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A few weeks ago, the NYC DOE open enrollment for their city-wide Summer Rising program. Since then, we've gotten an endless flood of questions regarding NYC Summer Rising, but one in particular we'd like to take the time to answer: How do I choose between Tip-Top Brain and NYC Summer Rising?

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Since it’d be hard to compare us on the STEAM and academic enrichment front (e.g. our amazing guest speakers, crypto currency lessons & activities, soon TBA author visits) we’ve restricted our comparison to five categories: size, academics, parental input & involvement, environment, and cost.

Size

Tip-Top BrainSummer Rising
We proudly cater to the needs of roughly 2 dozen students over the summer. This total of 24 students is made up of one dozen K-2nd grade students, and one dozen 3-8 graders.This is the primary distinction between our campers, matter of fact, these students go through their camp day on entirely different floors!

These groups of no more than 12-14 students are attended to by at least two instructors at a time (a very low student-teacher ratio!)
Each school hosting a Summer Rising program serves scores of students. Often, this number is in the triple digits. 

Individual classrooms seat around 25+ students with 1 teacher responsible for every aspect of their academic needs. Though us NYC residents are used to this student to teacher ratio, it certainly isn’t ideal.

Academics

Tip-Top BrainSummer Rising
Over the summer, we work hard to maintain a highly-personalized approach to your child’s academic instruction and goals. Before camp starts, when possible, we mull over new student’s report cards as well as recent tests or assignments you can provide us. All of this is to ensure your child receives ELA and math help tailored to their individual needs.

Throughout the course of their time with us, we’ll keep a close eye on their progress, noting their strengths and weaknesses with respect to ELA and math subskills. When necessary, we’ll augment their curriculum and day-to-day lessons, so nothing ever feels redundant, or on the flip-side, out of reach.
Classroom instruction is the same for all (25+) students in the classroom. Lessons and in-class assignments are largely the same for all students of the same grade-level despite vastly differing skill sets and academic maturities. 

For instance, your 5th grader may be at a 4th grade reading level and 6th grade math fluency level. However, they will receive lessons geared towards 5th graders in both math and ELA.

If you’re hoping to get your child caught up in school, whether it be from pandemic setbacks or long-standing difficulties with math or ELA, this one-size fits all approach is not your best bet.

Parental Input & Involvement

Tip-Top BrainSummer Rising
After each camp day here at Tip-Top Brain, you’ll receive a report curated by your child’s teacher. This brief report details any subject-specific triumphs or trip-ups your child experienced, so that you can stay apprised of their learning. Over the course of a few days, these notes begin to paint a picture of your child’s academic trajectory.

Lastly, the report will include a note on your child’s in-class behavior. This little behavior check-in keeps parents in the loop on things their child feels passionately about, as well as topics that are causing their child stress or pulling their focus. These notes allow us to stay on the same page as you, so we can work together to support your child!
There is no expectation or precedent of daily feedback for parents regarding their students academic growth or well-being. In fairness, this would be rather challenging (if at all possible) for a single teacher to provide for 25+ students each day.

No less, if instructors could even provide class notes, it’s hard to imagine they would be very personal, because students within the same classroom are not receiving differentiated instruction (i.e. all students are for the most part working on the same curriculum lessons, despite greatly varying academic standing.)

Environment

Tip-Top BrainSummer Rising
By virtue of us being a private learning center our teachers have access to massive libraries of instructional materials, created, curated, and compiled by our teachers for our teachers. No less, our learning center is equipped with technology and equipment most schools don’t have access to (e.g. 3-D printers, VR headsets.)The school building your child would attend summer rising in may not be the school they attend, but you can expect it would be largely similar. Access to up-to-date libraries & cutting edge edtech is highly unlikely.

Cost

Tip-Top BrainSummer Rising

NYC Summer Rising has us beat here! It’s hard to compete with free 🤷. In fairness, the cost of our program is what makes it as robust and innovative as it is. All that said, we’re glad NYC Summer Rising is free, as this is a huge help to so many of our community members.
Free.

But what’s the most important part of your child’s summer plans? That they have them. Over the summer, kids lose months worth of reading, writing, and math skills. Every hour of academic enrichment your child receives over the summer, regardless of the quality, offsets some of this “summer brain drain.” No less, it’s totally possible to bolster learning gains made during the school year outside of a formal camp or program (think summer reading challenges, workbooks.) And should you or your child need any scholastic support, us here at Tip-Top Brain are always here, eager to help!

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