Project SUCCESS uses laid-back structure in classrooms

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Elika Beck, Staff writer

If you haven’t heard of Project SUCCESS before you should probably go to English class more. Project Success visits every English class at South once a month. Their goal is to provide what isn’t taught in normal classes. They’re all about helping students find themselves and their place in the community, and helping students figure out what they want to do with their lives and how to achieve their goals.

South has two Project SUCCESS facilitators that travel from class to class: Alex Brooks and Pierangelo Rossi. Brooks is the one that most students are familiar with, as Rossi started at South this year and only goes to freshman classes. Both were selected out of hundreds of other applicants for their positions.

Project SUCCESS doesn’t have a set in stone curriculum. They have general themes for each year. The theme for freshman year is getting students to ask questions like: Who am I? Who would I like to be? And how do I fit into the high school community. “[There’s a] big emphasis on expression, what I would like to change from middle schools,” said Rossi. Sophomore year is more self reflection and find passions and interests. “10th graders seem to be in the middle,” said Brooks; “[we have a] theme of using passions and interests to make decisions.” Junior and senior years are all about students’ next steps (e.g. going to college or getting a job) and how to accomplish them.

Rossi uses a person as an example of how facilitators come up with workshops “Backbone everyone follows, flesh is more individual.” In other words, they all have basic things they want to cover but each facilitator goes about covering them in different ways. The facilitators all have trainings together over the summer. They work on developing a list of activities for facilitators to use and helping facilitators come up with their own philosophy for how to run the class when they’re facilitating.

All facilitators do some ‘classic’ workshops and some to fit the needs of the community at the given time. Often at the end of the workshops students will be given a challenge to complete before the next Project SUCCESS day to keep the conversation and thinking going.

Project SUCCESS provides a break from normal English class. Brooks and Rossi help students find themselves their passion and achieve their goals. They encourage students to stay on track and continue to strive to achieve beyond high school. The program which has been very successful is being similarly adopted in other cities throughout the U.S.