Annual Report: 2007-2008 School Year

For the 2007-2008 school year, Top Honors will for the first time expand beyond its core math tutoring program by adding a free enrichment-based finance class to advanced high school students. The finance course will focus on helping students understand investment decisions, the stock market and how economic forces impact decisions made by companies. Students will be asked to participate in weekly discussions. They will also be required to prepare and give presentations to the class on different industries and stocks. Lastly, students will be split into teams that will manage mock stock portfolios. This will be a full year course on Saturdays from 1:30-3:30 PM at our tutoring site. Mark Schwartzman and I will serve as the main teachers for this course. Mark has two years of direct school experience, teaching math and economics in Los Angeles and the Dominican Republic, as well as financial analysis experience with Guiliani Capital Advisors and Edison Schools. I have over 10 years of experience working in finance, ranging from corporate finance at Nationsbank, investment banking for First Funding, and as a Controller/Divisional Controller for several educational entities.

Students participating in the finance program will be required to provide service to our organization. Many of the students will serve as math tutors, which will enable us to offer our free math tutoring service to more students. We have found that high school student tutors have less absenteeism than professionals and can relate well to the middle school students. That said, Top Honors still believes that professionals add value in other ways such as more maturity and practical knowledge, and therefore will continue to have both types of tutors in the program.

Our second initiative is designed to continue our focus on tutor development and culture building. You may have noticed that the start of our second session was pushed back 30 minutes to 1:30 PM. A main reason for this was to provide a time slot for continued professional development of our tutors. During the year, we plan to hold four tutor development days to discuss topics such as behavior management and effective teaching techniques. In addition, the hour between sessions will allow tutors to share ideas about teaching strategies. Anything we can do to improve the skills of our tutors will directly enhance learning for your child.

Our third initiative is a response to feedback that we have received from parents over the years. Many parents have expressed a desire to know more about their children’s progress in our program throughout the school year. This year, we will host parent discussion meetings, where parents can schedule a time to come in to discuss their children’s progress and specific concerns with our program coordinator. The parent discussion meetings will take place during the expanded break time (between 12:30-1:30) on days designated in our calendar.