AdvancED School Executive. Summary. BASIS Tucson

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1 AdvancED School Executive Summary BASIS Tucson Julia K Toews, Headmaster 3825 E. Second St. Tucson, AZ 85716

2 TABLE OF CONTENTS Introduction 1 AdvancED School Executive Summary 2 Section 1: Introduction 2 Section 2: Student Performance 4 Section 3: Challenges and Opportunities 6 Section 4: Conclusion 7

3 Introduction Every school has its own story to tell. The context in which teaching and learning takes place influences the processes and procedures by which the school makes decisions around curriculum, instruction, and assessment. The context also impacts the way a school stays faithful to its vision. Many factors contribute to the overall narrative such as an identification of stakeholders, a description of stakeholder engagement, the trends and issues affecting the school, and the kinds of programs and services that a school implements to support student learning. The purpose of the Executive Summary (ES) is to provide a school with an opportunity to describe in narrative form the strengths and challenges it encounters. By doing so, the public and members of the school community will have a more complete picture of how the school perceives itself and the process of self-reflection for continuous improvement. This summary is structured for the school to reflect on how it provides teaching and learning on a day to day basis. The Executive Summary contains four sections with prompts to guide the school to write its unique story; these are suggested prompts and all do not need responses. It might be helpful to write first the narrative offline before entering the ES into the web-enabled system. Page 1

4 AdvancED School Executive Summary Section 1: Introduction Provide the school's mission statement. What process was used to create the mission statement? Describe how the school engaged its stakeholders to parents and community members in the development and fulfillment of the mission statement. Describe the community in which your school is located. What are the unique features and special challenges of your school community? Briefly provide demographic information with regards to both students and staff and the community at large. BASIS seeks to provide an accelerated liberal arts education at internationally competitive levels for all students. The rigorous college preparatory education at BASIS readies students for the competitive admissions process, helps them become eligible for scholarships, prepares them to prosper at top colleges, and enriches their lives. The BASIS mission and vision has been evident since BASIS Tucson's founding in Co-founders, Michael and Olga Block, had a vision to incorporate the rigor and depth of European education with the openness of the American classroom and inquisitive nature of American students. The mission was formally adopted by the BASIS School, Inc. Board of Directors and the BASIS Tucson School Board. The success of the BASIS schools and students is inextricably linked to a commitment to the BASIS mission and vision. Because BASIS Tucson is a school of choice, one of our main objectives is communicating the BASIS mission, vision, philosophy, and educational model to our stakeholders and instilling in them an understanding the academic achievements of BASIS students are a direct result of this mission and vision. Demographic Profile Students: male female SPED - 8 Native American - 10 Asian African American - 29 Hispanic Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander - 1 White Two or More - 3 Faculty: Highest Degree Earned: Bachelors 20 Masters 23 JD 1 PhD 2 Page 2

5 Gender: Male 20 Female 26 Race: White 40 Hispanic 3 Asian 3 Community: As of the census of 2010, the racial makeup of Tucson was 47.2% White, 5.0% Black or African-American, 2.7% Native American, 2.9% Asian, 0.2% Pacific Islander, 16.9% from other races, and 3.8% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 41.6% of the population. Page 3

