Mission 100% Aims to Fill the Education Gap - 1

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Mission 100% Aims to Fill the Education Gap - 1
Have you ever tried reading and comprehending a long manual for a new electronic device? It's not as easy as it seems, and neither is identifying and targeting specific problems in a classroom.

Mission 100% is looking to guide teachers and school systems on a path to higher excellence through an online video database. The team currently consists of the founder, Janice Smith, a web developer, and consultants and video analyst interns hired on a need basis.

To say Janice Smith has a long history in the education field is an understatement. Some of Smith's previous experience includes being Director of Curriculum & Instruction at Maureen Joy Charter School, founder of her own video production company called Big Dog Little Bed Productions, mentor teacher at Student U, video analyst at Relay Graduate School of Education and US History and AP US History teacher at KIPP:GCP Pride High School. And the list keeps going.

Now, Smith is continuing her goal to improve the education gap in the lowest performing schools and highest performing schoolsoften caused by the socioeconomic status of the community. This is the driving force behind Mission 100%, along with fulfilling "the idea that every kid deserves access to a good education."

Smith originally saw the need to fill education gap through her journey with Teach for America.

"What prompted this specific solution though, is that in coaching teachers over the past couple years, I began to see the power of video exemplars in showing them what is possible, and then how to get it in their own classroom," she said.

Smith's first step was discovering exceptional classrooms and then identifying the exact factors that made that classroom great.

"We're looking for the country's best teachers to work developing our content, and those teacher aren't all in Durham, they're all over the country," she said.

That's why Smith has filmed at six different schools, three of which are in partner schools in Gaston, two standalone schools in Durham, and YES Prep in Houston. Filming at these schools consumed the first year of Mission 100%. Smith's hope is to light a spark that will spread to schools across the nation through her video content.

Moving forward, Smith is looking to have schools capture their own footage and give it to Mission 100% to edit.

Currently, Mission 100% has over 800 clips and counting, with over 100 hours of raw, untouched footage. Each clip is only 30 seconds to 2 1/2 minutes on average, in order to precisely show teachers how to initiate good techniques in their classrooms.

"We want teachers to be able to focus on this intimidating class and really identify what they need to do in their own classroom to get those results," she said.

But editing these clips can be time consuming, so Smith has enlisted the help of fellow teachers this summer, one of which is Joseph Lofstedt.

Lofstedt first met Smith during her tenure at KIPP:GCP Primary School, where he currently teaches first grade. He said he became interested in Mission 100% and its goals after Janice presented her ideas. He said his class has also been filmed to become part of the video library.

Lofstedt said he devotes 10 to 15 hours per week tagging videos and noting what makes them strong examples of teaching, which he would not have time to do during the academic year.

Smith's passion and drive is what led Lofstedt, and other teachers, to support Mission 100%. Lofstedt said he thinks this resource is a unique and helpful tool that schools don't have already. He said it is helpful not only for primary and secondary education, but higher education as well.

"Role plays work great but they have their limitations," he said. "Sometimes role plays work out differently in a college class room than a first grade class room."

And Lofstedt believes that Mission 100% can fill that gap through its quick, direct videos.

The price for Mission 100% is based on users per school and cannot be disclosed at this time. Smith said the company is talking with a variety of schools across the nation in hopes of them signing on for the upcoming school year.

Mission 100% has been possible through bootstrapping and will continue its work in Mercury Studio after graduating from Groundwork Labs in mid-July.