Posts Tagged 'NYS Intermediate Level Science Core Curriculum Major Understandings'

Service Providers Analysis

More business plan:

There are many nonprofit organizations working to engage students from low-income communities in academics.  Many of these programs work with science.  In NYC, some of the more notable ones are Camp G.O.A.L.S., Madison Square Boys & Girls Club, and Rocking the Boat, among others.

There is no organization that we are aware of, however, that uses SCUBA diving as a vehicle for providing this engagement.  The Urban Assembly New York Harbor School utilizes SCUBA diving in its curriculum, and students go through the PADI Open Water Scuba Diver training.  The Schooba Academy is unique from this program, however, in many ways.  Some of the major differences are that The Harbor School only offers this training to its specific students,  The Harbor School only offers the basic PADI Open Water Scuba Diver curriculum (where The Schooba Academy’s curriculum is linked to xx NYS Intermediate Level Science Core Curriculum Major Understandings), and The Harbor School students are not paired with a qualified tutor through the training process.

There are also many nonprofit organizations which facilitate mentor relationships for students from low-income communities.  In NYC, some of these are Big Brothers Big Sisters of NYC, Mentoring Partnership of New York, and Stoked Mentoring, among others.

Of these, Stoked Mentoring shares the most commonalities with The Schooba Academy.  Stoked Mentoring uses the action sports of skateboarding, snowboarding, and surfing to create a bond between a screened and qualified mentor and an at-risk student.  Aside from not offering SCUBA diving, Stoked Mentoring is also strictly a mentoring program which does not provide the tutoring component that is offered at The Schooba Academy.


The Science of SCUBA

Yeah, so what is it??

There are 8 Intermediate Level (grades 5-8) NYS Learning Standards for Mathematics, Science, and Technology.  Standard 4 directly outlines Science.  (The others are: Standard 1: Analysis, Inquiry and Design; Standard 2: Information Systems; Standard 3: Mathematics; Standard 5: Technology; Standard 6: Interconnectedness: Common Themes; Standard 7: Interdisciplinary Problem Solving; Standard 8: Mathematics 2005)

Standard 4 (Science) states: Students will understand and apply scientific concepts, principles, and theories pertaining to the physical setting and living environment and recognize the historical development of ideas in science.

As it presently stands, the following NYS Intermediate Level Science Core Curriculum Major Understandings will be addressed in the program:

The Living Environment

1.2d During respiration, cells use oxygen to release the energy stored in food. The respiratory system supplies oxygen and removes carbon dioxide (gas exchange).

1.2f The circulatory system moves substances to and from cells, where they are needed or produced, responding to changing demands.

7.2a In ecosystems, balance is the result of interactions between community members and their environment.

7.2b The environment may be altered through the activities of organisms. Alterations are sometimes abrupt. Some species may replace others over time, resulting in longterm gradual changes (ecological succession).

7.2d Since the Industrial Revolution, human activities have resulted in major pollution of air, water, and soil.  Pollution has cumulative ecological effects such as acid rain, global warming, or ozone depletion. The survival of living things on our planet depends on the conservation and protection of Earth’s resources.

The Physical Setting

1.1d Gravity is the force that keeps planets in orbit around the Sun and the Moon in orbit around the Earth.

1.1e Most objects in the solar system have a regular and predictable motion. These motions explain such phenomena as a day, a year, phases of the Moon, eclipses, tides, meteor showers, and comets.

2.1b As altitude increases, air pressure decreases.

2.1c The rock at Earth’s surface forms a nearly continuous shell around Earth called the lithosphere.

2.1d The majority of the lithosphere is covered by a relatively thin layer of water called the hydrosphere.

2.2i Weather describes the conditions of the atmosphere at a given location for a short period of time.

2.2j Climate is the characteristic weather that prevails from season to season and year to year.

2.2k The uneven heating of Earth’s surface is the cause of weather.

2.2l Air masses form when air remains nearly stationary over a large section of Earth’s surface and takes on the conditions of temperature and humidity from that location.  Weather conditions at a location are determined primarily by temperature, humidity, and pressure of air masses over that location.

2.2m Most local weather condition changes are caused by movement of air masses.

3.1d Gases have neither a determined shape nor a definite volume. Gases assume the shape and volume of a closed container.

3.1e A liquid has definite volume, but takes the shape of a container.

3.1f A solid has definite shape and volume. Particles resist a change in position.

3.1h Density can be described as the amount of matter that is in a given amount of space. If two objects have equal volume, but one has more mass, the one with more mass is denser.

3.1i Buoyancy is determined by comparative densities.

3.3a All matter is made up of atoms. Atoms are far too small to see with a light microscope.

3.3b Atoms and molecules are perpetually in motion. The greater the temperature, the greater the motion.

4.2a Heat moves in predictable ways, flowing from warmer objects to cooler ones, until both reach the same temperature.

4.2d Most substances expand when heated and contract when cooled. Water is an exception, expanding when changing to ice.

4.4b Light passes through some materials, sometimes refracting in the process.  Materials absorb and reflect light, and may transmit light. To see an object, light from that object, emitted by or reflected from it, must enter the eye.

4.4c Vibrations in materials set up wave-like disturbances that spread away from the source.  Sound waves are an example. Vibrational waves move at different speeds in different materials. Sound cannot travel in a vacuum.

5.2d Friction is a force that opposes motion.

Market Analysis Summary

From da biz plan:

The Schooba Academy aims to work with three distinct populations.

