The latest message from the BASIS San Antonio interest list included a list of FAQs:
What is BASIS Schools’ Mission?
BASIS Schools seeks to raise academic expectations to internationally competitive levels for all students. By offering an academically excellent and rigorous liberal arts college preparatory education, BASIS prepares students to successfully compete for admissions and prosper intellectually at top colleges and universities.
What is the BASIS Philosophy?
The BASIS philosophy is deceptively simple; provide an excellent education by: setting high standards for all students; giving teachers as much autonomy as possible in designing their curriculum and syllabi; holding teachers and students accountable for their results through a feedback loop utilizing assessments; and closely monitoring the performance of every student in order to provide effective student support when necessary.
What grades will the school serve?
In its first year of operation BASIS will serve students in grades 5 through 8; the school will add one grade per year until the first cohort of 8th graders enters 12th grade in 2017.
How does BASIS compare to other schools?
BASIS Schools is the nation’s top ranked charter school group based on rankings by US News & World Report and Newsweek and is becoming recognized as a model for rigorous middle and high school academic programs. BASIS students in Arizona consistently outperform their peers across the state on the Arizona Instrument to Measure Standards (AIMS) exams and outperform their peers across the nation on Advanced Placement (AP) exams. BASIS schools have proven to increase student achievement for all students, regardless of age, gender, or family income levels. These successes have been confirmed through a range of studies and rankings which rely on varied methodologies. Moreover, 100% of BASIS graduates to date have been accepted to four year colleges and universities, many entering college as sophomores due to the advanced nature of their high school course work. A significant number of BASIS students have been accepted to the world’s best universities.
What about “life skills”?
The BASIS experience develops real life skills among students such as responsibility for academic progress, time management, organization, effective communication with teachers, application of academic knowledge to real world problems, and collaboration with peers.
Does BASIS offer theater, art, or music?
Yes. The BASIS fine arts program is designed to expose students to the fine arts and develop their ability to think creatively within set parameters. The goal of the program is to encourage an understanding and respect for the arts, and to prepare students to pursue a career in the arts if they are so motivated. The BASIS fine arts curriculum is aligned with the Texas state education standards.
In 5th grade students take both art and music. The 5th grade music program focuses on singing, basic music theory/history, listening skills, and teamwork. The 5th grade music class performs two concerts each year. The 5th grade art program focuses on drawing, painting, charcoal, and pottery.
In 6th grade students are introduced to the role of the arts in society and the how theatre, art and music relate to one another other; this learning is accomplished through student and teacher presentations, student projects, assessment, and special media or guest speakers. Students are required to create or perform in their focus field and may choose to focus on theatre, music or art. In 6th grade fine arts electives students participate in two performances each year (concerts, art shows, or theatre productions).
In 7th grade students can choose among a myriad of elective courses such as theatre, art (2D and 3D), music (choir and piano), yearbook, P.E., and academic electives. Students in all subjects are taught the history, theory, and importance of their specific discipline. Music students focus primarily on sight-singing and written music theory. All 7th grade fine art students are required to create or perform in their elected field. In 7th grade fine arts electives students participate in two performances each year (concerts, art shows, or theatre productions).
In 8th through 12th grade students can choose among a wide array of elective courses, including art, theatre, music, as well as many other academic and general elective options. We also offer Advanced Placement electives in Music Theory, Art Studio (2D, 3D, and Design Portfolio), and Art History.
In addition to fine arts electives, BASIS also offers a variety of extracurricular activities and clubs. If there is sufficient student interest a particular activity we will work to make the activity available to BASIS students. BASIS musicians have the opportunity to participate in elementary and junior high all-state festivals. High school musicians have the opportunity to audition for regional and state festivals and are encouraged to participate in community competitions and ensembles. Examples of extracurricular and fine art options include: Advanced Band, Beginning Band, Intermediate Band, Advanced Guitar, Beginning Guitar, Piano Master Class, Movement (Yoga), Advanced Strings, Beginning Strings, Choir, Woman’s Chorus, Men’s Choir, Advanced Theatre, Intermediate Theatre, Puppetry, Art Club, Jazz Band, Jazz Combo, and Tri-M Music Honor Society.
Does BASIS offer Physical Education?
Yes. In 5th grade, students will be required to take physical education classes four times per week. In the 6th grade students will be required to take physical education classes three times per week. Beginning in the 7th grade, students have the option of pursuing physical education as an elective course.
What is the registration process for BASIS Schools?
The BASIS open-registration period will be announced to the Interest List, on the school website and in the local press. Students who submit completed registration packets during the open-registration period will either 1) be registered, if school has space to accommodate every student who submitted a registration packet in the grade level, or 2) be entered into a registration lottery, if the school receives more registration applications than its enrollment cap allows. Registration packets will continue to be collected after the close of the open-registration period; however, if school reaches its enrollment cap during the open-registration period, students who submit their registration packets after the open-registration deadline will not be placed in the lottery and will receive a position on the Wait List based on the date the registration packet was received.
Why is it important to enroll my student in the school’s first year of operation?
In order to ensure students succeed in the rigorous BASIS academic program, BASIS faculty and staff work with students to guarantee they learn organization and study skills that will put them on a path to academic success. At mature BASIS schools, this occurs in the early middle school grades when students are first experiencing the BASIS academic program; however at new campuses, faculty and staff will work with students of all ages and grade levels to build essential organization and study skills. Enrolling your student in the school’s first year of operation facilitates adjustment to BASIS because of the shared experience among classmates.
BASIS faculty and staff also modify the curriculum at new BASIS campuses to allow students to transition at multiple grade levels into the standard BASIS curriculum. The modified curriculum will take into account the academic strengths and weaknesses of incoming students and will be designed to bring incoming students up to the level typical of a BASIS student in the shortest amount of time. Students who transition into BASIS at a higher grade level after its initial year of operation will face a more advanced and rigorous program than students who enroll during the school’s first year and experience the fully modified curriculum.
What does if mean to be Nationally Ranked?
Both BASIS Scottsdale and BASIS Tucson are currently ranked among the top 10 High School programs in the Nation by Newsweek, The Washington Post, and U.S. News & World Report. Given that the methodology for these ranking systems is readily available, we are confident that the newly established BASIS schools will join these National rankings in the coming years (once a sufficient number of graduating classes have information available).