empowered learner framework
We believe all students can achieve their version of academic & personal success.
We use the Empowered Learner framework to help students uncover the power within themselves as well as learn new skills that supercharge their powers.
THE PROBLEm: current conditions in education and why we're needed
Kids are struggling. Parents are sharing with us that their kids are easily distracted, overstimulated, and overwhelmed by school. Their child who used to love learning and would devour novels now complains about school and barely picks up a book.
The pandemic has disrupted development. Adults are saying, “They should be able to do this” – about algebra, group projects, or remembering their lunchbox. But kids aren’t able to do these seemingly simple things that the 2019 version of them could have done.
Things have to move so quickly in a school setting. If you don’t get it right the first time, you just get it wrong. There’s little chance for your child to go at their own pace.
Schools aren’t set up for all learners, like kids with ADHD. These kids are often told they’re “not living up to their potential” or “are unfocused and unmotivated.”
Schools are only able to adequately meet the needs of a small number of students. The system isn’t effectively supporting kids, and parents are frustrated and concerned that their child isn’t more… more independent, more motivated, more successful. But they’re not sure how to help – or when they try, their child isn’t receptive to their help.
Parents are overwhelmed by all the ways their child needs support – and communication from school is often confusing or inadequate.
This isn’t the teachers fault; we’re all former teachers ourselves, so we understand how overworked and under supported teachers are. But the fact remains that many students aren’t getting the support they need. It doesn’t matter right now whose fault it is; it matters that your child is the one feeling the effects, and you want to help them.
THE SOLUTION: THE EDUCATIONAL FUTURE WE ARE BUILDING
We coach students so that they can reconnect with the joy of learning and so that they can build self-knowledge.
Anyone who has spent time around a toddler knows that children are natural learners who crave experiences and interactions with the world around them.
We know teens also love learning, but traditional schooling often squelches their creative enthusiasm, so we don’t think of them as full of childlike joy and wonder like we do with a young child. Yet teens have their own version of curiosity.
They often have a strong sense of justice and deep care for the world around & within them; it’s just a matter of helping them tap back into it and have a space to safely explore their intellectual passions and their personal values. We do that with our Empower Approach.
Here’s how each element works:
Community of Support:
In our 1:1 academic coaching, your child will be assigned an experienced and compassionate academic coach who they will meet with on a weekly basis, but here, we believe that an Empower student is a student for all of us.
We utilize a collaborative model where we bring challenges our students are facing to the team, brainstorm solutions, and share best practices so that students benefit from all of our coaches’ experience, knowledge, and care.
Among our team, we have over 53 years of combined education experience and coaching expertise in ADHD, neurodivergence, social-emotional learning, health & wellness, curriculum and instruction, the International Baccalaureate program, Advanced Placement courses, the SAT and ACT, college applications, career and technical school options after high school, giftedness, 504 Plans, Individualized Education Plans (IEPs), Spanish instruction, and school leadership… to name a few.
Our students’ growth and success is our passion. We create a space that is inspiring and nurturing. Our students begin knowing change is possible by having an external person to help them build their internal momentum.
Yes, we help them with their schoolwork, but it’s always with a larger lens: How is this supporting their overall flourishing? They get dedicated support from an educator who is there to help them reach their own goals – something students often haven’t been asked before – and tap into a wellspring of internal motivation.
Executive Functioning & Social-Emotional Learning:
After a fast-paced school day, our coaching sessions allow a space for students to slow down and focus on building up the skills that schools often don’t have time to adequately teach and that student’s don’t have time to adequately practice: organizing, planning, prioritizing, focusing, and studying.
We also acknowledge that social skills and emotional regulation play a large role in the learning process and in the overall sense of fulfillment a child has in their life. To that end, we listen to our students with compassion and help them develop strategies and approaches that take their emotions about school into consideration, and we help them learn ways to self-advocate, work effectively in groups, and build character.
Holistic & Developmental Approach:
Children and teens are not tiny adults who learn in isolation. We know that so many other aspects of a child’s life influence their learning, so holistic conversations about their schedule, sports, sleep habits, friendships, and family are all possible topics to explore in session in addition to academics.
