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. Executive functioning skills encompass all of those soft-skills that allow us to set and achieve goals. At Private Prep, we have noticed that many children need to bolster their EF skills as they work through transitions, which is why we offer academic & college transitions services in addition to traditional, ongoing or executive functioning coaching. Read on for more information on how to decide when students need these supports.
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 executive functioning program stand out?
Private Prep believes in a data-driven and collaborative process. We start our coaching a Strategy Session which includes a full review of any documents you share with your coach as well as the option administration of 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. This gives coaches the background they need to engage with both parents and children during the strategy so as to set clear goals and get to know your child’s learning preference. After the Strategy Session, we provide a comprehensive Action Plan including long and short term goals, identification of obstacles to achieving those goals, suggestions for environmental supports and steps to help children move towards greater independence.
We believe in working as a team. Our EF team shares resources and best practices so that you benefit from our collective experience. Our team includes certified learning specialists, experienced educators, and social workers 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 executive functioning coach do?
EF coaches work with students to establish habits that will make them more successful in all areas of their life. These skills include note-taking, study strategies, physical organization, time management, emotional management, resilience, and problem-solving. At the start of the program, our EF coaches will meet a few times a week with students to establish new habits. Ongoing coaching takes place online for maximum flexibility and individualized scheduling. 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 child to establish a schedule that matches your needs.
How long will my child work with an executive functioning 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 executive functioning 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 executive functioning coach?
Executive functioning coaches at Private Prep are billed at varying hourly rates for ongoing coaching. Strategy Sessions are billed at a flat fee and also range in cost. Contact us for specific pricing.
How do we set up a Strategy Session?
If you’re interested in learning more or are ready to schedule, contact us here.