As families consider BASIS Independent Fremont for their children, the question of, "Is my child prepared to transition to this accelerated academic program?" invariably rises to the surface. It might, in fact, be one of the most important questions looming large on the minds of our families.
Unfortunately, there is no "one answer" to this question. It cannot be answered in a blog post; it is highly personal, and based on the child in question. Our door is always open to discuss the transition to BASIS Independent Fremont with you, so don't hesitate to reach out and schedule a meeting.
With that being said, after nearly 20 years experience helping students from countless educational backgrounds transition to our program, we have learned a thing (or two!) about how kids from specific pedagogic backgrounds acclimate to the content-rich BASIS.ed academic model. We'd like to dive deeper into how students coming from programs teaching The Montessori Method of Education transition into our program. This child-centered educational approach focuses on developing the whole child via multi-age classrooms, uninterrupted blocks of school work, guided choice time, and learning materials specific to the method. We see many students come to BASIS Independent, particularly in the primary years, having had the Montessori Method of education play a prominent role in the building of their learning foundation.
Our unique Connections Class in grades 1-3 is a great example of how, starting at a young age, students bridge their content-rich studies with deep critical thinking skills, putting what they learn to the test in a scenario-based project learning block. One of the goals of Connections, which meets once a week for 85 minutes, is to literally “connect” the curriculum, showing how each subject relates to the other, even if it doesn’t seem to do so on the surface.
We are often asked how our schools across the network are consistently ranked atop the entire country.
It’s a fair question, given that the established (and thus eligible for such rankings) schools in our network are ranked among the nation’s best by any measure: data-based media rankings, college admissions, AP courses, testing and scores, or OECD / PISA testing and rankings.
The fact that we are a network is important. Being a part of the network helps each school become even better than it would otherwise be, standing alone. BASIS Independent Fremont benefits quite directly not only from being a part of the larger network, but also from having a sister school merely miles away.
On April 20, 2015, the BASIS.ed network celebrated what we consider to be one of the most salient validations of our academic programs we’ve been honored with as a community to date: The Washington Post’s 2015 Ranking of America’s Most Challenging High Schools featured BASIS.ed schools prominently at the top:
Last year, the New York Times published an article about parent teacher conferences in New York City. These conferences, which one interviewed parent describes as akin to the "running of the bulls" in Pamplona, are worth really considering. Is the way most schools hold these conferences in the best interests of all involved? Here's the BASIS Independent take below:
BASIS Independent Schools do not hold formal Parent /Teacher Conference days. This practice can surprise some parents. What parent does not want the opportunity to talk with their child’s teachers about their progress, challenges and victories? What teacher does not want to reassure parents that their children are in safe hands?
It seems so simple: set aside a day and let the adults talk. But there, embedded in that brief injunction, lie the two major problems with Parent / Teacher Conference days.
Because of the reputation of our program and the national results and international recognition we have attained, it is only natural that families are curious for our take on balancing high expectations and support at BASIS Independent. Read on for my take below:
Schools with very high academic expectations can easily become dystopian, highly engineered obstacle courses that lay waste to childhood. “Childhood” can signify quite different meanings to us all depending upon culture and personal experience. For me, when I think about “childhood,” I do not dwell too long on notions of innocence, but more on a hungry openness to new experiences and a capacity to feel and think with an intensity that weakens with the passing of the years.
One of my favorite statements about learning was made by the Russian writer, Alexander Herzen: “We think the purpose of a child is to grow up because it does grow up. But its purpose is to play, to enjoy itself, to be a child. If we merely look at the end of the process, the purpose of life is death.”
Herzen is invoking here a conception of play as a profoundly empowering human activity, and warning us that if we do not learn the joy and force of such play as children, our adult lives will be the less for it. Play, not as distraction from more important tasks, but as an activity that involves a total engagement in the complexity and revelations of the moment, a mind and an imagination supremely preoccupied by the invention at hand.
Every year, new BASIS.ed teachers descend upon the desert for an intense, week-long training session designed to be the first stop on their journey towards becoming BASIS Independent classroom champions. In the second part of this two-part series, Co-Founder Olga Block shares her thoughts on teacher training.
Every year, new BASIS.ed teachers descend upon the desert for an intense, week-long training session designed to be the first stop on their journey towards becoming BASIS Independent classroom champions.
Ali, one of our administrators was lucky enough to attend this year. In the first part of this two-part series, she shares her fly-on-the-wall perspective of what it means to prepare to teach in one of the highest performing school networks in the world. She writes:
Inspired by the blissful feeling of uncovering connections, our blog Eureka! Fremont is about sharing moments that capture the essence of what it is to be a BASIS Independent student, teacher, administrator, or family.