Furthermore, we consider the unique developmental characteristics of our students based on their age, lived experience, and interests and provide learning opportunities and strategies that build upon those realities. For example, one reason teens don’t listen to the well-intentioned and often wise advice from their parents is because they crave autonomy.
To tap into that natural desire for self-determination, we guide teenagers in making great choices rather than telling them what to do (like offering options for how to keep track of their assignments rather than requiring a paper planner).
This is not only responsive to their development but also is more effective at building their independence; by making these choices with the support of a mentor, they are more adequately equipped to go through this decision-making process on their own as they grow.
Although each student brings different strengths and areas for growth to the table, we draw upon this framework to help them all in personalized ways.
This isn't a rigid path; instead, it's a toolkit and source of inspiration. When a student works with us, they will fully explore each of these 9 areas — exactly when it's right for them!
We firmly believe that empowerment isn't a one-time event; it's a continuous process. That means students aren't learning about these skills just one time; instead, we go back to them again each time a student is ready to learn something new, explore a concept more deeply, or need a refresher on how that skill applies to a new situation.
Below is a breakdown of each of those themes — goals, power, and support — and questions we ask students to help guide their journey.
What is a long-term goal you have related to your learning or to your future? Based on a student's age & individuality, long-term could be a few weeks or a few years from now. The key is to think about where they want to go so that we can help them get there!
What skills do you need to get there? This includes specific strategies on how to plan, study, and overcome obstacles.
Who is here to help you on this journey? This could be parents, caregivers, extended family, classmates, teachers, tutors — and of course, academic coaches!
WHY OUR SERVICE WORKS
Here’s why our approach is effective for your child:
Increases self efficacy, or belief in themselves to make the changes they want to see in their lives. When kids want to make a change, it needs to first seem possible to them. We provide them with the initial support and encouragement to dream big, and then we help them think of those first small steps that will make it a reality.
Increases confidence. Our students go from thinking, “I’m just not good at school” to saying, “I can do this.”
Is predictable, yet flexible. We use the POWER approach as a starting point so kids know what to expect, but we are also responsive to what a child needs in that particular moment. If a student arrives in a frenzy about an upcoming math test, for example, we may put organization on the backburner for the week and devote most of our time to building their skills and confidence for the test and brainstorming other ways they can get support after the session.
Is strengths-based. We believe that all children are inherently worthy and good and have amazing strengths. We help kids tap into those strengths to continue growing them as well as to use them as supports in more challenging areas.
Is celebratory. When our kids meet a goal, make a great grade on a quiz, or ask their teacher for help even though they were apprehensive about it, they often want to rush past it and move on to the next task. But we insist on slowing down and savoring the moment - you did this! Let’s celebrate!
Meets kids where they are in a nonjudgmental way – and then equips them to flourish. Kids missed some crucial developmental steps in the pandemic. Rather than ignoring that, we believe it’s important to slow down and provide opportunities for kids to learn the skills they need. When we do that, we see that our students flourish quickly.
Is focused more on the desired outcome rather than a specific way of achieving it. We have an amazing toolkit of research-backed strategies to share with our students, but we also respect the fact that each student is unique. We are more invested in helping students achieve an outcome than we are in making sure they achieve it using a specific method.
Is affirming. Students who hold marginalized identities due to race, neurotype, disability, belonging to the LGBTQ community, or holding multiple intersections of these identities can feel safe with us. We’re a diverse team dedicated to continuous learning about diversity, equity, and inclusion – and to affirming and valuing your child’s unique identity.
Is grounded in values. Empower is driven by its values – empowerment, peace, and thoughtfulness – so we help students tap into their own values so they can use it as a compass to make tough decisions and map out their own path to success.
Anyone who is paying attention knows that education is at a tipping point. At Empower, we are uniquely equipped to be part of the solution.
Connect with us so we can help your child reconnect to the joy of learning and repair their relationship with school.
Book a call so we can be part of your child’s team, providing a community of support and a dedicated academic coach who can serve as their empowered mentor, their skilled teacher of executive functioning and social-emotional learning, and their encouraging coach who brings a holistic & developmental approach to their growth.