This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Posted March 16, 2015
- a student
As a current junior (2014-2015), and as a top scoring student, I have a love-hate relationship with Basis Ahwatukee. On one hand it is a LOT of work, but at the same time I wouldn't go to any other school. It is very rigorous, but you don't need to be a genius. A good work ethic helps, but what a student really needs to survive Basis is a thirst for knowledge. I would be long gone if I didn't enjoy the learning environment that the students and faculty create. If your kid truely wants to attend Basis, then they will get all the help they need to succede. One review said their student got 45min a week for help, but in my two years thus far I have only had one teacher available less than two hours. One teacher has student hours for nearly eight hours a week! (Although I would say the norm is closer to three to four.) Furthermore the social atmosphere amazes me because everyone *wants to be there*, kids get along better than at my previous schools, and here my nerdiness rules. Ask your child what they think and what they want, *don't force* them to attend Basis. The curriculum does not fit everyone; however, other schools always held me back while Basis drives me forward.
For the most part, this is not a creative or engaged environment. Much of the material is presented as sink or swim, lots of 'packets' (and in one case youtube vids as lessons) and a lot of material for memorization. Frequently teachers dock grades significantly for minor infractions and are available to all students (all grades, meaning sometimes 4 different classes and several different grade levels) for a paltry 45 minutes a week. Indeed, if your student passes a class and does not pass the comprehensive final, your child will not be promoted. You're invited to take the test over - a single chance that takes place In August after the period in which you would be required to enroll him/her elsewhere. It would have been one thing if my child wasn't doing well, but that was not the case; it was simply demoralizing. Personal teaching and interaction are not the norm. If your child does struggle, don't expect teacher's to intercede, communicate or in any other way take the initiative; that's on you. It's not great; especially if you care about how your child learns and feels about the experience.
This school does a very good job of what it claims to do: delivering a curriculum with a strong emphasis on standardized test, teachers who are expert in their content area, competitions, etc. If you agree with the school's philosophy and if the student's learning style is compatible with what the school offers, this would be a wonderful school. I was disappointed with the quality of homework (mostly "busy work" with worksheets that did not require much creativity or thinking) or some of the teaching practices (e.g., assigning extra homework or a quiz as a form of punishment), and thus ended up switching to another school, but I could see that it would work well with kids and families who expect these things from school.
As a parent of 2 children that attended this school, I feel that there are many short-comings. I feel that the curriculum places intense pressure on the children, for very little benefit. Both of my children were inducted into the NJHS here, doing extremely well academically. However, we decided to change their school depsite their success here. Know that should your child not pass the end of the yr comprehensive exam in any subject, they will not be permitted to pass onto the next grade-they must repeat the entire grade (not just in the subject they did not pass). Administration will allow the student to re-take the exam, once. This is not the real world and placed undue stress on middle and high school students. Do your homework before selecting this (or any BASIS) school.
My 5th grader goes to Basis Ahwatukee and it's been a FANTASTIC fit for her. She's challenged and engaged. Homework is no joke--an hour or two a night compared to 1-15 minutes a night that her public school friends get. My advice to anyone trying to decide about this school is, KNOW your child! This school is NOT for everyone, and is definitely sink or swim. DON'T just send your child because of the school's reputation or because you think it's like free private school. If your child is a hard worker, fast learner, and genuinely enjoys being challenged, this may be just the place for you. If they are not ALL of those things, they will likely be miserable and want out sooner than later. Also, as a parent, be prepared to step up to the plate, you'll need to be plenty involved, too. Basis offers all the help you could want if your child is struggling, but they have to be willing to ask for it and then do the work.
Focus on academics and college prep. Teachers tend to be graduates in their field (i.e. chemistry or physics), but may have limited or no teaching experience, although the best teacher in the school had no experience until last year. Like most schools, classroom experiences are very teacher dependent and they have some very good teachers and some who seem to wish they were not teaching. Administratively they feel short-staffed resulting it disorganization at the front-office level. After-school clubs success again resides with the teacher. It is a 4th-12 school which is a big age range and they are still working out the kinks on age-appropriate responsibility expectations. Currently it is geared towards less responsibility for the older kids which is frustrating for them. Can be a good experience if you get the good teachers, but be prepared to be involved and lobby for your student. New principal this year (2014-2015) so the front office issues and overall environment may improve.
Basis Ahwatukee is a fantastic school. It has gone above and beyond my expectations! The administration, especially John Hillis, Dave Deshler and Nicole Kamp, are impressive, communicative, accessible, prompt, and caring. The teachers really show they want their students to succeed. I'm not going to lie; it's work. However, I saw a change in my son after a month. There is an adjustment period because it's a completely different set up. My son started off with hours of homework a night. Now, he's just whipping through it in an hour. It's amazing! The Boosters (PTO) is fantastic as well. They bring the social aspect to the school many were worried would be lost transferring to Basis. They bring in lunches (no cafeteria at this school) and have great fundraisers and social activities. I would recommend this school to everyone.