The one bright spot of my five years at basis was a teacher named David Clark. He created a philosophy course completely on his own at the school and he was an excellent teacher that ran very unique classes. Though the course wasnt very popular, it was obvious that he put a lot of time into learning about philosophy just because it was interesting to him, and it came across in every class I took with him. Sadly he doesn't teach at basis anymore as far as I know, he left the same year that I did.
The teachers know what they're talking about, but they aren't trained as teachers, so they default to telling you things as if you ought to know them, rather than helping you as a student build a solid foundation of understanding of why these things are true or the causes for things to be true. It turns problems that can be solved logically into games of memorization for the sake of speed of teaching.
You will spend more time doing homework for each course than you will spend in lectures in class, by far. For some subjects like math you can have 1-2 hours of work every single day for that one subject.
Considering that I was screwed out of courses that I would have excelled at and my entire future was ruined because my name wasn't drawn out of a hat for the classes I needed, I'm going to say that this school harbors horrible ideas of fairness in its students.
This school ruined my life. I started going to basis in 5th grade partially because it was a well reviewed school, and partially because it was affordable; my family is pretty poor and couldn't afford to send me to a private school. When I started out I thought it was enjoyable; advanced learning, I liked most of the teachers at the time, but as the years passed things got worse and worse. For one thing, at the time the school was packed well beyond fire capacity limits and I'm surprised more people weren't trampled in the hallways. The proms and sports and other events were a complete joke, and a lot of the teachers that taught AP courses were pretty poor teachers as the administration picked people with higher academics rather than teaching skills for the positions (a good idea in theory, but terrible in execution). Where things really started to go south though was in 7th grade, where students are allowed to pick a language to learn. This system is a one way street, where you have four languages to choose from (latin, mandarin, french, and spanish), and once you pick one you're stuck with it until 12th grade. Well at the time I had horrible grades in latin which was taught up until that choosing point to all students, and I really wanted to learn spanish because half my family lives in Mexico; alas I was put into latin without any say beyond "suggesting" the language I wanted. I don't care about latin, and most people short of maybe medical or law students dont care either, so basically I was shoved into the course even though it was dead last on my list to fill space. Then, in 9th grade you're asked to choose a science to specialize in. Once again, I put physics at the top (I love math and physics, they are my passions), and chemistry second, and of course I was put into honors biology with no choice but to take the AP biology course the next year even though my teacher and I both knew I was going to fail. After this mess I had no choice but to leave the school, and because of the very strange social atmosphere of basis I had a hard time fitting into public school and dropped out of that as well. At the end of the day, I was a dedicated student that gave basis a chance for five and a half years, but the school screwed me out of maybe my only chance to go to college without crippling debt and has basically ruined my life. (I am now 19, for perspective.)
We are thrilled with the BASIS Scottsdale experience. My 8th grader gave me several amazing reasons she wants to continue here for high school. At the top of her list is the top quality and dynamic personalities of her teachers that inspire her every day. The workload is heavy but feels meaningful. Overall the students are nice, polite kids who are there for the academics also. We are looking forward to the new campus opening next year and the school carnival this weekend.
BASIS Scottsdale is a wonderful school that I would recommend highly to a hardworking young 4th grader in a heartbeat. I am currently in 9th grade, and I am planning on take 6 AP's this year. Many reading this comment will assume that the teachers have forced this heavy workload upon me. Completely false. If anything, my teachers inspired me to take challenging classes, and they have taught me to love learning. All teachers have free tutoring hours, but they are generally very kind and flexible. Many detached and frankly frivolous parents have argued that BASIS systematically weeds out lower-performing students through the advanced curriculum. On the contrary, the students who have failed to do their homework (which, in my experience, only ranges from 1 - 2.5 hours a night), forgotten to study (30 minutes per day), or simply don't care often drop out. The claim that a "creaming of the crop" exists is downright laughable. The majority of the negative comments come from parents who lack the necessary insights upon which to make judgements or merely are too infatuated with their child's "immense academic prowess." Go Bulldogs!
BASIS ranks among the top schools in the US because there is accountability on all levels from teachers to students & parents. The academic program is rigorous but students are never alone facing the challenges of the advanced curriculum & heavy workload. Student support is available through teacher hours, study groups, peer tutoring & counseling. They are taught to be responsible students, have great work ethics and take pride in their accomplishments Yes, BASIS kids have fun too! Boosters are active & organizes monthly events. With nearly 60 extra curricular activities inc. sports & clubs kids are active & happy. As parents, BASIS is an economical win for us. My kids are getting a top education for free. My oldest daughter is only freshman but she is focused on getting into the college of her dreams. It's costly dream but attainable. BASIS students graduate with enough AP credits to be considered incoming 2nd semester freshmen or sophomores in college. With tuition nearly 50K annually at top colleges, that's a huge savings for parents. Many BASIS students are offered full-ride scholarships. This school is amazing and my kids have a bright future thanks to BASIS!
Last year, BASIS underwent a massive expansion with BASIS schools all over AZ, and some in other States. BASIS Corporate trains their teachers at BASIS Scottsdale, and then have them move to these new school, hence a higer turnover rate at BASIS Scottsdale. More recently, a huge blow to BASIS Scottsdale was Mr. Sullivan resigning! While, its a given that BASIS Students are considered cream of the crop, and no doubt they work harder than an average student, BASIS students suffer having these teachers leave (some even leaving middle if the school year!). The school is top notch with rigour and academic excellence - rated number 1 charter school in the US. No it's not for everybody, and requires time, effort, and energy! We've been happy academically but very worried that one day, BASIS management will shoot itself in the foot and will compromise its standards!
Basis is a school with a curriculum designed to teach a very narrow spectrum of students. The program is highly academic teaching on average one to two years ahead, homework intensive and heavily weighted in Math, Science and core subjects. I would say Basis is the polar opposite of a liberal arts education. Basis is a good fit for very disciplined, highly academic youth. Very difficult to balance the work load with extracurricular activities and sports.