What’s red, full of supplies, and on wheels? Learning Expert Teacher (LET) Ms. Zarour’s classroom! LETs attend each Subject Expert Teacher’s class with their students and bring their cart of supplies (similar to Mary Poppins’ bag) with them. As an LET, Ms. Zarour, known around campus as simply Ms. Z, gets to know her students across various courses and helps them make connections across subjects. She’s able to break any subject down into an age-appropriate explanation and helps each student learn in the style that works best for them.
Ask any BIM student why they love our school, and they will tell you – the faculty. As we start a new school year, I want to help you get to know our faculty better. The best way to do that – see them in action by touring campus! However, let’s start with a series of blogs where I visit their classrooms and ask students what makes them special.
Whether it’s one of her high school classes or middle school classes, Biology Subject Expert Teacher Dr. Isquith’s students are often on their feet working collaboratively on a project or lab. From creating a working set of lungs out of balloons and a 2-liter bottle to dissecting a sheep’s brain, Dr. Isquith’s classes are some of the most hands-on classes at school, which is one reason students love her!
Humor can be found in any subject, but you can find it daily in Mr. Calhoun’s science and math classes. He loves using humor, especially bad puns, in his classrooms to engage the students. “Math puns are the first sine of madness,” he says with a laugh.
If you scan the Quarks classroom too fast, you might miss Ms. Setty and her co-teacher, Ms. Johnson, because they are often on the same level as their PreK-1 3-year-old students. They understand where their students are at socially and emotionally and meet them at the level, literally. Ms. Setty is more than just a teacher, she’s a coach, supporter, and friend. She loves hands-on activities that engage her students, as well as helping them learn how to be a good friend.
She is excited to be a member of a teaching staff that not only empowers children to ask big questions, but also builds an atmosphere where teachers are encouraged and expected to ask big questions of themselves and each other. She believes that learning is a lifelong pursuit. We sat down with Ms. Setty to learn more about her passion for PreK-1, what it’s like having a co-teacher, and her own interests!
It’s no coincidence that Mr. Williams is in room 314. Every student entering his classroom knows that mathematical Pi is 3.14 (and many can do dozens more digits). The legendary Mr. Williams has been teaching math for 45 years. Though he’s mainly focused on Algebra I to Pre-Calculus, he’s taught it all from number theory to non-routine problem solving.
His excitement for math is easy to see and his expertise and passion sparks the joy of learning in his students. It’s no wonder his middle school students’ rushed to sign up to decorate his door in our December Door Decorating Contest! (They won too.) We sat down with Mr. Williams to learn more about him, the teachers that inspired him, how BASIS Independent McLean’s Math Department is different, and the importance of math contests.
Walking into our Early Learning entrance (for Toddler, PreK, and Kindergarten families) you’ll see fun photos of Early Learning students in class, a dry erase board with a question of the week for students to answer, and often Director of Toddler-Grade 3 Cassie Korik because her office is right off the atrium. She loves greeting families and getting to know parents and siblings as much as the students she serves.
Though much of Ms. Korik’s time is dedicated to supporting teachers and assisting parents, the highlights of her day are when she visits classrooms. Every class she enters is filled with smiling students engaging in hands-on lessons with their peers and teachers. We sat down with her to get to know her, what she enjoys about her role, and why she’s excited about our Early Learning (including our new Toddler) and primary programs.
Shouting, laughter, and running can be heard coming from the gym whenever PreK through grade 4 students are in P.E. They just can’t get enough of Subject Expert Teacher Mr. Coquelin’s physical education classes.
More than just learning basketball, soccer, and other sports skills, P.E. at BASIS Independent McLean teaches balance, agility, teamwork, and everyday life skills. Mr. Coquelin's strives to make his students enjoy being active, so that they will want to continue being active on a daily basis once they have left his class.
Math is more than just numbers to Ms. Baljee, our grade 5 and 6 Pre-Algebra and grade 4 Math & Science Subject Expert Teacher. She sees math as a way to explore nature, logic, and the world. Through her interactive lessons, she introduces students to thinking about math through these lenses. And based on the smiles ever-present in her classroom, students love it as much as she does!
We sat down with Ms. Baljee to learn more about why it’s important to know math is more than arithmetic, the benefits of hands-on activities in the classroom, and her love of dance. Read her full bio here.
Using his passion for history, History Subject Expert Teacher and College Counselor Dr. Hight wants to teach students to appreciate and understand history. He’s preparing his students for college and beyond by giving them, among other skills, the ability to analyze and synthesize information. As a published author, in his elective Narrative Arts, Dr. Hight guides students to produce their own narrative work in the form of their choosing—novel, play, poems, etc.
We sat down with Dr. Hight to learn about teaching and advising high school students, his passion for creative writing, and the surprising nature of history! Read his full bio here.
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.