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What to Expect on a BASIS Charter School Tour: Primary Grades

As I walked into BASIS Chandler Primary South for the 9:00 a.m. school tour there already was a small group of parents and their children there. Once I checked in, Director of Student Affairs Brittania Mccarron came out to greet us. To personalize the experience, she wanted to know what grade level the group was most interested in. It turned out everyone was there to learn about the Kindergarten.

Once she discovered the focus of the group, she discussed how BASIS Chandler Primary South feeds into the upper 5–12 school, BASIS Chandler. This move creates a smooth transition to upper grades, reinforces the structure of the BASIS Charter School Curriculum, and sets students up for greater academic success.

Ready for Class

As we started to move through the administrative hallway, I noticed how welcoming the school was with its brightly colored décor. We started off with the Kindergarten rooms where the children would be spending most of their time. Each group of students is charmingly referred to as one of the periodic elements: copper, iron, or zinc. The plaques on the doors indicate where each group is learning, and the rooms were also bright, and well-lit. and The students were out for recess so, the group was able to linger and learn about the curriculum.

Brittania made sure to mention that the Kindergarteners have, not one, but two instructors in the classroom, which creates a smaller student-to-teacher ratio. She also hit the high points of the BASIS Charter School Curriculum, and how it differs from traditional educational standards.

  • Subjects like literacy, civics, science, math are all being taught at the Kindergarten level.
  • Physical movement is critical to students’ success, and they have many opportunities to take part.
  • The READ course allows for 20 minutes of uninterrupted reading time to help students become proficient readers.
  • Designed to create good students with even better habits, Character Development is offered each semester.
  • The project-based course, Connections, links subjects through various assignments creating further understanding of the material.

Multi-Purpose = Lots of Fun

After answering some questions, we headed to the multi-purpose room. A lot of students were having snacks, interacting with teachers, and engaged in conversation with their peers. It was an open, friendly area where it looked like students were letting off a little steam before their next class session.

Some parents had questions about the school schedule and Brittania explained how the Early and Late Bird (before and after school) Programs worked. She highly recommended Early Bird so that students could “get the wiggles out” before class and discussed how tutoring is available in the Late Bird. She informed the group of some key difference in the grades as students advance:

    • Grades 1–4 students migrate in their group (or element) from class-to-class to mimic the structure of middle and high school.
    • In grades 1–3 the co-teaching model with 2 teachers per classroom now includes a Subject Expert Teacher who brings a passion for specific course material.
    • How administrative support and tutoring helps students with the accelerated and fast-paced curriculum.

Playtime

Our foray into the playground was exciting! The small children on our tour were just itching to make use of one of the biggest play areas I have seen for a school of that size. There was a rock wall, basketball court, jungle gyms, and other play equipment. Brittania assured the parents that Kindergarten goes out to the play area alone to keep them more comfortable.

Fine Arts and More

Passing through the play area we all noticed that there were other buildings and Brittania showed us where the grade 2, 3, and 4 students call home. We had to dodge some students and teachers in the hallways, but everyone was friendly and judging by the hustle it was clear everyone was there to work! Grade 4 students were busy at their lockers and the group discovered that, along with their 50-minute classes, this was another way to prepare them for the structure of BASIS Chandler.

There were separate areas for engineering, martial arts, and of course there was the ever-popular art room. It was hard for the little ones to keep their hands to themselves! The room had so much life with its color, paintings, photos, drawings and sculptures.

Question Time

Brittania gave the group lots of room to ask any questions they did not get answered during the main part of the tour. Some parents wanted to know about the extracurricular activities. We learned that they are based on student interest and teacher involvement. Others had questions on the open enrollment, lottery, and waitlist policies. BASIS Charter Schools are tuition-free, public and everyone is welcome to apply!

Brittania answered all questions before we wound up the tour, and were escorted back to the lobby.

If your curiosity is piqued, I encourage you to take the leap and check out the BASIS Charter School network. With 37 schools in 4 states, you and your student are sure to find your educational home.

Follow these easy steps to schedule your own school tour:

1) Visit our website to find your local BASIS Charter School

2) Go to tours/events for a schedule of events

3) Select your school

4) Choose an available date

5) Click on tickets, and register with your information

Once you have completed all the steps, you will receive an email confirmation, and you are all set!

For more on BASIS Organizational and Study Skills (BOSS) Camp to prepare your student, check out this interview

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