college readiness and executive functioning skills

College Readiness & Executive Functioning: Is Your Student Ready for College?

Time moves fast as a parent. One day you’re looking to enroll your child in a pre-K program – then, before you know it, your child is all set to graduate from high school and embark into adulthood. While senior year is an exciting time for your student, transitioning to college also brings the subject of college preparedness to mind for us as parents, raising one critically important question: Is my child ready for college? 


Of course, college may not be the preferred option (or even the most accessible option) for every student – but a wealth of research routinely shows possessing a bachelor’s degree leads to greater income potential compared to a high school diploma. For example, data from 2021 illustrated that individuals who possess a bachelor’s degree earned approximately $22,000 more on average per year when compared to their peers who possessed a high school diploma. 


The same study notes that college graduates were able to navigate the Great Recession better than their peers who did not possess a bachelor’s degree. During economically uncertain times, a college education may afford your student some much-needed stability. 


Despite the clear advantages associated with pursuing a college education, students will inevitably experience a wide array of academic challenges which compromise their ability to earn a degree. Common academic challenges include poor study habits, difficulties comprehending course materials, test anxiety which contributes to negative exam scores, and much more. The ability to meet and exceed these challenges greatly hinges on your student’s overall college readiness

What is College Readiness?


College readiness (also referred to as college preparedness) is defined as the level of competence an independent student requires to enroll and succeed academically in a postsecondary institution offering a bachelor’s degree program. 


Want to help your student get ready for college? Start focusing on what NOT to do for them. As parents and full-time caretakers, we constantly grapple with allowing our children to do things for themselves. It’s easy to lose sight that hardship – and even failure – is oftentimes a precursor to empowerment and autonomy. When it comes to preparing your student for college success, it’s your job to create the space required for your student to decide to do things for themselves. Academic coaching services from Effective Students are specifically designed to show you how. 

College Readiness Skills = Executive Functioning

Executive functioning skills are the number one indicator of long-term success. Self-awareness, a lead executive functioning skill, coupled with self-management, is what can make freshman year a success or failure. The late years of high school and early years of college are when students have the real opportunity to develop these skills through practice, success, struggles, and adjustments.    


The sooner students become independent with executive functioning skills, the more prepared they’ll be for studies in higher education. Life will expose this skill or lack thereof. So, if we’re intentional about building these skills in our kids, they will develop the ability to self-direct, no matter which path they choose.


Effective Students will help your child become aware of what they can do themselves and become more independent, while also assuring parents that their concerns are being addressed.  Our academic coaches are ready to help college students achieve academic success.

How to Get Ready for College with Effective Students


Need help with college prep? We make getting ready for college easier for students, empowering them with the skills that help them achieve their goals in education, paving the way to college success. Take our free Student Readiness Survey now or contact us for more information about our academic coaching solutions

how to help your child develop self-regulation skills

Helping Your Child Develop Self-Regulation Skills

Setbacks are a natural part of life. The perfect plan is usually too good to be true and is often never executed as intended; there’s almost always a pesky roadblock that keeps things from running smoothly. Whether that be a pop quiz that messes with a student’s chances of getting an A in a class, an injury that keeps an athlete from playing in the final game of a season, or a literal roadblock in the form of traffic that makes someone late for class, there’s always going to be challenges that we’re going to have to face. Unfortunately, this can be a hard reality for a lot of young people and sometimes their reactions to adversity make an unfavorable situation worse. This is when self-regulation skills, also known as self-management skills, become an invaluable resource for young people in school and later on in life.

Emotional Quotient and Why It Matters

Self-regulation skills are one of the five main characteristics that make up an individual’s emotional quotient (EQ), or in other words: emotional intelligence. Self-regulation, self-awareness, motivation, empathy, and social skills work hand in hand to make us part of a well-adjusted member of society. 


Self-regulation is the ability to modulate an emotional response to a desired or undesirable situation or turn of events. Examples are remaining calm when things don’t go as planned or refraining from emotionally withdrawing when encountering a setback. Even getting upset but returning to a calm state would qualify as being able to ‘self-regulate’. Having deficiencies in self-management skills makes for an unbalanced EQ, often leading to undesirable outcomes in the form of low self-esteem and low self-confidence for kids and adults in the long run.

