Fighting COVID-19 with Ms. Ruggles


Photo credit: Ms. Rea

In Health class, Ms. Rea practiced mindfulness with her grade 7 Pb students recently through a guided meditation.

 This Tuesday, I had the opportunity to talk with Ms. Hadley Ruggles about the effects of COVID-19 on our school, and how it’s impacted her role as head of school.

Luca: “How do you feel the COVID pandemic has affected the BASIS Independent Brooklyn Community?”

Ms. Ruggles: “I think there’s a certain understanding that we all have to adapt to the times, that we all are living through something unprecedented even during our lifetimes, and that we have to comply with Department of Health mandates. What’s been really great are these really lovely and touching moments, and I think that gratitude is one that I can really highlight. When students are coming back into the building for Senior Day, or when the Pre-K students were part of the First Phase, students who could’ve taken for granted just being in school as a normal daily thing suddenly end up being more excited and grateful for the experience overall.”


Luca: “What do you think you’ve learned overall as a leader from this crisis?”

Ms. Ruggles: “That’s another good question. I think that leadership is always about steering the ship, trying to move forward, and trying to impart your vision as much as possible to those around you. In normal times, our vision is very clear cut: it’s about offering the best education possible. But in these times, the vision is a little bit harder to express. We talk about challenging students and being rigorous, but now the biggest challenges we are facing are doing what we’ve always done and taking for granted what we could do in the past. So I think I’ve learned that you have to adjust your vision according to the times while still remaining true to the core principles of who you are, and that takes a lot of reflection and work as a leader.”


Luca: “What are you looking forward to doing most on campus after the pandemic ends?”

Ms. Ruggles: “I’m definitely looking forward to throwing the best high school mixer we’ve ever had, with a DJ and taco bowls galore! But I’m mainly just looking forward to seeing all the students again and resuming normal life in school.”


Luca: “What suggestions do you have for any students who feel like they are struggling under remote learning?”

Ms. Ruggles: “Reach out! Don’t suffer in silence. Nobody can help you if we don’t hear from you, so it’s important to let us know if you’re feeling overwhelmed right now, especially during midterms.”


Luca: “A lot of people I’ve talked to say that they feel lost, or that a lot of their plans for college or in high school overall have been thrown out the window by these circumstances.”

Ms. Ruggles: “Every student across America is dealing with this, and I can tell you that most students in America who were high achieving and had big goals as well are probably feeling the same way right now. But the whole world is adapting, this isn’t just something unique to our community, and as such, universities will have to adapt their standard, APs are adapting, but with communication and community support, we can adapt as well. We can adjust and move forward. But perspective is crucial as well, and I wish everyone the best of luck with their endeavors right now.”


Luca: “Well, thank you so much for your time! I’m glad we had the chance to talk.”

Ms. Ruggles: “Thanks for the opportunity! It’s my pleasure.”