The 2019-20 school year was certainly an unprecedented one. A global pandemic disrupted BASIS Independent McLean’s final trimester and pushed the school to distance learning; however, from August to early March, students, staff, and families participated in a robust on-campus community.  


Let’s take a look at some of the amazing community and student highlights from the 2019-2020 school year, both on and off campus 


CARL the Red-Tailed Hawk, Alma Mater & Fight Song 
We started the year by introducing our Red-Tailed Hawk mascot, CARL; our alma mater; and our fight song. Hear our alma mater and fight song here! 



Student-Centered: Community Gatherings & WinterFest  

Students assembled at several Community Gatherings throughout the year to celebrate and be together. Our annual student WinterFest continued to be a hit as students participated in age-appropriate fun before heading off to Winter Break. 



Family-Centered: Fall Festival & International Day 

Gathering as an entire community is just as important as student socials. At Fall Festival, families participated in games, rides, costume contests, trunk or treat, a chili cook-off, and more family-friendly activities! In February, we celebrated the many cultures that make up our community at International Day. Families shared food, presentations, and performances from various countries around the world. 

Fall Festival (24)


Lunar New Year 

Our fourth annual Lunar New Year celebration continued to highlight our Mandarin program for Toddler-grade 4 and then as an optional world language selection for grades 7-12. View more photos here. Our Dragon Dance and Umbrella Dance were also previewed on local tv stations before the event, so you can view them both on our YouTube page here. 

Lunar New Year 2020 (2)


Class of 2020 & Senior Projects 

Though it is our second graduating class, the Class of 2020 was our first class to participate in the Senior Project. Even a global pandemic couldn’t stop our students from thriving at their task; read “Seniors Learn to Adapt in the Fairfax Times.  You can also read all the Senior Project blogs here and view their Senior Showcase presentations here 


We celebrate all of our seniors’ accomplishments, and several in particular stood out this year. Read more about Tad B.’s “Professional Playbook” and Miller H.’s published card game. 



Little Women 
Our middle and high school Drama Club hosted its first fall play—Little Women. View photos in this blog. Sadly, the pandemic prevented the club’s annual spring musical—The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. 




This fall, we had our first Cross Country team and the sophomore year of our co-ed Volleyball team. Basketball continued to shine in our winter season with both boys and girls middle and high school teams. Five high school students played in the ISSAC All-Star basketball games: Adi Z. ’21, Victoria B. ’20, and Shalini S. ’22, Ethan H. ’21, and Karan M. ’21. Though in person athletics were cancelled in the spring, we launched our inaugural Esports team. The team played League of Legends and hopes to expand next year. 


In high school student-faculty sports, students prevailed in the first faculty-student flag football game, and the faculty took back the champion title in the third annual volleyball game. 






Our 60+ clubs over three seasons shows the range of hobbies and interests of our students. From Quiz Bowl to Kung Fu to Mini-Mathletes and Journalism to National Spanish Honor Society to piano, there was something for every student.  


National Competitions & Honors 

  • Middle School students participated in the state competitions in MATHCOUNTS & Science Olympiad. Read more here. 
  • The BASIS Independent McLean contingent that participated in the online State Contest earned second place in Division 6! From that contest, Owen H.' 30 and Anna W. '27 qualified for the National contest.   
  • Aiden F. '25 placed 7th in National Contest for grade 7! 




Quarantine forced us physically apart, but we used amateur videos to draw us closer together. Faculty, staff, and students created videos to stay connected and keep everyone’s spirits up. Watch “We Miss Our Students, “ABC, and “We Didn’t Start the Fire” on our YouTube channel. 


Student Bloggers 

We launched A Bird’s Eye View, our student blog series. Three student ambassadors—Eric M. ’20, Benjamin W. ’23, and Catie D. ’26 shared their experiences at BASIS Independent McLean, outside of school, and with distance learning. Learn more about our bloggers and read their blogs here. 


Distance Learning 

Of course, we can’t review this year without looking back on distance learning. It was an unexpected way to spend our last trimester, but students, parents, and teachers all worked together to create the best digital version of BASIS Independent McLean that they could. It wasn’t easy for anyone, but it proved the strength of our community.  


K drama 2



What a fantastic year! We are proud of all our students and teachers have accomplished, and look forward to what the next academic year will bring. 

Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for an inside look at BASIS Independent McLean! 


Interested in joining the Red-Tailed Hawk Community? Join our interest list to receive admissions updates.