This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
BASIS DC PCS1
Posted May 16, 2014
- a parent
I am rescinding a glowing review I wrote in 2013. This school has become a failed experiment. The school is on its 3rd principal in two years, has enormous teacher turnover, and my child no longer feels safe. Much of the homework (which is significant) appears to be busy work. The lack of an admission test has produced a student body that's not that academically focused to put it politely.
Although I was hesitant because of the negative comments...this is my son's first year at Basis and he loves it. So much that he's excited about going back. He actually enjoys learning and I can attest to the fact that he's not being taught to simply past a test. I asked him what his favorite subjects were and he replied...science, classics and English. This school reminds me of the time when I went to school where the focus was more about learning rather than testing. I can appreciate the curriculum and the educators and I have a high degree of respect for their interest in responsibility and learning.
Our child attended Basis DC when it opened. She had 8 graded courses in 6th grade, including biology, chemistry, and physics all at the same time and each class sped through a chapter a day and had a test per week. The Algebra teacher assigned 30 problems per night and all the other subjects had crushing amounts of homework and exams as well. There was no time for studying anything in depth or critical thinking because the teachers were in such a rush. Basis is all about quantity and not quality. It is all about memorizing and regurgitating for multiple choice tests. There was little reading, no writing, no projects, and no teamwork--all life skills that should be stressed for later success in the real world. Only one teacher she had returned for the second year. The school day was a joyless grind with only a 25 minute break for lunch and no assemblies, health instruction, or field trips during the school day. Report cards contained percentiles and no comments. Nothing else about the kids (social, emotional growth) was noticed or considered. Our child did extremely well but we left Basis because the school is not educating the whole child or stressing what is important.
This is our second year at Basis. I read the negative reviews and can only conclude that parents have gotten used to schools that simply pass children on to the next grade without ever ensuring that the child has mastered the work. Basis does not sign on to mentality that every child gets an award for simply showing up. You have to work in this school, but there are plenty of incentives and awards for achievement. My 12 yr old daughter absolutely loves school and will not miss a day for anything. The school has had its glitches, as any new school would. And to the parent who complained many of last year's teachers left, I would say that it was a combination of excellent young teachers being offered challenging positions because of their qualifications, and a weeding-out process that shows Basis is constantly evaluating and improving itself. In addition to great academics, the school offers many after-school activities, fencing, robotics, chess, drama etc. This is one of the best free educations in the country.
Our son entered the 5th grade at BASIS this year. He was not challenged enough in his prior parochial school. BASIS is the only public or charter school I would send my son to in DC. In the few months he has been at BASIS our son has learned responsibility for completing work and how to organize time. He gets homework, much of which he completes while at school. Actually I wish he had more homework. He has the advantage of a different teacher for each subject. He says he can't wait to have chemistry in the 6th grade. He diligently does daily math problems, memorizes geography facts, reads and writes. I am impressed by the weekly feedback of quizzes. He does complaint about the lack of free time during the day, but I can see he is headed in the right direction. The feedback from teachers through the communication journal lets us follow potential issues. It is only with great caution that I enrolled our son at BASIS. I do watch his progress and ask him what he thinks regularly. He normally leaves the house in the morning whistling a happy tune. The other parents I have met at BASIS are also very concerned about their children s academics, so, our comfort level has increased.
We are a second year family and I see us continuing to graduation. I like that my son has grown from last year. He has an idea of accountability (doing and completing assignments to produce good grades and self-motivation) that has development from year one. There are growing pains with being new school but don't think the pains out way the results that we experienced and are experiencing
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