Signs of Underdeveloped Self-Management Skills

Parents or teachers may observe a student who is emotionally sensitive in response to situations not going their way, has a large emotional reaction to disappointment or frustration, and/or becomes stuck (rigid) in an angry state and is unable to calm down without external support. These students often fixate on the negative emotions and miss out on opportunities to healthily overcome adversity and grow from the experience. Facing undesirable situations is an inevitable law of life. Using one’s self-regulation skills to emotionally modulate responses is important to get along in social settings, adjust expectations to complete tasks and ultimately learn from mistakes.

Self-Regulation Skills for Children

The ability to self-regulate begins from the moment we’re born into the world. A baby is capable of practicing self-management skills when it self-soothes by sucking on a pacifier or focusing in on the colorful mobiles hanging from atop the crib. Later on, young toddlers and elementary school-aged children learn to reflect on their feelings before they act on their impulses by practicing breathing techniques or counting strategies to cool down if they feel upset in moments of distress. As they age and school becomes more complex these strategies need an upgrade. Higher-level concepts like time management and careful, purposeful planning become crucial to meet the needs of middle school, high school, and college workloads. 

Self-Regulation Skills for Students

Being able to plan around or adjust to potential setbacks is one of the most important skills that a student can have in school. In fact, setbacks are often disguised as learning opportunities.  For instance, you aren’t always able to pick the partner of your choice for a project, and sometimes you’ll feel like there just isn’t enough time to study and also keep up with band or soccer practice. Life gets hectic and the need for discipline and grit is essential when confronting all that life has to throw at us. At Effective Students, we help your student grow by reframing situations and providing guidance using the tenets of good executive functioning coaching. 

Self-Management Skills Examples

Self-regulation and self-management skills fall under the umbrella of executive functioning, encapsulating the necessary mental processes that allow us to focus our attention, plan, and organize tasks effectively, and adjust to the unexpected. 


The following executive functioning skills, when taught successfully by the right coach or teacher and parents will yield incredible results for children that struggle with self-management skills:

  • Planning & Prioritizing
    • With the right scheduling and planning, a student will feel comfortable knowing exactly what is expected during the school day. By having a good plan for the week, you can account for any bumps in the road by prioritizing activities according to their rank of importance. 
  • Organization
    • Having the right materials organized in the way that best suits a student’s learning needs is crucial. There is much relief when you know exactly what works and where it is located. 
  • Time management
    • This goes hand and hand with planning and prioritizing. The busier the schedule, the more time management is necessary to make things happen. A student can feel overwhelmed without a proper sense of time management in their lives. 
  • Emotional Regulation
    • Breathing techniques and other forms of self-awareness including physical activity are excellent channels that go a long way toward helping kids when they encounter stressful or unexpected situations. By incorporating these into their lives, students will grow the appropriate social-emotional responses to many of life’s challenges. 

Find ways to incorporate self-regulation skills activities into the lives of your students and children by visiting and researching our course curriculum and speaking to one of our trained executive functioning coaches! Having well-balanced self-regulation skills is an important part of school and life.  At Effective Students, we can help your student develop the skills to be strong, self-directed learners.

Effective Students Partners with Lead Center for Youth – Investing in the L.E.A.D. Ambassadors

Effective Students today announced a new partnership with L.E.A.D. Center for Youth. This partnership will provide executive function coaching to L.E.A.D. student athletes.


“As a sports-based youth development organization, helping our boys understand that the principles and disciplines learned through sport are transferable to their academic environment is vital to their development of academic self-efficacy,” says Kelly Stewart, Founder at L.E.A.D. Center For Youth. “Partnering with Effective Students is a win/win for us because their academic coaches value sports and understand how to reach student-athletes in a relative way that helps them approach the challenges of academics the same way they approach challenges in baseball.”


“Coaching the L.E.A.D. Ambassadors to develop executive functioning skills is a privilege and priority for us,” says Rachael Barron Founder of Effective Students. “With the personalized support and trusted study skills curriculum, the Ambassadors will continue to grow in dictating their own future and lead us in ours.”


