Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Math Test Mishaps

Are you the type of parent that watches your child complete their math homework the night before a test so that they can earn an "A" and come home with a grade that is "unexpected"? If this is you, then you might have to change your mindset when it comes to test-taking, specifically in the area of math.

Math, similar to physics and chemistry, is an "application based subject". It's important to understand more than the material that has been presented in class in order to do well on tests.

After over a decade personally helping students with math, here are some reasons why students fail to earn that "A" on the test:

  1. Forgot to follow the directions (sometimes even reading them)! Yes, you would be surprised. I've seen students in Algebra that mistakenly mix up the positive and negative sign and walk out of the test telling mom and dad they aced the integers test.. Not a good idea.
  2. Poor penmanship. Some students think that they are already in medical school by the way they write. If his or her teacher cannot read what has been written, they cannot grade it either. When the skills become more cumbersome, students will try to collapse numbers that are not aligned in different columns so that they finish before everyone else. This is not a way to do well on tests.  
  3. Perplexed by Vocabulary. If your child is taking a test and cannot distinguish between the LCM and GCF and encounters a word problem, they are in a world full of hurt. 
  4. Homework: OPTIONAL. Even though your child has a great social life and a calendar filled with more extra-curricular activities than the valedictorian for Harvard, homework helps. 
  5. Math Basics. I am not saying that you need to complete 100 facts in 2 minutes, but you need to know all of them well enough to meander through calculations.  
Be aware of these signs of a student who may not be at their potential in math. If you would like more information about Math Study Tips, Math tutoring or enrichment, contact us at: info@learningridge.com or you can call us at (404) 964-8533. 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Computerized Testing For Young Students: Helpful or Hurtful?

When I was a student, actually - let me be completely honest, we didn’t have computer access when I was in school until I was in college (one of my math professors from Loyola talked to me about email, and that was freshman year). There were three computers in the entire school and we basically had drills (similar to what I assume they would have at the CDC) before we could even “touch” the computer. Before they had us walk into the “computer room”, they gave us a twenty minute lecture of how we were to respect the computer and that we were dealing with high tech materials that could cost the teacher in front of us their job. And of course, we had to go to the sink and wash our hands with soap, there was no such thing as "sanitizer" back then. It was good old fashioned, soap.
Fast forward (several decades later) to 2015, and there has never been a time more than ever where clients have been complaining to me about how their child cannot perform well on computerized standardized tests. It’s come to my attention that children are asked to perform monumental tasks that (as I breathe a sigh of relief) I cannot imagine performing at such a young age.
A few years ago, a first grader in one of the City Districts took one of these exams, for the first time. He was excited to take a computerized exam because, like most children, computers and technology do not signal, “testing” or “reading”, it signals "fun" and "recreation" like challenging your friend’s high score on Temple Run. When his mother saw his score, compared to his peers in the district, she was mortified. I remember meeting with her at one of my favorite coffee shops and her eyes looked bloodshot as if she spent the entire night either crying or had to take a bottle of aspirin to rid herself of the headache also known as "raising kids to be smart, sociable, and successful". His mother was not the first mother to complain to me, and she certainly was not the last. We came up with a plan to increase his scores on that computerized test and the last time I saw his score, he was in the 98th percentile in the district. Sadly, every year I have parent after parent call foul on these computerized assessments that feel more like a polygraph test administration than an actual test of basic skills.
Let me be clear: despite our technophilic tendencies, many children still learn  to read in a more traditional way. For the first few years of a child's life, many parents snuggle up with their children and read them a bedtime story. They use a non-technological device called their fingers to teach their children how to track the words on the page and use the volume of their voice to emphasize certain interesting or exciting parts of a story. Children begin to engage in the reading by flipping the pages of a book and readjust their focus as they find their place. Nowadays, these behaviors have quickly been replaced with a computerized screen that does not have the ability to change the location of the  text or allow you to touch or mark it. As you can already imagine,  it’s a highly stressful and frustrating experience.
Most adults, let alone most children, need time to absorb information when reviewing material on a screen. As one reads through a passage, several processes must take place when you are reading in order to understand it proficiently. If you are like most people, you must prime  yourself  before answering any type of question. Here are some tips for your young reader to help them take their next computerized test:
3 Skills For Great Computerized Test Takers
Use Your Imagination
As I read through the words of a book or an article, it’s important that I take a second and use my imagination to understand what the writer is trying to convey. Sometimes the idea of “imagery” is a difficult concept for students when they are thrown into a computerized test.
Be Organized
The other process that takes place when reading through information is that you must organize the details as you read. Sometimes the glare of  the screen or the other distracting noises that you could hear as you are given these tests could be a strain on your attempt to organize the data.
Use Your Memory
Lastly, the ability to recall the information can only be done if, you have a way to remember. If your student is stressed beyond belief, then they may not remember key pieces of information to help them answer some of the reading comprehension questions.
If you or anyone you know have questions about education, testing, learning challenges, or just want to talk about your child, feel free to contact me at: christine@learningridge.com or visit our website at www.learningridge.com .

