THE MORE YOU PRACTICE, THE MORE YOU PROGRESS PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT
1. While the age-old saying suggests that practice makes perfect, researchers have found that practice alone doesn’t necessarily lead to success. Instead, experts suggest that the right kind of practice is what really matters when trying to optimize learning and increase skills.
2. If you say ‘practice makes perfect’, you mean that it is possible to learn something or develop a skill if you practise enough. People often say this to encourage someone to keep practising.
3. Practice Makes Perfect Holdings (PMP) is a for-profit corporation that partners with communities to create summer enrichment programs for inner-city youth from elementary school to college matriculation using a near-peer model. The organization pairs skills development for younger students with leadership development, career training and college prep for older students. PMP matches academically struggling elementary and middle school students with older, higher achieving mentor peers from the same inner-city neighborhoods. Trained college interns and certified teachers supervise the near-peer relationship for a five-week program.
4. Goal. For over a century, scholars have recognized that summer vacation is a period when students’ rate of academic development declines relative to the school year. The gap in the learning cycle which occurs during summer vacation is more prominent for children that are disadvantaged. Some studies indicate that this may have long term effects on a students school career and eventual job prospects.
5. Research has shown that approximately two-thirds of the ninth-grade achievement gap between lower and higher income youth can be partly explained by earlier summer learning loss. Students from low-income areas lose between 2.5 and 3.5 months of academic learning each summer, and teachers spend four to six weeks of the new school year reviewing old material.”Practice Makes Perfect” attempts to address this “learning lag” through a summer education program in socio-economically disadvantaged neighborhoods.
6. History. After reading McKinsey’s 2009 report The Economic Impact of the Achievement Gap in America’s Schools”, Karim Abouelnaga brought together five fellow Cornell students Andre Perez, Zach West, Amy Mitchell, Brennan Spreitzer, and Nicolas Savvides in 2010 to start PMP, as a student organization.
7. Key Participants. PMP pairs academically struggling students with higher achieving mentors from the same neighborhoods and places them under the supervision of college interns and certified teachers for a five-week academic intensive summer program. Every site has a minimum of two classrooms, each consisting of 20 scholars/students, 5 mentors, 1 teaching fellow and a joint teaching coach.
8. Teaching Fellows are students that recently completed their junior, senior year in college or are attending graduate school. They are provided with professional development and training prior to their placement. Teaching Coaches are certified NYC Department of Education teachers and are given responsibility for two classes over the summer. They conduct evaluations using the Danielson Framework.
9. Methodology & Operations. PMP programs operates in school buildings. Students receive instruction in math, English, and writing, in addition to enrichment activities like music, dance, and drama. Breakfast and lunch are served through the NYC School Food program; however, students can bring in their own meals. Participants engage in a local community service project to help rebuild their neighborhoods, such as cleaning up parks or organizing food drives. Throughout the summer, scholars partake in a spelling bee, math bee, and world day. Scholars go on trips to museums, art exhibitions, zoos, gardens, and corporate offices. At the conclusion of the summer, the principal is provided with a progress report that highlights aggregate progress and each additional students’ strengths and areas that need improvement.
10. Outcomes & Evaluation. In 2015, PMP will begin a two-year independent evaluation that is being conducted by Philliber Research Associates to determine the impact of the program.