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Academic Mentoring

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 [...]

End of School Year Checklist

The calendar just turned to May, and that means school is in the homestretch.  However, before we start planning long days by the pool or days spent at fun summer camps, there is still a lot of work to do. Many of us still have quite a bit of school work and assignments left.  With final exams coming up for many students, there are still many points left out there to boost your grades.  So as we count down the days to that very last one, here is a checklist to keep you on the right track for academic success. [...]

Understanding Social/Emotional Learning

  Over the past few years, the concept of Social/Emotional Learning has emerged as a hot-button topic in education.  It’s now a buzzword in local communities, having received national attention both positively and negatively. But what exactly is Social/Emotional Learning, and why does it matter? CASEL CASEL is an organization formed in 1994 and is widely regarded as having developed the most comprehensive and well-researched approach to defining Social/Emotional Learning (SEL). According to CASEL, SEL is: the process through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and [...]

Effective Strategies for All 9th Graders

  Now that school is officially underway and we have a couple of weeks of classes under our belts, it’s time for reality to set it. The thrill of coming back to school has likely faded. Now the work begins! As a high school counselor, one of my primary roles is to help students navigate their four years of high school and set them up for success afterwards. For freshmen just starting this journey it is important to get off to a good start. Time goes by incredibly fast, and the choices freshmen make definitely have an impact of their [...]

Understanding Dysgraphia

  Dysgraphia is a relatively unknown learning difference that doesn’t get as many headlines at ADHD and dyslexia. However, many students, especially those with ADHD and/or dyslexia suffer from dysgraphia and may not even know they have it. It’s important to understand exactly what dysgraphia is and how it affects students in the classroom. The use of term “dysgraphia” is not very common and sometimes confusing. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder (DSM-V), which is the most widely used manual for assigning learning differences, does not contain that specific word. Instead, the DSM-V describes this particular diagnosis as [...]

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