The Learning Lab
At Hunter College Learning Lab (HCLL), children and adolescents with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) are tutored twice per week throughout the school year in reading, writing, and math by graduate students in Hunter’s Learning Disabilities program. Supervised by a team of Hunter faculty, the program simultaneously serves two urgent needs in education:
- Teachers pursuing their master’s degree in special education develop adaptive expertise in providing specially designed instruction to students with learning disabilities.
- Students in grades 2 through 12 receive free tutoring to develop essential academic skills.
Our overall goal is for the Hunter College Learning Lab (HCLL) community to experience joy, love, rigor, and freedom in learning. Tutoring takes place at Hunter’s 68th street campus, online, and at local partner school sites throughout New York City.
Hunter College Learning Lab’s graduate students use SEISMIC high leverage practices (i.e. strategic, explicit, individualized, systematic, multisensory, intense, and collaborative) to implement evidence-based interventions tailored to each student’s specific learning strengths and needs. Our master’s degree students build enduring relationships with their tutees and learn to transfer teaching expertise in designing individualized learning experiences to their teaching practices with larger groups. Families can join Hunter College Learning Lab (HCLL) through our online application or contact us form.
Learn with Hunter College Learning Lab (HCLL)
“This is his [Messiah’s] first year with Hunter Learning Lab. I like that he was matched perfectly with his tutor and her assessment of my son was spot on. That was comforting for me. I like her techniques she uses with him, and she is sweet and mild tempered. I can see this program was the missing link we needed.” – Ms. Whitfield, parent of Messiah Wayne, Hunter College Learning Lab at PS 57
“The Learning Lab (LL) is the ultimate hands-on experience. You worked collaboratively with your supervisor, your peers and your student…The Learning Lab (LL) is where we practiced those teaching strategies in our foundation courses. It is not theory. It is practice. So, week after week, we applied those strategies to our students. We used what we know and modified/adjusted it to meet our students’ needs. We discussed what worked, what didn’t work and how to make it work. – Irene Lee, former Learning Lab graduate student and former Learning Lab instructor
Apply for Tutoring
- Complete the Hunter College Learning Lab (HCLL) Tutoring Application for a child or adolescent to join the Hunter College Learning Lab. Applications are accepted through the year.
- After submitting the application, families will be contacted by our family program coordinator for an interview. Families are contacted for matching with tutors in September. Age level, learning needs, and schedule availability are factors considered when matching graduate students with tutees.
- After being matched with a Hunter College tutor, a parent or guardian must complete the permission form to begin tutoring. Parents or guardians will be asked to share the individualized education program (IEP).
- If we are not able to match your child or adolescent with a tutor during an academic year then your name will be placed on the waitlist and you may be contacted the following September.
Hunter College Learning Lab by the Numbers
Hunter College Learning Lab (HCLL) has been serving families and developing teachers of students with learning disabilities for more than 30 years. Hunter College Learning Lab (HCLL) was awarded the honor of the Allyn and Bacon/Division for Learning Disabilities Award in 1996 for an Exemplary Learning Disabilities program. Hunter College Learning Lab (HCLL) has served as the heart of Hunter’s Learning Disabilities special education master’s degree program.
- 200 to 250 Families per year
- 250 plus Hunter College teachers of students with learning disabilities
- 20 Hunter College Learning Lab (HCLL) Instructors leading seminars and supervising tutoring
- 2 Apprentice instructors in training to become instructors
- 5,500 to 6,000 hours of tutoring each semester
- 4,500 to 5,000 individualized lesson plans per semester focused on reading, writing, math, and personalized learning goals
Hunter College Learning Lab Community
Our Hunter College Learning Lab (HCLL) community is composed of hundreds of individuals committed to equity and inclusive education. Individuals carry out different roles.
Caregivers and/or family members commit to transporting their child to in-person tutoring session at least once per week continuously from October through May. Families also ensure that a person is in the room with students when participating in tutoring online. Families will engage with Hunter Graduate students in ongoing communication via phone or email to exchange ideas regarding the tutee’s growth and needs.
Hunter Students in the Learning Disabilities program
Tutors are all graduate students in the Learning Disabilities program. Many tutors are also full-time teachers while pursuing a master’s degree part-time. Tutors are matched to families with similar interests (e.g. working with an elementary aged or adolescent student) and schedule convenience (e.g. available for tutoring on Thursday). HCLL equips teachers to implement specially designed instruction using evidence-based high leverage practices and interventions and nurtures the disposition to perceive and respond to individual learning strengths and needs.
Hunter College Learning Lab (HCLL) instructors are experienced teachers who facilitate weekly HCLL seminars and provide observations and feedback on the planning and implementation of tutoring sessions.
Hunter College Learning Lab (HCLL) Apprentices are graduates of the Hunter Learning Disabilities program who are working toward becoming Hunter College Learning Lab (HCLL) Instructors. Apprentices support instructors during seminars and provide observations, feedback, and help during tutoring sessions.
Hunter College Learning Lab (HCLL) elementary and secondary coordinators support the Hunter College Learning Lab (HCLL) instructors and apprentices.
Family Intake Coordinator
Hunter College Learning Lab (HCLL) family intake coordinator processes applications to join the Hunter College Learning Lab (HCLL) tutoring program, maintains the waitlist of interested families, and matches Hunter College graduate students to tutees based on application submission date, interest, and availability.
The Hunter College Learning Lab (HCLL) director leads ongoing program evaluation efforts and conducts research that contributes to our understanding of designing individualized specially designed instruction for students with learning disabilities and teacher preparation and ongoing professional learning for inclusive classrooms.
Partner School Sites
Partner school sites provide a location for tutoring. Students from the participating school may be matched with Hunter College graduate students. Often, the instructor for a section of Hunter College Learning Lab (HCLL) also teaches at the partner site. For example, Hunter College Learning Lab (HCLL) has partnered with PS/IS 57 for more than 10 years.
Our research examines Hunter College Learning Lab’s unique approach to developing teacher expertise in using seven high leverage teaching practices, we have named, SEISMIC teaching, i.e. Strategic, Explicit, Individualized, Systematic, Multisensory, Intense, and Collaborative teaching practices. As recommended by the Council for Exceptional Children, tutors use SEISMIC teaching to implement evidence-based interventions aimed at improving student reading, writing, and math skills. We expect participation in Hunter College Learning Lab (HCLL) to increase both student and teacher self-regulated learning skills proven to support effective learning and to develop individual interests. We engage all stakeholders including students, families, teachers, and teacher educators in our research.
We are eager to talk with you. For more information about the Hunter College Learning Lab, please contact:
- Jennifer Klein, Elementary Learning Lab Coordinator (Grades 1-6), at Jennifer.Klein@hunter.cuny.edu
- Virginia Gryta, Adolescent Learning Lab Coordinator (Grades 7-12), at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Carol Deere, Intake and Family Coordinator, is on leave until December 2023
- Rhonda Bondie, Director of Hunter College Learning Lab, at email@example.com