Annual Report: 2006-2007 School Year
During the 2006-2007 school year, our primary educational initiative was the development of improved curriculum materials for our tutors. During the summer of 2006, we reviewed our curriculum units and made important adjustments. The most notable change was a new math topic called Math Literacy. Our tutors had found that many students were not getting past step one in solving problems: reading and understanding the question. Throughout the newly created Math Literacy lessons, Top Honors tutors pressed students to read problems very carefully. Students improved 94% in the Math Literacy topic between our initial and final assessment. Top Honors staff continued to write new lessons for other curriculum units and added assessments as needed. We are by no means done writing and enhancing our math curriculum, but each year we are making progress towards a complete and effective curriculum for our tutors.
Our second educational initiative was to enhance the skills and improve retention of our tutors. While we were able to provide a more enhanced initial tutor training based on more traditional teaching techniques and problem solving strategies, we were unable to provide ongoing professional development for our tutors. We have found new approaches to tackle this issue during the 2007-2008 school year.
Our final educational initiative was to hire a part-time program coordinator to run our tutoring program each Saturday, match students with tutors, track student progress and student discipline, and follow-up on code of conduct violations by students. We believed that by having the same administrator attend each session, there would be more consistent tutor/student pairings, better personality matching, and more real time feedback to parents. Top Honors successfully met this goal, which we believe contributed to our vast improvement in math by our students.
Our primary non-educational initiative for the last year was to evolve from a startup organization to a long-term, sustainable organization. This initiative resulted in numerous long range planning discussions and the beginnings of a strategic plan to be given to potential funding sources. Top Honors made significant progress in this transformation in other ways as well. During the 2006-2007 school year, the Board of Directors significantly increased its focus on strategy rather than day-to-day operations. Topics included educational strategy, culture building, fundraising strategy, developing ways to measure success beyond test scores, and identifying new ways to improve our education for your child. While we have by no means finalized the transformation of our organization, we made some progress over the last year and plan to continue to progress in the 2007-2008 school year.