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How to Transition Successfully to High School

In my last post, I discussed the many obstacles that middle schoolers face, particularly when transitioning from elementary school.  This transition is arguably the most difficult of the schooling phases, as so many developmental changes are occurring in a relatively short period of time. The good news is that by the time kids finish 8th grade, many of them have developed sufficient executive function skills that allow them to manage their own academic, emotional, and behavioral functioning.  Nevertheless, as we consider how to successfully transition to high school, further challenges remain. Today I want to examine the main hurdles to [...]

How to Transition Successfully to Middle School

teenage student giving thumb up while using laptop In my last post, we looked at a theoretical framework for child and adolescent development.  The big takeaway was the importance and necessity of transitions.  No matter the theoretical framework, all children advance through numerous stages.  Those who are able to transition smoothly are usually the ones who experience the most successful (and least stressful) journeys. As noted in the last post, the transition to middle school occurs right around the age of 11 or 12, depending on the student’s birthday.  The confounding part of this process is that this [...]

Understanding Childhood Transitions

Recently I was asked to do a presentation with a large corporation, with the focus on how to raise children successfully during the middle and high school years.  As a former high school counselor and middle school principal, I was excited for this opportunity; I know firsthand how difficult it is to navigate these years, both for parents and for students. When considering the successful navigation of the middle and high school years, we must first understand the inherent obstacles children and adolescents experience during these times.  While there are countless theories that breakdown the development of children and adolescents, [...]

IQ Part 4:  Working Memory

After closely studying our first three components of the IQ (Verbal Comprehension, Visual Spatial, and Fluid Reasoning), today’s post will dive into Working Memory and how it impacts one’s cognitive profile. Once again, I am using the WISC-V as the basis for this breakdown.  The WISC-V is administered to children ages 6-16.  However, the WAIS-IV, which is used to assess adults, also contains a Working Memory index score.  Thus, the following information pertains to pretty much all age ranges. What is Working Memory? When I write my reports, I describe Working Memory as: the ability to take in, retain, and [...]

How to Survive Remote Learning

The 2020-2021 school year has officially kicked off for many students.  Here in Texas several schools began school this week, with just about all of them offering a remote-only option.  My school is one of them, and we had a very successful first day. As other schools begin the reopening process, it is apparent that remote learning will be with us in some capacity for the foreseeable future.  As discussed in my previous post, remote learning offers students safety measures during this pandemic; however, it also presents some challenges even for the most conscientious student. I wanted to share with [...]

Returning to School in the Age of COVID-19

With the 2019-2020 school year firmly behind us, it’s now time to figure out what’s in store for 2020-2021.  As of today, there are now over 3 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States alone.  And that has many parents asking, “What is the plan for school this fall?” I can assure you that schools all over the world are still asking this same question even as we approach the looming start of the school year.  The Texas Education Agency released guidelines about 10 days ago that have already been changed and updated as of yesterday.  Just when [...]

The Transition to Online Learning

Like just about everyone else in the United States (and most parts of the world), I’m currently on lockdown in my house.  I’m hopeful we can get back to normal in the not-too-distant future, but until then, I’m learning to adapt to this new reality.  The outbreak of COVID-19 has presented some unique challenges for all of us, and I’m hopeful that you and your family are doing ok during this time. On March 23 our school made the transition to online learning for at least 2 weeks.  That 2-week period was eventually extended to 3 weeks, and recently we [...]

How to Handle Transition

I hope you are all enjoying your summers!  It’s been a great one for me and my family so far; we enjoyed a week on the coast in Connecticut and are preparing to head off to San Diego for another week on the beach.  How can I complain? But in the midst of my summer break, I am dealing with a huge transition in my life.  This past spring I was promoted from high school counselor to head of our middle school.  My last post talked about this new role, and it is a great opportunity for me to continue [...]

Time of Transition

As the school year comes to a close, it always hits me that I won’t see the majority of our high school seniors ever again.  I’ve made some really good relationships with some of these kids, but this is the end of the road.  Many will go off to college, never to be heard from again. Graduation is a rewarding part of my job, and it also presents a yearly reflection for me on transitions.  This year I have the privilege of speaking at our Baccalaureate service, where I will hopefully leave our seniors with an inspiring message as they [...]

Is ADHD Really on the Rise?

The other day I was meandering around online and came across an article on USA Today.  The headline was:  A new report shows that diagnosis rates for ADHD have risen 30% in 8 years. The article is based on a comprehensive study by Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association and utilizes data from actual diagnosis rates instead of self-report surveys.  Consequently it’s one of the more reliable studies on ADHD rates ever conducted. The overall findings, as summarized in the article, are: ADHD diagnoses have risen more than 30% in the past 8 years Middle school students are the most [...]

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