There’s been a lot of buzz in the news recently about student performance on the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). While PISA results are informative from a data standpoint, there is not much information about how these exams lead to nationwide or global improvement in the classroom. At BASIS Independent Schools, we are excited to explore the implications of our results.
Many of our seniors are nearly ready to begin their Senior Projects, a trimester-long commitment to research, development, art, or social causes. We are thrilled to start off this new season of projects by formally announcing the 2019 winner of the BASIS Curriculum Schools Founders’ Prize for Excellence in a Senior Project: Ethan Feng!
Ethan (right) with a fellow alumnus from the class of 2019
Being a BASIS Independent Silicon Valley Bobcat means actively participating in a vibrant learning community, enjoying endless opportunities to connect studies with the real world, discovering new talents and skills, and building lasting bonds of friendship and camaraderie.
For our Middle School students, all of these are achievable through our Enrichment Programs, Sports & Athletics, and Term Project Trips.
For the 2019 - 20 school year, we have 55 different offerings between after-school clubs and athletics. Over 80% of our students participate in these activities.
Below is just a highlight of some of the things we offer to our Middle School Community.
“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.
Ms. Wendel is a Math and Psychology Subject Expert Teacher, and a Master Teacher. She is a part of the fabric of our school, having been here since we opened. Ms. Wendel is a trusted advisor of our math sequence programmatics and curriculum.
In the beginning of the school year, I always give my Psychology students an assignment that asks them a couple of questions about themselves so that I can get to know them better. One of the questions is ‘Where do you see yourself in five, ten, and fifteen years?’ In my mind, I was thinking I would get back answers of doctor and lawyer, and, since we are in Silicon Valley, numerous software engineering positions. However, what the majority of my students submitted was surprising: Venture Capitalist. Even more intriguing is that it is not just a distant dream as you might expect—but they actually have a concrete plan on how to get there.
Ms. Sara Kolb is the Head of Operations at BASIS Independent Silicon Valley. She has worked in private education for the last 12 years, and has been at BASIS Independent Silicon Valley for four years.
I grew up in a large Midwestern family that valued tradition and never shied away from creating new ones as our family grew. While I cannot speak for every fellow Midwesterner, I think most of us would agree that a sense of community is definitely a big part of who we are. For me, I can say that it has shaped almost every aspect of my life. After graduation, I spent four and a half years in the United States Navy, an institution well known for tradition and ceremony. I eventually found my calling in private education, and have loved being able to share my love of community and tradition with the students I work with. As I joined BASIS Independent Silicon Valley at the start of the third academic year, I saw an incredible opportunity to help build upon a new community that was already very well established.
We know there's nothing quite like trying something on to see if it truly is the right fit. That’s why we invite students on campus to join us for a Shadow Day so they can experience a day at BASIS Independent Silicon Valley!
What is a Shadow Day? It's an opportunity for a prospective student to spend the entire day on our campus shadowing the grade they are interested in. They will attend a full day of classes, eat lunch, have outside time, attend office hours, meet teachers, participate in classes, get to know a group of students, and so much more! This is not a requirement of the application process, just a perk!
We often hear from prospective families that they have questions about the transition, the academics, the culture, they don't know if their child can keep up with the schedule, etc. We believe the Shadow Day puts parents, and students, questions to rest. By being on campus and spending a day in classes with real BASIS Independent Silicon Valley teachers and students, they are able to meet students with similar backgrounds (i.e. public to private), learn what the workload is like from students actually doing it, and also learn how students, who had the same questions they did, transitioned with the help of their teachers and Student Affairs Team.
Our Bobcats do some pretty amazing things both on and off campus. Read on to learn about what some of our students have been up to outside of the classroom since the academic year began.
This past weekend, the BASIS Independent Silicon Valley Drama Club treated our Bobcat community to quite the event. Puffs (Two Act for Young Wizards) by Matt Cox, proved to be fun and hilarious, with shining performances from all. The majority of shows sold out in this limited five performance run, and the audience was full of parents, teachers and staff, and fellow students.
Middle school is a time of substantial transition—academically and emotionally—for students as they leave the more nurturing elementary years and begin their preparation for high school and beyond. Because these years are filled with increasingly complex content, it is critical for students to build and fortify their foundational knowledge across a wide variety of disciplines.
This is the first in a three-part blog series that will provide an in-depth look into the BASIS Independent Middle School Program, which is designed to ready students with the knowledge, confidence, and independence needed to excel inside and outside the classroom, as well as provide them ample opportunity to discover their passions. This first blog post will focus specifically on the BASIS Curriculum in the middle school years, which has been honed and optimized to reflect today’s growing expectations in education.
Inspired by the blissful feeling of uncovering connections, our blog Eureka! Silicon Valley is about sharing moments that capture the essence of what it is to be a BASIS Independent student, teacher, administrator, or family.