Mission Possible, Enhanced EditionHow the Secrets of the Success Academies Can Work in Any School
Strategies for making the schools we need that work for all kids Eva Moskowitz (the founder and CEO of the Success Charter Network in Harlem) and Arin Lavinia offer practical, classroom-tested ideas for dramatically improving teaching and learning. Moskowitz and Lavinia reveal how a charter school in the middle of Harlem, enrolling neighborhood children selected at random, emerged as one of the top schools in New York City and State within three years. The results of the Harlem school were on a par with public schools for gifted students and elite private schools. Describes what can be accomplished when students and adults all work to focus on constant learning and performance improvement; DVD clips can be accessed using a special link included in the book. The Success Academies have been featured in two popular and widely distributed documentaries, Waiting for Superman and The Lottery Details the Success Academies' THINK Literacy curriculum, which produces dramatic results in student's reading and writing skills In addition to providing strategies and lessons for school leaders and teachers, Secrets of the Success Academies also serves as a guide for parents, policymakers, and practitioners who are passionate about closing the academic achievement gap.
List of Video Clips vii Introduction 1 1 WHY? What’s Wrong with American Schools? 7 2 HOW? Making School a Magical Place 19 3 WHO? It’s All About the Adults 37 4 FAST: Putting Adults and Children on the Fast Track 61 5 RIGOR: Raising the Bar for Everybody 77 6 READING: The Starting Point for All Else 95 7 WRITING: Putting Ideas into the World with Elegance 123 8 CALL TO ACTION: How to Make Every School a Success Academy 143 Endnotes 149 Acknowledgments 155 About the Authors 157 Index 159
Eva Moskowitz is the Founder and CEO of the Success Academy Charter Schools. A former New York City Council member, she has earned a national reputation as a fighter for improving public schools' rigor and resources, investing heavily in the arts, sports, and science instruction. Her first school, the Success Academy Harlem 1, quickly emerged as one of the top performing schools in New York State and was featured in The Lottery and Waiting for Superman. Arin Lavinia designed and developed THINK Literacy, a common sense approach to balanced literacy.
How can a charter school in the middle of Harlem emerge as one of the top schools in New York City and State in just three years? The Success Academies operate from the simple notion that principals and teachers—the adults—hold the keys to educational excellence. If adults improve their performance, set the bar high enough, and believe that children can rise to their expectations, students are propelled forward at lightning speed. Mission Possible, written by Founder and CEO of the Success Academy Charter Schools, Eva Moskowitz, and literacy expert, Arin Lavinia, offers practical, classroom-tested ideas for dramatically improving teaching and learning. Through detailed descriptions of how to keep students challenged and engaged, how to ensure that the adults are constantly learning, and how to use the Success Academies' THINK Literacy program, Moskowitz and Lavinia describe what can be accomplished when schools shift their focus to improving the adults' performance. The included companion DVD provides clips and interviews, illustrating how any school can be transformed to achieve remarkable results. "The authors describe their schools as places defined by 'joyful rigor.' Having visited a Success Academy, I can attest to that. If we are going to change the odds for children living in poverty, we need to create more opportunities to replicate what is working at places like Success Academies. This book does just that, taking the best practices from the Success Academies and creating a framework for educators, parents, and policy-makers to learn from their successes." —Senator Michael F. Bennet, Colorado "Mission Possible is a testament to what can be achieved in public education when the focus shifts to improving rigor in instruction and continuing education for teachers and principals." —Doug Lemov, managing director, Uncommon Schools; author, Teach Like a Champion
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