Easy as pie? Is pie really easy? It's easy to eat, but not always easy to make. Excellence is easy to appreciate and enjoy, but getting there takes a while. Join me in my Pursuit In Excellence. It won't be quick , but it will be worth it!
For me excellence revolves around motherhood and grandmahood. It is central to my many interests which I use to help my children develop their talents and have fun.
I share my journey here, The Homemaking Cottage and Arizona Mama. Be sure to see what else is cooking!
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Tag Archives: Mission Possible
Reading Mission Possible caused me to reflect how I became involved with first one charter school and then another, and the steps I’ve taken to ensure my children the best education I can give them. Before moving to Arizona, my kids went to the local school, I volunteered in the classroom because I liked seeing the teacher in action, so I could reinforce the lessons and language at home. My children all did well enough.
In Arizona, I quickly learned our school district wasn’t great. I let my kiddos try the local elementary school and I got involved the only way I knew, volunteering in the classroom and on the parent teacher committee. The administration’s philosophy was to aim low, and being involved wasn’t doing anything to help my children gain a good education. Their teachers spent days trying to gain control of their class and when they did teach, it was to those furthest behind. One daughter started the school year reading at fourth grade level and by the end of the year was down to a third grade level.
My friends gave me a crash coarse on charter schools and invited me to work with them to bring a good one to our area. After 1 1/2 years of the district school, I pulled my children out and placed them in a charter school that lacked some important amenities – like a library, a playground, and a lunch area. But at least the teachers cared about my children and their education, and they listened to my concerns and did their best to challenge my children. That over eight years ago; my younger children have solely attended charter schools. Are the charter schools perfect? Not by a long shot, but they are the best alternative.
While it makes me sad that the local district schools aren’t providing what they should, I’m grateful that I was forced to get more involved with my children’s education. I’m grateful to have a better understanding of the curriculum they are being taught and how important my role is to their education. Not only do my children benefit, but I’m a better person for this struggle. See, kids aren’t the only one’s who benefit from rigor! (It’s one of the secrets of the Success Academy talked about in Mission Possible.)
There’s only a couple of days left to enter my giveaway for your own copy of Mission Possible!
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I can’t say enough for Mission Possible; I wish I had this book years ago when I was first leaning about charter schools. Success Academy’s philosophy of challenging students and immersing them in reading and writing is exactly what I have come to believe after years of struggling to get my children a good education. The high level of rigor and quick pace keeps children (and teachers) engaged, the exact opposite of what we see in most district schools and in too many charter schools. At Success Academy, principals and teachers want their kids to love school, or they are doing something wrong!
Our country’s school’s statistics are staggering! But this book provides the methods to give our children the education they need to make our country competitive. The most important method is to focus on giving principals and teachers the training and support to provide for the needs our children. Teachers need to learn, practice and prepare to skillfully guide our children through the process. How can a teacher help students understand the deeper meaning of a book she herself doesn’t understand?
Teachers need to guide, without doing the heavy thinking for students. Allowing children to do the ‘thinking work’ is another important ingredient to the Success Academy strategy. Another life lesson that I’ve seen time and time again – anything worth having requires sacrifice, including our education. If we take away their chance to work at learning, we are doing children a huge disservice!
Every educator and parent should read this book. There are helpful takeaway summaries at the end of each chapter for principals, teachers, parents and school reformers. I see ways to incorporate these principles into my teaching to my children, and speak up at their schools to improve the instruction there. I give Mission Possible a resounding five slices!
Leave a comment on my giveaway post for a chance to win your own copy! Thanks to the author for providing copies of this book.
Happy August! Arizona started off the month with a flash – or several flash floods! We weren’t personally affected, but we see the results as we drive to school. It’s cool to see Mother Nature’s power, but it can be a little scary. So parts of the storm are included in my favorites. Here’s the rest of my favorites.
- Brave – Finally saw it last weekend and I loved it!
- ANWA critique group meeting – I received some great feedback on one of my projects!
- Princess Academy – I’m almost done reading for the second time for our family book club. My timing corresponds perfectly with Shannon Hale’s behind the scenes book club. There’s less than three weeks until the sequel, Palace of Stone, comes out!
- Mission Possible giveaway – Be sure to enter!
Other favorites I found online:
- Blogust – What to save a life simply by leaving a comment? Shot@Life is running a campaign for the month of August with 31 different bloggers. For every comment left on the hosting blogger’s site, $20 will be donated to help immunize a child in a developing nation. I urge you to leave a comment a month and make a life-saving difference in the world!
- Positively Splendid shares a touching first day of school experience that is worth the read.
- Are you planning on photographing a newborn anytime soon? I Heart Faces has some great tips to keep those babies happy.
- Even though I’ve been extremely disciplined and have only had one treat since Monday, these Reeses Rice Krispie Treats from Bakers Royale are tempting and beautiful. (There’s something I never thought I’d say!)
What’s your favorite today? Is it something fun or is it something meaningful?
Those of you who know me, know that I am passionate about two things – my kids and reading, and half of my reading is focused around my kiddos. We even have a family book club to help me catch up with a fraction of what they are reading. I just finished reading Mission Possible by Eva Moskowitz and Arin Lavinia; a book I didn’t read with my children, but for my children.
The story of Eva Moskowitz ‘s journey to founding the Success Academy Charter Schools is a captivating one, but this book is so much more than that. It starts off with a wake up call of how poorly our nation’s education system stacks up to countries around the world. We spend more than most countries with poorer results. It is not a matter of putting more money into the system, it’s a matter of making that system effective.
The way we make our schools successful is by focusing time and resources on our principals and teachers. We all have those teachers that remain dear to our hearts decades after we’ve completed school. Why have they stuck with us all these years? The motivated and encouraged us; they showed us we can accomplish great things. Teachers who consistently teach to the lowest level in the class feel the stagnation, which is one of the greatest source of low teacher morale.
What other profession does that? Do sales people spend 90% of their time with customers who aren’t interested in their product? No, they spend their time where it makes the most difference. Every success gives the salesperson more confidence and that confidence can be the motivation that draws in more customers. I’m not saying teachers should only work with the bright motivated students, but teaching at a higher level pulls the entire class up. The teacher and students gain more confidence with every victory and they want more. This is the motivation for everyone to see how far they can go. For that reason, every educator and parent should read this book.
I told my daughter yesterday that I wish I could give a copy to each teacher and administrator in her school. (We have lots of ‘if I had a million dollars’ wishes.) I may not be able to do that, but I do have a copy to give away to one of my readers. For your chance to win your own inspiring copy of Mission Possible, leave a comment sharing something you do to ensure your children receive a good education. Contest ends at 8pm Arizona Time, Thursday, August 9. U.S. residents only. The winner will be announced on Friday.
* I would like to thank the authors for providing copies of Mission Possible and compensation for this post. As always, all opinions are my own.