Happy New Year!

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BASIS.ed would like to wish all of our students and staff, and all of their — and our — loved ones, families and friends a Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, Joyful Kwanza, and a healthy and fulfilling new year. We’ll see you here in 2015!

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Walking the Hallways

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I was slowly walking the hallways at BASIS Phoenix, reminiscing as I absorbed the familiar buzz, chatter and patter of students coming and going during the limited time between classes. I always loved that time. In my high school, it was five minutes. I’d map my route to change out my notebooks and texts in my locker, maybe hydrate with a quick tip-toed drink of some fountain water, or try to chat briefly with some friends. Thirty seconds? Forty-five? I had deep conversations in that small window of time!

Now, as an adult walking hallways vibrant with action, it felt familiar. And I was glad it did.

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When I first experienced BASIS schools, first learned about the curriculum that is “internationally benchmarked” and the students who are years beyond their peers in the United States with regard to academic achievement, I wasn’t sure how familiar the hallways would feel. Just how serious – I thought to ask — are BASIS students, collectively? Does taking chemistry in 6th grade and algebra in 7th change kids from kids, into something – I don’t know – say, more mature, or serious? More businesslike?

I quickly found out. The answer, emphatically, is “no.” These BASIS hallways were just like mine, from the 1980s. These hallways were loud with laughter and conversation, tumultuous with dropped books and shuffled papers and squeaking sneakers. They rippled with that to-and-fro, but it was the same happy meandering I was used to: I watched students find their friends, chat briefly, say hey! and seeya! as only students know how, given the looming start of another class.

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BASIS Phoenix students are, just, students – as are students at other schools managed by BASIS.ed. Raising academic standards doesn’t take the age out of children or teens, doesn’t bend a kid towards adulthood any quicker. I was thankful for that, as I walked these halls.

What raising academic standards DOES do is make students learn to appreciate, learn to pinpoint what they like or even love, find how time spent can deliver something to them: satiation for their curiosity, answers to their questions, confidence to feel good about how they deal with student life.

That familiar thrum of school life is replicated in each BASIS school I visit. I have found it in Tucson and Oro Valley, Phoenix and Scottsdale, Flagstaff and Chandler and Mesa and Ahwatukee. I have asked my colleagues, who’ve found it in Brooklyn and San Antonio, Washington and San Jose. And I know it’s evident wherever BASIS schools are redefining education, or raising academic standards to the highest international levels.

We all know that BASIS.ed schools are excellent institutions, doing wonderful things with hundreds of talented teachers for thousands of growing students. But at their core, they’re still just schools. Inside each are kids with books and backpacks, kids saying hi to their friends, children and teens doing what they do.

Pretty soon, on this day at BASIS Phoenix, the hallways cleared, doors closed, classes began. There was no ringing bell – the former student in me had braced for it, although the BASIS.ed part of me knew there’d be no buzz. It’s a nice difference – one that shows a small way, one of many, that BASIS.ed schools instill a real sense of responsibility, of owning your own education. No bells to mark the end of passing periods or the end of class is a nod to the partnership between our students and teachers, and how much each respects the classroom, and why we’re here.

That sense of purpose dovetails nicely with the “kid next door” attributes of our students. It has a real beauty to it.

You can hear it in the hallways.

 

Should you have any comments or questions, please feel free to contact us at BASISedBlog@basised.com.

A Good Part of the Process

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Welcome to the BASIS.ed blog!

If you’re reading this, you may have a child at a BASIS.ed-managed school, or are thinking about sending your child to one of the schools we manage. Perhaps you’re a teacher or administrator, or have an interest in American education and the ebb and flow of the public discourse about it. Wherever you find yourself on the spectrum when it comes to education policy, we hope this blog illuminates how you understand what BASIS.ed does and how we do it, and even sparks some thought and discussion. We are writing in this forum because we’ve been asked by a number of parents of our students to share a bit about our curriculum, our culture, and why BASIS.ed’s schools are consistently successful.

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Writing broadly here: we know how much we – you, us – love our students. We also know how important good schools remain, in the makeup of the social fabric. No matter where you are in the range of opinions about your child’s teacher, your school’s curriculum, your district’s standards… we know that the bottom line is you yearning for the best possible educational outcomes for your kids.

We want the same, for ours, and everyone’s.

And that’s not a line written without deep thought. We know this is important. This blog, therefore, will attempt to paint a picture of what a BASIS.ed education is like, and why. Of course, we understand that our classrooms aren’t laboratories, and our students and teachers aren’t robots crossing items off a curricular checklist, so different classrooms, different schools, look differently. But on any given day, every one of our classrooms is a forum for smart teachers who love what they’re teaching, and love being a teacher – who enjoy engaging with students who like being schoolkids.

On any given day, we have hundreds of talented teachers, proud of their work and their students, and thousands of eager students, proud of their work and their teachers, learning from each other. They are each moving towards an end – towards learning to love this subject, or learning to ask the right question, or find the right answer, or learning to simply appreciate how it feels to know things, to understand.

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But the process of learning matters. Learning to learn, and learning to love it, matters to us and to our teachers. And that is passed on to our students.

And any given day is a worthy day for BASIS.ed, because we love being in school. We know any child can learn, if that’s what they want. And while we take some pride that our schools are ranked highly here or our students perform fantastically on exams there – all that is great, it truly is. But the crux, the essence, is answered the same as in any schoolhouse, on any road or field or hill, anywhere in America: Are we teaching kids? Are they learning ways of thinking and applying knowledge that will help them grow as students, and as people – as children, and then as adolescents, and then as adults?

Students grow up before our eyes. Are we a good part of the process,
for them, and for their families?

Are we doing what great schools are supposed to do?

We believe we are. And to help answer so many of you who have asked, this blog will attempt to show you how.

Thanks for reading.

 

Should you have any comments or questions, please feel free to contact us at BASISedBlog@basised.com.