“All the teachers are epic,” says 6th grader Leo with great enthusiasm.

Leo joined BASIS Independent McLean its founding year in grade six. He was excited about joining the school after meeting with Head of School, Mr. Sean Aiken, and learning about the program.

“At BASIS Independent McLean, I am learning every day and it is challenging,” Leo expressed in comparing his current experience to that of his previous school. “What I am learning I now find interesting. Also, there are student hours and you can go and the teachers can help you with whatever you need.”


Leo is an energetic student with an appetite to learn and be on the court. “I am really athletic and love basketball.” Leo was on the middle school basketball team this year, and this was his first school basketball team. “It was fun to play with the people you see every day in school.” He also participates in the basketball clinic on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

“We all interact with each other. There are different interests and I call a lot of people here friends,” is how Leo describes the school culture, and a community that is continuing to take shape every day. 

BINS McLean Leo.jpgA Day in the Life
By Leo S., Grade 6

I usually arrive at school around 7:30 AM. My morning depends on the day. If it were Tuesday, I would go to Dr. Hartman student’s hours to work on Chemistry. Other days I will talk with my friends or help them with homework. At 7:50 AM I go to the gym and play basketball.

School starts at 8:30 AM. Today, Wednesday, my first class is Biology with Ms. McCormick. We are learning about the digestive, urinary and nervous systems. This is my first time taking biology, instead of just a science class. If someone is worried about Biology, they should know it is fun and cool to learn about different things. I was nervous about taking it when school started. Ms. McCormick gives us review games and that helps. In a biology lab we dissected an owl pellet, and learned about plant and animal cells.

English is next. When we get to English there is Daily Grammar practice (DGP). Mr. Sharp takes a sentence or a quote from a certain book and then we have to identify different parts of speech, clauses, phrases and vocabulary. We then go over homework. We are currently reading The Endless Steppe.

Today I had PE with Mr. Sample. I have PE and Latin three times a week. In PE we do a couple of laps, pushups and are now playing ultimate frisbee. When I have Latin, we are currently watching a film that we have to translate. Dr. Grissom, my Latin teacher, recently taught us future and past tense. 

Lunch is 25 minutes and then Academic Enrichment (AE) is 25 minutes. In AE I study if I have to and if I don’t, I talk with my friends. 

BINS McLean Basketball.jpg

For math I have Ms. Balji and I am in Pre-Algebra. Right now we are doing “like

 terms.” When we get to class Ms. Balji puts a problem on the board. We then have to solve it and correct if we need to. We do a set of problems and then we review. Last week we studied irrational square roots. 

After math I have drama with Ms. Nichols. We call her Emelia. Drama is really fun and I still feel like I am learning a lot. We just finished a play - Our Town - and I was the stage manager. We have studied different time periods like rococo, romantic, baroque, and Shakespearian. We learned about these periods and then we had to act out a short skit by incorporating a character from one of these periods.

World History is my next period with Dr. Hight. Dr. Hight is the boss! He knows a lot about the subject and is a really great teacher. He tells a story in each class and gives us the option to hear the story in the voice of Morgan Freeman or a British History Channel announcer. We are now learning about medieval Japan. Yesterday we did a comparison between a knight and a samurai. Dr. Hight has taught us how to take good notes in his class.

My last period is Chemistry today. Other days it’s Physics or Latin. Today in Chemistry we learned about element equations. My teacher is Dr. Hartman. We have a “spark” in the morning. A “spark” is whatever we are learning we have three questions about the topic. We do a lot of nomenclature. We did a lab on water displacement and that was fun! 

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Upon his arrival home, Leo finishes his homework, which he estimates at one to two hours. Then he goes to the gym and plays basketball, followed by practicing piano. It is great to see students such as Leo in the hallways of the BASIS Independent McLean campus. His positive attitude and enthusiasm is contagious to all. 

BASIS Independent McLean is a preschool-12th grade private school located in Tysons. To learn more about our acclaimed liberal arts and science program, please register for an upcoming informational event. We are currently accepting applications for the 2017-18 school year on a rolling basis (Rolling Admissions).

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