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

How to Be A Great PlayDate Host!

New to the field of Playdating? Here's some insight from our best clients at Learning Ridge..

Are you new to the area and are trying to have your children integrate with their peers at school? Then organizing a play date with one or more of their friends will be a sure win!

As you learn more about your child and their friends, here are a few PlayDate Host Rules:

1. Be gracious with your accommodations

You do not have to change your home to Disney World, but you should make your little guests feel welcome. Make sure they know where the necessities are (bathroom, place for their belongings) and where they need to be for the duration of their playdate.

2. Establish ground rules

Before the playdate starts, make sure that you reinforce "house rules" with your child and their friends. Depending on your parenting style, you may use a more active approach by discussing important topics with the child and their parents or you could use a less direct approach by engaging in conversation with your child where the information will be relayed to their friend. Be sure to use proper language with your child’s friends and expect them to do the same. 

If the playdate is at your house or is in an area that you may not be as familiar with, ensure that there are safe zones for them to wander in (kitchen, basement, playroom) and red zones where they are to not be out of your sight (garage, pool area without adult supervision, garage). This will ensure unnecessary search teams looking for your child and the other children on the playdate. 

3. Discuss meals/activity options

The last thing a parent wants to hear when their child is finally in the car from a playdate is that their friend’s parents did not feed them anything at all. Parents, it’s a playdate, not your version of “Survivor: Home Edition”. If things are too hectic for you, pick up a pizza, grab some donuts or take them to the park. If you are the parent of the child and know that the other parent runs a tight pantry, send your child off with a few snacks and an activity book to keep them occupied.

4. Count how many children you are responsible for

This is so important but some parents miss it. Make sure that you leave with the exact number of children that you came with (this advice is really meant for the fathers who might have "mommy duty" when their wife is out of town). Otherwise, if you miscount and accidentally leave a few children behind or inherit children from another play group, you’ll end up meeting someone dressed up in blue later on that evening.

5. No matter how much you want to pry, don’t be nosy around your child’s friends

I was having lunch one day and this mom was looking for a way to have her son join a baseball team. She kept prodding her son’s friend about the team, the coach, the players, until her son’s friend said, “Are you thinking about having your son play?” It was really tacky, and most children like playing with their friends rather than be interviewed on a playdate.

If you need to find out more about the other service providers your children's friends have in their circle, it may be best to ask the other parents. Using interrogation techniques does not make for a pleasant play date atmosphere and makes you look a little too.... tacky.

For more information about Playdating or General Questions about Education, feel free to contact Learning Ridge at 404-964-8533 or you can email info@learningridge.com

Monday, October 12, 2015

Atlanta JATP "Private School Parent Archetypes"

It’s October, also known as “Private School Season”. If you haven’t done so already, the calendar that coordinates all of your personal goals and objectives will slowly be overtaken by your child’s Private School Schedule. It’s going to be an arduous ride for all of you, but how will your personality fit in with this entire process?

After a decade of working with so many clients in this city, I’ve come to realize there are four different types of “Pre-Private School Parents”. Read through these descriptions and try to figure out which one you are!