The benefits of this new partnership include:


  • Coaching with a focus on academics and the importance thereof
  • Proven ‘how to’ to be academically successful
  • Specialized instruction for the students who need it


“Making wise decisions and using resources for development are two practices that are coached through L.E.A.D. programming.  We encourage regulation on and off the field, as well as in personal and academic affairs,” Says Sophia Catchings,  L.E.A.D.’s Director of Education and Careers.  “Through partnership with Effective Students the boys are given additional resources and support to promote accountability in their lives.  This is executed by means of small group coaching or one-on-one academic support where Effective Students deliver their notable instructional practices of teaching, demonstrating, and allowing real-world application of executive functioning skills.  Their coaching strategies and prompt feedback supports L.E.A.D. Center for Youth in developing a tailored sports-based youth development program from a holistic approach.  We cannot neglect the STUDENT in the progression of our student-athletes.”


About Effective Students: Effective Students provides academic coaching and curricula to students and educators.  Founded to equip every student with the skills to work smarter and direct their own future academic pursuits, Effective Students works with students 1:1 and in small group to develop the executive functioning skills for long term success.  Partnering with schools and educators, Effective Students also trains educators in the Effective Student Method via the with the purpose of engaging self-directed learners and leaders.


About L.E.A.D. Center for Youth:  Through our year-round Pathway2Empowerment, sport-based youth development (SBYD) programming, L.E.A.D. is inspiring and equipping Black males with the empowerment they need to live sustainable lives of significance.  With the mission of empowering an at-risk generation to lead and transform their city of Atlanta by using the sport of baseball to teach Black boys how to overcome three curveballs that threaten their success: crime, poverty, and racism.


effective students curriculum

How the Top 5 Trends in Education Connect to Effective Students’ Executive Function Curriculum

Recently, an article was published on EHL Insights entitled “5 Trends in Education that Continue in 2022” (Debetaz, 2022).  The article centers around trends that educators should focus on in order to maintain engaging learning environments. While these trends of course connect to classroom learning, the Effective Student Executive Function Curriculum incorporates each of these elements into lessons implemented with students we coach.  Let’s investigate further how the Effective Student Curriculum tackles these 5 trends. 


Trend 1: Growth of Technology

In the article, the influx of technology into the world of education is addressed. Growth of technology and improvements in these resources have increased the flexibility and variety of instruction strategies available to teachers.  Many schools have switched to more online access to materials such as textbooks, learning resources, and assignment planners.  But, with all the increased access to online technology tools, students are left to engage in learning through online platforms that can be challenging to navigate themselves. (Debetaz, 2022).


How does Effective Students incorporate technology into the learning process for students? Lessons focus on engaging with the list of resources available to students in ways that improve learning and are meaningful to students.  For example, students learn to create their own study tools via online gamified learning sites and evaluate their knowledge via self-testing.  Students also work with coaches to learn navigation of their schools’ learning management systems to discover the information they truly need to find in order to successfully stay on target with due dates and assessments thus building their time management and planning skills.   


Trend 2: Soft Skills Training

Debetaz discusses how some of the most critical abilities of employed people center around more soft skills versus the trade-specific skills that were more of a focus in previous years.  Skills such as “critical thinking, problem-solving, people management, and creativity” are some of the most important skills for future leaders to master within the workplace. (Debetaz, 2022).  As teachers, we have all experienced students who struggle with flexible thinking in our classrooms. 


While teachers in the classroom must incorporate these skills into their lesson plans, Effective Students actively incorporate soft skills into the curriculum via activities that build and reward flexible thinking skills and self-awareness.  Effective Student Coaches work with students giving consistent and constructive feedback in order for students to gain increased self-awareness with their own learning, strengths, and weaknesses.  Students are equipped to confront weaknesses, giving them the tools to learn how to overcome these for themselves, leading to success.  


Trend 3: Student Trend of Decreasing Attention Spans

Mentioned in the article by Eric Debetaz is a study conducted by Microsoft related to the attention spans of individuals.  This study, run from 2000 to 2015, found that students’ ability to stay focused decreased from 12 seconds to 8 seconds over the course of this time period. There are many different theories as to why this has changed over time – from access to technology or constant need for stimulation. But, either way, students are clearly needing more consistent engagement during class in order to stay focused on their learning. As Eric Debataz mentioned in the article, “modern students want to be challenged, and they value interaction”(Debetaz, 2022).