The mentee is:

  • A NYC title-1 public school student over the age of 10 lacking understandings of science that correspond to the NYS Intermediate Level Science Core Curriculum Major Understandings addressed in the program
  • A student that has never tried SCUBA diving before
  • A student with interest in the program
  • A student with basic swimming skills, i.e. can float/tread water for 10 minutes and swim 200 meters/yards or 300 meters/yards in mask, fins, and snorkel
  • Willing to commit to the guidelines of the program

Why are we targeting this population?  Why is there a need for The Schooba Academy?

Students from low-income communities continue to perform significantly below their more wealthy peers academically.  This gap is especially true in the sciences.  According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, only 16% of students that performed at or above Proficient on the 8th Grade Science Test were low-income students.  Additionally, a recent study reports that students from low-income communities show low levels of interest in science, and that these levels decrease in middle and high school (Zacharia and Calabrese-Barton, 2003).  We believe that a knowledge of science empowers people to be critical and conscious citizens, and that fostering an engagement in science is the best way to reverse these trends.

Why would this population want to work with The Schooba Academy?

The Schooba Academy provides students from low-income communities with the opportunity of trying a fun and new activity.  They receive free science tutoring, PADI Open Water Scuba Diver training, and a caring and supportive mentor.

The mentor is/has:

  • An adult with a college degree, a student currently enrolled in college with a minimum GPA of 3.0, or a high school student  with a minimum GPA of 3.0.*
  • An interest in working with a student in need
  • A track record of success in challenging situations
  • Basic swimming skills, i.e. can float/tread water for 10 minutes and swim 200 meters/yards or 300 meters/yards in mask, fins, and snorkel
  • Clean legal history
  • Willing to commit to the guidelines of the program

*Exceptions will be made based on individual evaluations

Why are we targeting this population?  Why does The Schooba Academy need these people?

There is overwhelming research which supports the importance of 1:1 tutoring in a student’s academic development.  In a study by the educational psychologist and former President of the American Educational Research Association, Benjamin Bloom, it was found that the average privately tutored student performed above 98% of students in a conventional classroom (Bloom, 1984). Additionally, the benefits of mentor/mentee relationships are well known.  In the foundational study of the impact of the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America program, it was found that students that were mentored performed better academically and felt more competent in their schoolwork than students without mentors (1995).  We believe that 1:1 tutoring by a qualified mentor is the best way to ensure that The Schooba Academy’s students are learning the relevant science.

Why would this population want to work with The Schooba Academy?

The Schooba Academy provides mentors with the opportunity of participating in an experience of social value.  Additionally, they are offered the PADI Open Water Scuba Diver certification at a greatly discounted rate.

An investor is:

  • Any individual or organization interested in providing resources to further the mission of The Schooba Academy

Why are we targeting this population?  Why does The Schooba Academy need these people?

The Schooba Academy will rely on investments from various resource providers in order to operate and achieve its objectives.

Why would this population want to be a part of The Schooba Academy?

The Schooba Academy provides investors with the opportunity of being a part of a new and innovative organization dedicated to helping young people in need.  Additionally, investors receive positive PR and the opportunity of marketing their involvement with The Schooba Academy.

Executive Summary, Mission, Objectives

Yes, it has been a while, I know.  But before you smash my favorite ukulele and storm out in a fit, please, hear me out!!  …Where was I?  I was … I was … I was … writing my business plan!

And what a plan it is!  Much has changed since we spoke last, and I can’t wait to tell you all about it.  If you have any interest in seeing the first draft of the business plan in its entirety, please just email me (, and I will send a copy your way.  Otherwise, I’ll be posting parts of the plan through the next week or so, so stay tuned! Also, check out the ‘About Schooba’  section of the blog as it has been updated, as well.

Please be advised that this is only the first draft, and that what you’re reading is not only open to change, but likely to.

Executive Summary

The Schooba Academy is a soon to be 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with a mission of fostering a sustained engagement in science for students from low-income communities through having them learn how to SCUBA dive.  We believe that a knowledge of science empowers people to be critical and conscious citizens, and that an authentic, long-term engagement is the best foundation for this knowledge.  Unfortunately, students from low-income communities continue to lack skills and interest in the sciences when compared to their more wealthy peers.

At The Schooba Academy, students from low-income communities are paired with a screened and qualified mentor, and together they complete the PADI Open Water Scuba Diver training course.  Throughout the training process the student receives xx number of hours of 1:1 tutoring from their mentor on xx number of NYS Intermediate Level Science Core Curriculum Major Understandings.

The Schooba Academy fosters engagement by creating an experience where students are both learning and having fun.  The use of SCUBA diving as an engaging, relevant, and experiential vehicle for the learning of science, and the providing of 1:1 tutoring ensure this is the case.

All of the start-up expenses for the program have been covered by an investment of $20,000 by Zach Rome.  The Schooba Academy is planning for its inaugural class in September, 2011, where it will operate at an estimated budget of $4,700 per month.  Approximately 10% of this will be generated through Earned Income of the program.  The remainder ( $4,324) will need to be secured through Government/Public Funding, Private Giving, and Fundraising Events.

For at least the first year of operation, The Schooba Academy will serve only students from NYC.


The Schooba Academy works to foster a sustained engagement in science for students from low-income communities through learning how to SCUBA dive.


The Schooba Academy’s objectives during the first year of operation are:

  • To teach xx number of NYS Intermediate Level Science Core Curriculum Major Understandings through the use of SCUBA diving
  • To provide each student with xx hours of 1:1 science tutoring with a qualified mentor
  • For 80% of tutored students to pass the PADI Open Water Scuba Diver Final Exam
  • For 80% of tutored students to sustain an interest in science for at least one year

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