High School of Language and Innovation

  • HSLI is a school where:

    Students take responsibility for their own learning. 
    Students ask questions. 
    Students read, write, and speak in every class, everyday.
    Students have freedom and accountability. 
    Students and staff push each others' thinking. 
    Students and staff transform.  
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  • students in the park
    HSLI students on Pelham Parkway doing Unison Reading for their Earth Science class. Unison Reading is a powerful, rigorous, and fun practice that HSLI students do for 15 minutes every day in every class with many different groups and text choices. A student who started HSLI in September will have read approximately 160 different texts of different topics and genres by June, just through Unison Reading, not counting their independently read texts.
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  • We Wore Blue

    Posted by Christine Hunkele at 10/7/2014
    Blue Shirt Day!
    Monday, October 6th was World Day of Bully Prevention.  Ms. Dandeneau led an initiative for HSLI students to wear blue shirts, in support of stopping bullying and cyberbullying.  So many of our students participated, below is a shot of just a few!
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  • Kind Campaign comes to HSLI

    Posted by Christine Hunkele at 3/25/2014
    The Kind Campaign is a movement based on the belief in KINDness brings awareness and healing to negative girl-against-girl crime.  the organization was founded in 2009 by Lauren Parsekian and Molly Mae Thompson, who were both victims of female bullying.  They now travel the country to speak to teenagers about how to treat each other with respect and KINDness.  Today, HSLI was privileged to have the KIND campaign visit and speak to 158 of our female students. You can see some highlights below: 
    lp and mt
    Lauren Parsekian and Molly Mae Thompson speaking about their personal stories of being bullied. 
    HSLI students watching the award winning film: Finding Kind.
     Helina sharing her pledge for KINDness. 

     Henood empowering us with their pledges for KINDness. 
     Maisha sharing a letter she wrote to herself with pledges of KINDness.    

    kimberly and stacy
    Stacy apologizing to Kimberly and rectifying their friendship with a hug. 
    A group shot of our phenomenal female students and the KIND campaign founders! 
    For more information on the KIND campaign checkout www.kindcampaign.com or follow them on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter.
    If you feel you are the victim of bullying, reach out to a teacher, Ms. Mack, Ms. Wang, Rosa, or any adult.  We are all here to help you! 
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  • Media Productions Blog

    Posted by Jose Almonte at 2/13/2014
    Media Production Blog
    Check out what our Media Production Students are writing on our class blog 
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  • Teen StartUp Weekend - Adventures In Entrepreneurship

    Posted by Jose Almonte at 2/5/2014
    Weekend Shirt

    The globally recognized Startup Weekend hosted it’s first-ever Startup Weekend EDU (SWEDU) Teens Track in NYC January 31-February 2. The goal of SWEDU Teens Track was to engage high school students in a hands-on startup experience and build their knowledge of entrepreneurship through live pitches, design sessions, mentor hours, and collaboration with like-minded students. The focus of the weekend was on ideas related to improving education.

    Happy Feet  


                      Michael Nti:
                            "it was one of the greatest experience that I could have possibly had because for those three days that I spent there I felt like a real"problem solver", who had to form a team (like most companies do) to solve a problem."
                      Johan Ferreras:
                               "If I had to describe my experience it would be AWESOME since I got to learn how to work with other people under pressure and have the hands-on experience of coming up with an idea and actually working to develop it."






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  • How to access Castle Learning

    Posted by Andrew Sullivan at 12/20/2013
    Castle Learning
    Use this video to help you log in to Castle Learning for your
    Winter Assignments. 
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  • Geometry, Persistence, Teamwork in 10th grade

    Posted by Julie Nariman at 11/12/2013
    Geometry, persistence, teamwork.
     An excerpt from Mr. Almonte's email to the principal:
    This is a picture the students wanted me to take last Friday after a Unison Reading where they figured out some geometry stuff.  

    What makes me happy to be a part of this school is that regardless of the fact that 3 of them are failing the class they work harder and harder every day they enter class... And it definitely has to do with the way our mini lessons highlight their success.  It helps with their intrinsic motivation.  It makes me sooo happy to see them want to be known for being smart.....

    Last Thursday I gave a mini lesson.... Where they asked how much work I put into my mini lessons... they said it looks really nice... And I said I do it for them.... and they clapped.  

    Point blank I'm happy to be a part of our team... I feel super lucky... You were the first school to reach out to me and the only school I interviewed with... And I knew it was for me immediately... The other two fellows I know that you interviewed told me they thought the school was the perfect school for me..

    And it is :-)

    Thank you for listening to my share,

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  • Joint attention is how we learn

    Posted by Julie Nariman at 4/14/2013 9:00:00 AM
    Humankind makes progress when two or more people put their attention on the same thing, and communicate about it.  
    This is called joint attention.   
    This is how we built pyramids, invented language, sailed across oceans, and discovered planets.  
    This is how we learn at HSLI.   
    10th graders in math Unison Reading  
    9th graders showing joint attention in reading  
    Joint attention with algebra and geometry students  
    Joint attention in math  
    9th graders cooperating on following the social norms in math  
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  • Can students work without teachers?

    Posted by Julie Nariman at 3/17/2013 9:00:00 AM

    A 9D student writing "Bon Appetit!"

