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Mission Possible: How the Secrets of the Success Academies Can Work in Any School

ISBN: 978-1-118-23962-9
250 pages
June 2012, Jossey-Bass
Mission Possible: How the Secrets of the Success Academies Can Work in Any School (1118239628) cover image
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.

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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

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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.

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