May 2015 Guest Blog: High School Choice: A School’s Perspective

By Alexandra Hancock


Alexandra Hancock

Consider this math: On average, a 9th grader is in school from 8:00 AM – 3:00 PM, so 7 hours. On a weekday, a typical 9th grader goes to bed around 10:00 PM and wakes up at 6:30 AM. Seven hours in school divided by 24 hours in a day = 29% of their day in school. Let’s not count the hours your young scholar is in dreamland, so the math becomes:

24 hours in a day minus 8.5 hours asleep = 15.5 hours
7 hours in school divided by 15.5 waking hours = 45% of a 9th graders waking hours are spent in school.

Where your 9th grader spends 45% of her waking hours is a pretty big deal. Lucky for New York City families, our community is filled with some of the best schools in which to choose from.

So, what is the right choice?

My advice to students who are considering BASIS Independent Brooklyn – or any school – is to think about what it is 4 years down the road, sitting at graduation, you will want to have accomplished. High school is not a means to an end. It is a stepping stone along the way to students achieving whatever goals they set for themselves.

Of course students should enjoy high school for what it is and be sure to stop and smell the roses. But being goal-oriented from the onset with your middle-schooler can help your child and your entire family really clarify priorities of what will lead to the right high school decision.

One of my colleagues with a college-bound student asked a Princeton University representative on a tour of the campus a simple question: if you had to boil down what you’re looking for in an applicant to one thing, what would it be? The representative responded, “Rigor.”

Regardless of educational philosophy, the best high school for your child should offer just this: rigor. What is considered rigorous is highly individual, so spend some family time thinking about what rigor means to you. The ideal setting should offer your child boundless opportunities to grow and develop as a person and as a scholar.

Alexandra Hancock is the Director of Communications for BASIS Independent Schools and the curator of the blog, Eureka! Brooklyn. Having recently opened campuses in Silicon Valley and Brooklyn, BASIS Independent Schools are part of the network of schools that operates the #1, #2, and #6 High School in America, according to the Washington Post’s 2015 Ranking. Read more about BASIS Independent Brooklyn here.