1800 Jonesboro Road, SE • Atlanta, GA 30315 • Tel: 404-624-9911 • Fax: 404-624-9989
Our Program- Project Bookwindows®
The following is a top level outline of the mission of project Bookwindows®.
The primary objective of this project is to instill organizational skills in young children in such fashion as to enable their successful growth, development of a high level of personal self esteem, engender a constructive work ethic consistent with the expectations for their age, and better prepare them for information processing in what will be an all digital world.
The project employs a multi-faceted approach, which includes 4(FOUR) very simple and basic elements:
--->1. The use of a set of innovative and powerful notebook organizing tools. The Firewire™ BinderBuddies® edition notebooks are BookWindow® compatible tools and are provided by Productive Environments, Inc of Framingham Ma. These tools are designed specifically for children at different age levels, and are “provided”* as the “substrate” for developing the skills. One of the unique attributes of these stationery products is that they offer a simple and consistent method of use which is easily learned and shared and which has a proven track record in enabling self-instruction in notebook organizing. The notebook tools are significant in that they provide a much needed bridge between traditional paper and pencil mechanical notebooks and digital computers. The objective is to develop organizational “intelligence” as a special intelligence. Dr. Garnder of Harvard has introduced the basic idea of functional intelligence as opposed to a single figure of intelligence merit. This program builds on that by implementing the model of organizational intelligence introduced by David C. Schwartz, CEO of PEI who holds BSEE(Cornell), MSEE(MIT) and instructor, MBA(BU).
--->2. The provision of a mentor or tutorial program which allows children to teach their peers, both older and younger, how to use the tools to enable better organization and preparation for class room learning. The peer mentoring aspect is complemented by the implementation of a resident expert teacher mentor network, with the resident expert leading the teacher team for a grade level, and the enculturation of parents or adult friends that agree to commit time and measurement services into this mix.
--->3. The utilization of a very simple, practical, analytical “effort management system” which allows for the longitudinal recording of success in the use of the notebook tools. The section below covers the details of how this effort management system is defined and applied. The most important attribute of this system is that an effort grade can be assigned based on the quality of the “state” of organization of the tools. Since there is no right or wrong answer, but simply a way of keeping the storage system up to date, every child is readily able to succeed without consideration of academic standing. And, since this preparation is directly correlated with learning performance and increased learning capacity, this method of tracking enables the self-fulfilling prophecy of increased success for the individual student.
--->4. Entrepreneurship and personal leadership is a key element of this program and is enabled by the use of the tools at home and in the classroom. The critical aspect of this leg of the project is to use an ACADEMIC environment to teach team effort and individual leadership with the intent of improving academic performance as a primary outcome. The role of the lead student mentor gives each child an opportunity to influence the outcome for the group. By giving authority to an individual student as “monitor” on a rotating basis, while awarding the group for their total effort, team play is taught in an academic format unrivaled by anything other than school athletics! This model is based on the work of Robert Brooks Phd of Harvard School of Education.
The purpose of this program is to assist the students in becoming more organized by using a combination of new notebook organizing tools and peer to peer mentoring, supervised by a resident teacher expert, and complemented by a teacher team and parental support group. We believe this single objective has more potential in increasing total student performance when compared with many other incremental proposals for student development. The school’s principal and staff are all in support of this program being integrated within their core curriculum, and have found that one of their biggest obstacles when educating our youth is organization. Our initial objective is to introduce this self-organizing and mentoring project to the entire sixth grade class at Crawford Long Middle School. We have a plan to expand this to lower grades and to increase the breadth of coverage throughout the school district.
Goals & Objectives:
The need is clear. Notebook organizing skills are critical to school performance and to the development of general organizing skills, critical to success in the overall educational career of the student, critical to the growth of the student as a general contributor, and critical to the success of the student as a young adult and participant in the workforce. In order to serve the student, and at the same time fulfill the dreams of both the parents and teachers of these students, this program has set forth some important goals and objectives. These goals and objectives are directly tied to a system of measurement which is explained in detail following the goals section.
Most parents and teachers we have spoken with at Seeds of Greatness have indicated to us that organizational skills are a weakness or problem for their children or students (as well as themselves!). They want to become a part of a process that acculturates organizing skills and creative learning into their child’s educational experience. This project is all about delivering the best, right, and preferred starting tools, at the right age, and in a well structured class room environment to enable key fundamental usage skills in each child and to encourage a more successful school experience and develop key team participation and leadership skills using the ACADEMIC environment.