Through incorporating an Executive Function Curriculum into the classroom or through one-on-one coaching, students learn ways to recognize their own ability to pay attention and foster engagement through study action time. Effective Students focuses on study actions, instead of study strategies or duration, as ways to teach students to identify ways to engage in multisensory activities for test preparation, as opposed to rote memorization or passive studying. Students become active participants in their education, including evaluating their content knowledge and preparation steps thus creating opportunities for deeper engagement and problem-solving in their own futures. 


Trend 4: Facilitating Learning vs Teaching

Throughout the addition of technology into classrooms, along with greater access to information worldwide, the job of the classroom teacher has evolved into a guiding role as students learn to obtain information using their own resources.  The author of “5 Trends in Education that Continue in 2022” mentions how teachers must guide students to “understand how to learn, to love learning, and how to uncover and understand the information they find” (Debetaz, 2022).  Eric Debetaz goes on to explain how the “best teachers will be those who can help students take ownership of their learning” (Debetaz, 2022). 


At Effective Students, our mission when working with students is to help them learn to understand themselves as learners and to take ownership of their own learning, just as Debetaz mentioned.  As we work with our students through the Executive Function Curriculum, students learn to become more self-aware, self-sufficient, and independent.  Our focus as educators is to help students learn to tackle challenges that arise and be unafraid to engage in struggles. It’s not whether students will encounter struggles, but rather how they respond to them.  The Effective Student Curriculum is intentionally designed to build this competency in students. 


Trend 5: Lifelong Learning Trend

The final trend reflected upon in this article is how the current job market has created careers where individuals must continue updating their education after joining the workforce.  With how quickly markets, technology, and careers shift in today’s society, it has become impossible for companies to stay current without continuous engagement in learning from their employees.  Thus, Debetaz argues that teachers must now create further opportunities for “teaching self-learning so that students can continue to learn and engage in their chosen fields”  (Debetaz, 2022).  


At Effective Students, engagement in learning and continued desire to progress forward in one’s education is a key component of the curriculum.  Coaches work to encourage students to find motivation in educational pursuits.  Students learn self-direction and self-reflection throughout the curriculum how to identify their own scheduling and time management constraints, which creates opportunities for them to also identify ways to get ahead on what’s coming next. Furthermore, students work on how identifying their own weaknesses and strengths through consistent self-reflection. These skills directly translate to engaging with the modern workforce, where time management, getting ahead, and self-reflection are key to learning more and helping move a company forward.  


The article “5 Trends in Education that Continue in 2022” focused on classroom trends that are occurring around the world today. At Effective Students, though, we see these trends as lasting new methods of addressing an ever-changing classroom and work environment.  Thus, the Effective Students Curriculum focuses on engaging learners in their own learning process and helping them gain the self-awareness necessary to be active participants in their education moving forward. 


Cited Sources: 


Debetaz, Eric (2022). 5 Trends in education that continue in 2022. Retrieved from: https://hospitalityinsights.ehl.edu/education-trends-2022 

executive function lessons

Executive Functioning Lessons for Success

It seems as early as elementary school, students are hearing about how they need to be “prepared for the future”.  The pressures of getting into advanced courses begin, even at the start of middle school. Students are then encouraged to focus on college preparation and readiness. With all of this focus on success in the future, what are schools doing to ensure students are developing the skills now to succeed once they get there? 


Perhaps the biggest determinant of success, both in school and in life, is not actually subject matter knowledge, but rather a mastery of Executive Functioning Skills.  Executive Functioning Skills center around flexible thinking, organizational skills, time management, and emotional regulation.  So, this begs the question, how can we, as educators and parents, ensure that students are best able to grow and develop Executive Functioning Skills? A systematic, scaffolded Executive Functioning Curriculum with a set of specific Executive Functioning Lessons designed to address these skills incrementally, with exercises to help students become aware of and build these competencies.

Executive Function Classes

Educators approach designing lessons and learning experiences that reinforce understanding and move toward the ultimate goal of content mastery.  As stated in Understanding by Design, teachers “must be able to state with clarity what the student should understand and be able to do as a result of any plan” set forth in the curriculum (Wiggins et al., 2005, p. 14).  


