Engaging the entire school community in thinking
critically about student achievement.
I served for over 34 years as teacher, K-12 coordinator, Assistant Superintendent for Instruction, and consultant.
I'm proud to have been part of
the creation of two small learning communities - the Ninth Grade Academy and the
Summer Prep School. In each case we first, assembled a team of educators to forge a common vision of teaching and learning. Then schools
were organized to accomplish this vision.
More resources from
Summer Prep School
From 1998 - 2000 I was the founding director of a program for academically at-risk middle school students. Summer Prep School was designed to improve academic skills and performance, to engage students in their learning and improve their attitude toward school. It combined daily instruction in academic skills with weekly outings. Trained high school mentors served as role models and parent's attended evening Parenting Workshops.
I designed the Summer Prep School Website as a valuable tool for building parents, teachers and student peers into an effective team. (archived site)
Summer Prep targeted students exiting 5th – 8th grade who were in need of extra assistance. It was designed to engage students in their learning and foster a positive attitude towards school. Our goal was to improve academic skills, boost student performance and assure success in meeting new Regent’s standards and assessments
Our model built on the active partnership of teachers, parents, high school / college interns and client students. It produced excellent results with nearly one-half of our students improving their grades in three or four of their core courses.
Here's what one parent observed about the program. "The Summer Prep School was the best thing that could have happened to my daughter this summer. She struggled throughout the school year - and with the frustration of struggling, she lost confidence and enthusiasm for school in general. However, this excellent program spurred in her a renewed interest in learning.
The Summer Prep School continues to serve students exiting grades 1 - 6 at Pittsford Central Schools. Click for information
Copyright © 2001-12, Peter Pappas
All content licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.
The Ninth Grade Academy
Recent Ninth Grade Academy presentations:
Helena-West Helena SD
Sheridan High School
Kentucky Department of Education
Campbell County School District,
Springville-Griffith Institute HS,
Fay-Penn Economic Development Council
Gaining on the Gap Conference,
Model Schools Conference
Polk County Schools
"Reinventing High School Symposium" Washington DC
Academy - A Small Learning Community that Works
I videotaped interviews with Academy teachers and students
to let them share their story in a 10 minute video.
Windows Media Player
Additional details about the program.
Podcast and PowerPoint notes from “Strategies for Student Success” Oregon Summer Institute 2006
Podcast and more from "Reinventing High School Symposium" Washington DC 2005
The Ninth Grade Academy continues to serve students at Eastridge High School. Click for information
More information on my one-day: Ninth Grade Academy Planning Workshop Learn how to design your own NGA
Ninth Grade Academy
In 2003, East Irondequoit opened a new 6-8 middle school and closed a 7-8 junior high that had been located at the high school. The district saw it as a great opportunity to create a Ninth Grade Academy at the high school. The Associate High School Principal was named Ninth Grade Academy Administrator. He recruited a group of teachers and school counselor to serve at the Academy. They worked countless extra hours to develop program and policy. As Assistant Superintendent for Instruction at East Irondequoit, I had the opportunity to support the team in the development and implementation of this small learning community. I have since retired from the district, but the Academy continues to flourish.
The Ninth Grade Academy philosophy is simple. "We strive to create a smaller, more personal, learning community that fosters a culture of high academic and social expectations. Ninth grade can be a difficult transition for many students, and the Academy is designed to give students more structure and oversight to assist with the transition to high school."
As one Academy teacher observed, “We shift the responsibility of learning from teacher to student. When a student understands how each step maximizes his or her achievement and or success, they enjoy modeling this type of good academic behavior. Guided and independent practice in critical thinking, vocabulary, summarizing, analyzing...”
Another Academy teacher observed, “We’re no different than most teachers, but because of the support we’re outstanding teachers. I’m so grateful for the opportunity I’ve had to teach in the Academy for the last two years. I‘m seeing that it can happen. This is the best experience I could have hoped for.”