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Thrive Academy - A New Houston School

Carolyn Means - Wednesday, July 18, 2018

My life's passion is for children to find joy in learning. I often use the phrase, "I want to find a school where your child will thrive." So how excited was I when Dr. Chris Zaddach, Interim Head of School and Admission Director, invited me to coffee to hear about a new school with the awesome name of Thrive Academy! The child who could be a perfect fit for this school is entering Grades 1-8 and has yet to find joy and success in school. Thrive will offer a low stress environment where there is a tolerance for movement, conversation, creativity, and achievement in a rich curriculum. This could be a child whose abilities are overshadowed by poor communication and executive functioning skills that often result in anxiety, discouragement and lower than expected achievement. The school has been dreamed of and backed by a strong group of parents and professionals. Thrive Academy is located at 1231 Wirt Road, just north of I-10 on the campus of the Houston Mennonite Church. Read the flyer on the Thrive Academy Facebook page for more about the mission of this new school. 

The Joy School Summer Programs

Carolyn Means - Thursday, February 01, 2018

"What does JOYful learning look like?" The Joy School Summer Programs brochure arrived yesterday and it's full of fun summer options for students of all ages - including some super middle school camps. Students can choose from social and academic remediation to creative writing and theme park design plus more.  You do not need to be a Joy School student to attend, but registration fills up quickly, so apply soon. www.thejoyschool.org/summer

Private School Admission Myth #2

Carolyn Means - Tuesday, January 30, 2018

HOUSTON PRIVATE SCHOOL ADMISSION MYTHS

Real Information Parents Can Use  

Carolyn Means, M.Ed., CEP

Houston’s Day School Consultant

Myth #2: Parents should not be truthful on applications.

Questions on School Applications:

Has your child had educational testing in the past?

Is there anything you would like to tell us that would help us know your child better?

Has your child been diagnosed with a learning disability?

Is your child currently taking medication?

Has your child been asked to leave a previous school?

What other schools did you apply to in the past?

Parent

“Oh, no!! This is an application to the school of our dreams and I have to answer these questions? If they find out the truth, my child will never be accepted.”

I get this reaction often, but my experience with schools has always proven that being truthful is the right choice. Of course, sometimes my client and I discuss a situation and determine that the answer is, “No”. Other times when it is clear that the answer is, “Yes”, I explain why schools need this information and why being truthful will benefit the child.

Myth #2: The Truth The truth is that schools want to partner with parents. Partnerships begin with a truthful application.

When parents are not truthful on applications, they begin a network of fibs that can come back to haunt them. Admission directors are not expecting to find perfect applicants. When they learn that a child has a learning differences or an unfortunate past experience, they want to know what support the student is getting and if it is sufficient for the student’s success.

If you have concerns about how to answer these types of questions, come see me for a SCHOOL SOLUTIONS Consultation to talk about how being truthful can benefit your chances of admission to a school. Often I can help parents with application responses by talking through the issue and helping them understand how the school might view it in a positive light.

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.

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.

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.


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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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