In the article Curriculum Design: Definition, Purpose, and Types, Karen Schweitzer mentions when learners are at the center of curriculum design, this is “meant to empower [students] and allow them to shape their education through choices” (Schweitzer, 2020).  At Effective Students, the Executive Function lessons have been designed to center on the learners’ needs and meet students where they are, both academically and organizationally.  This approach empowers learners to take charge of their own study plans, time management, and analysis of success.


As educators design curriculum for the classroom, Effective Students has done the same in the world of Executive Functions by creating a curriculum plan with an intentional focus on what it means to grow this particular set of skills.  Students work through a consistent cycle of practice, teacher feedback and self-awareness, and adjustments to practice in order to develop skills such as organization, time management, study actions, and the test analysis process.  This consistent cycle of feedback encourages higher learning outcomes with “measurable knowledge, skills, and attitudes” of students (Schweitzer, 2020).  Students gain independence with their own learning and confidence to approach challenging situations moving forward.  


If you’re looking for ways to incorporate Executive Functioning Lessons and have a robust Executive Functioning Curriculum in your school, check out our online teacher training and teacher instructional manual.  Help your students better prepare for all the things their futures may hold!


Cited Sources: 


Schweitzer, Karen. (2020, October 29). Curriculum design: Definition, purpose and types. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/curriculum-design-definition-4154176

Wiggins, G., Wiggins, G.P., & McTighe, J. (2005). Understanding by design. Ascd. 

adhd homework strategies

How to Focus on Homework with ADHD

The internet and social media are ubiquitous. An estimated 6.64 billion people use smartphones – roughly 83% of the world’s population! While you can’t entirely dismiss the fact that these devices are incredibly useful and have the potential to complement a student’s learning in unprecedented ways, the fact remains that they are more often than not, major distractions… and this is only more apparent for students with ADHD.


While in a classroom setting, a teacher has the ability to prohibit phones and corral their student’s attention with engaging lesson plans and engrossing activities. If they know that one of their students has been diagnosed with ADHD, they can make the additional effort to include them a little more purposefully and take the extra time to accommodate their specific needs.


Once that final bell rings and kids pour out of the classroom, however, it is up to students to manage the dreaded reality that is homework! An unavoidable question that students diagnosed with ADHD and their parents need to honestly ask themselves is: “How To Focus On Homework with ADHD?”

How To Do Homework With ADHD


The most common symptom of ADHD, and the major topic of today’s article, is the inability to stay focused. Most assignments require linear, step-by-step planning to complete and if a student with ADHD is distracted or disorganized in thought and unable to stay on task to follow those steps, they’ll find themselves frustrated and missing important assignments or studying opportunities. ADHD and homework are challenging. But that does not mean that there aren’t steps you and your kid can take to set them up for success. 

ADHD Homework Strategies


Like with most challenges, the path to overcoming them starts with a simple plan. It is helpful to sit down with your child over the weekend before the start of a busy school week and formulate a plan for the week – preferably with them participating in the decision-making.

ADHD Homework Tips:


  • Set up a homework station. Designate a specific area in the house that is associated with getting stuff done. 
  • Dispose of Distractions: Your designated homework station should be free of anything that might catch your eye (phones, TV, pets, gaming systems, etc).  Talk about how these are real – even for adults.  Each time they resist the temptation to follow that distraction, they are building focus and self-control. 
  • Organize your time. If you are going to have to spend 2 hours doing homework, break the time up into chunks. 30 minutes of work followed by 15 minutes of a break, etc. A timer can be helpful.  It also helps students build awareness of time as many students with ADHD struggle with time blindness. 
  • Medication awareness: If your child is prescribed an ADHD medication, be purposeful about when to administer it so that it can fall in line with homework and study time. If a medication wears off toward the end of the day, discussing how your student could use time during the school day to complete assignments can be beneficial. 
  • Weekly check in’s; Know what your child’s assignments are going to be for a specific week and ensure that these are being completed and handed in on time.  This is the accountability loop and builds awareness for students as to whether their efforts are working.  


