ES Students Explore How They Learn Best Through Flex Furniture

“We’ve noticed that since we have adopted new seating the kids actually perform better academically,” said Elizabeth Rivera, 3rd Grade Teacher.

It is almost time for lunch, and Elizabeth Rivera’s third-grade class begins to line up to head to the cafeteria. As Ms. Rivera directs the cleanup and line up, Kierra Morales gets up from her single desk with a decision. “Excuse me, Ms. Rivera,” Kierra says. “I don’t think sitting at this single desk is really working for me. After lunch, I am going to sit in a swing chair. Is that ok?” With a smile, Ms. Rivera says, “Of course that’s ok, Kierra. You are taking responsibility for your own learning, and you know what is best for you as a student.”

Over the last three years, the Hyde elementary school in partnership with the D & P Bayly Family Foundation has re-imagined classrooms to include flexible seating for our first through third graders. In flexible seating classrooms, traditional seating charts are replaced with arrangements that allow students to have a choice in how they learn. Students have the choice to sit in traditional chairs and desks or on bouncy ball chairs, pillows, accordion stools, swivel chairs, or at lap desks, or whiteboard tables. Flexible seating is not only more comfortable but fosters choice, collaboration, and creativity. Our classrooms empower the youngest students to explore how they learn best and how they can be advocates in their own learning.

“Our classrooms are set up to be comfortable and give the students a choice for how they can best engage in learning,” said Latea O'Kane, ES Academic Dean.

“Our classrooms are set up to be comfortable and give the students a choice for how they can best engage in learning,” said Latea O’Kane, ES Academic Dean.

Like Ms. Rivera, first-grade teachers Roxanne Clark and Jerilynn Primero have seen several positive changes in their classroom since the flexible furniture was introduced. They feel their students appreciate the opportunity to have choice in where they sit, as the furniture helps them understand what kind of learners they are.

Elementary School Director Christine Moloughney-Froman said: “Through the generosity of the D & P Bayly Family Foundation, we are able to create inclusive classroom environments across multiple grade levels that inspire student engagement in learning. Their generosity has had a lasting impact on our community, and we are so thankful!”
“We’ve noticed that since we have adopted new seating, the kids actually perform better academically,” said Elizabeth Rivera, 3rd Grade Teacher.

A Historic Partnership: Hyde Partners with the NYU Steinhardt Teacher Residency Program

Dr. Allan Powe and his mentor Melissa Powell help students in Biology

Hyde is proud to announce our new partnership with the NYU Steinhardt Teacher Residency Program, which allows NYU resident teachers to teach alongside Hyde mentor teachers while completing their degree in education. In turn, NYU is offering Hyde professional development opportunities and cutting edge educational technology tools. “The partnership enforces this idea at Hyde that teaching requires learning,” said Sarah Schoonmaker, the NYU-Hyde cite coordinator for the high school and the Director of Teaching and Learning. “As educators, our professional development never stops. NYU is teaching us new things, and our teachers are mentoring their fellows.” 

Hyde was selected by NYU for our focus on character education, rigorous academics, school culture, and commitment to an inclusive co-teaching model. Program coordinators from NYU were especially impressed by Hyde faculty’s ability to meet the needs of all students and our core belief that every child has a unique potential. Indeed, it was these components that initially drew NYU resident teacher Dr. Allan Powe to Hyde. He was especially drawn to Hyde because of our focus on character education, he said, “I believe that a focus on social-emotional learning can be transformational personally and academically, and so does Hyde.”

The Hyde-NYU partnership is just another way that Hyde continues to maintain its promise of academic excellence. This historic partnership reinforces Hyde’s promise to provide highly-qualified and motivated teachers, who are open to learning and growing along with their students. Speaking on the program, High School Director Celia Sosa said, “Our partnership with NYU continues to create a pipeline of great teachers. The alignment between NYU’s philosophy of education and Hyde’s mission and vision is clear. The training residents receive in the program, coupled with an ability to learn about our students, approach, and curriculum, prepares them to be effective teachers. The partnership also creates additional leadership opportunities for Hyde teachers, many of whom are eager and ready to take on the mentor role.” 

Fellow Marissa Ippolito engages one of her eighth-grade students, Xiomara Kirkland on the Revolutionary War. “What was the nickname the Americans gave the British troops, Xiomara? You got this!” (Spoiler: she got the answer right!)

