Mission Possible, How the Secrets of the Success Academies Can Work in Any School.
The book gives the details about how a a charter school in the middle of
Harlem, emerged as one of the top schools in New York City and State within three years with enrollment of neighborhood children selected at random. The results of this school were on par with public schools for gifted students and elite private schools. If you saw Waiting for Superman you saw parents anxiously praying and hoping that their children would win the lottery to be accepted into these schools.
But, Mission Possible is not just a tale of the school's success, but also contains lessons and strategies that can be used by school leaders, teachers, parents, and policymakers to create similar results that can close the academic achievement gap.
I was excited to read the book because although I have my Master's Degree in Elementary Education, I am always hungry to learn more to improve my teaching craft. Some ideas that I garnered from this book were:
* Making School Magical - Would the students go to school if they didn't have to? Teachers at Success Academies WANT to go to school . The curriculum is rigorous so students are never bored, but they also add joy to school with magicians and jugglers performing in classes, field trips, and more. A quote from the book I particularly liked was, "Don't doubt that kids will get it if you consistently make the instruction both challenging AND interesting."
*Reading is the starting point for all else - The school uses the THINK Literacy program which uses a balanced literacy program that includes reading and writing workshops, guided reading, read alouds, shared text, book discussions and more.
*It's all about the adults - This was very interesting for me, as I had never heard this to be the focus in education. Usually we say, "It is all about the students". And while I think that focusing on the student is important in education, I agree that we must also focus on the adults who provide the education.
Education is a hot button topic at the moment, and at the same time, teacher moral is at an all time low. One of the reasons I think teachers are having a difficult time right now is because the country treats teaching so much differently that it does other professions. While we would never question the expertise of a doctor, a lawyer, or an accountant - everyone seems to have an opinion about how education should be reformed. I think everyone has an opinion because everyone has been educated in some shape or form. Many people have spent years in the classroom (as students) and feel they know what should be done.
I really appreciated reading the authors' take on what should be changed because they have been there and lived it from the teacher's side.
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With help from The Sits Girls, I’m giving away a copy of the book. It also comes with a DVD that demonstrates the techniques described in the book.
Disclosure: I was compensated for this post. All opinions expressed are my own.
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