Whether you are in the midst of a school search or just starting to consider a transition, changing schools is a life-altering decision for your child and for your family. Each year, we see a large number of families, coming from both private and public schools, questioning if they should apply in grade 5 versus waiting until grade 6. Seeing a recent increase in this question, I decided to dedicate a blog focused on the benefits of transitioning into the BASIS Curriculum in grade 5.

At BASIS Independent McLean (BIM), middle school begins in grade 5, and middle school can be an exciting time in a student’s academic journey. By surrounding your child with other students who are engaged and enthusiastic learners and placing them in classrooms led by dynamic and knowledge expert teachers, your child can work with an advanced curriculum and recognize their full potential.


Here are the top five reasons to transition to BIM in grade 5:

  • Exposure to Middle School Content
    Set between the foundational learning in the primary grades and the subject mastery occurring in the high school years, our middle school curriculum focuses on building knowledge year-by-year through a spiraling liberal arts curriculum with advanced STEM offerings. At this stage, students are ready to work at a more advanced and independent level. BIM challenges students to begin moving from concrete to abstract thinking, which provides them with more dynamic learning (preventing boredom and monotony). At the same time, students take a more active and independent role in their learning while continuing to grow their love of learning.

  • Enter at the Start of a Four-Year Cycle
    As the start of our Middle School program, grade 5 is designed as a natural transition year. New students easily build connections with new and returning students, and all students learn the organizational skills requisite to navigating their day. Through student support programs, we help students master a rotating schedule while balancing the small changes like visiting their lockers between classes. Knowing that this is a key time for students to develop strong academic habits, our efforts to prepare students for success extend beyond the classroom into our student forums and study halls. Our focus on time management, organization, note-taking, and study skills arms students with the tools needed for success and prepares them for deeper learning.

  • Experience Exemplary Teaching with Subject Experts
    Our educators are constantly striving to be exemplary while focusing on the success of each child. As students transition into grade 5, they build relationships with teachers who teach throughout the middle school years. Building the respect, trust, and partnerships that can only be created over time. These teachers lay the foundation for critical thinking, creativity, application of knowledge, and problem solving.

  • Begin a Fast-Paced Math Sequence
    Grade 5 is also an exciting time for our math program, as we start to differentiate based on readiness. The grade 5 curriculum is grounded in a course titled Introduction to Pre-Algebra, but those ready for Pre-Algebra, Algebra & Geometry I, or higher will find the challenge that they seek. In Introduction to Pre-Algebra, we focus on mastering the material necessary for a fast-paced math sequence, which results in students being ready for a minimum of Pre-Calculus in grade 9.
  • Make Curricular Connections for the Future
    Additional foundation courses are found throughout our grade 5 curriculum. In science, students complete a survey course that prepares them for independent courses in biology, chemistry, and physics during the middle school years. Students take two years of Latin, which benefits them in the science terminology to come, as well as their understanding of the structure and meaning of many English words. They also take a Classics class, providing a foundation for our middle school world history sequence, while in English they focus on grammar and learning how to write longer and more sophisticated pieces.

Our exceptional teachers and school administrators will work with your child to prepare them for success, be it in grade 5, 6, or another point in the curriculum. This learning community is designed to help students learn to support themselves and each other while providing a network of support around them. As you continue considering a transition to BIM, our learning community stands ready to answer your questions and help your family determine if BIM is a good fit for your child.

BASIS Independent McLean is an age 2-grade 12 private school in Tysons Corner. We are currently accepting applications for the 2021-22 school year. To learn more about Admissions or to apply, visit our website or contact Stephanie Cancienne, Director of Admissions.