Ongoing support is a critical part of our academic program for every student from Pre-K through high school. BASIS Independent Manhattan has a unique structure with a Student Affairs department that focuses on helping our students achieve their highest potential both academically and as well-rounded human beings. We would like to spotlight this work specifically at our Lower School from the perspective of our Director of Student Affairs, Ms. Caroline Kushner.

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Let’s begin by having you explain your role as the Director of Student Affairs.

My job centers around three groups within our community:
• My main goal is to provide students with behavioral, social-emotional, and academic support to be successful.
• For our teachers, I create trainings and deliver resources to ensure they can develop and implement effective solutions for student growth.
• Developing positive relationships with parents/guardians is essential, so I can best meet the needs of our families and work in partnership with them to reach the goals set for their child’s overall academic journey.

Caroline PIC2
Thinking about this school year, please explain when you would be a great point of contact for parents.

I want parents and students to know that I am here to help! I am someone they can come and talk to whenever because I am their advocate. I always aim to have clear and open lines of communication, especially when students are going through challenges. That way, we can brainstorm and develop solutions to help the students create positive change.Caroline 3

You mention challenges. Can you elaborate on what you experience?

The biggest one right now is transitioning out of the pandemic, and I am finding a significant need to develop social-emotional and executive functioning skills. I see students who require guidance on how to collaborate, build friendships, work as a team, communicate effectively, and become self-advocates. These are just some of the life skills needed to be an active and effective community member. To close these gaps, classrooms are back to sitting in table groups, gathering on the rug for lessons, eating in the cafeteria again with entire grade bands, and participating in team-building activities weekly.Caroline4

How is social-emotional learning brought to life at school?

After evaluating the needs of our community, we invested in a new research-based social-emotional (SEL) program called Character Strong. Our Upper School uses this program as well, which highlights the continuity of support that we are committed to for every single student. This program aims to build and practice the character strengths that enable them to flourish in school and beyond. Once a week, throughout the year, students participate in these lessons and focus on topics such as respect, empathy, conflict resolution, responsibility, and building positive communication.

I love to engage in conversations with colleagues about teaching and learning. I truly believe in the team mentality here at BASIS Independent Manhattan and cherish the input of colleagues and co-teachers. It provides the students with more support and allows for deeper differentiation. At the end of the day, it is all about the kids!


Open Houses | 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Lower School: Saturday, Nov. 12
Upper School: Sunday, Nov. 13

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BASIS Independent Manhattan, a private school offering PreK through Grade 12, is based in Manhattan, New York. Students thrive alongside Subject Expert Teachers as they engage in a liberal arts program with STEM offerings.