“BASIS Tucson North, a nonselective high school serving an economically modest middle-class student population in Arizona, outperformed the average of every country in the world in reading, math, and science,” the report said. . . .
So what’s the secret of the best-performing schools? It’s that there is no secret. The best schools, the study found, have strong fundamentals and cultures that believe anything is possible with any student: They “work hard to choose strong teachers with good content knowledge and dedication to continuous improvement.” They are “data-driven and transparent, not only around learning outcomes, but also around soft skills like completing work on time, resilience, perseverance — and punctuality.” And they promote “the active engagement of our parents and families.”
“My Little (Global) School”, Thomas L. Friedman, New York Times, April 2, 2013.
Friedman is referring to “Middle Class or Middle of the Pack”, a report by America Achieves. The report has more detail about BASIS Tucson North:
BASIS Tucson North stands out for its outstanding academic performance, its economic modesty, and its demographic diversity (the school is 52% Caucasian, 25% Black and Hispanic, and 19% Asian). Across all three subjects, reading, math and science, students at BASIS outperformed the averages of every other nation in the world as well as Shanghai-China. The percentage of high performers (top two performance levels) is 41% for reading, 59% for math, and 38% for science. BASIS Tucson North, a non-selective, open enrollment charter school, has virtually no low performing 15-year-olds. . . .
In some cases, school-based teachers rather than district-level administrators design and deliver professional development. They also serve as mentors to younger teachers. BASIS Tucson North stresses accountability and rigor in a no excuses culture, where repeating a grade is one possible outcome for students who fall behind, but they are offered support well before this happens. Expectations are high for all students not just a select few: all students are expected to take at least six AP classes during their high school careers.
And BASIS San Antonio is opening this fall. How cool is that? Registration is going on now; join the interest list at http://www.basislink.org.