Oct 7, 2013 3:01 PM by Ryan Haarer
TUCSON - One of the highest ranked schools in the world is right here in Tucson. It's open enrollment, tuition free and a lot of work.
PISA is an international exam rating different education systems across the world. It tests 15 year olds, catching students right in the middle of their high school years. BASIS Tucson North scored in the top five percent in the world.
High school senior, Ariana Rocha has taken 14 AP exams since freshman year. She's been at BASIS since the fifth grade.
"I think part of my success is because the bar is set much higher than most other schools that i've seen."
Every graduating student from basis has found their way to a four year university, many to the top schools in the country. Every student must pass at least one ap exam, a requirement of graduating from a school based on excelling in those advanced placement tests.
"it's just a lot of work. Everyone wants to say oh, it's this magical thing or a great school, so there must be this thing that you do that turns kids into geniuses, but it's very simple, we all work like maniacs," said Julia Toews, head of BASIS Tucson North.
Toews attributes student success to an environment she and her teachers have created. hard work starts in fifth grade where students have at least an hour and a half of homework a night.
"Teachers are great, the environment's great but because of that the classes are just intense!" said Rocha.
"Every student gets an enormous amount of individual attention.The teachers here all have academic degrees in the field that they're teaching. For example my sixth and seventh grade physics teacher, and we do start teaching physics in the 6th grade, has a Phd in physics," said Toews.
Those teachers are paid a little more than the average teacher, but, administrators make less on average and there is not a kitchen or football field requiring costly maintenance. The focus is hitting the books which Ariana says can pay off big time if they students stick with their peers.
"it's an incredible accomplishment to graduate from BASIS."
Ariana is currently in New York City at the NBC Education Nation summit with other students and educators discussing the current state of the education system in the U.S. she is hoping to go to a military academy after graduation.