How To Get Homework Done with ADHD: Executive Functioning


At Effective Students we believe that most academic problems learners experience in school stem from deficits in executive functioning—this is true for both ADHD learners and non-ADHD learners. Strong executive functioning skills like planning, organizing materials, and sustained attention are crucial in the context of completing homework assignments. 


Our Effective Students Method addresses those deficits in executive functioning with individualized curriculums and private coaching designed with the learner’s specific needs in mind. With the right kind of program and dedicated persistence, ADHD and homework no longer have to pose a threat to your child’s learning goals and performance in school.


Is our Executive Functioning Curriculum and Coaching right for you and your child? Schedule a 15-minute consult here to learn more!


executive functioning curriculum

Why is an Executive Functioning Curriculum Important?

As a parent or educator, a question most commonly at the forefront of thought is: How do we prepare our children for independence in a complex and dynamic world? In every academic career, students will inevitably face challenges and seemingly endless hurdles.–How can students be best prepared to successfully respond? An executive function curriculum is the best resource. 


Parents and teachers alike can only do so much as the proverbial “bowling alley bumpers” before kids have to face the consequences of throwing a gutter ball. However, if you can bear with me while I use another bowling metaphor, we as educators and parents can instill the groundwork needed for kids to throw strikes in both their academic and personal endeavors. But this takes the right kind of program, consistency, and resolute discipline to build the skills needed for success.


At Effective Students, we believe that there exists a universal foundation upon which all students can build. An executive functioning curriculum, as Effective Students provides, is the groundwork for that foundation. 


Executive Functioning Curriculum: What You Should Know


We trust that with proper executive functioning skills and the flexible thinking that comes with it, a well-adjusted and creative student is destined to be in the making. Executive functioning is a specific and related set of skills involved in conscious problem-solving and self-directed, controlled behavior. In other words, it is our ability to evaluate resources, make reliable plans and follow through. Having strong executive functioning skills is the antidote to the feeling of being overwhelmed. overwhelmed, students are prone to lose focus and become susceptible to anxiety and depression.  When this occurs, students can and often do assume a self-defeating attitude. They might see others around them succeeding and inevitably feel insecure, often unsure how to ask for help, resigned in their attempts to complete assignments to the best of their ability. The solution to this student’s problem can begin with something as simple as rearranging their materials and coaching them through some basic organizational techniques. With this first step, students begin to see things from different angles, encouraging the skill that is to think flexibly and incentivizing them to continue to learn more!


Another skill an evidence-based executive functioning curriculum should emphasize is flexible thinking. To have cognitive flexibility is to have the capacity to think about things in multiple ways and create various solutions to the same problem. Students will encounter last-minute changes to their routine which, without flexible thinking, can bring overwhelming feelings to the surface. For this reason, it is crucial children receive the proper teaching that instills flexibility and the ability to pivot quickly in the face of these hurdles. 

The Effective Students Method is an evidence-based executive functioning curriculum with specific lessons that can help students succeed by building their executive functioning skills in a step-by-step manner. We focus on creating awareness, getting kids organized, coaching them to manage their time, and building study skills so that they not only recall what they’ve learned but retain it for future application. 


Why Choose Effective Students for Executive Functioning Curriculum


Effective Students provides the best executive functioning curriculum for tracking students’ progress and provides measurable feedback to help them align activities to their current demands.  With well-constructed executive functioning skills, students are equipped to respond to academic challenges in a strategic and successful way, enabling them to overcome roadblocks, and building confidence and competence to enter the adult world successfully.  


Interested in learning more about our evidence-based executive functioning curriculum? Get in touch with us today!

how to teach flexible thinking

Teaching Kids to Use Flexible Thinking

Take a look at this image – what do you see? 

If you’re perceiving the profile of a young woman wearing a fancy fur coat you’re right. On the other hand, if you’re seeing a somber old woman staring off into the distance, you’re also correct! If you’re able to see both, pat yourself on the back – you’re demonstrating the ability to model flexible thinking, a critical skill under the umbrella of executive functioning. 


This famous illustration, named “My Wife and Mother-In-Law”, by Hill, W. E. (William Ely) 1915, is a fantastic visual example of what’s referred to as ‘flexible thinking’ in the world of executive functioning. In other words, flexible thinking is the ability to see many sides of a situation. 

