What makes BASIS Independent Schools special? This is a question that I, as Head of School of BASIS Independent Bellevue, receive time and again as I meet new families and get the opportunity to speak to people about our new school opening in Bellevue. While there is not just one answer to this question (as I believe that our school is different in a variety of ways) there is one particular area of our Primary Program that I believe stands out above the rest. This is our two-teacher model involving a Learning Expert Teacher (LET) and Subject Expert Teacher (SET).

“What is an LET and SET?” Well, in an effort to explain what each of these acronyms mean, the roles that they play, and how it all comes together to best support our students, I want to briefly talk about the tandem land navigation exercises that I participated in while in the military. During these training exercises, I would work together with a partner in a two-person team and within this team, each of us had a specific responsibility. One member was responsible for holding the compass and guiding the expedition, so to speak, while the other scanning the area for obstacles or areas of concern. If any such hazards were identified, we would stop, take a moment together to formulate a plan, and then continue on with the mission. In fact, when broken down like this, I believe that our LET/SET teaching model actually works in a very similar way.

BINS BLV Primary Teacher

The Subject Expert Teacher has a degree in the area that they teach and is responsible for guiding the learning in a way that meets the learning goals outlined by the BASIS Curriculum. In short, they hold the compass. They know where the students are meant to get to and carefully navigate the lesson content in order to get the students there. The Learning Expert Teacher has a degree in education and is responsible for the pedagogical approach to the teaching. Simply put, they help decide how the content should be taught, ensure that the lessons are appropriate for the learners, and help identify any areas where the students may struggle. They have to constantly be on the lookout for potential problem areas and be an active part of the problem-solving process should any issues arise. They are the navigational lookouts.

However, this partnership goes well beyond the navigational process and much like being in the military, learning to appropriately navigate takes time, training, and an abundance of team work. For that reason, I personally put a lot of effort into making sure that our teachers have time to collaborate and that they have the tools and resources that they need to be able to make this model work to the best of their ability. I love professional development and continued training is an essential part of the success of this model. Once teachers begin working at our school, I make a point of building their skills and giving them more ideas about how to work together successfully and creatively solve problems together.

The SET - LET Model in Grades 2 - 4

Two Teacher ModelThis is our two-teacher model involving a Learning Expert Teacher (LET) and Subject Expert Teacher (SET) that we offer in Grades 2 - 4. In these grade levels, students will have one SET for each discipline, instead of one teacher teaching multiple subjects. The LET is with a class of students throughout the day as students rotate classroom to classroom and SET to SET. The LET leads the Connections Class, which is one day a week.

At the end of the day, our goal is to make sure that learning is a valuable and meaningful process and that our students receive the support that they need in order to find success. The Learning Expert Teacher is the teacher that spends all day with your child and co-teaches in every class. This means that they are able to get to know your student well and navigate the learning process successfully. The Subject Expert Teacher sees your child when they are attending their specific class. But, they are an instrumental part of the learning process because they are the content experts. They know the direction that the learning needs to take. Much like in my military exercises, both entities play a very important role in the overall navigation process. The only difference is that our teachers guide your children to educational success while our field training teams were often just trying to avoid falling into a large hole. But, one way or another, finding a clear path to success was the ultimate goal.

BASIS Independent Bellevue is a private school opening fall 2022. We will open with Grades 2 – 7 to start and add a grade level each school year as we expand to a full middle and high school. Please join our interest list for updates, event information, and more. Click here to join our interest list!