MS Lacrosse & HS Volleyball- Hyde’s Newest Sports

Character education lies at the heart of sports, and that is why Hyde is proud to announce the addition of two new sports to our athletic program: high school women’s volleyball and middle school boys’ lacrosse. These new sports are expanding options for students and allow more students to explore their unique potential.

Empowering Women Through Sports

Kimberly Rivera, a high school special education teacher, and her assistant coaches, Sika Bediako and Geomari Fernandez, founded Hyde’s first high school volleyball team. Since launching the team, Ms. Rivera has seen her student-athletes’ communication both on and off the court improve. She has also seen her students forge new relationships that have contributed to the team’s success. “The feeling of achievement pushes them to be better, which in turn has a ripple effect with their academics,” Ms. Rivera said. “It is very meaningful to have a space on campus where women can come together and support each other and work toward a common goal.”

The 2019 Hyde Women's Volleyball Team!

Hyde’s 2019 Volleyball Team!

Welcome to Hunts Point, Lacrosse! 

Hyde has also introduced a new sport to Hunts Point-  lacrosse. Michael Griffin, the middle school boys lacrosse coach, is excited to bring a new sports to Hyde students. Mr. Griffin said, ” when students are faced with new experiences, they are best able to show courage, and when students show courage, they learn what they can accomplish.” Lacrosse is also a sport that combines elements of many different sports that students enjoy like baseball, football, soccer, and basketball.

Hyde students in their first lacrosse game.

Hyde students at their first lacrosse game.

Most importantly, Mr. Griffin says he’s been thrilled to watch the valuable life lessons lacrosse has taught his players. “At the end of the day, winning or losing isn’t what’s important,” said seventh-grade lacrosse player, Enmanuel Hernandez. “Lacrosse has taught me so much about community. It is something that along with academics can take you to college. It fits in really well at Hyde because it has taught me a lot about concern and brother’s keeper for my teammates.”

Enmanuel Hernandez (middle) and his teammates Eric Rosario Jr. (left) and Edgar Garcia (right) take a break from practicing their skills at recess.

Enmanuel Hernandez (middle) and his teammates Eric Rosario Jr. (left) and Edgar Garcia (right) take a break from practicing their skills at recess.

Athletics don’t just provide students with fun and exercise, but they teach them the value of integrity and the importance of overcoming difficulty. Not only do Hyde coaches instruct the students on the fundamentals of the game, but they both feel that sports are one of the best ways for students to practice the Hyde Words and Principles. Mr. Griffin said: “Sports teach students invaluable life lessons. Sports lie at the heart of character education.”

Academic Excellence: Hyde Launches the AP Capstone Diploma Program

From left: Betsabed De La Rosa, Matthew Hittenmark, and Christian Deleon.

From left: Betsabed De La Rosa, Matthew Hittenmark, and Christian Deleon.

Hyde is one of only approximately 1,800 schools worldwide to implement the AP Capstone Diploma program―a program that allows students to develop the skills that matter most for college success, like research, collaboration, and communication. The Capstone program is comprised of two classes taken back-to-back: an AP Seminar and an AP Research course. The program is designed to give students adequate college preparation and exposure to topics covered in a collegiate setting. 

Students who score a three or higher in AP Seminar and AP Research and  four additional AP Exams of their choosing earn the AP Capstone Diploma. This represents the students’ exceptional academic accomplishment and fulfillment of college-level academic and research classes. Students who score a three or higher in both AP Seminar and AP Research earn the AP Seminar and Research Certificate. Hyde will start offering the program in the fall of 2019.

“We are excited to venture into the AP Capstone. It shows the rigor of our academics to be included in such an exclusive category, ” said Director of College Counseling, Matthew Hittenmark.  “Allowing students to engage in cross-curricular research is the pinnacle of our academic pedagogy.” 

Typically taken in tenth or eleventh grade, AP Seminar students choose and evaluate complex topics and look at them from many different points of view.  They also identify credibility and bias in sources provided and develop arguments in support of their position. 

 “We discuss the world’s problems and how we can fix them,” said sophomore Christian Deleon. “We are given the tools to properly and respectfully discuss what’s going on in the world. I’m very honored to be in the class.”

