Practice Makes Perfect looks at the participants in our program as the crucial pieces needed to complete the puzzle that is providing a high-quality education to all. From the mentors to the principals and everyone in between, each individual plays a vital role in making sure that the scholars succeed to the highest extent. In order for the pieces to complete the puzzle successfully and have a rewarding program, PMP delivers a full-service program that offers each participant all of the services necessary to achieve excellence. Each of the specific benefits that the participants receive is listed below. Principals:
The last decision that principals have to make toward summer when they decide to have PMP run their summer program is to decide to have PMP run their summer school program. PMP’s program staff organizes everything from start to finish; we handle all of the logistical aspects that are needed to run a successful summer program from the second that schools decide that they want to partner with us. From the recruitment of the different participants (mentors, Teaching Fellows, and Teaching Coaches), to making sure that principals have an academic “snapshot” of every student from the summer to help them have a clear expectation for the fall.
All recruiting is done by our program staff, then all candidates are processed and trained to give our scholars the best quality teachers and leaders. Before each summer program begins, Teaching Fellows, Teaching Coaches, and mentors go through an extensive training process to assure that they are ready to support the scholars both academically and emotionally during the summer. Principals do not have to focus on summer preparation, which allows them to focus completely on making sure the school year ends on a positive note. They don't have to take time out of their busy schedules to put together an highly effective summer program.
PMP makes sure that principals and teachers are aware of both the successes and shortcomings that students may experience over the summer to better prepare them for the next academic school year. At the end of the program schools receive data packages, scholar portfolios, and mastery trackers to gather insight on each student. These packages give an overview of students’ attendance, assessment scores, emotional and academic strengths and weaknesses, and other valuable information to allow principals and teachers the chance to breeze into the next school year.
Mentors, students four years older than the scholars, enter our program ready to help lead, empower, and impact the life of their mentee - when they are as young as nine years old. At this extremely tender age, PMP gives mentors an opportunity that most of their peers will never receive. Placing such a serious responsibility on their shoulders motivates our mentors to be the best role models they can be, which is why they succeed with everything they are asked to do.
Although many mentors are too young to completely comprehend the capacity of the responsibilities that they have during our summer program, they are still affected by its power in ways similar to what happens to the scholars. Because mentors are acting as role models to their scholars, they develop different personality traits and skills to keep up with their role, like active listening skills, the power of empathy, patience, and a genuine desire to help their mentee succeed in school.
While experiencing personal growth, mentors also experience academic growth even though the summer program is not directly fitted to their academic needs. After regular school day hours PMP works with the mentors to help them prepare for things that will be happening within the upcoming school years. For example, PMP helps the mentors prepare for the PSATs and SATs or the specialized high school test, depending on their grade. They also receive college or high school readiness so they are prepared for the next step in their academic career.
Mentors are able to use their newfound personal and academic advancements to enhance their relationships with the scholars. As mentors grow into themselves, they are able to help guide scholars toward a path of learning and progress. “I know you can do it, because I did,” is a mentality that our mentors have which resonates greatly with all of our scholars.
All of the teachers (Teaching Fellows, Teaching Coaches, and the teachers who will teach the PMP scholars in the fall) benefit tremendously from our program.
The summer program, from the internship perspective, is one of the most rewarding experiences available to college students across the country. Our Teaching Fellows are able to lead the classroom as if they were the teachers, allowing them to gain the experience, skills, qualifications, and confidence necessary to be fully prepared for their future positions. They achieve both professional and personal advancements, leaving them fully prepared and ready to tackle their teaching profession after college. In addition to the Teaching Fellows, our Teaching Coach position provides a great opportunity for professional development. During the summer, the Teaching Coaches, who are all certified DOE teachers, guide everyone in the program (Teaching Fellows, mentors, and scholars) toward success by, essentially, taking on the role of a principal. Teaching Coaches use the summer to take a break from the usual classroom setting, hand the reins over to the Teaching Fellows, and dive into a more administrative role while supervising all aspects of the program.
Although most of the teachers who will teach the PMP scholars in the fall, after our program ends, are not involved in the summer portion, they still greatly benefit from the services PMP provides. Thanks to pre- and post-testing, come September, teachers can see how students have progressed over the summer in the areas where they have struggled. In addition, the scholar portfolios we provide will equip them with the necessary information to help mold lesson plans to better cater to the needs of their students. The professional development sessions we hold for teachers at the end of the program will give them knowledge of how to apply the wealth of information they will receive to create a more enriching environment for their students.
PMP wants to ensure that teachers feel confident in every avenue of their profession because we believe that when teachers are set up for success it inevitably leads to students succeeding. So, the best quality services for every teacher involved in our program means that mentors and the scholars will be offered the best quality teachers to guide them toward excellence.
The puzzle is not complete until everyone is included. At PMP, we feel that one of the most important pieces, if not the most important piece, to a child’s successful education is how engaged their parents and guardians are. All of the effort and hard work that teachers and mentors put is complete when parents continue to encourage their children to reinforce what they learn in school at home. For the five weeks that PMP parents are involved with the program we encourage them to be involved as much as possible. From home visits by the Teaching Fellow before the program even begins, to constant updates about where their child stands academically and how they are behaving, to workshops that help lead families to success. This sense of involvement provides PMP parents with feelings of empowerment and pride toward their child’s education. Giving them the courage to to strive to provide the best possible life for their child. Leading their child to believe that anything is possible.
Last but not least, when the puzzle is completed, the participants who benefit most from PMP’s full-service summer school program are the scholars – especially if they are struggling academically. The scholars leave our program more motivated than ever before. Scholars enter the classroom in September academically, socially, and emotionally ahead of their peers who did not participate in a summer enrichment program.
Through the power of mentors, whose job is to be a positive role-model, teachers who are equipped to handle each student’s individual needs, parents who are involved and engaged in their child’s academic life, and principals who have a free schedule to make sure the fall will be the best it can be, students are able to get the best education experience possible. With a team of people whose main goal is the success of their students, scholars are able to achieve immense gains academically, socially, and emotionally.
Our scholars have seen significant academic advancements, with an average grade-equivalent gain of six months in math and two months in ELA, according to a 3rd party research group. Any information that the students would have lost if they weren’t involved in the PMP program was, instead, retained by being in the PMP program. The scholars leave PMP feeling more prepared, and more confident to achieve greatness in the upcoming school year.
Many of the scholars enter the program in the summer with emotional and behavioral issues that make them reluctant to focus on school. After a couple of days of developing a direct relationship with their mentor, those issues are lessened and they are able to focus on school. They gain self-confidence and learn better self-control through the support they receive in the program and at home. By interacting with their mentor, scholars are able to get an idea of the academic culture they should expect for their next level of education. For example, a fifth grader with a ninth grade mentor who already knows what it is like to transition from elementary school to middle school, will gain insight as to how to prepare for the inevitable transition, making the entire process seamless and easy. When the puzzle is completed and the scholars succeed, we are able to clearly see the impact that PMP’s full-service program has on its student’s path through education. While, simultaneously impacting and developing the lives of those who are involved in the program. In turn, allowing everyone to achieve the greatness that they were capable of all along.