BASIS Charter Schools History

Prioritizing a Higher Standard for Academic Excellence

The network of BASIS Charter Schools began with our founders Michael and Olga Block’s belief that the goal of a great education is to provide students with choices, limitless opportunities, and the ability to shape their own futures. Having discovered the disparity between American, European, and Asian educational systems, the Blocks set out to create a more robust curriculum for Arizona students. Starting in Tucson, Arizona with just 58 students, BASIS Charter Schools have been educating middle and high school students since 1998, and primary school students since 2013. BASIS prides itself on its tuition-free, open-enrollment, public charter schools which are rooted in the cultivation of love of learning and desire to excel.

Olga and Michael Block

Academics are the cornerstone of the BASIS Charter School Curriculum, and as a result our schools are consistently ranked in the Best High Schools list by U.S. News & World Report. In fact, ten of our schools are ranked in the top 20 Best Charter High Schools for 2022. Our graduates earn, on average, more than $100,000 in college scholarships per student. These students move on to some of the nation’s top universities fully prepared to meet the demands of college coursework.

Through our dedication BASIS has now grown to a thriving network of 37 schools in Arizona, Louisiana, Washington D.C., and Texas with more locations on the horizon.

BASIS Charter School families choose us for our five core values:

If you are curious as to what this looks like when it comes to life, we invite you to schedule a school tour or join an information session to see the joy and the passion for knowledge that permeates our hallways, classrooms, and campuses.

World-class academics are at the center of everything we do. We’re into books and big ideas, economics and history, STEM and the arts and (literal) rocket science! From kindergarten through high school, and from coursework to extracurriculars, our program is grounded in academic learning and achievement.

Our students are taught to achieve — and want to achieve — at the highest academic levels; they learn to love learning, master new concepts, and excel in subjects at an advanced level.

BASIS Charter School students are inquisitive and do not shy away from hard work; they want to know how things work and why, and are encouraged to ask questions, and seek answers.

Our students reach for the highest academic standards, and achieve far more than many believe possible. Average students become extraordinary students when they have the opportunity and support to do so.

We don’t veer from the difficult subjects but instead embrace them, and begin teaching them in early grades.

We assign homework as an extension of concepts learned in the classroom. The opportunity to practice—to try, to fail, to try again, and to learn—leads to mastery.

We’ve done this for many years, and we know that setting a high bar – at an internationally competitive level — is our responsibility to the next generation.

We give smart people the freedom to teach in the manner they think is best for their students, and we hold them accountable for student learning.

Our teachers are true experts in their subjects. They demonstrate command over their discipline, often holding graduate degrees and practical experience in their field.

We grant teachers earned autonomy, and we measure teacher effectiveness through student mastery and student performance in their coursework and on high-stakes exams.

We believe in alignment of incentives: we hold teachers accountable for student outcomes on the very tests that are the most meaningful to students.

All of us – students and staff – are committed to hard work and focus.

Every student, teacher, parent, and employee in Texas actively supports the BASIS Charter School mission: to empower students to achieve at globally competitive levels with a transformative K–12 academic program.

Achievement comes from hard work – applying oneself and overcoming personal limitations.

For any student willing to work hard, and for families willing to support them, our internationally competitive education has no barriers to entry. BASIS Charter Schools are open-enrollment, tuition-free public schools.

Our families choose us because we believe that learning about and respecting a diversity of worldviews allows students to develop into thoughtful, independent global citizens.

We encourage each of our students to be true to who they uniquely are, and to, with civility, express themselves freely.