AP Seminar is a project-based class with assessments such as research reports, written arguments, and presentations completed during the academic year. “AP Seminar not only helps us learn how to write essays with a clear argument, but it teaches us how to argue in a debate,” said sophomore Betsabed De La Rosa. “The class also strengthens our knowledge of topics and situations outside the classroom. I find myself using what I learned in class in my everyday life.” 

In the AP Research course, students design, execute, present, and defend a yearlong research-based investigation on a topic of personal interest. They boost their skills garnered in AP Seminar by learning how to approach and make sense of their research. The class will teach students to use ethical research practices and to compile, analyze, and synthesize academic research. AP Research is also a project-based course. Students’ final AP Research score will be based on their academic paper, presentation, and oral defense of their topic. 

Speaking on what the new partnership means, Mr. Hittenmark said: “Our students have the capacity to become powerful change agents in our community and beyond. Partnering with AP Capstone creates the vehicle for students to engage with real word problems in a collegiate atmosphere.” 

Matt Hittenmark engages student Angie Peña on biases in the media in the AP Capstone Course.

Matthew Hittenmark engages student Angie Peña on biases in the media in the AP Capstone Course.

MS Robotics Class-Prepares Students for the Future

What combines science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics? Robotics, of course! 7th Grade Science Teacher, Curtis Redmon found that teaching students robotics creates a perfect kind of synergy between many different school subjects. Mr. Redmon has found that students are able to utilize many different tools learned in other subjects. The robotics programs also let students explore their curiosity as many of the labs allow students to work independently. After coding on their Chromebooks, students were introduced to the EV3 robot made by LEGO. Students then learned each component of the EV3. All 150 students in grades 6th and 7th had took part in building the initial robot. Eventually, the challenges got harder and students had to complete a performance task of programming the EV3 to simulate a “tight rope” roll across a beam using one wheel. In the beginning, most performance task were modeled first by Mr. Redmon and Mr. Griffin, but as the unit progressed students began to write and execute their own programs.

Students collaborate on the "Robot Barrel Roll" lab where the goal is to program a robot to do a barrel roll.

Bringing robotics to Hyde was the vision of Middle School Director, Lex Zain, and Dean of Curriculum, Sharilyn Fletcher. Both Ms. Zain and Dr. Fletcher had studied the benefits of having robotics programming in schools and decided that it would be a perfect fit for Hyde. Hyde is one of the few schools in the country that offers robotics as a full-time course in Middle School. 

Having robotics at Hyde benefits students in many ways. The program gives students the ability and liberty to be as creative as they want and need to be in order to complete a task. “Just like a math problem, there are several different ways to the same outcome,” Mr. Redmon said. When students were assigned the “tight rope” tasks, Mr. Redmon said he was amazed at how many different ways students were able to reach the same result. 

Bryan Banegas (left) works collaboratively with a partner on the "Robot Barrel Roll" lab.

Bryan Banegas (left) works collaboratively with a partner on the “Robot Barrel Roll” lab.

The unit challenged the 6th and 7th graders to think outside the box and come out of their shells. One student who has particularly thrived through the robotics program is seventh-grader Bryan Benegas. “I love how interactive the class is,” said Bryan. “This class is preparing me for life. Robots are the future.” Through the robotics unit, Bryan says he learned how technology has and will affect the economy and his career choices.

One of Mr. Redmon’s favorite lessons came during a task given called “The Grip”. In the beginning, students thought this was not doable. Until curiosity set in and they began to work on it. This task was to draw a design on paper and then have the robot draw the same design using the grip they built. Students designed and built a pencil grip or claw which holds the pencil. Students then programmed on their chromebooks a program that the robot would do to draw the same exact sketch they illustrated on paper. Mr. Redmon said:  “The outcome was amazing and the students were almost in disbelief that the robot they built, designed, and programmed is drawing their sketch on paper.”

"Before asking Mr. Griffin or me for help, I want you and your partner to try and problem solve," Mr. Redmon tells his seventh grade robotics class. He says he's been thrilled with the results of the course on his students, especially in the passions the course has ignited.

“Before asking Mr. Griffin or me for help, I want you and your partner to try and problem solve,” Mr. Redmon tells his seventh-grade robotics class. He says he’s thrilled with the results of the course on his students, especially in the passions the course has ignited.