During Prospective Parent Information Sessions, we are often confronted with a variety of questions that range from the more operational “easy to answer” questions, such as class size, to those philosophical questions that give us pause, that stick in the back of our minds long after we’ve said goodbye to the last lingering few guests.

One such question of the latter type was asked at a recent event: When faced with a variety of good options, how do I know if BASIS Independent is best for my student?

The answer to this question, one could argue, is entirely dependent upon getting to know the child in question, upon listening for the underlying questions, anxieties, or wishes the student has for his or her learning environment and how well that matches what the school is offering.

However, when evaluating a school, whether for a particular student or not, there are some pretty clear signs that can help separate good from great.Good school vs Great school

Given that BASIS.ed has a strong track record of running some of the best, most sought-after schools in the country, BASIS Independent Schools' CEO Dr. Mark Reford was invited to contribute to a U.S. News Article published in April of 2014 answering this very question.

All contributors to the article agree that finding the best school is as much about academic quality as it is about the ever intangible, hard to define concept of school culture. Of course good schools will boast solid results, but what you learn from walking the hallways of a school is crucial in distinguishing good from great. Quoting Dr. Reford, author Kelsey Sheehy writes about how to get a sense for the culture of a school:

"'Stand in a hallway or the back of a few classes and you can very quickly find out if it’s a happy place – a joyful place – where kids work together and the relationship between students and teachers is warm and inspiring,' he says. A good school is very joyful but also very rigorous. That combination of rigor and joy is very rare.’”

At BASIS Independent Silicon Valley, we know how incredibly valuable a tour is in the school decision-making process. If you are curious what life is like within our halls, we’re happy to show you. Request a tour here.

Sheehy leaves readers with four questions for families to think about when they are on a tour of a school. To read those questions, including further commentary from Dr. Reford and the Founding Head of School here at BASIS Independent Silicon Valley, Hadley Ruggles, click the image below to read the full article:


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