The principal role at basis is different and for the other reviewers putting Kara Kelly down , they must not understand that. The school is fantastic for my family. It is not for everyone , that is why there is choice in this community. The subjects they learn are amazing . Part of the 9 subjects that you hear another reviewer talk about is pe, music, art , Latin . All fabulous but not rigorous subjects that they were trying to make out otherwise. Definitely need the support at home to succeed . But amazing the things they are learning about .
Short version: we like the teachers but not the principal. With nearly half a school year complete, we have been pleased so far with our child's teachers, in particular the way they are willing to communicate with us. That means a lot, and their teaching, in general, seems effective, too. We're far less pleased with the behavior of the administration, or at least with the BASIS Flagstaff principal---we haven't met with all the administrative staff, but Ms. Kelty struck us both as calculating and hyper-judgmental, definitely not considerate regarding feedback, perspectives, or priorities of anyone other than her own and herself. Finally, parents should be aware that there is a lot of testing at BASIS. Students are assessed all the time, and the workload (homework, essays, reading, etc.) is heavy, too.
BASIS Flagstaff is a mixed bag: the teachers are great---they know their content and are dedicated to helping children learn and succeed. However, there is a ton of academic pressure at this school, due especially to the focus on test/exam scores. (We figure it comes from the very top, BASIS ownership/management, since a big part of their success is the high academic ratings they earn and the fact that they open and operate more and more schools every year.) The expectations are high, which is good, but the tradeoff is that kids probably don't have as much fun learning or being in the school as they would with a more flexible, well-rounded environment. Finally, the administration, in particular the head of school (principal), Kara Kelty, does not operate with a friendly touch or much humanity. She worked most of her career in politics, and it shows in her interaction and leadership style.
Basis flagstaff is an excellent academic school and offers many challenging courses. Overall, we are happy with the school. Our only complaint us the school does not welcome parent feedback. Parents are discouraged from questioning teaching practices. Overall, the homework load is manageable and the education offered is excellent.
We are BASIS parents. There is a big turn over of teachers and many are not experienced as teachers. There are a few exceptions including an excellent Biology teacher and a couple of the Math teachers. BASIS strives to offer a College Prep curriculum including some very good class choices. UNLIKE college, BASIS students must take 9 classes at once, books are not offered in many classes, and teachers do not post assignments online. We are professional, university-educated parents. In college we NEVER had 9 classes in one term, we typically had books in our courses and teachers usually posted class assignments. BASIS does not encourage parent feedback, even though many parents are professionals and could offer a lot of insight. The kids are so loaded down with homework, quizzes and tests that there is little time for anything else. They are spread so thin across 9 subjects that it is difficult to master any one subject. We spend most evenings re-teaching coursework (with the exception of Biology and Math), using the internet, since there is little material passed out and often no book. It's too bad because it could be a great school, but changes need to be made.
Basis Flagstaff is in constant flux with teachers being hired and fired like crazy and the vast majority of the students returning to the public high schools after 1-2 years in the middle school. Most of the teachers are not certified and the focus on test scores is resulting in no critical thinking skills. They don't even have labs for science classes.
We are so fortunate to have a school like BASIS in Flagstaff. My son won't consider attending any other school. It's a very interactive and engaging environment with small classroom numbers. Contrary to rumor, homework is a reasonable amount and kids still have time for extra curricular activities. Also contrary to rumor, the school is not for gifted kids, it is for the average student who wants to learn. They teach them organizational and learning skills that will give them a solid foundation for college. Their selection process for hiring teachers is rigorous and they hire the best. My son has a couple of learning disabilities and they have been very interactive in figuring out how he learns and providing before and after tutoring (as they do with all students). They are truly interested in each individual student's success. BASIS can really make a difference in a child's future.
Our son started 9th grade at BASIS Flagstaff earlier this year. If you are in search of a school that actually tries to teach the students challenging stuff instead of simply warehousing students until graduation then this school is for you. Note that your student will actually have to take school seriously and do the work to be successful here - groundbreaking idea!
As everyone knows, the typical Arizona school does not meet the needs of their students. We were excited about BASIS based on the reputation of its Scottsdale and Tucson schools. Our son has ADD, and we are committed to seeing that he has a good education in a school that will both challenge and nurture him. Our interview with the Academic Director and the Admissions Director was a trial. The Academic... person proceeded to belittle my son regarding his math and science scores. He's mproved tremendously in math over the last year, and he exceeded on his AIMS - Science. It was clear from the interview they did not want him at the school and were doing there best to scare him and us off. It worked. We are moving to Scottsdale where he will go to Tesseract. Great school with an emphasis on the process of learning rather than testing. I can see how Basis receives such high test scores if they drive away students that need a good school and only embrace and encourage students who are already at a higher levee and test well. A Charter school has a responsibility to teach and teach well; not drive away students that want an education and keep the ones that get you top scores.
I had 3 children in this school last year and was very impressed. I had a 5th, 8th and 9th grader....all whom thrived at this amazing school!
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