“It makes a huge difference to have teachers who are passionate about the subjects they are teaching in every class. It makes you more excited to learn!” –Sophie, BASIS Independent McLean
BASIS Independent Schools raises the standards of student learning to the highest international levels through our advanced, globally benchmarked curriculum. However, our schools are only able to achieve such incredible outcomes thanks to our passionate expert teachers—not just because they teach with expertise, but because each one inspires students to truly love learning. Good luck asking any of our students who their favorite teacher or class is; they will usually answer, “all of them!”
When our students enter the Middle School Program in grade 5 at BASIS Independent Schools, they leave behind the two-teacher model that defines grades 1–4 and are solely led by Subject Expert Teachers (SETs). Focused on high-level mastery, SETs are the shepherds of academic content; they have real-life experience in the discipline they teach, and often even hold advanced degrees in the field.
It’s hard to know where to start when we sit down with College Counselor and English Subject Expert Teacher Ms. Irving because she has experience with every division at BASIS Independent McLean! She is one of two college counselors here, she teaches English to grade 6 and 8 students, and she has a son attending the school. She loves working with students of many ages and stages.
We sat down with Ms. Irving to learn about her passions for Shakespeare, teaching, and helping high school students find their best fit college. Read her full bio here.
Walking into Subject Expert Teacher Mr. Joseph’s classroom brings back memories of mathematics and science experiments from the moment we walk in, thanks to the array of numerically themed decorations and projects on his walls. His classroom is clearly a place of wonder and excitement for his students in grades 1–3. We sat down with Mr. Joseph to learn more about him, his teaching style, and the joy of math and science. Read his full bio here.
Our students take three hours of Chemistry per week from 6th grade through 8th grade, in addition to Physics and Biology. As high schoolers, they can choose to continue their exploration of this fascinating science in either Honors Chemistry or AP Chemistry.
Leading our future chemists is Subject Expert Teacher and founding faculty member, Dr. Blaine Hartman! You can read her faculty biography here.
Tell us a little about the exploration camps you led as part of BASIS Independent Summer.
I taught two hands-on science camps (grades 1-4 and 5-8) where we conducted labs in biology, chemistry, and engineering. My main goal was for the kids to get excited about science and to have fun.
We did a cool lab with Mentos and soda that demonstrated physical change and showed how gas collisions increase under higher pressure.
Another activity we did involved learning about the element nitrogen and how liquid nitrogen is made. We then used the liquid nitrogen to freeze flowers, ping pong balls, and slime and to make home made ice cream.
We also worked on group-based projects such as building towers and creating hot air balloons.
We are excited to unveil to you the fruits of a couple of non-stop days in October - our BASIS Independent videos! Back in December, we shared with you our first video in the series, our BASIS Independent Parent Video. Check out the BASIS Independent Parent Video here.
Here's a refresher on the project: Over the course of three days, we filmed three separate videos: one about the family experience with our school, the teacher perspective on what it's like to work here, and the student perspective on what it is like to learn here. We love these videos and hope you do, too.
They are raw, spur of the moment, unscripted reflections of what it's like to be a part of the BASIS Independent community.
They breathe life into Education Redefined and demonstrate what happens when you combine an accelerated, rigorous curriculum with exceptional, expert educators in an environment of support and deep respect for the art and science of learning.
Inspired by the blissful feeling of uncovering connections, our blog Eureka! McLean is about sharing moments that capture the essence of what it is to be a BASIS Independent student, teacher, administrator, or family.