1. It is our goal to ensure that this program will instill organizational skills in all constituencies by a process of peer to peer mentoring, what we would like to refer to as “osmosis”, and thereby contribute to increasing the educational performance of all parties to the process. Since basic “paperwork” organizing skills are the most unexploited aspect of the teaching/educational process, the objective is to use this understanding and the best practice methods we have developed to boost student study skills tactics, encourage personal excellence in this task, and have a measurable and significant impact on actual student performance.
2. We intend to ensure that this program will instill a newfound discipline and ensure uniform, high bandwidth, robust, and consistent communication among teacher, student, and parent in what is an otherwise indefinite space. The space can be made more definite for the children by giving everyone involved in the child’s educational experience a clear understanding of what it means to be organized with their personal school work. This discipline will be a welcome complement to a process that is generally random-a tower of Babel if you will. The objective of this program is to do nothing less than provide a “document operating system” for the child at different developmental levels which ensures the correct categorization, handling, and filing of all of the papers the child will handle in the course of building a personal work portfolio.
3. It is further one of our goals with this program is to achieve this result by working with the direct consumer of the product and service in order to teach leadership skills to young children. Building leadership skills in children, teaching them the work ethic early on, and empowering them to share the leadership role will result in improved good will and peace among all constituencies and promote a more conducive environment for learning to take place. By putting each child in charge of their own work process and empowering their peers to be their own personal assistants, we expect to engender a sense of community, a sense of shared success, and an improved work product for all student participants.
4. It is our hope that by implementing this program we will be able to better improve the ability of teachers to teach in a less and less attractive teacher to student ratio by ensuring that there is a “standard” operating system for handling class work. Classroom management has to be more than a process of crowd control and these tools and this process are intended to re-enfranchise the child learner as a responsible party and contributor to a more efficient class room process and to ensure more efficient content absorption and learning in what may otherwise be considered increasingly “learning-hostile” environments. The simple outcome of having a SOP(standard operating procedure) for notebook organizing, processing, study skill knowledge acquisition, and the preparation, offering, and archiving of “deliverables” on time and without confusion will allow teachers to start their classes more promptly, students to help one another be better prepared for class, and allow parents to be “brought into the equation” as both active participants and full beneficiaries of the portfolio assessment provided by both teacher and student.
5. We intend to demonstrate a key operating objective of this program that is to make the administrative overseeing of the program very cost effective by challenging the Regional Administrator to work efficiently with an increasing number of resident experts at an increasing number of schools throughout the greater Atlanta region.
6. One of the important benefits of this program which will emphasize will be to prepare children for an all digital world by teaching them fundamental organizing skills which have been matched to the actual structure of the operating system on digital computers which they will use in school as they reach that stage in the educational system in which they are participating.
7. We will evaluate performance in a regular and documented fashion which will be a part of the way the notebook system is installed and used. The regular recording of the “state” of organization of the notebook system will be the core element in the effort management system. This record of organizational readiness will be complemented by an array of easily recorded information about the experience in use. The Evaluation metrics are listed below and will be implemented using teacher plan and roll books specifically designed to help to keep track of this information.
Measures that will be used in assessing the impact of the notebook tools on organizational preparedness and in the delivery of the mentoring project. Note, these measures will be gathered using a simple calendar record keeping notebook that is part of the FireWire™ family of notebooks. For the philanthrop effort, we hope to receive these tools as part of a program that bundles these notebooks for teachers with the teaching/training part of the Bookwindows project. We will have access to the PEI internet site and will be enabled to down load the record keeping tools that will enable us to record and track the following:
A. is the binder organized-"are the right papers in the right places". This is in some sense a measure of "effort" and discipline and helps to track if the desired "good habits" are forming-use a scale of 1-5 with 5 being well organized. Here there are no right answers-just a state of the process is being checked. This state can be checked in at least three ways-(1)visually/is it neat and are papers in the correct place, (2) archiving quality/are papers relevant-have completed units been taken out, (3) a gross measure of archiving would be to weigh the empty binder and pockets, then measure the weight of the binder at different points and track its weight-the curve should be sinusoidal
B. Count the number of "make ups" a student has to do in a term --this is a more personal measure of the student-it is a quantitative number-the number of times a student came to class unprepared, i.e. without the work due that day(the document with the work due is not in the work due pocket). This is not a measure of whether the work is correct or not.
C. Count the number of replacement handouts a teacher has to provide-this could be a percentage/for example. If a teacher gave 28 handouts on a topic on day x, then on day x+1 the teacher had to give 14 more handouts to students that couldn’t find theirs, this would be a 50% replacement figure.
D. Measure the time it takes the teacher to start teaching from the bell-this is an absolute measure of time. It took 4 minutes to get everyone “on the same page” so that the lesson could begin.
