September 21, 2023
As we reflect on the first few weeks of school and successful Meet the Teacher events, we are eager to hear from our Head of School, LaNette Hodge. With her focused and intentional leadership style, she has spent the summer collaborating with her staff and crafting a set of core values to guide BASIS Independent Manhattan throughout the 2023-24 year.
Welcome back! This is quite an exciting year for you.
It is! We are so excited and fulfilled. I can say that because we are now a fully mature school with our first graduating class of seniors. It is such a privilege to be able to offer our families not only a comprehensive educational journey from PreK-12 but also a complete and consistent student experience.
I understand that you place great importance on mantras and setting intentions. As a thoughtful and visionary leader, what aspirations do you have for the upcoming school year?
Personally, my journey towards self-improvement is a constant pursuit, and I wake up every day with a purpose to serve others, which fills my heart with immense gratitude. The intentional efforts put in by our team to establish a culture of trust, respect, and pride at BASIS Independent Manhattan is something I take great pride in. This culture resonates in every aspect of our school’s operations, shaping the exceptional educational experience we provide.
While there are a number of goals that come to mind, I have three primary ones for achievement in the coming year, which I would love to share in more detail. I am sharing these goals with our community because I believe that transparency and communication are essential for building trust and success.
Goal #1: Alignment of Mission, Vision & Values
Over the summer, our team carefully created a mission statement that we use as our guide in our daily interactions with one another. I feel we have a renewed sense of teamwork now that allows us to promote a supportive culture of inclusion, equity, and agency.
That effort expands to encircle our school community in which teachers, students, parents, and staff build relationships of connectivity, collaboration, and belonging.
Goal #2: Staff Satisfaction
I am very proud to say that we had 84% retention at both our Lower and Upper Schools, and are currently fully staffed! That is an incredible accomplishment in the current landscape of education and hiring. Our leadership team has done a lot of important work to attract and retain the best and brightest faculty and staff.
Even with the high number of returning, experienced teachers and the addition of pedigreed new teachers to support our school’s growth, we are inspired to push even further. We do that by providing our staff with professional development opportunities and leadership initiatives in a diverse and equitable environment.
Heading from our summer teacher training into this school year, I also could see a renewed sense of collegiality, collaboration, and camaraderie. That kind of positivity spills into the classrooms, trickles down to the students, and is shared with families who then express their appreciation back to the teachers. It’s a beautiful and rewarding cycle.
Goal #3: Culture of Connection & Belonging
Another goal is to continue to build, promote, and foster a school culture of belonging and connectedness—where all students feel included, supported, valued, and respected. This is leading to improved academic achievement and social-emotional well-being. Beyond the student experience, we also encourage a school community culture where affirmation, collaboration, and partnerships thrive and are the valued norm.
That all sounds great, but how do you do it?
Our collaborative leadership approach is helping us to achieve our goals by fostering communication and collaboration across all levels of the school community. We now have an Associate Head of School at the Lower and Upper School campuses, which creates an aligned and supportive foundation. We also have shared office space where we work closely every day, which:
- promotes cross-functional school collaboration
- facilitates feedback and decision-making efficiency, and
- allows us to anticipate and respond to the needs of our students, teachers, or parents
Our success is evident in the positive experiences our families are having and the enthusiastic recommendations they are sharing with their families, friends, and colleagues. It is truly remarkable to witness the increased number of admissions applications we have received in PreK, kindergarten, grade 6, and grade 9 – the traditional entry points for our school. This growth is a testament to the thriving Wildcat school community we are building, and I am eagerly looking forward to the incredible achievements that await us this year, especially with our exceptional Class of 2024!