Practice Makes Perfect works to narrow the achievement gap in low-income U.S. neighborhoods through summer enrichment programs that pair skills development for younger students with leadership and career training for older students.
“Practice Makes Perfect could be the future of the way teaching is done. Younger students teaching even younger students because they can relate to them better.” – Velmanette Montgomery, New York State Senator, 18th District
Practice Makes Perfect seeks to redefine the way our nation approaches summer learning to narrow the achievement gap – with a particular focus on financially constrained neighborhoods.
Practice Makes Perfect seeks to address the achievement gap by preventing the summer learning loss and providing underprivileged students with resources and mentorship that are beyond the reach of their inner-city schools to reach their highest potential.
The achievement gap costs our economy between $310-$525 billion each year. Two-thirds of the disparity in academic achievement was traced to unequal summer opportunities between 4th and 9th grade.
The National Associationfor Summer Learning estimates that the summer learning loss (what students forget over the summer) is equivalent to 2.5 – 3.5 months of academic learning. Assuming students are geniuses and retain 100% of what they learn than the hypothetical scenario is plausible, but the reality is that our students are average and the latter is more likely. The losses compound from year to year and by the time a student gets to 9th grade, they are reading at a 4th or 5th grade level.
Practice Makes Perfect works to provide all students with an equal chance at achieving the American Dream. Practice Makes Perfect (PMP) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that pairs academically struggling middle school students with high achieving high school students from the same neighborhoods and places them under the supervision of college interns for a four-summer academic intensive program.
PMP students are afforded an intimate 2:1 student to teacher ratio. Each of our programs operates with 50 students: 15 high school students, 30 middle school students, and 5 college interns. The middle school and high school students receive tutoring and mentoring, while developing their leadership skills through community service projects and daily fitness activities.
Practice Makes Perfect’s program is designed to provide middle school students who are struggling academically with an enriching summer experience—one that rebuilds their confidence and appreciation for learning and models strong academic habits through
friendly relationships with ambitious high school mentors. The mentors—all high school students attending inner-city public schools—engage in a summer curriculum themselves, which increases their awareness of goal setting, colleges, scholarship opportunities, and AP/PSAT/SAT/SAT II exams. High school students act as positive role models for our middle school students.
Practice Makes Perfect pairs two middle school students with one high school students to engage in math, reading, and writing practice problems throughout the course of the day. Subjects like art, social studies, and science are incorporated throughout the math, reading,and writing problems so that students have the opportunity to grapple with a wide array of content. College interns will typically lead refresher lessons or encourage a high school student before the middle school students start working on the problems. The “two-on-one” model allows for students to feel comfortable with a peer their own age. Often, one middle school student will be more proficient in an area then their peer and eagerly teach concepts they know, which help reinforce what they learned.