The teaching profession is one that our country treats very differently from other professions. Although there may be many reason why this is so, I often wonder why the very people responsible for shaping the minds of our future are often thought of as “just teachers”, with little respect for a job that doesn’t stop once the afternoon school bell rings or the summer break begins. As professionals who put in long hours for often small salaries, teachers are scrutinized for student success and failure, yet often lack essential, supportive training to do the very best job they can. Mission Possible: How the Secrets of the Success Academies Can Work in Any School by Eva Moskowitz, founder and CEO of the Success Charter Network in Harlem, NY, and literacy expert Arin Lavinia highlights in detail the successful strategies being used in the Success Academy charter schools to give the teachers the appropriate training they need to be effective and to challenge their students with a rigorous academic learning environment.
Throughout each chapter in the book, Moskowitz and Lavinia explain why focusing on the adults in the school building is paramount to creating a classroom environment that is rich in student involvement and challenges students to think beyond the norm when it comes to each academic subject. Teachers at Success Academies are given immediate feedback during classroom observations and receive feedback from their fellow peers as well as receive professional development opportunities to ensure that they are constantly evolving as professionals.
Holding students to very high standards and not “watering down” lesson plans so that the rigorous pace of learning is not interrupted are very obvious goals for student success, but because of having to teach to a very rigid set of state benchmarks to ensure student success, more often than not students aren’t being challenged beyond simply recalling information, thereby losing opportunities to learn from their peers as well as the teacher. In lessons modeled in the DVD included in the book, examples for implementing these success strategies are demonstrated for the reader. By asking children open ended questions, encouraging them to think critically, and challenging them to higher standards of learning, Mission Possible shows that children are often capable of performing well academically when they are fully involved in their learning experience, despite coming from backgrounds of poverty.
Mission Possible challenges everyone who has a vested interest in the education of our children today to become involved in school reform and to set the expectation of a quality education for all.
I have one copy of Mission Possible to share with a reader. To enter, leave a comment telling me what concerns you most about education today. Giveaway ends August 10, 2012 at 11:59 PM Central. U.S. Only. Void where prohibited.
I was provided with two books and compensation for this post. All opinions are my own.