“Do Nothing” Parents

These parents are the first to turn in their application and the first to start crying silently when April comes and they receive an onslaught of rejection letters in the mail. They’ve spoken to all of their friends who have kindly told them that the only way your child will get in will be to just turn in the application.  Perhaps their odds may be better spent on a weekend in Atlantic City but not on the future of your child’s private school placement. My experience working with these parents is the moment that they call me in the spring, it’s time to work on next year’s application.

The “I’m Connected” Parent

They are members of  the same country club as the Former Headmaster of the school that you are applying to. Or they think that if they have lunch with the mothers at “Insert Name of Private School”, they’ll get in. Easier said than done, right? 

I’m Getting JATP Prep/Consultation From A Former Private School Staff Member

I’ve seen some parents that have taken the time to work with these private school consultants and it’s really interesting to me. Some of them have a background that is so far from education that I wonder how they can even consult on the proper “educational fit” for your child. 

After a few years in the field, sources have confided in me that the information being presented is more of a formality that provides a little more than the what you could see from a brochure/website. As far as anything above and beyond that, good luck! 

Holistic Approach Parent

These parents are the ones who plan ahead, look at their different options, and focus on a plan for private school. When these parents call Learning Ridge, LLC, they know that they have someone to talk to and can rely on their years of working with clients who have successfully been admitted into these private schools and also who are currently attending these private schools, to help them through this process. By working with our experienced Educational Consultant, you will know how to prepare your child for the next few months, but also yourself!

So there you have it! Which archetype to you belong to?

For more information about the Admissions Preparation Process for Private Schools in the Atlanta area, feel free to contact Learning Ridge at 404-964-8533 or you can email us at: christine@learningridge.com

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Is It Misbehavior, Or A Symptom of A Bigger Problem

Temper tantrums, stomach aches, missed school days, hitting/biting/throwing objects at you unprovoked. What most parents see as deliberate misbehavior is actually the sign of a child that is not self-regulated.

What causes children to not be regulated? Over the years I've seen parents discuss their children's behavior to me and more often than not, there are a few commonalities that can be found in misbehaved children. If your child seems to be "acting out", look to see if there are any irregularities from this list:

Basic Needs

Is your child sleeping, playing, and relaxing enough? If not, you will probably need to start taking note of these minor but important needs.

Sometimes even the most minor changes in sleep schedules or play can cause a child to hit overdrive. If they are attending a new school or if their best friend has just moved away, it could also be a hard transition for them to deal with and they are unable to communicate this coherently. Watch for when they hit the sack, but make sure that they are sound asleep and not "pretending".

Nutritional Anomalies

Stomach aches, headaches, leg pains, breathing problems - if there is something that a child cannot do it is self-diagnose. As a parent, be mindful of what you put into their body and what effects come out. Sometimes children may suffer from food intolerances or are on the verge of developing allergies to certain foods or other strange items such as a cockroach allergy . Whatever it is, keep a journal to see if it is a recurring event to see if there is a need to see a professional.

Emotional Changes

If your child argues with their siblings more, hear you and your spouse argue frequently, or feel left out in school, acting out by reacting is probably the only way they know how to deal with their problems. When children misbehave, sometimes it is not negative attention that they are seeking but communication with parents and caregivers on what they need the most. Make sure that you have an open line of communication to all individuals your child is involved with to check in on him or her.

Anytime your child is misbehaving more than usual, make time to communicate with your child directly. Talk to them in a quiet and non-distracted place and let them know that you are there to listen and to help - not judge.

If you have any questions about child development and behavior, please feel free to contact Christine at (404) 964-8533 or you can visit us at Learning Ridge, LLC.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

JATP Prep: Where Competition Breeds Ignorance

Ever since I've moved into the field of education, I've prepared clients for the process of JATP Admissions. Given the fact that I have years of experience consulting in different fields, education and the Admissions Process is an area that I am hauntingly familiar with. So why should I discuss what my competition does? Because it completely leaves me in a state of disbelief as to what some people call "PREP".

For the last few years, I've been the eyes and ears of the Atlanta public and private education community. I've seen the changes that have taken place since I've moved here and the only reason why I moved here instead of any other place was so that I could make a difference in education. (I did not know what area of education, but that is beside the point.)

