The Founders’ Prize, coming this spring from BASIS.ed: a new award showcasing the most outstanding student/teacher co-creative work in Senior Projects.
People often ask me what makes the learning culture of a BASIS.ed managed school so distinct. Based upon my time visiting our schools and observing our classes, as well as conversing with our faculty, our students, and our parents, two aspects stand out for me.
First, we believe that education has measurable outcomes. Those measurable outcomes can take many forms, from the minute-by-minute tracking for comprehension that is a fundamental sign of teacherly craft, to our Comprehensive Exams, College Board AP courses, and college and university success.
Second, and sometimes overlooked by those who do not know BASIS.ed well, is the extraordinary co-creative energy in our classrooms. Our teachers and students are deeply involved in learning — together. They are ceaselessly part of the satisfying quest for mastery — knee-deep in the challenge, the pleasure, the bafflement and struggle, and the desire to understand, to solve, and to create.
From the earliest grades, our learning culture teaches and requires our students to be participants. We teach students to be responsible for their own education by immersing them in the educational process. Such immersion occurs within the context of the traditional mastery of substantive disciplinary content and critical thinking skills, for without that context, students will lack the knowledge and analytical resources to solve problems and create new knowledge. This capacity to participate will define them across the span of their lifetimes, because education for children today will never stop.
BASIS.ed Senior Projects are the terminus of our diploma precisely because it is in the work and reflection of the Senior Project that the student begins to integrate the academic with the complexity and challenge of professional existence, and adult life. As such, the Senior Project is the final outcome of the many years that teachers and students have been learning together. The three months devoted to any given Senior Project is the time when our students begin to create knowledge – and not merely learn it in an academic setting.
In recognition of this great work, we are excited to announce the Founders’ Prize for BASIS.ed Senior Projects. The Founders’ Prize has been established to honor the co-creative energy and the distinct BASIS.ed learning nexus of the student-teacher relationship. The winning projects will be those that best exemplify the integration of the academic and the worldly, the use of intellect and imagination, to better understand and enrich our reality. Above all they will honor that co-creative labor between teacher and student that is the signature of our learning culture.
The honored students will each receive a $10,000 scholarship towards their first year college tuition. Additionally, their teacher / mentors will each receive a $5,000 cash bonus.
Heads of School will nominate projects from their schools to the Senior Project Founders’ Prize Jury – which will then select the winners.
The Founders’ Prize will be awarded annually, and may involve all expenses-paid travel to present the projects to student and parent audiences at other BASIS.ed managed schools outside of Arizona.
We have always been and remain immensely proud of our seniors who participate in the Senior Projects program. We are now quite excited to reward our students and teachers in this significant way, and recognize the great work that all of them do, year after year.
Dr. Peter Bezanson