    A couple of weeks ago, class 9D had a substitute teacher.  When I walked in, they weren’t exactly misbehaving.  Some kids were writing.  But a lot of kids were talking or relaxing. 

    We needed to talk. I invited them to lunch and ordered a packed lunch for the classroom.

    When I walked in to lunch, I discovered two problems: 

    1.      One, they were mad. “Ms. Nariman, why do we have to eat sandwiches?  We want chicken nuggets!”   

    2.      Two, four of their classmates had run out of the room.

    Lunch was delivered.  Two girls jumped up to hand out apples, and another boy passed out the lunches.  I heard a shriek.  “Chicken nuggets!  This is the best day ever!”

    So problem number one was solved. 

    The second problem, though . . . I brought our staff safety team.  “Should we send one of these gentlemen to get the missing students?” I asked. 

    “No,” replied a student. “It might work better if we get them.  They’ll resist the adults.” 

    Two girls and boy stood up. “We’ll go!” they volunteered, and scurried out. 

    In the meantime, more problems emerged.  “We need ketchup,” said a boy.  “I’ll go and get some.”  He returned triumphantly with 10 packs of ketchup, as you can see in the picture.  

    9D student returning with ketchup for class lunch

    “Some people want water,” said another.  Two more students volunteered for this task.

    Several girls walked to the board and wrote “Enjoy your meal” in their native language.  A few shared their sweet potatoes with me.  We were starting to have fun. 

    And the first group of students returned with their classmates.  They were still missing one boy, but everyone agreed it was progress. 

    What did class 9D prove? 

    That they could cooperate, take responsibility, and achieve a team goal without help from adults.  And that’s the definition of an HSLI class.  


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  • Is translation always promotive?

    Posted by Julie Nariman at 2/23/2013 10:00:00 AM

    9th grade Reading

    I visited one of Ms. Dandeneau’s 9th grade reading classes and sat with a group, pictured.   Let’s call them students A, B, C, and D. They did a great job breaching and were really metacognitive—they kept glancing at Ms. Dandeneau and making sure she wrote down their best talking points.

    9th graders breaching in Ms. Dandeneau's class  
    9th graders in Ms. Dandeneau's class doing Cooperative Unison Reading.

    I noticed something, though:  they translated everything into Spanish for student D.

    “Is your classmate learning enough English?” I asked. 

    “Oh, yes!” said student C. Student B nodded emphatically. 

    “Yeah, she be breaching a lot,” said student A. 

    “She be breaching?” I asked. We all laughed at how funny that sounded, then quickly became serious. “I know you’re trying to be promotive,” I continued, “but I wonder if she’s not going to learn English because she always expects you to translate. It might be making her passive.” 

    The group considered this, and then continued reading. 

    And guess what: at the end of the next breach, student D added an idea in English! 

    “What made the difference?” Ms. Dandeneau asked the group. 

    Student A looked thoughtful. “I was going to translate for her—but then I stopped myself.” 

    Wow, I said later to Ms. Dandeanau. It takes teachers years to learn how to hold back and not give answers—how incredible that a 9th grader can do that. That’s metacognition. 

     Ms. Dandeneau's Cooperative Unison Reading record
    Ms. Dandeneau's Cooperative Unison Reading record. 

    10th grade Global

    We’ll also call these students A, B, C, and D. 

    10th graders in a Global Cooperative Unison Reading group
    10th graders in a Global studies Cooperative Unison Reading group.   One student was a little camera-shy. 

    This group was also promotive, and did a lot of great breaching, keeping Mr. Hall busy writing. But here’s the thing: students B and C were translating everything for students A and D—who understand a lot of English and have been in this country for at least a year. 

    “I’m confused,” I said. “I’m wondering why you guys are translating everything when I know students A and D speak a lot of English.” 

    And then the funny thing happened: Student C immediately translated what I said into Spanish!

    We all looked at each other, and started to laugh, realizing she had done it without even thinking. “I think you’re addicted to translating!” I said to student C. Student C laughed, which reminded me of why I love HSLI students: they can laugh at themselves, and have honest conversations with adults.

     “I think we should start speaking more English,” said student B, looking around at his group. 

    “I agree,” said student D, smiling. “Tomorrow I speak more.” 

    I thanked them and Mr. Hall for being so honest and open. 

    So—is translation always promotive? What do you think? 

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  • HSLI Staff Practicing Unison Reading...In Foreign Languages!

    Posted by Andrew Sullivan at 2/14/2013
    Russian Unison
    Mr. Omolaja leading a unison reading group in Russian.
    From Mrs. Nariman:
    "I was amazed by how easily we were able to pick up the simple words we needed to communicate in Russian, and how understanding the genre helped us figure out the first two sentences.  It was a short biography of Yuri Gagarin, so we could see what info would naturally be included in the bio based on what we already know of this. 
    At the end, we discussed how Mr. Omolaja felt the pressure some of our students feel-- that he had to explain everything to us.  But actually, I shared that I might have understood more if we had collaborated more on understanding, rather than letting Mr. O explain everything. The great thing is that we could talk about this afterwards and really feel the connection to what the students experience.  It made me even more passionate about fighting for cooperative reasoning, rather than passive listening."
    Spanish UR
    Mr. Deming leading a unison reading group in Spanish. 
    Chinese Unison Reading
    Ms. Wang leading a unison reading group in Chinese. 
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