As I meet more and more BASIS Independent McLean families at information events and at my popular Coffee Meetings, it is clear by questions asked about our program that we are shaping an engaged, thoughtful parent community. In the third post in my FAQ series, I answer two more questions I hear regularly from parents considering our program. 

The BASIS.ed curriculum is really challenging. What kind of academic support do you offer students?


As one of Mr. Aiken’s graduates said at a recent event, “The support is all around you.” Every teacher maintains student-teacher hours after school, but most teachers are available before and after school and during lunch to help students. We have a strong peer-mentoring program in math and writing and will offer other disciplines based on our student needs and availability.

Collaboration is baked into the school culture. At the beginning of some math classes, for example, students who get a problem wrong are paired with students who got the problem right. Together they work the solution out at the white board. This is a place where it is okay to make mistakes and ask for help. That’s how you learn. Walk into the lunch room and you will see students happily working in groups on their homework. Kids often Skype each other to study for exams or use Google docs to critique each other’s English essays.

We teach kids to take responsibility for their own learning by giving them the study, organizational, and time management tools they need to be successful. Our Deans are tasked with monitoring your child’s overall student performance, behavior, and social and emotional well-being and for creating a plan to support the specific needs of your child. If your child is falling behind or needs additional challenges, he will get the support he needs to move forward.

Are BASIS.ed students well-rounded and happy?

Yes! BASIS.ed students are not robots. They are normal, happy kids. They do sports, hang out, and play video games after school. They are not chained to their desks doing hours and hours of homework every night. Students are typially good at getting work done during lunch and in the interstitial moments before and after school. BASIS.ed students learn to manage their time well so you can enjoy them at home.

We understand that we are holding your heart in our hands so we hire people who care and who have a passion for what they teach. This passion is contagious and creates an atmosphere where learning is joyful and fun. Our students derive a great sense of satisfaction from their hard-earned knowledge.

Your conversations around the dinner table will never be the same again. You will learn about the chemical composition of the food you are eating and how it breaks down in the body. Wait until your daughter or son takes logic in the 7th grade and learns the art of argumentation or AP Psychology as an elective in the 9th grade. Do not underestimate the excitement of knowing more than mom or dad. It is a beautiful thing.

If you have any other questions for me both as a BASIS.ed parent and as our Director of Community relations, please feel free to e-mail me or leave them in the comments.