Dear BASIS Independent Brooklyn Families and Staff,

Every summer once the halls are quiet, I spend time reflecting on the school year. 2017–18 was a year defined by extremes, since it encompassed challenging times that placed schools in the national headlines, as well as many exceptional accomplishments on our campus. My note will focus on the great news that deserves celebration, since I want our student accolades to receive the recognition they deserve from the entire BASIS Independent Brooklyn community. 

Across the country this past school year, student voices rose to make an impact, and our community joined in proudly. High school students, with the help of faculty adviser Ms. Das, established our Leadership Club that set the stage for organizing school social events as well as student activism.

During the 2017–18 school year, student leadership took varied forms, Walkout 2 cropped-4including rallying students and faculty in the National School Walkout, leading the co-ed Junior Varsity Soccer team to the league championships, running a book drive for “Books through Bars,” leading our MATHCOUNTS team to NYS competition, designing the Upper School Yearbook, and publishing our High School Literary Magazine.

Our school community remains committed to growing student autonomy and independence in education. We believe the voice and impact of our student body will only grow in coming years.

Academically, our students showcased excellence once again in comparison to their peers. Some highlights include:

  • Students in grades 8–11 took 244 Advanced Placement (AP) exams. Approximately 93.4% of our students who tested scored a 3 or above. These results are exceptional particularly when you consider that the global percentage of AP students with scores of 3 and above is 61.3%. The national percentage has not been released yet for 2018; however, in 2017, the national percentage of AP students with scores of 3 and above was 57.5%
  • On benchmark learning exams (BLTs) taken by students in grades 35 and comprehensive exams given in middle school, our students demonstrated excellent progress throughout the year and subject mastery by year end once again. The consistency of such strong results year upon year reinforces that the bar is set high with our program, and our students rise to meet it.
  • Our International School Assessment scores were consistently excellent and placed our students above their peers at top private and public schools globally.
Year in Review 2B

Excellence in the classroom also extended to after-school academic and arts competitions. An overview of 201718 student accolades follows, broken out by discipline.

Fine Arts

  • Scholastic Arts and Writing Competition – Mr. Opirhory’s visual arts students won several regional awards, including silver medals in photography (3 awards), and honorable mention recognition in digital art (1), photography (3) mixed media (1), and drawing/illustration (1). 
  • Disney Performing Arts – Our upper school band and choir, instructed by Mr. Ingels and Ms. Taylor, received awards for their selection and performance in the Disney Performing Arts Program during Project Week.
  • New York State Music Association – Two of our students received “outstanding score” awards in vocal performance at the NYSMA competition.
Fine Arts Year in Review


  • Debate – Our inaugural debate team consistently won local competitions under the leadership of Mr. Hutchison, and students advanced to City and State Championships.
    • At the City Championships, two of our students placed 3rd in Beginner Debate while one student received 5th Best Speaker for Novice Division.
    • Two grade 8 students in New York State High School competition as some of the youngest competitors and proceeded to place 4th in the state.
  • History Bowl – Our first History Bowl team competed this year under Mr. Goldman’s guidance, and one student qualified to advance to the National US History Bee in Arlington alongside peers from BASIS Independent Silicon Valley and McLean.
  • Chess – Our inaugural Chess team won numerous accolades and advanced to the State Championships this year under the guidance of Great Minds and parent Joyce Punnoose. At the New York State Competition, one grade 4 student even placed first in his division.
  • Maritime History Awards - Ms. Forde’s grade 6 students placed 1st and 2nd in the Maritime Competition focused on African-Americans who made a difference in maritime history.
  • Brooklyn Public Library Writing Award – One of Dr. Lisa’s high school students won 1st place in the 2018 Teen Writing Contest.
  • National Council of Teachers of English – One of our high school exchange students taught by Dr. Lisa earned the highest honor: “Certificate of Superior Writing.”

    chess debate


  • 12th Annual Tzu Chi Chinese Speech Contest – One of our grade 11 students taught by Mr. Chen devon award cropped-2earned 1st place in non-heritage speaker/high school division. Several of our younger students also earned commendations at the competition.
  • National Latin Exam  More than 30% of our grade 611 students earned recognition on the awards, proudly earning 1 Gold Summa Cum Laude, 3 Silver Maxima Cum Laude, 5 Magna Cum Laude, 23 other certificates and ribbons. The multiple high honors across beginning and advanced levels, taught by Dr. Vincze and Mr. Harmon, marks our best showing yet for the national competition.


  • MATHCOUNTS  Our team led by Ms. Snyder and parent Matt Hughes placed first in the Brooklyn regional competition and advanced to the state championships!
  • Math Olympiad – One grade 5 student placed 1st in the Elementary Division, and one grade 7 student placed 1st in the Middle School Division (with a perfect score!).
  • Science Bowl – Our first Science Bowl team under Mr. Winter’s leadership captured 2nd place in the New York City regional Championships!

Math Sports Collage


  • Soccer Our co-ed Junior High School (JHS) soccer team won the league championships, coached by Mr. McCollum and Ms. Rodriguez!
  • Volleyball Varsity girls’ volleyball earned 2nd place in the League Championship after being BEARS Group shotundefeated all season.
  • Basketball – Boys High School and co-ed grades 56 basketball teams both reached the league playoffs this year, and their focus and drive sets us up well for the upcoming season. Thank you to Coaches Ginzburg, Feldman, and McCollum.

This fall marks our fifth year as a school community, and we welcome our new PreK students at one end of the age spectrum, all the way up to our seniors as they prepare for Senior Projects and Capstone Courses. There is a great deal to look forward to starting in September, so please mark your calendars now for all the social events that have become our school traditions.

Thank you for the honor and privilege of educating your children. Have a wonderful summer vacation, and I look forward to seeing you again after a restful few months.

Hadley Ruggles
Head of School
BASIS Independent Brooklyn

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