For decades, parents have had to wade through conflicting advice about the most effective way for children to learn to read. Now, with the accumulation of long-studied research coupled with the support of brain science, staunch supporters of "balanced literacy" are changing their philosophies and acknowledging the merit of phonics. That is good news for parents, but how do you choose the right school with the best reading program that effectively uses phonics?
At BASIS Independent Manhattan, we have spent years adjusting and improving our curriculum. We are resolute in our approach focused on teaching phonics so that our students love to read while advancing beyond standard benchmarks to excel in reading, writing, and spelling. In this blog, we explore the successful structure of our literacy program with insight from BASIS Independent Manhattan Early Learning and Primary Program teachers.
If you ask a middle school student, “What’s your favorite subject?” A very likely response is PE, but not when you are talking to a student-athlete like Kira. She says, “In my opinion, PE doesn’t count.” Instead, Kira goes with history because “Mr. Wirth is a really good teacher and he has a way of making you interested in things that you might not have thought were interesting.”
This brief exchange opens a window into the world of a young student who successfully balances a schedule of competitive tennis tournaments and challenging academics. That is not an easy accomplishment, but one so many kids try to achieve. Here is how Kira does it.
Have you seen your child build a magnificent tower just for it to fall down, or study so hard for a test but not do well on it? We are all familiar with failure and must face it regularly, but when it comes to our children it can be difficult to see them struggle. Enter the desirable traits of resilience and perseverance, as well as the difficult-to-teach skills of critical thinking and problem-solving.
At BASIS Independent Manhattan, we delight in giving students the opportunity to explore problems from new angles, apply their knowledge to the real world, and learn all of this through hands-on work and projects. This type of academic and developmental growth is elucidated by the journey of a PreK-4 student through our spiraling engineering curriculum.
Twice a year, our grade 2-5 students enthusiastically participate in a unique math challenge that gets them thinking logically, critically, and creatively. The Noetic Math Contest encourages students' interest in math, expands their problem-solving skills, and conveys the message that “It is COOL to be good at math!”
The 2020-21 school year continues with uncertainty as schools face sudden closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We started the year in distance learning, which was covered in Part I of this blog series. We successfully moved to in-person instruction five days per week for our PreK-2 students and a hybrid model for our grade 3-9 students where they are on campus five consecutive school days and then home for distance learning five days.
Yet, we are always prepared to “flip the switch” for a move from fully in-person and hybrid to an all distance learning model. Our readiness can be proven by the thoughtful planning and implementation of our schedules and curriculum. Robert Runyon (Director of Academic Programs) explains more in detail how our staff excels in this realm, families are supported, and students are set-up for success.
BASIS Independent Manhattan, like many other academic institutions, started school with remote learning due to the COVID-19 global pandemic. Despite the extreme difficulty in planning for the 2020-2021 school year, we set forth intending to follow our mission to try and be rigorously academic within an environment that is joyful, loving, respectful, supportive, and safe.
Much of this enormous task was shared by our administrative and teaching staff, but our decisive resource in creating this plan was Mr. Robert Runyon, Director of Academic Programs. We asked him some questions to uncover and explain the process, which we are featuring in this two-part blog series.
There is a quote posted on the refrigerator in the staff lounge at BASIS Independent Manhattan from Todd Whitaker. It reads: “The best thing about being a teacher is that it matters. The hardest thing about being a teacher is that it matters every day."
Our dedicated and passionate teachers are a cornerstone of BASIS Independent Manhattan’s success. As we enter our second year, we are thrilled to have a Teacher Mentor program where the focus is to not only have a faculty that supports our students, but also a faculty that feels supported.
Everyone remembers that one teacher—the one that left such a distinct impression that you actually started to call English your favorite class even when you’ve always been a “math” person. To paraphrase BASIS Independent Brooklyn French Subject Expert Teacher Mr. Mandeville, at BASIS Independent Schools, all teachers are that one teacher—each one forges a true connection between their students and the lessons being taught, instilling in them an avid love for their subject. Good luck asking one of our students what their favorite class is. They either tell you, enthusiastically, “all of them!” or, “it changes each year!”
Inspired by the blissful feeling of uncovering connections, our blog Eureka! Manhattan is about sharing moments that capture the essence of what it is to be a BASIS Independent student, teacher, administrator, or family.