Posts about Student Learning

January 11, 2022

"Easy Peasy" Tips to Effectively Communicate with Your Learner

The New Year is a time for reflection, establishing new goals, embracing new passions and challenges, and connecting with loved ones. With this sentiment in mind, now is an ideal time to engage with your student about what is most important in their lives. However, for some families effectively communicating with their child is easier said than done.

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May 11, 2016

Connections Class, Explained: Where Content Meets Creativity

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.

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March 9, 2016

BASIS Independent Parent Teacher Conferences

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:

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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.

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March 7, 2016

“The Child is father of the Man”: The learning culture of high expectations and high support

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:

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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.

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February 29, 2016

Performing Arts at BASIS Independent

Given our program's reputation of academic excellence, it is all too easy for familes to think of us as "that school for kids who are good at math and science".

It couldn't be further from the truth. BASIS Independent students are artists, musicians, linguists, skateboarders, athletes, dancers and more. They all just happen to be part of a well-rounded, accelerated learning environment.

Not only do we value all disciplines equally, but as a program rooted in the liberal arts, we teach the full spectrum of liberal arts with the fervor and depth seen in an advanced math or science class.

Did you know that our students take performing arts beginning in PreK? As a mandatory part of our curriculum from PreK- grade 4, students are given the option to dive even deeper in to the performing arts with a daily elective option starting in 6th grade. 

Take a look for yourself! Back in December, our sister school in Brooklyn published a spotlight on their flourishing performing arts program. They invited two of their performing arts teachers, Ms. Annie Crowley and Ms. Elizabeth Simmons to help bring to life their comprehensive performing arts program:

What is the purpose of the drama program at BASIS Independent?

Ms. Crowley (AC): Our drama program aims to foster artistic and emotional development in our students. Skills are honed in physical and verbal communication, creative interpretation, imaginative play, and abstract thought. For me, the most important aspect of what we do is in the cultivation of empathy and global curiosity by learning to see ourselves in the lives and experiences of others. Here at BASIS Independent, the drama program works in conjunction with the other fine arts disciplines as a creative and emotional outlet for students while also posing exciting academic challenges.

Ms. Simmons (ES): We build skills that are useful both on and off the stage! An experiential curriculum starts with the "Tools in the Actors Toolbox", the Voice, Body, Imagination, Concentration, Collaboration. Students build on these skills creating scenes, original plays, and one acts.513c-597073-edited.jpg

How is it different than at other schools?

(ES): Practically speaking, we both came to BASIS Independent with backgrounds in professional theatre (as actors, directors, and dramaturges) in addition to our work as arts educators, giving us both a wide range of resources and experiences from which to draw. We both have a background in Devising Theatre, which means that the stories and plays on stage incorporate students' own ideas and experiences. This helps create a richer experience where everyone is engaged!

(AC): The primary difference that I see in our drama program is our broad, multi-pronged scope. Beginning in Kindergarten all the way into the high school years, drama is a present and integral aspect of the curriculum. As we are able to extend over so many grade levels, we are really able to craft a rich and comprehensive program, exposing students to aspects of the field where we would most likely not have the chance with a leaner schedule. As a teacher, it feels wonderful to have such support and confidence from BASIS Independent in the purpose and value of our subject. I feel so lucky here! 

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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.

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