As a result, I overhear horror stories from unfortunate parents before they come knocking on my door. There was one conversation that I had with a parent who told me that one "JATP Prepper" asked her and her child to visit her for a prepping session which consisted of half "conversation" and the other half, "Air Hockey". (I was trying to think to myself, what the justification was to this process and I had to just sigh for one second and told myself to - Stop!) There was another "JATP Prepper" who visited with clients at a neighborhood Buckhead cafe and after meeting with the clients son, appealed to the senses of the mother and said, "Oh bless your heart, your son has a chance at this great school in Buckhead" and never heard from her again. "JATP Prepper #3" calls herself the "Private School Whisperer" when you sign up with her. Oddly enough,  when she works with your child who looks as if they've come to this "office/home/basement" involuntarily, she turns into the "Private School Gossiper" calling each and every school on your list if you have done anything wrong (let alone pay your bill late).

It's rather daunting and disappointing for me; I'm not sure I know what angle some people feel is the best way to help parents and children with private school admissions. All I can say is for my standards, it's not professional. I've spent my entire life advising people and I'm fortunate that my father saw this potential when he told me,  "Whatever knowledge or power you have later in life, use it to help people".  No matter what, I make it a mission to help people through this process each and every year. When parents come see me in my office I give them the truth with nothing to hide. I ask them for confidentiality and I tell them that it goes both ways as I don't think it's appropriate that they know that their neighbor/friend/business partner is going through the same process. I do not share any of their information with other people because it is nobody's business but their own. I know that the JATP Admissions Council frowns upon this process but then, there are inequities in every part of this process. At least what I do is provide years of pedagogy/child psychology/performance and project management put to good use and give some parents in Atlanta a level playing field for their child to attend one of these schools. At the end of the day, all that matters is that child that comes to my office looking for a better education and knowing that I've done everything that I can to help.

So if you come to see me at Learning Ridge just know, I don't have an air hockey table, I won't ever say, "Bless your heart..." and last (but not least), you'll never hear me tell complete strangers who you are and what we did to make you and your children successful in their educational endeavors. Thank you for your time:)

Friday, July 10, 2015

Why is Math So Confusing Here in Georgia (the United States)?

I’m not originally from the South, although I’ve attended university in Louisiana and have spent the majority of my life educating young minds in different subjects. I love teaching more outside the classroom where the only one accountable for the time on task is: me. I left the classroom several years ago and was excited at the idea that I would never have anyone peer into my classroom or think - because of some honorary degree they received for writing a paper on a topic that nobody in their academic career will reference, that they were better than me (or my peers) in any way. 

I’ve observed good teaching and I’ve also shaken my head in classrooms that were so unruly - it was as if I were doing volunteer work in a Juvenile Detention Center. On any given day of the week, I will say this: “Georgia, we have a math problem.”

Background Information

Several years ago I spent time in a Professional Development class offered by the county that I was employed in. We were assigned materials to read and meetings that we would attend as a group with the primary objective being: to deliver higher quality instruction in the classroom. There were some topics that were presented that were eye-opening and others where I felt that it really was a true waste of taxpayer time and money. Here is what I have to say from that experience:

Math instruction suffers from an identity crisis

When I perused through the book that was used in Professional Development, it details the ethnographically based stories of how a group of selected teachers spent time overseas and came back to say, “The way they teach math in Europe is like this…. The way they teach math in Asia is like this… Let’s copy them.” 

It’s not that simple. If you could imagine for one second that you are in the time of Shakespeare when King Polonius says, 

“The clothes don’t make the man
It’s the man that makes the clothes”

this reflects upon the notion that it’s not math that makes the country great but the country that makes math great. 

When you look at a country that values math, it is not just math but a perspective in how they approach life. For example, in Japan and Germany,  math class, (okay all classes) are not longer than 45 minutes with 5 minute breaks in between. Students are not in school for more than 5 and a 1/2 hours and there is a huge emphasis on homework. Math is performance driven in Europe and Asia and is a subject that both boys and girls enjoy.

