The Symbiotic Classroom is a hallmark element of our Primary Program, but what does that mean to a parent? How do our students benefit? We take this biology term and translate it into a successful teaching model that pairs a Subject Expert Teacher (SET) and a Learning Expert Teacher (LET). Read on to have this SET/LET relationship explained.   Red White Geometric Word Definition Datsuzoku Instagram Post-png-1

Imagine being back at school, sitting in a class where you already know the material, feeling like you're "ahead" of everyone else. This is boring! Then you head to a class you don't like, but it is only because you are struggling to understand the lesson. The teacher is going too fast!


Now imagine there was a second teacher in those classes who really knows you. They recognize your strengths and provide enrichment when needed. They identify your areas of growth and provide support to help you achieve your highest potential. 

This approach best describes the SET/LET model at BASIS Independent Manhattan.

Meet the SET 

Subject Expert Teachers (SETs) are just that—experts in their field of study—teaching classes in the subjects for which they received their degrees and are, therefore, most passionate about them. Their area of expertise is their sole focus, allowing them to concentrate on creating captivating, in-depth lessons for all grade levels they teach. Students in grades 1 and above have one SET for each discipline rather than one teacher who teaches multiple subjects. 

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Meet the LET

Learning Expert Teachers (LETs) span across grades 1—4 and are responsible for one class of students who they stay with for the entire academic day. In addition to co-teaching with the SETs, LETs provide customized support in those classes, as needed. Because LETs are with just one class all day, they build trust and understanding with their students to better guide them throughout their academics.

The Benefits

Together, these expert teachers focus on building a classroom culture of social-emotional support and academic excellence. The SETs and LETs collaborate to create lesson plans that are both advanced and accessible to all students. The symbiotic relationship between these two teachers in the classroom helps provide:

  • Minimal distractions and maximum learning,
  • Flexibility for one-on-one and small group work,
  • An infectious passion for subjects passed on from teacher to student, and
  • Individualized attention on student progress and overall happiness.

 At BASIS Independent Manhattan, the SET/LET relationship is at the heart of our goal to instill a lifelong passion for learning in our students.

Finding a Connection

In addition to co-teaching with SETs, LETs lead a weekly class called Connections. This course encourages students to utilize their knowledge in a creative way. Students are presented with project-based scenarios that require the use of problem-solving, creativity, and collaboration as they establish links across subjects. Connections shows our students how each subject is related to the other while gaining a deeper understanding of the material.image-png-Aug-01-2022-11-32-14-69-AMOne of our most exciting Connections projects happens in grade 1 when students combine everything they learn about Ancient Egypt in Humanities, art, science, and engineering. The real-world connections across disciplines occur when they:

  • Write their name and phrases in hieroglyphs,
  • Construct pyramids using marshmallows and toothpicks,
  • Learn about mummies and recreate the mummification process with a stuffed animal and shoebox, and
  • Explore Ancient Egyptian culture and clothing. 

Contact the Admissions Team
Should you have any questions or would like to connect with the Admissions Team directly schedule a time here.

BASIS Independent Manhattan, a private school offering PreK through Grade 12, is based in Manhattan, New York. Students thrive alongside Subject Expert Teachers as they engage in a liberal arts program with STEM offerings.