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.
Mr. Meyerowitz, a Subject Expert History Teacher and Master Teacher, is one of our resident experts on research methods. He was instrumental in bringing the AP Capstone course to campus in our second year. Mr. Meyerowitz has taught both AP Research and AP Seminar at BASIS Independent Silicon Valley. He is also a National Board Certified Teacher.
Every spring, dozens of our seniors present authentic research that they have spent much of the year composing. These presentations, which have become a rite of passage for many BASIS Independent Silicon Valley graduates, are opportunities for our students to find their voices as scholars. Students work diligently with campus mentors and as interns and lab assistants off campus to pose a significant inquiry, to construct a hypothesis after engaging with extant scholarship, and to generate data and conclusions from a replicable method. While the finished product is thought provoking and may inspire future scholarship, it represents only the tip of an iceberg, a monument to their academic pursuits and training at BASIS Independent Silicon Valley.
Over Fall Break, Coach Dominick hosted a Basketball Skills Training Camp on our campus. The camp ran for two days, with one session devoted to middle school Bobcats, and one session devoted to high schoolers. He was able to focus on individual student questions, and run through lots of different court scenarios during the workshop.
A school tradition we look forward to is our Middle School Fall Carnival! This carnival is for our students in grades 5-8. We also host a separate Fall Festival for our high school students.
The carnival was held last Friday after school and was an action-packed afternoon. Students enjoyed carnival games, an inflatable obstacle course, food trucks, and the ever popular doughnut eating contest.
It was great to see all of our Bobcats, students and staff alike, celebrate and enjoy the carnival festivities together as a community. Please enjoy a few photos of the event below.
One of our amazing Bobcats, Tanvi B. (class of 2020), runs her own non-profit organization No Birthday Left Behind. As a young child, she tagged along with her parents who made it a family custom to volunteer at homeless shelters. After becoming acutely aware that there were many children whose families did not have the resources to throw them birthday parties, she decided that she would do everything possible to help make a difference. In middle school, she began partnering with homeless shelters to host parties for some of the resident children. She has seen more and more community involvement over the years, and has been able to reach even more children due to some amazing local supporters.
We know there is no more helpful reference point about a school community than a fellow parent. One of our middle school parents graciously agreed to be interviewed by a local radio station. We wanted to share with you what she had to say about her school selection process, why her family chose BASIS Independent Silicon Valley for middle school, and what changes she has seen in her two students since starting in our program in grades 5 and 6.
Please tell us a little about your background, your children, and what you looked for in a school.
"We began our BASIS Independent Silicon Valley journey when our eldest child was looking for a middle school. We looked around the Bay Area for a school that would provide more of a daily challenge in the classroom. My eldest is an avid book reader, but he would often end up reading in his classes because he felt they were so basic. We discovered they were teaching just enough to pass the state standardized test. He would self learn via Khan Academy after school. It was completely backwards of how it should be! He would say “I’m so bored, Mum!”, about his school day.
Walk down any of our campus hallways and you will experience wonderful views of student artwork, rich in creativity and passion. This fall, students across all grade levels have brought their exploration of the arts to life, with support and guidance from our two Subject Expert Art Teachers, Dr. Charuhas and Ms. Jones.
We invite you take a virtual walk-through of just a sampling of some Bobcat creations.
Grade 5 Studio
Students in grade 5 began the year with inspiration from Aboriginal dot paintings to practice the use of color schemes. They used watercolor, acrylic paint, and q-tips to form their Australian animal of choice.
We invite you to join us at our Fall Open House on Saturday, November 2.
Attending an Open House is the best way to discover our middle and high school Subject Expert Teachers, classroom difference, learn about our advanced liberal arts and sciences curriculum, tour our campus, and meet current students and parents!
Middle and High School Start Times
On Saturday, November 2 we will host our Open House for Grades 5-12. This special event begins at 10:00 AM and concludes at 12:00 PM. We recommend joining us by 10:00 AM.
Please join our Head of School, Mr. Toby Walker, as he shares insight into the creation of our incredibly successful Teacher Mentor program.
I have often noted that one of the challenges we face when considering professional development opportunities for educators, is that the best PD examples are regularly happening in the classroom next door. I am a firm believer that we can all improve through observing others. This is especially the case with classroom instruction. Too often, administrators and professional pedagogy ‘trainers’ are too far removed from the classroom to provide authentic feedback based on experience. Essentially, for teachers, fellow professionals are regularly the best resource to support professional growth and improvement.
"BASIS Independent Silicon Valley students are passionate, urgent, thirsty for knowledge, focused committed, determined, and self-motivated." -Dr. Zhao
BASIS Independent Silicon Valley’s girls varsity volleyball team competed in the San Jose Bulldog Volleyball tournament this past weekend. Last year they placed second at the very same tournament. This year the Bobcats emerged victorious as tournament champions!
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.