Executive Functioning FAQ

How do I know if my child needs Executive Functioning support?

Generally, we recommend our Executive Functioning program for students who face achievement hurdles, not because of challenges with content or comprehension, but because of issues with motivation, reflection, and execution.  Academic Skills encompasses all of those soft-skills that allow us to set and achieve goals; in psychological circles, these skills are known as executive functions. At Private Prep, we have noticed that many children need to bolster their Academic Skills as they work through transitions, which is why we offer Academic & College Transitions services in addition to traditional, ongoing Academic Skills—or Executive Functioning—Coaching. Read here for more information on deciding when students need Academic or College Transitions support.

Why does my child need support during transitions?

Transitions—whether from elementary to middle school, middle to high school, or high school to college—can be stressful for students.   In middle school, children must develop systems to track themselves and their work as they move from room to room and interact with several teachers, all of whom can have different expectations. In high school, most teachers expect that their students are already accustomed to note-taking and assignment-tracking, but those skills are rarely explicitly taught. In college, the amount of homework and independence that students experience can increase significantly. Any time children add new commitments and responsibilities to their daily lives, they experience new strains on their ability to manage time, plan, organize, and motivate—all neurological skills that are only beginning to develop by adolescence.

What makes Private Prep’s Academic Skills Program stand out?

Private Prep believes in a data-driven and collaborative process. We start our transitions coaching with the BRIEF2 or the BRIEFA: a norms-referenced set of surveys that help us better understand your child’s strengths and weaknesses based on feedback from parents and students, as well as either a teacher or additional provider, if you choose to put us in touch with them. After our first session, we provide a write-up with summaries of the survey results and a clear plan to support your child.

We believe in working as a team. Our Academic Skills team shares resources and best practices so that you benefit from our collective experience. Our team includes certified learning specialists with experience working in schools who can offer professional strategies based on your child’s IEP or most recent evaluations, if relevant. When you work with us, you get the insights and skills from a collective team of experts.

What does an Academic Skills Coach do?

Academic Skills Coaches work with students to establish habits that will make them more successful in all areas of their life. These skills are commonly referred to as executive functioning skills and include note-taking, study strategies, physical organization, time management, emotional management, resilience, and problem-solving. At the start of the program, our Academic Skills Coaches will meet a few times a week with students to establish new habits. This will either take place in-home or remotely, allowing for flexibility in scheduling and timing. After the first few weeks, our Coaches will evaluate the student’s progress and make a recommendation on check-in frequency. They will collaborate with you and your student to establish a schedule that matches your needs.

How long will my child work with an Academic Skills Coach?

This depends on each student’s goals. Most students meet frequently with their coach for several months to establish executive functioning skills and get systems in place. Once students are comfortable in their new systems, they tend to meet less frequently with coaches, as long as they continue to meet their goals. These students often find that some support at the start of each school year is helpful as they adjust to new schedules and teachers.

Students with specific goals—as well as students who need guidance in finding goals or areas of significant challenge—may be on a different timeline. Whatever the scenario, our goal is to help students establish skills that enable them to make future academic transitions independently.

When is the best time to work with an Academic Skills Coach?

Generally,  the best time to start transitions work is at the beginning of the school year, when students can review their current systems, as well as the expectations and requirements of their new teachers. For College Transitions, we recommend that work start towards the end of the summer before college begins.  Of course, any time you notice that your child needs help is the right time to reach out.

The beginning of adolescence (around age 11 or 12) is an ideal age for students to begin the program. During this period, the human brain experiences a growth spurt largely centered in the area that supports these skills. Later in life our brains begin to shed the neurological connections that aren’t being used, which makes it important to develop good habits in adolescence. If habits are established during this time, students can utilize them into and beyond adulthood.

What is the cost of working with an Academic Skills Coach?

Academic Skills Coaches at Private Prep are billed at varying hourly rates. Additionally, each family will receive a complimentary evaluation and proposed plan, which includes a goal write-up and execution plan. Contact us for specific pricing.

How do we get started with an Academic Skills Coach?

If you’re interested in learning more contact us. 

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