Flexible Thinking For Kids: An Essential Skill

Not only is flexible thinking pretty handy when appraising an optical illusion – it’s downright essential for today’s students to succeed academically. Students will inevitably encounter all sorts of flexible thinking scenarios throughout their academic careers and having cognitive flexibility gives the student an advantage. Like with most things in life, plans are never set in stone and the need to adapt becomes unavoidable. Sometimes we’re paired with unhelpful partners for a really important project, other times a pop quiz might pop out of nowhere! Anticipating how to creatively confront and be prepared for the countless challenges that are destined to be in the way is an indispensable skill to start practicing and mastering in school…the carryover into the real world is indisputable. 


If a learner is “set in their ways”, and unable to readjust their perspective when tackling a problem, they will find themselves feeling frustrated. A characteristic of rigid thinking, or “stuck” thinking as it is also known, is the inability to modify approaches to solving a problem. Unfortunately, another common trait held by inflexible thinkers is that they avoid asking for help. As we all know, feelings of embarrassment or pride are often associated with making yourself vulnerable and admitting that you don’t know something. However, if we’re thinking in line with this article, the act of asking for help is one of the most basic ways that a student, parent, or teacher can begin to exercise their flexible thinking muscles. 


It commonly starts with the organization—a student cannot have the luxury to think flexibly when they do not have that most basic element of executive functioning under control. Either there are too many binders, not enough notebooks, a lack of dividers to separate course material, etc… There is not a one size fits all approach so it’s important to sit down with the student and start asking questions and experimenting with options that could work best for them. This new way of looking at things gets the flexible thinking juices flowing and sets the foundation for more leaps toward being a master of executive functioning.

Flexible Thinking Activities

The Effective Student’s Executive Functioning Curriculum delivers essential executive function lessons which include flexible thinking lessons. Executive functioning allows us to organize our thoughts and arrange our materials and time efficiently in order to execute a plan. Executive functioning is determined by three major functions: working memory, flexible thinking, and self-control. With the Effective Student’s Curriculum and our highly trained executive functioning coaches, we are able to provide support and model the flexible thinking behavior that’s needed from the ground up. We provide positive feedback for students’ approximations towards new and improved study and work behaviors. Eventually, the reinforcement comes in the form of improved grades and that feeling that they’re retaining and applying the things being taught. 


Are you interested in learning more about Effective Student’s Executive Functioning Curriculum? Reach out to us today to find what is best suited for you! 

What to Expect From a Study Strategies class

Parents are often relieved when schools offer Study Strategies classes during the school day.  This time can be exceptionally helpful especially when students have after-school activities, travel to/from school is time-consuming or there is stress between the parent and student when discussing academics.  But how do educators teach study skill strategies and what exactly is being taught in any study strategies class?  

An Inconvenient Truth About Study Strategies

The grim reality is that students are rarely taught how to study.  When polled, 73% of students in our practice have shared they were really never taught how to study and certainly not how to study effectively.  When a group of private school teachers in 4-6th grades were polled, 67% believed it was the previous grade level’s responsibility to teach students how to study.  Can you imagine going to work on a daily basis without having been taught how to do your job?  Without educators providing strategies to study effectively, students lack the tools they need to succeed. Is it any surprise students are turned off of academics when faced with such challenges?

Study Strategies: The Ever-Important Details

If your student is recommended for a Study Strategies class or Tools class, what should you expect from that class and what questions might you want to ask, especially if you’re paying for the class or your student is receiving special education services?  Here are some things to consider:    

