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BASIS Independent McLean Introduces Students to the Art of Voting with Mascot Selection | News

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BASIS Independent McLean Introduces Students to the Art of Voting with Mascot Selection
News, Politics, Schools
BASIS Independent McLean Introduces Students to the Art of Voting with Mascot Selection

BASIS Independent McLean of McLean, Va., starting its inaugural year, is using the opportunity to vote on its first mascot as a chance to teach the students about the election process, in wake of the upcoming, much talked about presidential election. The process, led by head of school, Sean Aiken, will introduce ideas such delegate system and popular vote to discuss what mascot would best represent the school’s values. For more information about the school, go to http://mclean.basisindependent.com/.

The premise of the mascot voting program focuses on younger students as well as older students, leading with conversations about how a mascot should represent the qualities and values of BASIS Independent McLean. This serves as a good metaphor for the more serious representation in political contexts.  Some students prefer traditional mascots to give the school a sense of familiarity and camaraderie, while others want less common mascots to set them apart from other schools and celebrate individuality.  Older students get to generate ideas that take even our youngest 3-year olds into account so that they can unite as a whole school and not just play to specific ‘special interests.’  Students will have to consider the following questions:

How should they identify themselves?  Humorous, serious, fierce, creative? What will happen if the greater numbers of students in the middle school prefer a mascot that the much smaller number of sophomores don’t agree with? How will it feel if the top mascot choice is not selected? What is the appropriate response to that feeling?Does the choice of mascot represent not just the current school community but those who will join BASIS Independent McLean in the future?

“By giving students the authentic opportunity to select their school mascot, we are able to open up much broader conversations about awareness, empathy, and hosts of other core values,” said Sean Aiken, head of school for BASIS Independent McLean. “ While our situation -- as a brand new school -- is somewhat unique, the idea of mascot representation weaves through our whole society and could certainly be used to frame a conversation between students and their families about tone, identity and cooperation,” said Aiken.

BASIS was founded in 1998 by Dr. Michael and Olga Block, world-class economists and academics, who developed a formula for success for every child by offering a rigorous, globally competitive liberal arts and science curriculum taught by passionate subject-expert teachers and supported by a culture of excellence. What began as a single campus in Tucson, Ariz. has grown to become a unique, high-achieving, network of schools with three independent, private schools in Brooklyn, N.Y., Silicon Valley and Fremont in Calif., and now in McLean, Va., with an international school in Shenzhen, China, and 16 public charter schools across the United States. Today, BASIS.ed students have propelled their schools to become the top ranked in the nation. Visit them at http://mclean.basisindependent.com, Facebook, Twitter@BASISInd or YouTube channel, BASIS.ed.


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