Grades 9-11 Highlights

The highest quality education in history requires teachers who are not only experts in their historical fields, but who are also true scholars; they are excellent writers, they maintain a critical mind when encountering any analysis, they present thoroughly researched and well-supported arguments, and they can synthesize persons and events into “the big picture.” BASIS Independent Academies employ history teachers with these qualities so that they can model historical thinking and scholarship consistently and approachably.

A key feature of BASIS Independent Academies is that History Seminars are co-taught by two such instructors. Having teachers with different, even opposing, ideologies in history classrooms inspires students to examine every angle of an idea, and to engage in productive, civil discourse as they explore a concept or issue.

History Seminar in grades 9–11 is conducted in true Socratic seminar-style, in which students read and prepare their responses to texts at home, then benefit from discussion and collaboration with their peers in class.  Teachers facilitate discussion based on genuine inquiry; the organic result of History Seminar is authentic learning. Students support each other in meeting the goals of the course—beyond knowledge of important persons and dates, students develop in their abilities to craft arguments, to identify the most relevant support for their claims, and to communicate their assertions effectively.

While these skills benefit students as individuals, it’s also important for students to develop together as an academic community where they co-construct their knowledge. Being able to sustain their attention in a lengthy debate, to follow the contributions of several participants, and to know when to offer (and to refrain from offering) their insights are critical skills. BASIS Independent Academies instill in students the understanding that education renders a  person responsible for active participation, rather than just being a spectator, in important conversations throughout their lives. Students who develop these habits excel in History Seminar, and also are poised to apply these skills in all academic, professional, and personal settings at BASIS Independent Academies and beyond.

We teach our students that achieving mastery of the foundational academic disciplines will empower their future lives and careers. Our ardent belief is that in order to think critically and synthesize various kinds of information, all students in middle and high school should master advanced math. All BASIS Independent Academies students therefore follow an accelerated math sequence, and must pass AP Calculus AB (at a minimum) prior to graduation.

Our philosophy is that students learn best when broader topics are introduced in smaller segments with ample time to practice new additions. In order to strengthen fundamental skills, lessons and homework problems “spiral,” progressively increasing in complexity and difficulty. The environment is student-centered; students work together with their peers and expert teachers to master applications of new and revisited material. The acceleration of our math sequence leads to remarkable results: the average AP Calculus AB pass rate (a score of 3 or higher) across BASIS Curriculum Schools is 81.7 percent. Even more note-worthy, most of our students take this course in grade 10, move on to AP Calculus BC or post-AP math in grade 11, and then proceed to college-level senior math. It’s an extraordinary opportunity for students to develop the skills, competencies, and self-reliance that will open doors for them in their university applications, postsecondary study, and career.

BASIS Scottsdale upper school student
BASIS Prescott teacher in class