What is the BHS Method™?
The BHS Method™ is based on the philosophy to help teenagers excel academically, socially, and psychologically. The method relates to students as whole humans and prides itself on a dynamic learning environment where students feel part of the same family. The concept includes an innovative open plan that fosters meaningful connections across the whole school campus. Unlike in traditional schools, friendships within the BHS Method™ are not limited by individual grade levels, genders, or cliques.
How was the BHS Method™ created?
The foundation of the BHS Method™ was started by Akida Mashaka, an American entrepreneur from Los Angeles, California. As Founder of BHS, Akida recognized unfixable problems not only with schools in Barcelona, but throughout the world, including in the United States. He had experienced the antiquated methods in education based on his children and recognized the pressing need to renew the conventional school education paradigm. Akida is a graduate of Harvard Law School and graduated #1 in Psychology in his university class at Morehouse College. Akida’s unique blend of passions and experiences provided the foundation for this revolutionary educational model.
Amanda Slefo, an Assyrian American and award-winning teacher from Chicago at Evanston Township High School, turned the vision of this radical and new learning pedagogy into the revolutionary educational model it is today. Throughout the unprecedented growth of this innovative educational paradigm, Amanda has been a powerful inspiration and guide for students and staff. Her initial role as Director of BHS involved overseeing educational learning, academic performance, and university placement, as she later became a Partner of BHS. Amanda now serves as the life force for the BHS Method™.
What is the BHS Spark™?
The BHS Method™ can only be carried out by teachers and administrators who all have the BHS Spark™ which means "10 out of 10" in quality and culture fit. Instead of stuffing information into students, BHS guides students to the possibilities around them. By asking questions, teachers encourage students to challenge their held beliefs and consider other points of view. Students are given choices in class, if they are interested in video games, an assignment can be adapted so they create a game character, for example. The curriculum isn’t set in stone. Our world is constantly changing, and BHS acknowledges that the program of study should be malleable. The school wants to foster adaptable students that will be able to handle their journeys after they graduate. Life doesn’t have a single answer like a math problem, so BHS teaches students to create their own solutions.
How do BHS Method™ students learn?
BHS makes the curriculum relevant to students’ situations through in-person instruction and independent digital learning, called a hybrid model. Teachers want students to understand how they can apply the knowledge they are learning at school outside the classroom. Traditional education often preaches abstract topics without giving them context. This leaves students feeling unmotivated, with strands of information that are meaningless and empty. On the contrary, BHS adds dimension to the learning process. Instead of spitting out facts, teachers encourage collaboration, practical application, and dynamic discussions in class.
For students at BHS, school is exciting and fun, and learning opportunities arise throughout the day. Teachers are always around to answer any questions, from explaining what a tesseract is to pondering the meaning of life. Above all, learning is a collaborative process, where students get a voice in the direction they want their education to take.
Due to smaller class sizes, teachers get to know students so they can feel supported and understood. Teachers ensure students feel seen and that everyone’s voice gets a chance to be heard. BHS teaches critical thinking, giving the students a chance to develop their opinion and share it with the class.
Why is the BHS Method™ so successful?
While the BHS Method™ is a revolutionary approach to education, it stands out above all on account of its family-type environment. A student once compared the space to a home. Building on this analogy, the main body of the school is like a big, open living room. Students feel safe and learning is done collectively, in community. By taking away the walls, BHS fosters relationships that domino across cultures and ages, allowing for an incredible blend of ideas.
Surrounding the living room, the space is embraced by classrooms where group learning takes place. These spaces can be compared to the individual rooms of the house, each with their own personality. This home is a special place where students are constantly being challenged and supported on their life and educational journey.