Math instruction needs to be addressed at the administrative level first

I’ve seen it all, I’ve done it all. I actually love math (statistics, graphs, calculating p-values the old fashioned way) and in one semester in university I took five math classes at the same time (it must have been fall, there is no way I would choose truly brain intensive classes during the spring!) What many do not realize is that in order to be a decent math teacher, you need to know the material with a high amount of proficiency and when possible, tackle the areas in the learning materials where the Big Box publisher has made errors or fails to provide adequate explanations and exercises. Needless to say, you need to present the information in the best, most succinct way possible and deliver an explanation within seconds on how you arrived at the solution. It’s math people, not a pseudo language arts/math combo class.

Math instruction is like a visit to the doctor, you’re happy until they ask you to come back for “more testing”

If you spend four hours each night studying the 3.5 concepts that your teacher assigned to your child in the second semester, it’s not because it was a “fluke”, it’s because your teacher (and the rest of the teaching staff at school) suffer from “Bi-Polar School Year”. 

The first part of the school year is a time where the teachers and the administration do “whatever it takes” for you to buy into the culture of the school. Sometimes they do not assign homework and turn a blind eye to failing grades, not meeting expectations, and addressing issues that may prompt red/orange/or pink flags for your young student. Come second semester and the Appeasement Period comes to a screeching halt as your student is exposed to more tests than the State Department.

Your child becomes more stressed, you begin to lose your patience, and the school uses the ultimate phrase that will set you off into SpaceX, “Well, these are the standards..”

Similar to what an ideal “preventative care” medical system would look like where your doctor works with you once every 9 weeks to monitor your vitals and your dietitian and physical therapist work in tandem to support your active lifestyle, this rarely happens in education. If your child is enrolled in a Study Skills class, it’s a class that is actually known behind closed doors as “Study Hall” or “I sure hope that I can finish the Tic Tac Toe Board of answers for 2nd period Algebra so that I can go to the restroom for 30 minutes and visit the library to watch YouTube on the unfiltered computer.” In the private sector, it’s what we call a “Band Aid Solution”, a solution that is temporary that has no significant long-term effect.

Math instruction is built upon problem-solving and strategic thinking, not a trip to Best Buy

I think video tutorials are great - but not a substitute for the art and science of learning. Perhaps many individuals who are teachers without true pedagogical training do not know this but there are different periods in learning that an individual must undergo before they reach mastery. I’ve never read a Cognitive Development book where you can substitute those formative stages for a YouTube Video or Khan Academy. Don’t get me wrong, I think that Sal Khan is an incredible guy who has utilized his pedigree and talents to help the educational community at large however, math education is a systemic problem that does not only affect a select group of students, but this generation as a whole. We should provide students with much more than the experience of logging onto a website; we should provide them with the skills and abilities of a young adult who will thrive and be well prepared to make good decisions when they grow older.

What Now?
Luckily, there is something that parents can do to offset the burden of math instruction. At Learning Ridge, we provide high quality instruction and specialized programs that will give your student the time and the focus they need to be proficient in math. We have worked with numerous students in the Atlanta community and have seen sustained results in our approach to math as well as our commitment to excellence.

If you have any questions about Singapore Math at Learning Ridge or our Signature Tutoring Program, please contact us at info@learningridge.com or at 404-964-8533.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

(4th) Language Learning: Some Things Never Change

It’s never easy when you grow old(er). I have a feeling that as I am approaching an age where I can remember more presidents that this generation can remember iPhones, there is a need to continuously stay sharp and “relevant” in today’s performance driven environment. 

Leap forward to Monday, June 30th when I signed up to take my fourth official language class. Oddly enough, I always noticed that I had a keen interest in the art of communication. By the time I was in 8th grade, I had given myself creative license with the task of learning a new language in school (Spanish) and was fully embracing my native language (an unofficial language in the states of Nevada and California). In order to learn my native language, I painstakingly put together my own “native language” curriculum from the local library where my parents would grade me (unwillingly) on grammar and linguistic abilities (If only my grandfather, a former government attorney and Dean of Economics, would have seen my father’s “lack of tutoring” skills, he would be disappointed). I would spend entire afternoons writing my notes, then writing them neater, then indulging in my own cerebral processing of what I needed to say if certain conversations were presented to me. I was not given any direction or feedback, only the assurance that each day was a chance to build on a steady foundation of words and cultural nuances that did not exist before.