6 Section 2: Student Performance Give a brief description of your school's vision about students and their performance. Provide a brief summary of student performance in your school. What are your goals and how will you know you have achieved them? Describe the variety of your school's student performance assessments. How does your staff engage in meaningful analysis of student work in order to modify instruction? Describe the school's student support programs and services. In what ways does your school ensure community/parent involvement in the life of the school? Student Performance Vision BASIS Tucson seeks to educate all students at internationally competitive levels. We want to ensure all BASIS graduates are college ready and are prepared to successfully compete with their international peers for college admissions, college scholarships, and jobs. Achievement of Goals and Performance Assessments Ensuring students master and retain grade level material is critical in achieving our mission of educating all students at internationally competitive levels and ensuring college readiness. In service of this goal, BASIS Tucson has implemented Pre-Comprehensive and Comprehensive exams in the middle school grades. The Pre-Comprehensive exams allow teachers to gauge their students' knowledge and understanding mid-year so they can remedy any gaps in knowledge and adjust their teaching to better fit students' needs. The Comprehensive exams are aligned to the expectations for the following grade level and all students are required to pass both their courses and the Comprehensive exams for those courses before being promoted. BASIS Tucson also uses international assessments such as the Cambridge IGCSE exams to benchmark our students' performance against their peers around the world. BASIS Tucson will also participate in the PISA pilot program in 2012, which will allow us to benchmark our students' achievement against student achievement in the world's top performing educational systems. Students' results on these internationally benchmarked exams allow our faculty and staff to determine whether or not we have been successful in achieving our goal of providing an internationally competitive education. BASIS Tucson also uses the College Boards Advanced Placement program to ensure college readiness among our high school students. The BASIS AP Program is unique in American secondary education. At many schools, AP courses are reserved for the oldest, highest performing students"usually juniors and seniors" but at BASIS all students take their first required AP course in 9th grade, a full three years before most of their peers. Moreover, BASIS Tucson incorporates students' AP exam scores into their final course grades. Because the students' AP exam scores count towards their grades, and because teachers are held responsible for their students' scores, both students and teachers have an inherent interest in working together to achieve excellence. Students' results on the AP exams exams allow our faculty and staff to determine whether or not we have been successful in achieving our goal of preparing our students for a successful transition to college. Summary of Student Performance AIMS Results In 2011, BASIS Tucson earned a 100% pass rate on three out of the four subjects tested by the AIMS exam. 100% of BASIS Tucson high school students passed the AIMS math, reading, and science exams and 98% passed the AIMS writing exam. This is even more impressive when compared to Arizona's average pass rates for high school students in Only 60% of Arizona high school students passed the AIMS math exam, 78% passed the AIMS reading exam, 68% passed the AIMS writing exam, and 49% passed the AIMS science exam. BASIS Tucson also outperformed schools across the state when comparing the percent of students exceeding state standards on the AIMS exam. AIMS exceeding rates provide a more robust measure of student competence than passing rates. "Students who score in Page 4

7 this level illustrate a superior academic performance as evidenced by achievement that is substantially beyond the goal for all students. Students who exceed the standard have demonstrated exceptional and exemplary attainment of knowledge and skills," according to the Arizona Department of Education's AIMS Performance Level Descriptors. Cambridge IGCSE Results Cambridge International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) exams are externally generated and graded subjectspecific exams produced by the University of Cambridge International Examinations. The exams are given to 14 to 16 year old students in the U.K. and around the world and are designed to prepare students for advanced academic work. Implementation of the Cambridge IGCSE exams enables BASIS schools to benchmark their curricula against international standards and gauge students' academic performance compared to their peers around the world. In the fall of 2011, students at BASIS Tucson participated in the Cambridge IGCSE exams. The result: BASIS Tucson students passed the IGCSE Mathematics exam at a rate of 93.7% and passed the IGCSE English exam at a rate of 98% compared to a global pass rate of 95.3% in Mathematics and 98.6% in English. These are impressive results, considering BASIS students take the IGCSE exams in 8th grade, 1 to 2 years ahead of their international peers. Advanced Placement Results The College Board's Advanced Placement (AP) exams are formulated as a means of assessing college readiness. A score of 3 or higher out of a possible 5 indicates that a student is capable of successfully completing entry level college coursework. Students who score a 3 or higher are granted placement and/or credit at about 90% of four year colleges and universities in the U.S., according to the 6th Annual "AP Report to the Nation." Despite being younger and in lower grade levels, BASIS students perform quite well on AP exams when compared with their peers across the country. In 2011, 155 BASIS Tucson students took 449 AP exams and passed (scored a 3 or higher) 83% of their exams compared to the global pass rate of 58%. Please see the rest of this section in the conclusion section of this executive summary. Page 5

