Tuesday, December 5, 2017

School Voucher Programs Should Be Clear About Disability Rights, Report Says

Good morning,

"A new report from the nonpartisan U.S. Government Accountability Office says many of the nation's voucher programs — and the private schools that participate in them — aren't giving parents the information they need to make an informed choice, especially parents of kids with disabilities." 

Today we are sharing an article from npr.org entitled 'School Voucher Programs Should Be Clear About Disability Rights, Report Says.' As a problem that some parents are facing, this article advocates for some changes that need to happen in order for students to the right assistance possible.

"School voucher programs need (at least) three key ingredients:

1. Multiple schools (don't roll your eyes, city dwellers, this one's a brick wall for many rural parents).

2. A system that makes private schools affordable for low-income parents. Choice isn't choice if it's only the rich who get to choose.

3. And transparency, so that a child's caregiver can review the options and make an informed choice."

To read the original article and learn more about the third point the article makes, visit the article link here. 

Learn more about how we specialize in helping students with learning disabilities by visiting: www.linderec.com

Are We Thinking About Reading Comprehension All Wrong?

Good morning,

Today we are talking about reading and reading comprehension in schools. For many years there has been a great emphasis on reading and learning word sets however reading comprehension has often been tested as a separate skill. New research suggests that the way our brains learn reading requires more integrative comprehension, which could require schools and teachers to rethink the way they teach reading.

"Educators and parents are obsessed with reading; and the emphasis has only grown in recent decades as reading became a defining indicator of academic success on standardized tests. Yet despite the obsession with teaching reading in the early grades, many educators don’t fully understand how the brain reads, writes Daniel Willingham, a professor of psychology at the University of Virginia, in a New York Times op-ed.' 

'Current education practices show that reading comprehension is misunderstood. It’s treated like a general skill that can be applied with equal success to all texts. Rather, comprehension is intimately intertwined with knowledge. That suggests three significant changes in schooling."

To continue reading more of the article visit the original article link here.  To learn more about Linder Educational Coaching visit www.linderec.com.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Spit Test May Help Reveal Concussion Severity

Good morning,

Has your child had a concussion or suspected concussion before? Have you ever noticed them struggling in school days after their injury? If so, you're not a lone. A lot of parents have wondered when their children will return to "normal" and stop exhibiting symptoms of the concussion. Now thanks to researchers at The Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda there is a new saliva test that can help determine just that.

"A saliva test could greatly improve care for 
young people who don't have obvious symptoms of a concussion, says Manish Bhomia, an adjunct assistant professor at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Md.'

"A lot of children get mild concussion and oftentimes it goes ignored," he says.

A reliable lab test would help ensure that children who have a head injury don't go back to school, or to the soccer field, before their brain has healed, Bhomia says.

And microRNAs offer a promising way to assess concussions in adults as well as children, says Bhomia, whose research involves a range of "biomarkers" for traumatic brain injury."

To learn more about the services we offer children visit us at: www.linderec.com 

Monday, November 20, 2017

Deciding Between the ACT & SAT

Our test prep specialist Matt is back with a blog about how to decide if the ACT or SAT is right for your child. Follow us to get updates on our weekly test prep blogs, including upcoming study schedules and prep videos!

First and foremost, students weighing which test is best for them should take a full-length practice test for each!  You want these diagnostic tests to simulate testing conditions as much as possible, so a few important guidelines are:

Take them timed!  As we discussed last time, there are differences in pacing and timing between the two tests, which factors heavily into how students score and how students feel moving through each section. 
Take them in a quiet, distraction free environment.  The “which day of the week are you” quiz can wait until you’re done.
 Make sure you are awake and fully functional on the days you take them.  These tests do eat up a lot of time, so a good goal might be doing one test on a Saturday one weekend and then the other test the following Saturday. 

After students take a practice ACT and a practice SAT, the biggest thing I look at is their overall percentile on each.  Generally, whichever test a student scores higher on in their initial diagnostic is the one I recommend focusing on most heavily.

There are, I suppose, a few exceptions to this, and I try to take the following factors into account with my students when developing a plan for test-prepping. 

Personal preference/confidence: Sometimes I have students who felt a lot more comfortable taking the test they initially scored worse on, and feel like with practice they can do better on that one.  This is most commonly the case when students feel like they’ve forgotten a lot of the relevant math concepts tested, but with practice they could master those concepts more easily.  For example, I’ve had  students score higher on the ACT initially, but feel a lot more confident about the algebraic concepts emphasized on the SAT and want to focus on improving there. 
Logistical: Another big consideration (especially for seniors trying to prepare for these tests) can be logistical: the ACT and SAT offer different administrations throughout the year, and occasionally there are situations where a student may not have quite enough time to prepare for the October SAT, and have college applications due before the next available date.  In these cases it is important to look carefully at what the students’ various deadlines are, how much time they have before different test dates, and get a realistic sense of how much time the students will have to prepare before each test date.  Overall, however, these situations are avoidable, and speak to the importance of planning out test-prep far in advance. 

I think the discussion of ideal timelines for test-prep is important enough to merit its own blog post (we’ll probably want to get into that next time), but I do want to end with a couple thoughts and observations I’ve had pertaining to today’s topic of deciding between the ACT and the SAT.

Math counts for 25% of the score on the ACT and 50% of the score on the SAT, so (theoretically at least) students whose strong suit is math would have better chances on the SAT, and students who struggle in math might prefer the ACT.
The hardest sections to finish on-time tend to be ACT science, ACT reading, and SAT math no-calculator.  Therefore, slower readers might struggle more on the ACT, and those who need more time for math problems and feel more pressured under time might struggle more on SAT math (however, people do sometimes have a hard time finishing ACT math as well, which is why taking a diagnostic is so important)
I have had many students start off lower on the SAT and then do better on it when they take the real one (and vice-versa) so it is very often a good idea to prepare for both and take each at least once.  These tests remain an important part of the college application process, and getting the best possible score you can is definitely worth the time and effort it takes to prepare for them! 

Learn more by visiting  linderec.com 

Monday, November 13, 2017

How Making Art Helps Teens Better Understand Their Mental Health

Good morning all,

Last week we shared an article which brought to light the pressures teens put on themselves and the anxiety they can feel from college applications, testing and just schoolwork in general. It is important that in order for these anxious teens to succeed, they are able to recognize their feelings of anxiety and work to address them. One way some teens can do this is through art.  According to an article from ww2.kqed.org/ "artistic expression may decrease anxiety, feelings of anger and depression. This creative process can also enhance cognitive abilities, foster greater self-awareness and help students regulate their emotions." 

The article further goes on to talk about some of the other benefits that art expression can have on today's students. "Art teaches kids problem-solving and decision-making skills,” says Wardrip. “Creativity also promotes identity development, helping students find their ‘place’ in the world.” (To view the full article click on the link here.) 

Linder Education works to help students identify their school-related stressors and find ways of organization and expression to be able to work through them successfully in a comfortable, supportive environment. To learn more about the services we can offer your student, visit: www.linderec.com