The 2022-23 school year at BASIS Independent Manhattan is full of opportunities. We have a dedicated, state-of-the-art campus for grades 6-12 that opened last year. We are emerging from the pandemic with the flexibility to enhance our school culture. We have a dynamic and diverse staff committed to our mission. Taking all of this potential and transforming it into realities, we have our Head of Upper School, Ms. LaNette Hodge.
From academics to after-school, Ms. Hodge is dedicated to enriching the student experience at BASIS Independent Manhattan and is intent on leading students on a journey of discovery, scholarship, character, and achievement.
Before the first day of school, we caught up with Ms. Hodge for a Q&A. She shared not only her high expectations but also the actionable items and initiatives she is helming at the Upper School.
How has your summer been?
Brimming! I have been working diligently on my priorities and am very proud of the work we have done which included:
- Identifying efficiencies so we can stay focused on our mission, sharing best practices, and enhancing the student experience.
- Ensuring our growing school is fully staffed before we start classes in the fall.
- Forward planning our entire schedule of community engagement, including student and parent events, now that we are returning to mostly in-person again!
With your attention forward-focused, what are you planning for at the Upper School?
There are a couple of things I am very excited about and would like to highlight.
We are aligning the coursework with the expertise of our teachers so that they can deliver a more in-depth learning experience in the classroom. For example, last year, we had one teacher for both World History and U.S. History. This year, the schedule now has two Subject Expert Teachers who can shine in their own disciplines. The U.S. history expert will teach 8th grade U.S. History, AP U.S. Government, and AP U.S. History, while the other history expert teacher will teach World History I, II, and AP.
Also, I am dedicated to building an even stronger sense of community among students, families, and staff. We understand that process includes continuing our Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) work. I feel that we are successfully reaching my goal of diversifying staff with our current team, which represents a rich mix of experiences, views, and backgrounds that will enrich our culture.
Did I say two things? I meant three. Something else we are proud to launch is the development of our sports and after-school enrichment offerings!
So, looking beyond academics, how will students get a complete middle and high school experience?
We have clubs ranging from art, drama, world languages, and yearbook, to competitive chess, robotics, Speech & Debate, and Model UN. A budding partnership with Her Story is bringing meaningful mentorship to our campus. Most uniquely, our students are empowered to play an active role in developing and running clubs based on their passions. These popular student-led ones, like the Investment Club, help shape our community and allow students to design their future. We are also very excited to offer an Intro to Business and DECA Club where students will utilize what they're learning in Economics for a hands-on and real-life entrepreneurial experience.
Of course, we will continue to leverage our partnership with Chelsea Piers to offer intramural and club sports for basketball, volleyball, soccer, and flag football.
You have been with BASIS Independent Manhattan since its founding. Can you share what it is like to see your students maturing to high school now, knowing they will be graduating seniors by next year?
It is a gift to have been able to witness their growth. They continue to surprise me in the pursuit of their passions. I know they are smart, dedicated, and capable students, but now I am learning about them as young men and women who are developing an identity beyond the classroom. Some of our kids are doing internships with major corporations while we have another student who plays electric guitar and is cutting a music album!
This kind of student experience and personal development is born from close student-teacher relationships, which are a direct outcome of small class sizes that provide students with individual attention and constant feedback. We see the knowledge and commitment from our teachers ignite passion in our students that -- in turn -- influences their self-discovery.
What are you most excited about come the first day of school?
One of the things I used to love about going back to school was connecting with my classmates and catching up about the summer. That is the root of my excitement. I cannot wait to greet every student as they come back to school, to hear about what they did, to see their faces, and get them pumped up for the school year!
If you are interested in learning more about the growing campus and culture at our Upper School, attend our upcoming information session or other admissions events.