8 Section 3: Challenges and Opportunities What are the major challenges your school has faced in the last 3 years and how have you addressed those challenges? As with all Arizona charter schools, BASIS Tucson receives less state and local funding per student than traditional public schools (almost $2,000 less per student on average according to a 2008 analysis by the Arizona Charter Schools Association). Moreover, over the past several years, Arizona charter schools have faced large cuts in funding; this resulted in revenue shortfalls for the school. The funding inequity between public and charter schools and the recent decline in state funding makes it difficult for BASIS Tucson to offer its teachers much more than Arizona's average teacher salary without private assistance. In an attempt to bridge the gap between public and charter school funding, BASIS instituted the Annual Teacher Fund (formerly called the Master Teacher Campaign) to help raise additional private funds. These funds allow us to award merit-based salary supplements to high performing teachers. The Annual Teacher Fund also helps the school in its ability to compete for knowledgeable and effective new teachers. Moreover, resources from Annual Teacher Fund allow BASIS to utilize its most experienced and skilled teachers to direct the training and professional development of these newer faculty members. In addition to increasing the average teacher salary, the Annual Teacher Fund helps ensure BASIS Tucson remains an academic powerhouse in the face of a state budget crunch and school finance crises. Page 6

9 Section 4: Conclusion What is your school most proud of and why? Is there any other information you would like to share with the public and the school community? Student Performance (continued from Student Performance section of this executive summary) AP Scholars An impressive 83 students at BASIS Tucson, over 53 percent of AP test-takers, earned recognition for their exceptional achievement on the college-level Advanced Placement (AP) exams in Statewide, fewer than 10 percent of the nearly 43,000 high school students who took AP exams performed at a sufficiently high level to merit recognition as an AP Scholar. National Merit Scholars Seven BASIS Tucson seniors, 23 percent of the 2012 graduating class, were recognized as Semifinalists by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. Nationwide, less than one percent of high school seniors earned this same distinction. Competitions BASIS Tucson students also competed in local state and national competitions in 2011, taking home the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place trophies in the Arizona Regional Science Bowl competition, earning 8th place in the US Department of Energy Science Bowl competition, earning 1st place at the ASU Invitational Quiz Bowl tournament, and earning 2nd, 3rd, and 6th place in the national WordMasters Challenge. Student Support Programs BASIS Tucson has implemented measures to ensure the academic success of each student. Prior to even enrolling in the school, students take early diagnostic tests. Their primary purpose is to help the students and their parents identify skills that students need to improve on before enrollment. The tests also help BASIS staff identify students for the summer support program. Teachers also use the diagnostic tests of their students to plan their teaching strategies. Based on the results of the early diagnostic testing, students who may benefit from additional support are placed in the student support program. The Student Services Coordinator monitors individual student progress, monitors and assesses individual student discipline issues, and manages the Student Support program, which provides support to struggling students or students who may benefit from early intervention techniques. The BASIS Student Support program consists of Peer Tutoring, Teacher Student hours, Homework Buddies, Teacher Parent hours, an Academic Support program, Communication Journals, and frequent feedback home. Parent and Community Involvement Because the BASIS Tucson student population is spread widely across the surrounding community, BASIS relies on Booster Clubs to act as the "social glue" between BASIS families. By planning and coordinating social events, the Booster Club provides students with opportunities to meet and socialize in environments outside of school and enables parents to meet their children's friends and their children's friends' parents. During social events organized by the Booster Club, parents have an opportunity to exchange their views about and experiences with BASIS school. Booster Clubs also provide social programs for students. If parents perceive a need to provide their children with social programs that go beyond BASIS Schools' responsibilities or deal with specific issues that are socially sensitive and should be addressed in non-school setting during workshops, lectures, or seminars, these events are organized by the Booster Club. Booster Clubs can also be excellent fundraising partners and Booster Club parents are in a unique position to address the broader parent community and advocate for BASIS's needs. Conclusions Page 7

10 BASIS Tucson is most proud of its students' impressive achievement results as demonstrated by their scores on the AIMS, IGCSE and AP exams and the rate at which they earned distinction as AP Scholars and National Merit Scholars. We are also extraordinarily proud of the 100% college acceptance rate (to date) among BASIS Tucson graduates as well as the quality of institutions to which they were granted admissions (including Harvard, Princeton, Penn, University of Chicago, MIT, Duke, Notre Dame, Berkley, Williams, Amherst, and Swarthmore). Page 8

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