It has been over a decade since I had formally been in a classroom learning any language, yet it only feels like yesterday. I remember taking Japanese at university and was perplexed at how detail oriented the Sensei was. Needless to say, old habits never die when you are a student. 

I signed up for the class and proceeded in the same way that I approached school when I was younger. I made sure that I was physically, mentally and emotionally prepared. Books, notebooks and materials were ordered and accounted for. My “first day of school” attire uniform that prompted comfort and would allow the teacher to take me seriously was laid out for me the night before. A “power” breakfast in the morning would prepare me  for my day at work that included a 30-minute lunch period where I would “break out” and review the chapter ahead and delineate through vague/ambiguous terminology. I gave myself an hour block  to reach the office that on a “non-Atlanta traffic day” would just be 20 minutes. I created an environment for myself that relied upon planning, organization, and proper execution because, as you all know - there are more than enough factors that one cannot control. Sure enough, there was.

As I finally walked into the class, I felt like the same little girl who entered 1st grade when I was five years old. I was (and still am) painfully shy and could not muster the courage to do anything but grin at my fellow classmates. I sat in the front seat by the teacher so as to not explain to anyone that it has (and always will be) the best seat for me to learn from. I slowly took out the materials from my book bag and had remembered to put my phone on airplane mode so that I would not disturb the other students. After I was settled in, I observed other students and listened in on their conversation from my window, hoping to join in but apprehensive when the invitation would be sent.

When class started it was just like in traditional school (only with a 2 1/2 hour class at 6pm at night). It was highly engaging and involved the use of a SmartBoard which as everyone knows, can be blamed or praised for it’s effectiveness. Interactions were moderately engaging and I found that there were some people who knew a few basic pronunciation rules and others who probably should have spent a day trying to pick up on some basic vocabulary. I enjoyed the class, the interactions, and felt almost in my element after so many years.

Regardless of who you are and what you do in life, it is hard for some people to turn over a new leaf. We all have individual strengths, challenges, and coping strategies that solidify our true character and make us successful. I know that the only way to succeed is to forecast what your blind spots are: in my case it’s my shyness that I have yet to overcome and my inability to accept failure or mediocrity. Although I cannot speak for anyone else, it’s not such a bad blind spot after all. 

Excited to learn language #4 !

Taking German (because I couldn't finish up Japanese) 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Grade Inflation: How "50%" Is the New "70%"

If you are as wise as I am (note: my generation was the one that grew up without access to mobile technology, internet, or... rechargeable anything?), then you remember how things were much “harder” for us. When there was an assignment that was due in U.S. History class, we relied on the “hard drive” of the librarian that was in our midst to help us sift through different card catalogs to find relevant information for the AP Exam. As the deadline in Honors Chemistry slowly lurked around the corner, you utilized the correction ribbon on the family typewriter to help format this prized possession for your teacher to praise as if it were her first born son. School, for the most part, was more about form and function, than grades and good times.
Fast Forward to 2015 and students are inundated with new and novel ways of distraction that the most important pastime has become a time management public relations outcry: studying. What was formerly the tie that bound groups of students into libraries and living rooms has turned into the commodification of knowledge and endless pursuit of bullying that occurs when your numbers, “just are not good enough”. Oddly enough, I was lambasted at times for ruining the grading curve and this generation does not even know how to study for a quiz that didn’t come from BuzzFeed. 
Instead of completing homework, what I have seen is an abyss of students mindlessly perusing through the black hole of apps that only a part-time correctional officer would have time to enjoy. After this precious screen time that many students deserve for being able to hold a technology device, students pick up any instrument that serves as their secondary distraction before it’s time to catch the less than ideal amount of sleep before they wash, rinse, and repeat all for the next day.
One would think that these behaviors would not have an impact on student performance. Here’s why it has not become a reason for parents to even visit the school's main office:
Over the last few years some systems, both public and private schools (yes, that is correct) have retired the Gaussian/”Bell-Curve” for something new. It makes those that work hard to earn their grades deserving of every cheap metallic form of appraisal that they receive, and those who do not work hard, pass through the halls of academia with nothing more than a “thank you for coming to the party, here’s your door prize” sentiment that would make those of us who grew up in a meritocracy - cringe.
It’s called the “Square Root Bell Curve”. I must warn you that after reading this, you’ll have to find your old pre-algebra notes from 6th grade to come up with a few practice problems yourself.