E. Grade point average-before and after for this student, or this group of tool equipped students compared to this group of unequipped students. This is a measure of content absorption and performance in demonstrating content absorption. This is one key measure on which we expect you to asses the price value of our package. We expect a grade swing of 1 average point if used consistently during a school year with teacher support.
G. How do I feel today- Scale of 1-10. I am happy about my “state” as it relates to feeling in control of my work flow and my own assessment of being organized.
H. Articulated state of being organized-Track a written representation of what it means to this student to be organized-i.e. They write down their definition before. Then that definition is rewritten at subsequent points in the education process. At a check point, each definition is placed back in front of the child/mentor and the change in the definition and state is critiqued. This is an effective way to tie writing exercise into the process.
I. State of modification of the tool set-in as much as we believe it is desirable to start the program with the tool set AS IS(like the operating system on a computer that you use as is), we expect that age specific and learning specific needs will result in each child personalizing the system or changing it. We can establish a measure that is a measure of “invention”-as a species we are tool builders, so in some sense we want to encourage the use of this product as a tool reengineering mechanism and as the child's understanding of their organizing skill matures, measure that change and be able to enable the child to see this as a measure of individuality and progress in this skill.
J. Performance on standardized tests-this measure will have to be looked at longitudinally. This will take a generation of users progressing through to the point of taking a standardized test.
K. Did I or did I not get into the college of my choice-This is a figure of merit-maybe just a number-(1) for got into first choice (1), second choice(2), third choice (3)--this will take time to track-you will need a generation of users that are graduating to make this measure.
L. Performance in the work place-this is "even more" longitudinal. We can measure this as soon as you graduate students that used our tools and those students have moved into the work force.
Crawford Long - January 2004 Pilot:
Each of the 250 students, along with the 12 sixth grade teachers, and one curriculum specialist will be provided a “FireWire™ BinderBuddies® edition” notebook/organizer (This notebook organizer is one of the many BookWindow® compatible tools we have elected to use for this age group. See Appendix 2 for more information of these products and their source, PEI). The notebook is designed to be highly portable and at the same time provide a consistent method for handling paperwork in the classroom. The method of use is readily self-taught and lends itself to instant improvement in classroom management for the teacher, while at the same time transferring the experience of portfolio management to the student.
This project is a continuation and expansion of a program that was begun in the fall of 2003 in which an earlier generation of PEI notebooks were employed in the classrooms as part of an initiative supported by Seeds of Greatness under the banner “Youth Fest”. The program methods and practices are part of an effort by Productive Environments to enable schools, in particular schools in need, to get the best possible notebook products to enhance the learning environment in the classroom while fostering good will, school spirit and individual achievement.
In order to ensure that this program is implemented to it’s most advantage and that the community has the best chance of benefiting, as an organization and in cooperation with the selected schools we are working with, first and foremost we are committed to implementing the project criteria. A project can only be enabled if a school identifies a grade level in which they agree to implement the effort measurement system, identify a “resident expert” who would receives the on-line certification to mentor mentors, and identify at least one student tutor per class to begin(this is the rotating assignment mentioned above). A parent committee is an essential part of this project and is “contracted” to be formed by the resident expert and a parent head that is appointed by the resident expert and that networks with parents in the group to ensure that the effort system is carried into the home environment as much as possible. Seeds of Greatness is committed to establishing a Resident Expert, a Head Student Tutor, and a Parent Head, to implementing and administering the effort management system, and to fairly and even handedly providing team awards to deserving banner teams from the participating schools.
In order to initiate this project in January, the notebook supplies are being provided by a number of manufacturers under the stewardship of Productive Environments, Inc. of Framingahm MA. The broader goal of this grant request is to establish and ongoing program that ensures that we not only secure funding for this project in the spring of 2004 but are able to expand it to include 6th grades throughout the Atlanta Public School System for the fall of 2004. It is also the goal of this proposal, to establish supporting infrastructure so that Seeds of Greatness can take over the ongoing development of this project by networking with and training additional not-for-profit support agencies in the surrounding regions of Georgia whose mission and objectives are aligned with Seeds of Greatness and with whom Seeds of Greatness can partner in expanding this project and it’s benefits throughout our States Public Schools where the need and grant commitment are aligned with the projects regular objectives.
