Tad B., grade 9, came to BASIS Independent McLean from another private school. “I came to BASIS Independent McLean because I liked the well-rounded liberal arts and science focus and I liked the individualization that a smaller school provides. I was impressed with the Head of School, Mr. Sean Aiken, when I came to visit BASIS Independent and how he got to know me personally and my interest in transportation, including bridges and traffic patterns.”
Tad defines the culture at BASIS Independent as “academically focused, diverse, and supportive.” He said that the students come from a variety of backgrounds and schools. “The teachers and deans hold the students accountable but also want them to succeed and are willing to invest their time and help students however they can.” Tad also likes that fact that his teachers are subject matter experts. “I've never had a teacher with a doctorate before and six of my eight teachers at BASIS Independent McLean have a doctorate. My teachers are passionate about their subject areas and can go deeper into each subject as a result of their background and experience.”
Tad’s favorite subject is AP US Government & Politics. “Dr. Erskine enables us to have fun while learning. He has a great sense of humor and cracks jokes related to what we are learning. He involves us in the conversation by asking us why something happens. The class is discussion-oriented and he makes us think.”
Day in the Life
By Tad B., 9th Grade
In the morning, I arrive between 7:30 and 8:00 am. If I have a specific question about class, I attend my teacher’s student hours. If not, I go up to the reading room and prepare for any quizzes I may have. I stop by my locker before my first class Honors English Language. What I love about Honors English Language class is that Ms. Dalton has a lively personality and energizes us for the day. We work on vocabulary, writing projects, and have class discussions. Right now we are learning about the history of the Oxford English Dictionary which is really fascinating.
Next in my day is AP US Government & Politics with Dr. Erskine, my favorite class! We sometimes begin with a reading quiz which Dr. Erskine refers to as fun. We then have a class discussion related to what we’ve read, which is always animated and engaging. Right now our class discussions are about how political parties formed and have evolved. We often fill out organizers on what we’ve read to help us shape our thoughts.
My third class is Honors Chemistry with Dr. Hartmann. We start with our Communication Journal entry and a warm-up activity. Dr. Hartmann explains the next topic through a short lecture and then we do a practice problem to reinforce the concept. We’re currently learning about orbitals, how electrons bond, and molecular geometry. Honors Chemistry is very interesting. One concept I learned recently that stuck with me was stoichiometry. It took me a while to grasp the concept, but now I completely get it.
After Chemistry I make a brief stop at my locker before Spanish II. Dr. Isquith teaches Spanish as a living language. When we arrive at class, she asks us how our day is going in Spanish. We do oral skits or listen to another student and determine what he or she is saying. Dr. Isquith makes Spanish very interactive. We recently learned how to sing La Bicicleta by Shakira in Spanish, which was really cool! We also talked about the meaning of the song.
Lunch is next and during that time I find a table near the Dean’s Office to get a jumpstart on homework. Then I have Algebra II with Mr. Williams. Mr. Williams begins with a speech du jour where he reviews items we are struggling with as well as new concepts. We rotate our class time between Saxon Math problems and concepts, and what Mr. Williams refers to as “cool math.” Cool math includes non-traditional, out-of-the-box problems and concepts that develop our critical thinking skills. I enjoy learning new concepts and working on the “cool math.” I also like Mr. William’s sense of humor.
Next is Honors English Literature with Dr. Vicks. We are currently reading and discussing Macbeth and we’ve also read Gilgamesh and The Odyssey. Dr. Vicks explains the general interpretations of what we’ve read and we discuss this analysis, and I enjoy seeing how the plots develop and intertwine.
My last class is AP Economics with Mr. Biemesderfer. I like that Economics is a small class with only six students. This is my elective and I will get two AP credits. We just finished Micro-Economics. It’s hard but I really enjoy it. There is a lot of connectivity in micro-economics and the concepts all tie together. We start with our Communication Journal entry, and then review homework. Next we do a warm-up on what we’ve learned. We are currently learning about factor markets. The class is very structured and Mr. Biemesderfer is preparing us well for the AP exam.
Tad is a Student Ambassador. Outside of school, Tad likes to follow local sports team, especially the Washington Capitals and the Washington Nationals. At home, he likes to time his dinner with watching part of a Washington Capitals hockey game.
BASIS Independent McLean is a Preschool-12th grade private school located in McLean, Virginia providing students an acclaimed liberal arts and science curriculum. We are now accepting applications for the 2017-18 school year on a rolling basis. To learn more about our application process or to apply, please visit our admissions page.