Here is how it works:

Take “AddictedtoYouTube”. He takes his final exam in, [insert name of high school science class] and scores a 36. (Yes, that’s his grade, not his waist measurements for prom). You take the square root of 36 (it’s the number that multiplied by itself that gives you the product of 36), which is 6. This new number is multiplied by 10 and results in a new grade: a 60. What that means is that the student who basically spent the last 3-5 weeks sitting in class spending his time retweeting Kim Kardashian updates, did not earn a 36 in the class, but a 60. What about “Can’tPassAPCalc” student? He fails each and every AP Calculus exam. He scores a 50 on the exam and if you take the square root of 50 it’s 7 point something plus a few other numbers. You multiply 7*10 and guess what? He passed APCalculus...
Yes, this phenomena, (or atrocity, depending on your disposition, astrological sign or political affiliation), does not sit well for me. I was troubled to hear that passing students with inadequate skills happens in many classrooms. What alarmed me even more was that even standardized tests have adopted this shifting (on a downward slope) paradigm.
It’s not just grade inflation folks, it’s skills and talent inflation and what it all boils down to is deceiving a huge population of people about what is really on their curriculum vitae. Without assessing what students know, do not know, and need to know, this mainstream practice will only help those who fell through the cracks, and embarrass the rest who are considered “achievement frauds”.
I’m trying to see how this will impact our students as we attempt to surpass our global competitors but after analyzing this raw set of mathematical data I pose to you: will we even know how?

Saturday, April 25, 2015

It's All About The JATP Scores, Right?

I've learned from those who do not learn and always smile when the movie in my mind is played every year from unwilling parents who go through the process of Admissions Preparation here in Atlanta.

Private schools here in Atlanta are what they are: private. The information that they wish to share with you is more of a mystery that can only be solved only by watching all of Alfred Hitchcock's movies and talking to the mother who you think is your BFF at the pre-school that your child is in.

Most parents trust those who are willing to give you the information they believe will "tell them what they want to hear". I've heard, and seen, and observed it all. From the neighborhood pre-school to your son's friend whose mother has a friend who is the friend...The list goes on and on and on.

The problem is - they see a snapshot of what they see for that one year. Unless they come from a troupe of 12 children who have enrolled in each of the 10+ schools on the list and have experienced rejection/acceptance letters for each of their children, the outcome is daunting to say the least.

As much as I love to ramble about this process, the fact of the matter is - you should not judge the past performance of what "others" have done to predict the outcome of your child. Everybody is different and until you have an objective view of the school and what it can offer to your child, it is best to use discretion.

If you would like more information about the Admissions Preparation Program at Learning Ridge, feel free to contact Christine at 404-964-8533.  

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

10 Things To Do On a Snowday

Hi Everyone! Here are some of our favorite suggestions for those of us who are stuck at home due to bad weather on a school day!

  1. Get a head start on homework and assignments - that way you can enjoy the weekend more.
  2. Prepare lunch together and turn your child into the sous chef of your dreams!
  3. Clean your room, desk, backpack.
  4. Create something with your child using paper, dough, or blocks.
  5. Share a story with your child when you were unexpectedly off from school "Back when I was in 2nd grade, we had a really bad storm..."
  6. Facetime/Skype with a favorite family member or grandparents
  7. Teach them how to read weather maps, how weather works, and what you can do during power outages.
  8. Have hot chocolate and bake cookies!
  9. Create a two minute one-act play skit based on their favorite movie and upload it to YouTube!
  10. Take some time to think about your long-term educational goals for your student. At Learning Ridge we provide a wide range of educational services to help you get lasting results.