The Thoughtful Classroom in Action: Manhattan Hunter Science HS

Silver Strong and Associates is proud to serve as a professional development partner to Manhattan Hunter Science High School. Manhattan Hunter Science High School is a science-focused college-preparatory high school. The socially, economically, and racially diverse student body is drawn from across New York City. Manhattan Hunter Science High School seeks students who have not excelled in middle school but have an interest in science and a desire to pursue those studies in high school. About 80% or more of students scored at or below grade level on their 8th grade math and reading tests. The early college high school emphasizes the critical thinking skills these students need to explore and analyze the world as they prepare for postsecondary success.


Hunter Science High Scho

Photos by Loni Fredryx

Opened in September 2003 in partnership with Hunter College, students complete high school requirements in the 11th grade and take college courses on the Hunter College campus during their senior year. Through this active partnership, the transition from high school to college has become much easier for students. Over 97% of students graduate and almost all of these students attend college, with 74% attending four year schools. This past September, the NY Post named MHSHS the number 16th best high school in New York City.

Susan Kreisman, principal of Manhattan Hunter Science High School has used Thoughtful Classroom practices for almost twenty years now. For Principal Kreisman, the decision to bring Thoughtful Classroom to Manhattan Hunter Science was an easy one. "Thoughtful Classroom is so much a part of who I am and it filters into everything I do. Our teachers began their work with Thoughtful Education with expectations and questions they wanted addressed and they have not been disappointed." An important part of The Thoughtful Classroom is the development of partnerships with teachers and a commitment to working directly with them in the classroom. Dr. Harvey Silver, founder of the Thoughtful Classroom initiative, spent four days in September and October working with MHSHS's teachers. Ross Cohen, a teacher at the high school, thought Dr. Silver's approach made The Thoughtful Classroom stand out. According to Ross, "the professional development literally took place in the classroom. Rarely do professional development facilitators participate that intimately at the core of our practice... Dr. Silver served as a partner in our growth, a teammate for our school..."

Hunter Science High School

Photos by Loni Fredryx

Another key component of the Thoughtful Classroom is the use of research-based strategies. During the professional development sessions, teachers learned new strategies for differentiating instruction to help all students achieve at higher levels. One of these strategies known as Task Rotation stood out for Spanish teacher Grace Knoedler-Warpinski: "Task Rotation has taught me that differentiation is not solely limited to scaffolding within the same lesson. Catering to different learning styles in multiple lessons that span a unit can benefit all learners and help to guarantee greater understanding of the material for all students." Mark Heh, a history teacher at Manhattan Hunter Science, notes "Silver Strong and Associates' training sessions have shown me effective ways of teaching my students by targeting their diverse learning styles through posing a variety of thoughtful questions. I found that when I diversify my style of questioning students were able to comprehend their reading better and write articulately."

"I think the elegance of The Thoughtful Classroom comes from being able to provide teachers with choice. Teachers learn many strategies, but the strategies are centered about a common set of beliefs about teaching and learning. It is great differentiated instruction - targeted to the learner's needs but also, based on common principles that allow deeper conversation about instruction to emerge." says Principal Kreisman. Principal Kreisman goes on to say that the Thoughtful Classroom training has already had a great impact on teachers and their enthusiasm for their profession. "When is Dr. Silver coming back? Can he visit my class today? Why didn't we learn this in our college courses? These are the kinds of questions that make it clear to principals that their choice in professional development was on target."

Click here to read more about what the teachers at Manhattan Hunter Science High School are saying about The Thoughtful Classroom...