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.It was important to not only add to the carnivals and movie nights that we started in our first years, but also to make sure we were doing things on campus that had the stamp of approval of our Bobcats. In my second year at the school, I helped to bring back the much-loved 8th grade sleepover that has been a student favorite ever since. I have also really enjoyed the opportunity to help create new events on campus. One of my first additions, and likely everyone’s favorite, involves a shared love of food trucks. My first year at the school, we invited food trucks to campus during Student Appreciation Week, and realized that we had a major success on our hands. Food truck days have evolved to monthly Food Truck Festivals. Students and staff both look forward to these days, as it is a chance to enjoy lunch together while eating some very tasty alternatives to regular lunch service.
Lunchtime during a Food Truck Festival.
This school year has seen some incredible changes. Since I set foot on this campus, it has been a dream of mine to send our Grade 5 Bobcats to science camp at Walden West. It took a little longer than I hoped, but this year our youngest students spent the majority of a week being one with nature and having an absolute blast.
Our fifth graders enjoying Walden West.
Another item on our wish list was to celebrate Homecoming. This year was finally the year, and we had our first Homecoming Dance! We were able to invite our four classes of graduates and commemorate an amazing volleyball victory that occurred at a tournament earlier in the day. We have even more plans for next year, and this tradition is one that will definitely continue to evolve.
A group of seniors walking the red carpet at the Homecoming Dance.
You may have heard about the Senior Year at BASIS Independent Silicon Valley as it’s something that we love to talk about. The majority of our seniors head off to complete research during the second half of the school year. Leading up to that, they spend a lot of their time on campus working with our College Counselors. In addition to College Counseling, they also take various Capstone courses. In our last months with them, we want to make sure that they have all of the skills they need to be successful in college, and beyond. In October, we held our inaugural Fall Senior Conference—a day where students in grade 12 visited seminar sessions on topics like: presentation skills and PowerPoint skills, data analytics and literary review skills. These are all things that they have been introduced to in their classes; however, this focused event gave them a more in depth look at these topics. We are confident that these skills will set our students up for success.
Mr. Meyerowitz, one of the Fall Senior Conference collaborators, going through material on literary review skills.
Something I am incredibly excited for, that is also new this year, is our first Upper School Field Day! Those of you who are familiar with our campus, know that we are a little bit short on outdoor space; I however, have always accepted that fact as a personal challenge. Our campus is unique, but we do not let that stop us from providing students with ample opportunity to run around and let off some steam. I have always hoped to be able to host a Field Day towards the end of the school year, but knew that we would need to find a specific location offsite. I am excited to collaborate with Silver Creek Sportsplex this year to provide our 9th-11th graders the opportunity to come together for a day of celebration and fun. Our Bobcats love sports, so this is sure to be a very fun tradition for many years to come.
Two of our Bobcats at the Fall Festival; Field Day should offer similar opportunities to have some serious fun.
Since the start of the school, building our community has been a central tenant to many of the decisions made about the activities held on campus. Our school may be young; however, each group of students to walk the halls have contributed to the traditions. I feel honored to be able to help our Bobcats have a supported and engaged experience at BASIS Independent Silicon Valley.
BASIS Independent Silicon Valley is a grades 5-12 private middle and high school based in San Jose, California, providing students an internationally benchmarked liberal arts and sciences curriculum