  • How will I know if my student is making progress?  If a teacher says, “We are working on it” that is not the answer.  Countless parents reflect that their student has made an A in the Strategies class but their grades in content classes have not improved.  The Effective Student Curriculum provides a grading rubric with relevant academic management skills so students understand what it takes to be successful.  
  • How is my student being evaluated and assessed?  Students are assessed quarterly in content classes and annually against National and State standards.  Why should it be any different for Study Strategies classes?  If a teacher or administrator cannot be specific with this information, that is a red flag. The Effective Student Curriculum contains grading rubrics and standards of performance for the 5 critical units of academic management skills.  For skills to develop, they have to be measured.  
  • How do you meet with my student to determine if he/she is applying what they’re learning in your class?  This is the accountability loop and it is more than an athletic coach yelling at your student to ‘get your work done’.  This intervention is not specific to a student’s needs, and may raise anxiety levels which immediately reduces the executive functioning abilities of the frontal lobe. Metacognitive exercises are critical components as they serve as the  foundation of a healthy dialogue of awareness, feedback and adjustments. 
  • Is there a curriculum that is being used?  This is probably the most critical question to ask.  An administrator’s response that Coach X “gets boys” or Ms. Y “has taught Strategies forever” does not mean your student will learn skills they can apply. While educators want students to succeed, a framework of targeted skills (how to study – how to manage time), measurable outcomes (thinking associated with making a self-directed plan) and application to real life (grades in other classes) are critical and require measurement and generalization.  Academic Management skills are measurable just like learning content in Math or English.  The Effective Student Curriculum provides this framework and enlists parents, students and educators to collaborate for a common goal.  

The Effective Student Curriculum: Providing Modern Strategies to Study Effectively

The good news is schools understand the need for students to have the time to complete work due to busy schedules and there are educators that want to help students develop study skills.  To make sure it’s a good use of your student’s time and your resources, asking some important questions can help your student see measurable outcomes.  

What’s included in the Effective Student Curriculum? 

  • Online course training 11 hours of training in Executive functioning and how to teach
  • Comprehensive Teacher’s manual 
  • Pacing guides (Content Classes & Study Strategies Classes) 
  • Grading rubrics
  • Online grading, progress monitoring, and reporting
  • Mini lessons with hooks for classroom instruction 
  • Instructional videos for use in the classroom
  • Slide presentations that can be used for teacher led direct instruction
  • Printable workbook for students 
  • Printable handouts for parents to match pacing and lessons
  • Optimal skills by grade level
  • Certification process in The Effective Student™ Method
  • Community support through semi-monthly webinars


Want to learn more or interested in your PTA sponsoring a teacher? 

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How Does ADHD Affect College Students?

As a young student with ADHD, the home setting is a crucial environment for learning and succeeding in school. The structure and support that parents, siblings, and tutors can provide for these learners is crucial in their development and level of achievement in academics. A warm and supportive home fosters the discipline needed for the executive functioning that is necessary to plan, focus attention, and organize multiple tasks—all essential skill sets required in any academic setting.


It is a harmful misconception that ADHD college students, as a result of being accepted into college, no longer need support to succeed in their coursework. Unfortunately, the opposite is often reported. They can feel overwhelmed, that home setting they relied on has become a crutch kicked out from under them. As with most college experiences, the students move away from the home and are expected to independently manage their assignments while simultaneously confronting a variety of distractions that come from the demands of new social situations. College for students with ADHD for this reason can lead to unfavorable outcomes. Distractions multiply and with it the student’s performance and overall executive functioning skills take a hit.


According to the American College Health Association, reported cases for ADHD in college students are on the rise in the last 20 years—from 2 percent of the student body to 11.6 percent in 2020. That comes out to roughly 1 in 9 students who will be at significant risk for mood and anxiety disorders associated with poor academic performance, an imbalanced social life, and the potential of dropping out before receiving a degree.


Although the home setting as a tool to help students with ADHD get back on track is often not an option, this does not mean that help is not available. Effective Students offers workshops and personalized academic coaching programs for college students that target ways to improve executive functioning and time management. With these programs, college students with ADHD have the option to take online courses or work alongside an academic coach to devise the blueprints needed to succeed in college. 


The steps to ridding feelings of overwhelming and overbearing workloads and distractions starts with a simple plan. Our online workshops and academic coaches will channel the student’s energy and focus it on developing the steps needed to organize and manage their college workload. We empower students with accountability and metrics to measure their progress throughout the semester.

The goal of many families is to see their children off to college, a rite of passage that yields the coveted diploma that can open high-level career doors to young adults entering the workforce. Being impacted by the negative symptoms of ADHD in college should not be a deciding factor in a student’s success rate. With the right resources offered by Effective Students in the form of online workshops and academic coaches, someone with ADHD can learn to master the art of organization and time management and become the accomplished individual they were always meant to be.

© 2021 W3 Connections Inc.