Each year, Project SUCCESS motivates and inspires nearly 12,000 middle and high school students in Minneapolis and Saint Paul public schools to dream about their futures and helps them take steps to get there.
Hope is one of the most powerful predictors of success. It is linked consistently to improved academic performance. A student with hope has the ability to visualize the future, set goals and develop strategies to meet them, and to find and maintain the energy needed to move forward.
The foundation of our work is inspiring kids to dream, giving them hope for the future. Serving the whole child over time, from 6th through 12th grade, we help them develop the skills, support, confidence and motivation to set and achieve their goals, graduate with plans for their futures, and successfully adapt as circumstances change throughout their lives, thereby strengthening engagement in school, improving academic performance, and reinforcing positive behaviors.
Project SUCCESS program activities complement the work of teachers and counselors by enriching the core curriculum and creating long-term relationships with students over seven years of continuous programming. Each year, Project SUCCESS serves nearly 12,000 middle and high school students in 16 Minneapolis and Saint Paul public schools through:
Our workshops are held monthly, from 6th through 12th grade, in each English classroom, for each student in every school, led by highly trained, Project SUCCESS facilitators using our proven, grade-specific cumulative curriculum that is integrated with the English academic curriculum and is specifically designed to help students set and achieve goals.
Custom Workshops - We also adapt our curriculum for our wrap-around services, such as freshmen orientation events and student/school community-building events, and our regular out-of-school time activities such as student performances, college tours and BWCA Adventures. These workshops enhance and enrich students' experiences during these activities, making the impact on their confidence-, community-, and skill-building more meaningful.
One-on-one Planning Sessions - Finally, we meet with high school students one-on-one after school to help them seek the resources needed to achieve the goals the have set in our classroom workshops.
Professional theater experiences are offered to inspire and challenge students, demonstrate they are members of the community and act as a springboard for discussion in the classroom workshp and at home. We invite students and their families to at least eight performances annually at no cost to them, thanks to the generosity of our Twin Cities theater partners who donate tickets. The performances enrich students' shared family and community experiences, which can lead to more positive and supportive relationships and improved academic achievement.
Student Performances - We also offer student performance opportunities, most often a school musical. All students interested in participating are given a role. They work with professional artists and perform for their school and broader community.
Project SUCCESS offers experiences outside of the classroom and theater to help students refine their goals, build relationships, develop skills needed to plan their futures, and gain confidence in their creative thinking, decision making and resourcefulness. Examples include:
College Tours - Project SUCCESS brings high school students to an average of 40 different campuses annually, both in and out of Minnesota. We incorporate workshops to help students with their decision-making process during each tour.
BWCA Adventures - Project SUCCESS brings middle school students on a seven-day summer adventure to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness each year.
All of our activities lead to helping students build the academic mindsets – the beliefs, attitudes, or ways of perceiving oneself in relation to learning and intellectual work – shown to contribute to academic performance; and creates the conditions and developmental asset framework within which researchers say adolescents are most likely to be successful. Our objectives for students are to:
- strengthen their belief that success is possible and within their control;
- demonstrate to them that school work is relevant and valuable to their lives outside of school;
- provide them with a caring adult outside of their family;
- promote positive, nurturing student-teacher relationships;
- teach students to work cooperatively, understand each other, and build a supportive peer community;
- foster students’ sense of belonging in their school and larger community;
- allow teachers to observe, engage with and learn about their students in a non-threatening, non-judgmental context;
- provide students with opportunities to further develop their identity and exercise autonomy and voice;
- foster students’ ability to choose among alternative courses of action and cope with unexpected changes;
- teach students the value of hard work, productive employment and continuing education;
- help them develop lifelong skills in setting short-and long-term goals; and
- reinforce personal responsibility and self-esteem.
We are unique in that we:
- serve each student in every school we serve;
- we are the only program with access to every English classrom every month for each student;
- we work with students continuously for as many as seven years, from 6th grade through 12th grade;
- we focus on the student's own short term and long term aspirations, including the possibility of college; and
- we use the arts as a springboard for inspiration, confidence, creativity and discussion in the classroom and at home.