Can a network of tuition-free, public charter schools pave the way for better K–12 education in the U.S.? BASIS Charter Schools can.
BASIS Charter Schools is the nation’s top public school network—and there are not one but two BASIS Charter School campuses right here in Baton Rouge!
BASIS, which got its start in Tucson, Arizona in 1998, opened its first Baton Rouge charter school, BASIS Baton Rouge Materra, in 2018. After much success, the network opened BASIS Baton Rouge Primary Mid City in 2021. The Materra campus currently serves grades K–9. It is expanding by one grade level each school year and will be a complete K–12 school by 2026–27. The Mid City campus, meanwhile, is fully dedicated to primary school education and serves grades K–5.
Educators at BASIS Baton Rouge Materra and BASIS Baton Rouge Mid City believe that when you raise the bar, students will rise to meet that challenge. BASIS is rooted in three key ideas: students want to learn; students need to be challenged; students must be supported. With a high-level curriculum taught by passionate, supportive, expert teachers, students at BASIS Baton Rouge Charter Schools are set up for academic success from kindergarten to high school.
“Our academic program isn’t familiar—it’s hard, and it’s hard on purpose,” says Jared Lamb, Head of School at BASIS Baton Rouge Materra. “It’s hard because the process of overcoming difficulty is beneficial to students. When students learn to meet a challenge, they’re better for it. And we are there to support them through that learning process.”
“We have vibrant classrooms with expert, supportive educators and eager students,” says BASIS Baton Rouge Primary Mid City Head of School Marissa Carroll. “This type of learning environment is part of what makes our schools so successful.”
Both BASIS Baton Rouge Charter Schools utilize the acclaimed BASIS Charter School Curriculum—a STEM-infused, liberal arts program that teaches concepts at an accelerated rate. The curriculum features unique course offerings, such as Linguistics, Engineering, and Mandarin. BASIS also offers a wide range of extracurricular activities, allowing students to pursue individual interests and develop new skills.
After just six years, BASIS Baton Rouge Materra has grown to become one of the best and most beloved schools in East Baton Rouge. In 2023, BASIS Baton Rouge Materra was named Favorite Charter Elementary School in Baton Rouge Parents magazine’s Family Favorites contest. The Materra campus has also achieved excellent academic results. In 2023, the school’s average LEAP mastery scores were more than double the average of other East Baton Rouge public schools.
The educators at BASIS Baton Rouge Primary Mid City are confident that students are on track to meet the high bar that BASIS Baton Rouge Materra has set in the coming years. The Mid City campus is in the midst of its third school year and has already seen notable improvements.
“Our vision for the future sees the Mid City campus as an unmatched place of learning for primary grade students,” says Carroll. “Already just this school year, we’ve seen an incredible lift in the joy and camaraderie in our halls. We expect to see more of this in the future!”
It should be noted that it can take time for new BASIS Charter School campuses to grow into their own. Students, families, and staff all need time to get accustomed to the accelerated nature of the BASIS Charter School academic program.
BASIS educators say their strategic plan for newer schools—such as the Mid City campus here in Baton Rouge—involves the following:
- Higher-than-usual levels of student support
- Delving into academic data in a hands-on manner to determine the specific needs for students across all core subjects in each grade
- Using their expertise in elementary education to map the pathway to success for students on an individual level, grade level, and school level
- Revisiting and reassessing student and teacher needs throughout the school year
- Pivoting quickly to directly support identified student and teacher needs
If that sounds like a lot—well, it is! That’s what BASIS means by “raising the bar.”
“BASIS Charter Schools is a data-driven network,” says Lamb. “We are experts at addressing areas of need, whether involving pedagogical expertise, subject expertise, or any other school need or resource. This is happening at both our Mid City campus and Materra campus and will continue.”
Once BASIS Charter School campuses have the time to mature, the student outcomes speak for themselves. Across the BASIS Charter School network—which currently comprises 39 schools in Arizona, Louisiana, Texas, and Washington, D.C.—100% of graduating seniors are admitted to college or university, with each graduate earning an average of over $100,000 in merit aid. BASIS Charter School students perform exceedingly well on the SAT and ACT, and must take and pass six Advanced Placement® exams prior to graduation. Additionally, BASIS Charter School students consistently outscore students from across the globe on the OECD Test for Schools (based on PISA).
Heads of Schools Jared Lamb and Marissa Carroll say that they are looking forward to seeing how BASIS Baton Rouge Materra and BASIS Baton Rouge Primary Mid City will grow over the coming years!
“Our schools are driven by parent and community engagement in a very real way,” says Carroll. “We are proud to be a part of our East Baton Rouge community, and proud of our students, families, teachers, staff, and partners within it!”