All of the teachers will be equipped with proper training on how to use the product and method of use effectively. One teacher will be selected from the 6th grade team and be designated as the onsite “resident expert”. This resident expert will be taught by the Regional Administrator and mentored by this RA throughout the year. This assignment of resident expert will be rotated each term among teachers of the 6th grade team. One child will be selected in each home room and will have the opportunity to serve as a youth “resident expert” and trainer to their peers in that home room. On going training and conformance to use will be encouraged by a process of peer-to-peer mentoring. Each homeroom will be designated with a banner identity and the performance of the group will be monitored by the homeroom teacher, working hand in hand with the youth resident expert. Students will take turns weekly as the youth trainer in each home room and at the end of the month those home room classes that meet a set projected success rate “or effort measure” will receive an incentive in the form of a class pizza party or other and or/similar monthly recognition award based on the recommendation of the staff at the school.
It is the responsibility of the weekly youth trainer to check each student’s notebook for proper use before submitting the notebooks to the teachers at the end of the week. It is the responsibility of the teacher to evaluate each student’s notebook and document success rates. It is the responsibility of the onsite expert to serve as the initial contact for the product. It is the responsibility of the Regional Program Director to evaluate the effectiveness of program by following up with the school’s administrative staff and teachers, serve as the second line of support for the product, and integrate the program within other schools within the Atlanta area.
Clearly, the most important CLIENT is the student beneficiary of the notebook tools and peer mentoring that are part of this project when it is implemented in a specific school setting. Seeds of Greatness will start with inner city schools and the children, teachers, and parents in these schools that are most in need to better learning tools. We would like to expand this to additional schools in our area with similar profiles by working with other not-for-profit organizations whose goals and objectives are aligned with ours: organizations which demonstrate a commitment to educating young children of needy socio-economic levels by delivering this program to children beginning with grade 3. Our approach will identify the school superintendent at the district level that understands this program and is willing to oversee its administration at no charge to the process. That individual will identify the first grade in the first school they want to participate and with the Principal of that school select the first resident expert teacher as the key responder and it will be that individual that will solicit the support of their grade level, coordinate the allocation and use of school designated funds and agree to the implementation criteria including getting trained and managing the effort system. That resident expert will train a student in each class in the grade participating. The rewards allocation and criteria for accomplishing this will be included in a contract that all participants commit to, sign, and are measured by.
As stated, we are proceeding with the initial set of tools in January of 2004 and implementing this project in the Crawford Long School. Seeds of Greatness has done the preliminary work to determine that Crawford Long School meets the specs for this program and is prepared to commit to the training and make the record keeping contract so the project can be monitored. This includes using the before mentioned notebook tools under the brand name FIREWIRE™ BINDERBUDDIES® Edition. These products are targeted to the 6th graders in that school.
Based on measurable results, which we will share with our sponsors as we move through this term, we would like to expand the program in the spring and then again in the fall with a line of tools targeted to 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades. As stated, we are under way and will begin this program in January of 2004. In April we are seeking funds to expand to 1,000 students and in the fall, our funding is designed to reach 100,000 students.
Seeds of Greatness
established in 1989, by Seeds of Greatness is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose primary
performing artsA list of some of our successes is provided in Appendix 3 .
Seeds of Greatness
- $22,000Seeds of Greatness
q Community outreach & education
q Violence Prevention
q Youth Entrepreneur Projects
Seeds of Greatness is located in Southeast Atlanta’s historic Lakewood Heights Community; one of the poorest sections within the city of Atlanta proper. A common scene played out within this community consists of prostitutes and drug addicts roaming the streets. Women with their children can often be found soliciting money for food or basic necessities. Pugnacious odors of alcohol and other unpleasantries fill the air amid dilapidated houses. As often is the case, in every pile of junk one can find treasures. Suffice it to say that the children in this trash-laden district are treasures beyond measure.
This section of Atlanta closely resembles in many instances a Third World country. Many children in this corridor of Atlanta are grossly underserved. Moreover, the community profile documented by the Family Connection Partnership indicates that this section of Atlanta is contending with issues that are endemic as well as pandemic. Recent stats indicate that 47.5% of the female-headed households with children are living in poverty. Well over 3,000 substantiated incidents of child abuse or neglect are recorded annually, coupled with the fact that in Atlanta alone, 38,000 or 31% of students miss more than 10 days of school per school year.
Without a doubt the commitment of the Seeds of Greatness founder, Dr. Darryl Winston, to improve the quality of the current educational system for this area of the city is certainly not without dire need. Typically new innovative educational methods for schools within the inner-city find start-up capital virtually sparse. Motivated by the pain and sense of hopelessness often seen on the face of many children, Dr. Winston has not been deterred by the challenges that come along with improving the educational state within this area. In an effort to ensure that no child is left behind, Seeds of Greatness is launching a campaign in January 2004 to assist the Atlanta Public School System to address the basic needs of the youth education with the kick off of “Bookwindows®”.