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How to Prepare for the ISEE

Carolyn Means - Wednesday, September 06, 2017

It's nearly ISEE time. Will your student be ready? Houston private school applicants to grades 5-12 must take a rigorous entrance test covering vocabulary, reading and math. The Education Record Bureau publishes the Independent School Entrance Exam, better known as the ISEE - sounds like "icy". Here is the web address for ISEE information and registration: https://www.erblearn.org/parents/isee-registration. 

Students can take the pretest in the free, downloadable publication, "What to Expect on the ISEE", find a free online pretest, or use a testing company. Students who want to compete for the best schools must prepare for the ISEE.  If you think you need help having a successful admission season, fill out the form on our Contact page and we will get in touch with you by the next business day. 

Maker Spaces Capture Students

Carolyn Means - Sunday, April 23, 2017

 


Dysgraphia and Working Memory

Carolyn Means - Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Dr. Cheryl Chase from Cleveland, OH, presented an excellent program on dysgraphia – “an impairment of written expression” – at the Houston Branch of the International Dyslexia Association Conference on March 4. Research is showing that the connection between the amount of working memory one has available and the familiarity of graphic material impacts writing. Typically, a person with illegible handwriting has fine-motor difficulty, an inability to re-visualize letters, and an inability to remember the motor patterns of letter forms. It is common to find dysgraphia present with dyslexia. Working Memory is becoming a major topic of conversation in education. Some psychologists believe that the amount of working memory a student can hold in his/her brain’s “counter space” is a more important factor than IQ when determining the student’s potential to be successful.

“The Cusp of Confidence”

Carolyn Means - Tuesday, March 07, 2017

I love it when I hear a new phrase that captures just what I want to say. Jerome Schultz, Ph.D., Harvard Medical School, spoke to the HBIDA Conference on March 4 about not Dyslexia, as one would imagine, but Stress. Most of us know about “toxic stress”, that long-term, destructive stress that can damage our immune system, and “tolerable stress” which is short-term and we get over it or adapt to it. Good stress is the kind we feel in a situation where the challenge “hits the sweet spot”, or the “cusp of confidence”. I think of a “right” school as one that puts students on the “cusp of confidence” – a rigor and pace that asks for a reach without causing anxiety. We want to put our students at a point where they balance stress with competence, confidence and control.

ADHD and the Developing Brain

Carolyn Means - Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Author and ADHD expert Chris Dendy spoke at the ADDA-SR Conference hosted by Briarwood School February 25th, about research that shows the slower development of the brain in children and young adults with ADHD. On the whole, there is a lag of 2.5 to 3 years, or 30%, in the executive functioning region of the brain of a student with ADHD and a student without. This explains a lot about why a ten-year- old might act like a 7-year-old or a sixteen-year-old may act like a thirteen-year-old. Impulsivity, lack of emotional inhibition, and poor organization are among EF Skills that make the ADHD kiddo look less mature than his peers. Research was done by Barkley and Shaw.

ISEE Scores Are Coming In

Carolyn Means - Friday, January 27, 2017

Tears. Shock. Joy. Sighs of relief. What is the reaction at your house? The Independent School Entrance Exam scores are coming in. With these scores, hopes can rise or fall depending on whether the scores are in range of what the target schools generally want to see in applicants. The ISEE is one of the toughest tests a student will take. I tell my students to think of sharks in an Olympic-size pool – only the strongest and fastest are in the pool and they are all fighting to the finish line. Students don’t believe me until they take the “Practice Test”. Then reality sets in and they are ready to devote every weekend until January to test prep. Adding another layer of anxiety, new guidelines allow students to take the test more than once and choose the score set they want to submit to schools. I often say that ISEE scores will not get a student “in”, but they can keep a student “out”. Students who read good literature for pleasure and those who can quickly and accurately compute have a huge advantage over students who don’t like reading and have weak math skills. As an educational consultant, I do a lot to help my families manage all aspects of the ISEE.

Trafton Academy Tour

Carolyn Means - Friday, January 27, 2017

Today I visited the PK-Grade 3 programs at Trafton Academy located in the Willowbend area of Houston. Trafton has been a highly respected school serving grades 4-8 for over 40 years and was able to buy the adjacent Mrs. Wagner’s preschool-third grade school when it closed a few years ago. It took no time at all for Trafton to fill the remodeled classrooms with bright new furnishings and happy children eager to learn “The Trafton Way”. That “way” is what some may call “old fashioned” – even my student guide used that term, but he said he has not minded because he feels truly prepared for high school. High school admission directors like to see Trafton applications because these students have strong academic knowledge and skills, are polite, confident and respectful and have leadership skills, have had opportunities to play lots of sports, compete in PSIA academics against top schools in the state and nation, learn to play a band instrument, and have had an age-appropriate middle school social life. Trafton is not fancy on the outside, but the students care about what goes on inside the classroom where they are offered a “reach” and their efforts are rewarded. Small class size, mastery learning, caring teachers, solid curriculum with a wise infusion of technology, and a school community that honors good choices. No wonder the tour was full.

Why Social Skills are Important

Carolyn Means - Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Whether a child is at recess, in a classroom group, or at a birthday party, poor social skills can lead to bullying, sadness, isolation, and under performance at school. The increasing demand for soft skills such as communication and cooperation at school puts children with poor social skills at risk. The child who can’t read facial cues that say, “back off”, who doesn’t “get the joke”, or who doesn’t realize his behavior is obnoxious may find himself not wanted on a team at recess, in a group for classroom work, or at a lunch table with classmates. Wendy Dawson recently spoke at a Fusion Academy event about Social Motion Skills which she founded to teach her son and others like him how to have success in all the things we do and say when we interact with our peers. Beginning with young children, Social Motion Skills, a non-profit organization, serves all ages including a large young adult group. Is your kiddo ready to drive? Social Motion has a Driver’s Ed program, as well. www.socialmotionskills.org

Why Students with Learning Disabilities Need the Right School

Carolyn Means - Monday, September 05, 2016

Here are some statistics from www.understood.org regarding the reasons why parents of students with learning disabilities are anxious:

45% of parents say their child has been bullied

37% feel their chid’s school does not effectively test for LD

96% believe that with the proper teaching, students can make up for their learning disability

66% of all students diagnosed with LD are boys

19% of high school students with LD drop out before graduation

If you have concerns that your son or daughter is not being well served in school, now is the time to come see me for a consultation while the admission season is just beginning.

Presentation for Parents

Carolyn Means - Monday, September 05, 2016
Find information here – www.soarschoolreadiness.com – or contact me at cfmeans44@gmail.com about a presentation I am giving at Advantage Testing on Wednesday, September 28, from 9-10:30 AM. I will be giving strategies for a successful admission season. SOAR coaches will give parents tips on how to help their children develop essential executive functioning skills that are assessed on group interviews for early childhood admission. EF Skills such as focus, self-control, making transitions, taking turns, listening and following directions are the skills school admission committees are looking for. Success on IQ tests depend upon these strong EF skills – not reading and writing.

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Nothing is more important than your child's education. SCHOOL SOLUTIONS in Houston, Texas, offers educational consulting services to help parents make the right choice for their child’s school. As an Educational Consultant and founder of SCHOOL SOLUTIONS in 2004, I have helped over 1000 students find the right fit at over 90 different Houston private and public schools, from preschools to high schools, including special needs schools.

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