A Chat with a BASIS Charter School Parent
Interviewee: David Hubalik, BASIS Chandler Primary South Kindergarten parent and an Associate Vice President of BASIS Charter Schools
Q: What led you to choose a BASIS charter school for your child?
A: Well, I work here [laughter], so there is an obvious admiration for the mission. Also, the two-teacher model… I’m a huge advocate of efficiency. When you have two teachers working in tandem, where they complement each other, it decreases burnout, it decreases workload, which inevitably is going to make them better at what they do.
Q: Is there anything similar to the two-teacher model that BASIS charter schools employ?
A: In your traditional (non-BASIS) co-teaching model, the goal is simply to decrease the student-to-teacher ratio. Ratio matters pretty significantly in the younger grades relative to success rates. While traditional co-teaching does alleviate this, both teachers are still doing pretty much the exact same thing. Whereas the LETSET model allows one teacher focus on “these” things, and the other teacher focus on “those” things, and they complement each other in the classroom.
Q: What is your favorite thing about BASIS charter schools?
A: Having worked for BASIS for a long time, the thing that excites me most about my children going to BASIS, is that they are going to learn A LOT. They’re in an environment that encourages gaining knowledge and learning, and not just from the teachers, but from the students as well. They’re surrounded by folks who really just want to learn. There is an intellectual tolerance that exists in BASIS charter schools. Even if my kid doesn’t get straight A’s or isn’t the valedictorian, he’s still going to cross the finish line as one of the smartest high school graduates in the country.
Q: What advice would you give to parents who are considering a BASIS charter school?
A: You need to be prepared to support your child at home. It’s not because it’s an insane amount of work—it’s really not. But you have to be as dedicated toward your child’s education as you want them to be, especially in the younger grades. At this point they are getting quite a bit of information and knowledge thrown at them. They’re going to come home excited, and you need to be mindful of your reactions. My kid comes home and he wants to tell and show me everything, but there are days where you’re just exhausted and you can’t give them the affirmation they need. That decreases their willingness to jump at the chance to go and do it again the next day. You have to be prepared for what your kids are going to come home with.
Q: How can parents do their homework before choosing a school?
A: They have to go on a tour. We are a school of choice. We are an alternative, not THE alternative. We are a specific alternative to the traditional district school. So, you have to take tours, go to info sessions, and immerse yourself with what it is that we do. If you go on the internet it’s going to be like drinking from a fire hose. There’s so much information out there—you really should go take a tour so we can break it down.
Q: What would you tell a parent who is concerned that BASIS charter schools might not be right for their kids?
A: The reality is, if you’re coming into the primary grades you really don’t have a lot to be worried about, because the curriculum builds on itself. We don’t expect kids to be at a certain level; we will be bringing them up to the level necessary. If you have a Kindergartner, or even a first or second grader, we have very little expectations for what they’ve been exposed to.
Q: What kind of student support options are available at BASIS Charter Schools?
A: We recognize that the BASIS Curriculum can be challenging and are committed to providing the resources to help all of our students succeed.
- All teachers must offer a minimum of one hour of tutoring time per week. In my experience however, teachers generally spend about three hours after school providing small group support each week.
- Through the student support programs, you also have peer-to-peer tutoring.
- Throughout the day our Teaching Fellows pull struggling students out of the classroom for small group study sessions to really focus in on the material.
- The Deans also schedule specialized workshops that can vary from organizational skills to writing skills, test taking strategies, effective note taking, etc. There are a number of workshops that we’ve developed over the years to target specific groups of students.
To learn more about BASIS, make plans to attend their November 15th Open House.