklyn