When the first BASIS Curriculum School opened in 1998, it was to pursue an answer to the following question: What happens when world-class academic standards, those upheld in the best education systems around the globe, are combined with the spirit of American creativity, the entrepreneurial spirit that is so deeply woven into the fabric of our culture? The answer is the driving force behind the 30+ BASIS Curriculum Schools.
The foundational belief underlying all aspects of BASIS Academies is that children should be exposed to different – at time opposing – views of the world. We aim to educate students deeply in a variety of ideologies and international perspectives, encouraging each student to think critically about each and choose his or her own path. Our students are participants in a dialogue between ideas, perspectives, and beliefs. To this end, we aspire to hire a ideologically balanced faculty – a faculty with a wide range of political views and a broad array of systems of belief.
BASIS Academy teachers are hired for their expertise in the subject they teach; we do not employ “generalists,” but, rather, teachers who have a deep knowledge and passion in their area of instruction, whether it be Physics, English, or Literacy. The job of a BASIS Academy teacher goes beyond mere classroom instruction. Our teachers are encouraged to share their personal beliefs and unique educational backgrounds in order to more fully enrich our diverse community. As guardians of the dialogue in which students participate, our teachers ensure that the classroom is a sacred space where all voices are heard and questioned, and every minute is devoted to education.
BASIS Academies expect every child to succeed at high levels, as long as he or she is willing to work hard and accept the support of teachers and family. Our expectations counter common beliefs about the limitations of the intellectual capabilities of children. Our students are generally taught at least one grade level above their peers at other schools, and we require AP coursework and exams of every child. We believe third graders should not only learn to read, but also to think critically, sixth graders should not only master Algebra, but also apply that knowledge to Physics, and High School students should not only learn to craft clear and persuasive essays, but also to read and discuss Critical Theory and Philosophy.
The phrase “Liberal Arts” originates from the 14th century, and is meant to describe the type of education that free men, as opposed to servants, need and deserve. In its purest form, it indicates a curriculum that balances deep and even exposure to Math, Science, Literature, Social Science, and the Fine Arts. The goal is to empower individuals with the ability to think independently by providing the information and skills required in order to make choices.
BASIS Academy students learn early that everyone is held accountable in our schools, and that accountability is tied to independence. This core belief is reinforced both in and out of the classroom. Students know they, not their parents, are responsible for recording and doing homework, and seeking help when needed. But they also know that their academic achievements are their own, and that the education they earn at a BASIS Academy school will make them independent thinkers for the rest of their lives.
BASIS Academies seek to create a space where diverse ideas and points of view are shared and honored. We believe that difference and even disagreement should not be avoided, but embraced; it is the productive tension that helps us all grow as individuals. Parents, Teachers, School Managers and students are all participants in this dialogue: we are committed to building a community, not just managing a school.