Letters from Emma, a future BASIS San Antonio student

Letters from Emma, future BASIS San Antonio studentEmma is 10 years old and will be attending 6th grade at BASIS San Antonio this fall. I invited her to write a guest blog post about BASIS. She wrote two letters, one for parents and one for kids.

Dear Parents of great kids,

What do you think of when you hear the words charter school? Most people say that they think of a private school or a very good education, which the second one is a very good answer. Basis is a public school. When I hear the words charter school I think of Basis. Basis to me is the best middle school and high school that was ever created. Some of the reasons why I think that Basis is a great school are that it has a great curriculum. Also, they have great extra curricular activities and clubs such as hiking club, choir, tennis, LEGO robotics, and much, much more. Parents, some reasons that make it a great idea to send your kids to Basis are that there are great and understanding teachers who care for your kids as if they were their own. They want you to succeed and do great things. Also, there is a time right after school were your kids could stay and visit the teachers to talk about stuff that they didn’t have time for during school hours. There’s a lot more homework, but they will help us learn ways to get it all done. Basis wants your kids to learn. You can also help your kids learn different languages such as French, Mandarin Chinese, and Latin at Basis. Your kids will get a chance to get into all kinds of AP [advanced placement] courses which means that they get college credits before they are ever in college. To me Basis is heaven on a silver composition book just waiting to be read. Do you want your kids to have the best education? If the answer is yes, send your kids to Basis today!

Dear Kids with smart parents,

When I went to the Basis informational session I learned that Basis isn’t only a school with a great curriculum, it is a school with fun, learning, and excitement. Hey kids, this paragraph is for you. Most kids ask what there is that they can do that is fun. Well, there is something fun to do at this school for everyone. In fact there are tons of fun activities at Basis. Some of these things listed above in the parent’s paragraph above are great electives and clubs to choose from. Hiking club, choir, tennis, LEGO robotics are some of the things I am looking forward to. Also if you are one of those kids who want to go to a great college, well here is your chance. Basis gives you a really good chance to get into a big name college, and possibly scholarships too. The teachers have all gone to college and have degrees, so they are better able to help us learn about the subjects they teach. Chemistry from a chemist? They don’t have that at my school, but they have teachers like that at Basis. They also won’t have to just focus on teaching us tests. Sometimes we get really great teachers at my school and sometimes we don’t. I got lucky this year and my teacher is awesome. But at Basis we get great teachers all the time, not just by being lucky. Do you get bored in school? I get bored a lot and I don’t like it. All of these things I have listed together are the reasons I know I won’t be bored in class at Basis. I wish all students had a chance like this. I’m glad my Mom found out about this school and that we went to get more information about it. I can’t wait to start class at Basis next year!

Emma’s mom, Adele Williams, would like to add:

As a parent, I want what is best for my daughter. What parent doesn’t want that? We have been blessed with a great public elementary school and staff for her first through fifth grade education, but the number one concern we’ve had year after year was that she was becoming increasingly bored. She makes fantastic grades, has attended the Alpha program for all five years, and explored all academic extracurricular activities we could find in the local area, and yet she’s still telling me “Mom, I’m bored”.

Luckily for us, some friends with kids about the same age let us in on the upcoming opening of a new charter school for San Antonio. I did what any parent would do. I got skeptical, read up on their information on the web, and started to snoop around looking for reasons it would or would not be a good fit. I started asking questions of charter school parents – both past and present. Then I signed up to attend an informational session hosted by the school itself. I opted to bring my daughter to gauge her reaction. Within thirty minutes our entire family was glued to the slide deck being presented. It honestly sounded too good to be true. BASIS San Antonio hosts a curriculum suited to each student. No busy work. No more holding back. No more “Mom, I’m bored”.

When they showed the slides on language, my daughter leaned over to me and asked “Mom, does that mean I can actually learn Mandarin? Because I really, really want to do that.” Her eyes were lit up and she was sold. I was still a little skeptical.

I needed to do more research and ask more questions. So I emailed the speaker from that night and in record time had full answers to my long list of questions and concerns. This school and their curriculum truly was proving to be in line with my own ideas of educating my daughter in a positive, supportive, and self-paced environment.

