Education Trend Report: The BASIS Of Success

Few schools, let alone a chain of schools, can claim the extraordinary academic success of the BASIS Schools, whose students consistently test above the highest-ranking school systems in the world. With one of their new schools—and their first one in New York City—having opened in Brooklyn in September, local parents want to understand the unique blend of factors that contribute to its success.

The name of the new local school is BASIS Independent Brooklyn. The use of the word “independent” is kind of a tip-off to the fact that while most of the schools under the BASIS umbrella are charter schools, the one in Brooklyn has been set up as a private school. It’s one of two new private schools—the other is in Silicon Valley—that BASIS has opened this year, though its approach to learning is the same as at all the other BASIS schools.

As it’s been described by the head of BASIS Independent Brooklyn, Rosalind Thompson, the BASIS curriculum accelerates from the start, but a very high percentage of its students stay the course and thrive.

This is because, for one thing, they are given the support and encouragement they need, with more than one teacher in the classroom in the early grades and good teacher-student ratios all the way through. Another critical factor, in Thompson’s view, is that BASIS hires exceptional teachers and gives them a lot of leeway in the classroom to teach as they see fit—as long as they are reaching their students. BASIS incorporates STEM-based learning from  the earliest grades, but is fundamentally a liberal arts school, where students often finish their required courses by the end of their junior year—and use their senior year for special projects (and for getting into many really good colleges). One more special aspect of BASIS Independent Brooklyn: Its tuition is substantially lower than most New York City private schools.

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