Mission Possible – A MUST READ Book

I have been reading a book this week and I am SO excited about it.  It’s called Mission Possible – How the Secrets of the Success Academies Can Work in any School by Eva Moskowitz and Arin Lavinia.  I literally think this should be required reading for every teacher, principal, and parent in America.

This is one thing I’ve always wondered and I’m going to put this in caps because I AM yelling, here.  WHEN THEY COME UP WITH SOMETHING THAT WORKS – WHY DON’T THEY DO IT EVERYWHERE?????  That has always been the biggest mystery to me.  

At the Success Academies in Harlem, they have come up with something that WORKS.  It is undeniable.  It’s not just for special “genius” children – these are regular kids that were literally picked by a lottery.  It doesn’t cost a ton of money – in fact their budget is LESS than that of a traditional public school.  But currently, there are about 7,000 children of varying ages in their program and I feel confident in saying that each one of them could run circles around even the brightest of public school educated children.

But the good news is that they’re willing to SHARE.  Eva Moskowitz, the Founder of the Success Academies and Arin Lavinia the designer of their THINK Literacy program, have taken the time to write this book to detail exactly what some of the problems and limitations of public schools, and specifically what the Success Academies are doing differently that has produced such phenomenal success for them.  They even provide a CD of videos of actual classroom lessons in the back of the book with their students (called Scholars) so you can clearly see the difference.  It actually made me sad to see the lessons with the 1st Graders because my public school educated son is just starting High School and I don’t think any teacher has ever treated him in such an intelligent and thoughtful way, or encouraged him to think for himself in the way they are teaching these little kids.  I came through public school myself and I don’t remember any of my teachers ever working with me this way either.  

From what I can see, here is what they are doing differently:

  –  They focus much of their attention on the adults rather than the kids.  Their teachers receive unprecedented amount of training, feedback, and support.  This creates the best possible environment to support the kids.  

  –  They treat the kids of all ages as though they are smart, and they challenge them constantly.  And the kids LOVE it and are extremely stimulated and engaged throughout their day.  
  –  The kids read lots of great books daily and have the chance to spend significant time discussing and analyzing them.  
  – The pace is fast – many times faster than public school.  They teach to the pace of the brightest kids and work with the others help them catch up.  This is the opposite of public school where they dumb down the curriculum to the pace of the slowest students and don’t care if the bright or even average kids are bored silly.  (My personal theory is that this is at the heart of a lot of the misbehavior issues in public school.)  
  – One other thing I noticed is that they have clearly defined goals.  During the several 3-minute clips I watched, I heard the word “college” mentioned more time than I ever heard it mentioned during the whole time my son was in Elementary School.  It’s a little thing, but it can make a huge difference.  

If you’d like to learn more about this program – click this link to go to ReadMissionPossible for more info.  

This is a compensated post, though I was excited enough to have done it on my own.  I was given two copies of the book, theoretically so I could do a giveaway to one of my lucky readers. However, I decided to go in a different direction (sorry folks!).  With the approval from the sponsors, I am going to give both my copies with the accompanying DVD’s to my son’s school. If I could, I’d buy a copy for every teacher and make it required reading, but I’m doing what I can to make a difference.  

I feel strongly that I want to put this information in the hands of someone who can put it to the best possible use.  I feel if they use even one idea from these books, that is well worth the effort.  I am going to give one to the Principal, and one to the Vice Principal.  I have already established a positive relationship with them last year when I discussed some of my concerns about bullying, and provided some resources for them to use.  

I feel confident that I can get them to actually read the books, because I plan to schedule a follow-up meeting with them a few weeks later to get their opinion of the book and the methods in it to see if there are ways this information can help.  I think most school administrators are always more than willing to sit down with an interested parent who is willing to offer positive suggestions.  

So if you know someone who is a teacher, parent, or a school administrator, this book could be a pretty thoughtful gift for them.  

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  1. My degree is in Elementary Education. Good for you for choosing to use your “giveaway” option to better use. I will be checking this book out. We definitely need positive changes in our educational programs!

  2. This is so interesting. I don’t have kids of school age yet, but would love to read it before they get to that point!

  3. Sounds like a great book that I can benefit from 😉

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