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Mission Possible: How the Secrets of the Success Academies Can Work in Any School Paperback – July 3, 2012

ISBN-13: 978-1118167281 ISBN-10: 1118167287 Edition: 1st

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Mission Possible: How the Secrets of the Success Academies Can Work in Any School + Great Habits, Great Readers: A Practical Guide for K-4 Reading in the Light of Common Core + Teach Like a Champion: 49 Techniques that Put Students on the Path to College (K-12)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (July 3, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1118167287
  • ISBN-13: 978-1118167281
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 7.1 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #102,525 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

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

About the Author

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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Customer Reviews

Perhaps the biggest problem I have with this book, however, is the DVD clips of classes in session.
D. Williams
I for one would hate for my child to think that there is only one main idea in any given book or that that main idea is what the teacher guides you to say that it is.
There are interesting strategies throughout the book on ways to help teachers develop and engage students in a new way.
Lehigh History Student

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Joel Avrunin TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 14, 2012
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I ordered this book without the baggage of knowing much about Eva Moskowitz or the Success Academies, which was likely beneficial because reading my fellow reviewers, it is apparent that the stars seem to depend mostly on political beliefs regarding charter schools and private schools versus public schools, and less so on the quality and merits of the book itself. As a homeschooling parent, education is an extremely important topic to me, and any book that addresses how children think and the best way to teach is of interest.

Moskowitz starts with the obvious, pointing out that throwing money at the public schools has not resulted in much improvement in the quality of education received. Blame is laid upon many of the usual suspects (teacher's unions, local politicans fattened by the same unions), and while she is likely accurate on many of her accusations, she fails to answer the "why" behind the question. There is a fundamental issue with how we view education, an antiquated system that some have said was developed from the Prussian school model, ideal for educating workers in a newly industrialized economy, but not good for our modern society. Ken Robinson (see Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative) has many good words on the state of education today.

I was hoping for a similar analysis, but the book proceeded into what I can only describe as an advertisement for Success Academies. Perhaps if the book was called, "All About Success Academies" it would be appropriate, but I was hoping for lessons that would work "in any school".
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Theseus on September 26, 2012
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
...this book sort of reads like a sales brochure for The Success Charter Network.

The basic idea here is simple. Schools need to adapt to effectively teach students. The success of one school in Harlem is examined and the book attempts to apply it to American education in general.

Some of the strategies here are wonderful and easy to implement. For example, getting parents to sign a "contract" that they will participate in their kids' education in certain ways. Some of the strategies here are excellent and somewhat more difficult to implement. For example, setting high expectations for academic achievement. What precisely is this and how is it measured? Big questions! Or having a committment to continuing teacher education. What parts of this education are necessary and what part of this education are overly bureaucratic, time-wasting, and one-size-fits-all? Also big questions. And this book does attempt to grapple with these sorts of issues in an intelligent manner.

But. This book is distasteful in that it advocates for a specific "brand" of education by disparaging public education in general. It does so with a wide brush and in a tone which I can only call snotty. I'm all for storming the battlements against corruption and complacency. However, while I believe in the core concepts put forward by these educators, I feel that this book is weakened by its brazen promotion of the the sort of charter school that is being sold by The Success Charter Network. This weakens this book's authority and cheapens some of the educational concepts it endorses.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By LindaT VINE VOICE on August 27, 2012
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I appreciate the work that these two ladies have done and no doubt they are doing their part to help the national average of our nation's schools. I also like the fact that they believe that children of all races and socioeconomic levels can learn well.

I especially appreciate the attention they give to the betterment of the teachers and the constant training and retraining. Also, I appreciated their emphasis on the principal giving SUPPORTIVE help to the teachers. If a teacher is missing certain details of his/her job, the principal goes through the steps by modeling what to do and then accompany the teacher who then follows the example.

Their views on reading in depth and to not understimate the ability to young children is good, too. They set high expectations for the kids. Even if a teacher is not working in a charter school, (s)he can still get a lot of good ideas for his/her own classroom.

In parenthesis, let me say that I hope someone will come out with a good, solid book on discipline. I am a certified teacher currenty working as a substitute. On both a full time and part time basis, I've found that most of the students are cooperative (even if they do try to pull a fast one on a substitute) :). But usually there are one or two troublemakers that seem to have teachers and often administrators pulling their hair out. While we have alternative schools for troublemakers, too often there's not enough planning on how to deal with these difficult students.

In all, this book is a step in the right direction. But I would like to see some trend-setters working withing the "zoned" schools. Perhaps I am raising as many questions as the book claims to answer. The message of the book should be read by those in the regular schools as well.
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