Learning to use knowledge as fuel for deeper understanding & unlimited exploration
At BASIS Independent Schools, middle school is a time for building strong foundational knowledge in a wide variety of subjects and building the student autonomy and self-discipline necessary for critical inquiry.
Subject Expert Teachers with deep experience in their chosen field are at the helm of each class, using their passion for their subject to inspire students to find success in one of the most comprehensive and advanced middle school programs in the world. With students managing a full schedule (including a plethora of extracurricular options!) and moving from class to class, we make sure to equip them with strategies for successful time management and self-organization.
Rooted in the liberal arts and sciences, the BASIS Curriculum is one of the most robust middle school programs available.
Students complete a rigorous schedule in all core disciplines, including three separate, concurrent science classes (biology, chemistry, and physics), world language, and a course in logic. They can select an elective beginning in grade 6 and a world language option in grades 7 and above. The spiral of the curriculum is essential in these grades, particularly regarding the revisiting of concepts in the sciences in greater depth with each passing year, as students prepare for entry into Honors or Advanced Placement® (AP) level coursework starting in grade 9. For instance, the concept of homeostasis is introduced in grade 6 biology with a focus on the organ systems of the human body. In grade 7 biology, homeostasis is further studied in diverse systems of life on earth. By grade 8 biology, students expand their knowledge as they focus on how genetic mutations and cancers affect homeostasis at the cellular level.
Subject matter expertise and the passion to inspire students are the most important tools for teachers.
Middle school students are taught exclusively by a different Subject Expert Teacher (SET) in each class. SETs are professionals with degrees or experience in the subjects they teach. In middle school classrooms, deep expertise combined with the passion the teachers feel for their discipline yield a highly effective environment for maximizing learning gains and student interest in complex material.
Building the life-long skills of self-advocacy and self-direction.
Middle school is when we focus on building two critical skills: the organization of complex tasks and the productive management of time. By empowering students through guidance, support, and proper encouragement, they learn to assess what they need to do to improve their grades or skills, become proactive problem solvers, and meet high expectations. All teachers offer weekly student hours, and our extensive student support helps learners identify the many school resources to help them achieve their goals. Ultimately, our middle school students grow to understand that they own their education and can use their knowledge and skills to their advantage. This sense of self-advocacy and self-direction stays with them long after they move on from middle school.
At the beginning of each year, teachers issue a syllabus that includes an overview of the course and topics covered in their class. Beyond subject-specific goals centered on academic readiness for the next level, the Middle School Program generally aims for students to be prepared and confident to move on to the advanced High School Program. In middle school, our students:
Master fundamental concepts and utilize explorative, creative thinking that prepares them to fully tackle college-level coursework in high school.
- Have every opportunity to take control of their education, discover their own interests and passions via extracurricular options, and build relationships around them.
- Learn to feel confident in their decision-making processes and in themselves as learners through real-time feedback in the classroom, student support, and their own self assessments.
- Retain and improve knowledge in courses that are thoughtfully designed and spiraled, where topics are revisited year over year to ensure mastery in all core disciplines.