When we got the confirmation that she was confirmed for attendance for the following school year we went out and celebrated. My daughter talks non-stop to her friends about how excited she is to attend the new school and keeps looking up information online on other BASIS schools to see what other students have done. Every day it’s another you tube video, or an article about a great accomplishment or college acceptance.

For us, BASIS San Antonio comes at a perfect time. As she transitions out of elementary school and into middle school I feel confident that she will do so in an environment that will keep her brain stimulated and finally battle the “Mom, I’m bored”. We can’t wait for this coming school year and we are very much thankful to those who brought BASIS to San Antonio.

Adele Williams, Technology Solutions Architect

Ready to sign up? Join the BASIS interest list at http://www.basislink.org.

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  1. Yes! I feel the same way! I am so excited for my daughter for next year! What an opportunity we now have here in SA, and we’re going to be a part of it! 🙂

    • Beware what you ask for! Non-certified teachers lack many necessary skills that are needed to complete a well rounded student. It is not just high level academics that create a wealth of knowledge. Many Basis parents are overwhelmed at either allowing their children to crash and burn (seems to be the modus operandi slogan for Basis) with the overly rigorous and non age appropriate textbooks and materials Basis requires, or help them through and teach the gaps that the teachers are missing. Some 6th graders are using high school college level materials. Yes, we can train a 10 year to play a Bach Chaconne or with a professional orchestra as soloist, but only if there has been a steady and gradual regime of study, discipline and understanding of the basics. THAT is not the Basis approach – as a warning…

      • You know what is great about charter schools? They are voluntary. Regardless of your home address, no one forces you to go to them. And based on the waiting list, BASIS must be doing something right.

      • We found quite the opposite to be true. Like Emma, our child was never adequately challenged. A couple of harsh grades quickly created a sense of urgency, but he gets nearly straight As now. Math is appropriately accelerated. Science is still the same material taught in public school, but the teachers are FAR better qualified (they actually have degrees in their field, and we don’t have to re-teach it in the evening!). History is definitely harder, but that has been a blessing for us. Latin is taught at a very manageable pace. The extra work comes from adjusting to meaningful content. At first, we had an hour or two of homework per night. Now, it’s only about 30 minutes a night on homework. The “crash and burn” myth is just that – a myth, created by bitter individuals.

        The only real downside is that the teachers have a mixed bag of experience with regards to managing middle schoolers, which can be a hard group to control. But, their love of the material and genuine desire to teach really makes up for any shortcomings. In public schools, you get tyrants with neither knowledge nor motivational skills. We’ll take the excellent BASIS teachers any day.

      • Mona, you’re gonna love the school.
        I have children that go to Basis-San Antonio. Although the transition was a little rough in the beginning, they now look forward to going to school everyday. The come home talking about ionic compounds, dimensional analysis, Shakespeare, the fundamental principles of economics, etc….etc. This all from a 5th, 6th and 8th grader.
        I will say that because of the academic rigor, my kids did spend lots of time doing homework when they got home from school, but now that we are 3 months into the school year, they have all learned to manage their time and reach out for help. The homework time at home now is about 1 hour each evening.
        In terms of the teachers, they are phenomenal! The previous comment implying that the teachers are ill prepared can’t be further from the truth. Each teacher has a degree in their specific area of study (all teachers have their Bachelors degree, a vast majority also have their Master’s degree. Several have or are currently working on acquiring their PhD) and are passionate about what they teach, which makes a big difference. The teachers are what make my children excited about going to school and learning.
        The Basis way is not for everybody. The curriculum is extremely rigorous and it does require alot of hard work from your child and committment from you as a parent because it definitely raises the bar from what is currently taught in public/private school, but if you hang in there and encourage your child to seek help from the support offered at the school by way of peer tutoring, student hours and an academic advisor, your child will flourish.

  2. Emma, I loved your post about BASIS. Lots of information for us. My daughter will be in 6th grade next year and this looks like a good option for her. Thank you:)

  3. Hi Emma,
    Thank you for writing these great letters! My husband and I have been discussing placing our children in charter schools in the future. Your letters here are intuitive to how children feel about these amazing schools and help ease our minds with our own children enjoying a charter school as much as you do. I hope you share some of your experiences at BASIS with us in the future!

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