VALUES & Practices

Our Mission

We believe that all students can succeed on their terms, both academically and personally. We use the coaching process as a way to help students set goals, build confidence, and apply strategies to their learning and as a way to help families experience peace of mind. Through our commitments to empowerment, peace, and thoughtfulness, we aim to help our students have richer, more rewarding learning experiences. 

Our Values

We are an LGBTQ+- and neurodivergent-owned company, and we aim to provide an inclusive, affirming community for students of all identities. We believe Black Lives Matter and support racial justice for Black people, indigenous people, and people of color. We believe disabled students and neurodivergent students deserve equitable access to education. We believe students who face economic barriers to coaching deserve access to the benefits of this process, so we provide sponsorships to students and volunteer with local schools and organizations. We support students & families who are members of the LGBTQ+ community. 


Each of the following values is broken down into our interpretation, how we honor that value, and what we ask you to agree to out of respect for that value. We want to respect your thoughts and needs as well, so there is a space for you at the bottom of this page to write any feedback you have or ways we can respect your needs and values.

Value #1: Empowerment

Our Interpretation:

  • Progress, confidence-building, and skill development are more important than single grades and test scores.

  • We commit to helping students develop self-empowerment and seek the communities & resources that can help them achieve growth, but we also acknowledge that our students may face oppressive systems due to their race, disability, neurotype, gender identity, and LGBTQ+ identity, among others. Because of this, we do not believe students alone are responsible for their success; rather, we believe in the community's role in ensuring all students can be successful, and we are honored to be part of your child's community.

How We Honor This:

  • We guide students through a process of setting goals, identifying specific strategies for reaching those goals, & celebrating both small & large wins along the way.

  • We acknowledge all types of growth: not just grades, but also growth in organizational skills, study skills, anxiety reduction, collaborative strategies, writing skills, emotional regulation, and self-advocacy. These are the keys to empowerment.

  • If students are facing injustice, we listen, affirm, and provide support in appropriate ways with your input.

  • Our coaches are actively engaged in growing as coaches by learning new approaches and strategies. We are always working to keep learning & progressing as coaches.

What We Ask You to Agree To:

  • Help us reinforce that growth is a process.

  • Celebrate growth with your child, but know there will sometimes be setbacks. We ask that you let us know about these things, but please grant us & your child patience in the coaching process. 

Value #2: Peace

Our Interpretation:

  • We believe all kids are natural learners, with an innate curiosity and desire to understand the world within and around them, and the best learning environment is a peaceful one.

  • Learning & growing requires energy, and energy requires time to recharge and relax. Peaceful rest is important for both physical & mental health.

How We Honor This:

  • We teach students strategies that help them learn without stress.

  • We maintain a calm, peaceful environment in our coaching sessions.

  • We help students plan their week so that they can get their work done but can also rest and relax.

  • We notify you if it seems like your child is facing challenges related to resting & recharging, such as a time-intensive assignment or a summative-filled week.

  • We respect vacation & rest.

What We Ask You to Agree To:

  • Help us keep the coaching space positive. If you have a frustration or concern about your child, please share it with us privately to minimize conflicts during the session. We know that concerns arise, but it really helps us in our coaching work if we keep the session as positive and goal-oriented as possible.

  • We can bring our best selves to our coaching sessions when we get the rest we need. We use vacation and weekends for resetting & recharging, so although you are free to communicate with us in ways that don’t require immediate response (like email), do not expect prompt communication from us during this time.

Value #3: Thoughtfulness

Our Interpretation:

  • We want our families to feel valued, our students to feel valued, and our coaches to feel valued.

  • We respect physical, mental, emotional, and social needs. We keep in mind that we are working together as humans who all have needs and wishes. One way we show respect is by having clear guidelines and boundaries around communication, time, money, and illness that embody thoughtfulness.

How We Honor This:

  • We respect your family’s time by arriving to sessions on time & ready to coach. If we are unable to arrive on time, we let you know promptly whenever possible. If the amount of time we are late exceeds 5 minutes, we work with you to make up this time in a mutually agreeable way.

  • If we need to cancel our coaching support & this agreement with you, we commit to providing you 2 weeks’ notice so that you may make adjustments and find another tutor or coach if desired. We understand that life happens and our families may at some point face difficulties in making payments. We request that you let us know what’s going on so that we can work with you. If your payments are not on time and you do not notify us so that we can develop a plan, we reserve the right to cancel with no notice. This ensures that we can respect our coach’s time and provide payment for them on time. 

What We Ask You to Agree To:

  • Our sessions are about growth & goals, not minutes spent. Our sessions will be approximately the amount of time indicated in the choice you made above. Sometimes they may be slightly less, sometimes they may be slightly more. We commit to using our session time respectfully and in ways that support the growth of your child. We will also not end a session excessively early (15 minutes or more). However, if you are someone who firmly believes each second of the session should be used, we understand your commitment to time, but we are probably not the right company for you. Please let us know if that is the case.

  • We often have appointments right after each other. If you have a concern or topic that will take longer than that to discuss, we totally understand! Please request a phone call or let us know you will be emailing us about a topic of conversation.

  • If you need to cancel our coaching support & this agreement at any time, you may do so; we ask for 2 weeks’ notice so that we have time to adjust. Details are in the contract at the end of this form. Please note that cancellation prior to the end of the school year does cancel your special school year pricing and revert to a per session charge; details are in the contract, and please contact us with any questions.

  • Conflict is a natural part of human relationships. If we are not meeting your expectations in any way, we ask you to let us know (both your coach & Caroline Sumners) as soon as possible so that we can address your concerns.

  • Because we take great pride in our work, we also like to know when we are exceeding your expectations or when you or your child are pleased with the impact we have had on your life. We are always appreciative of this feedback.

Our Practices

These practices are designed to promote empowerment, peace, and thoughtfulness in both our lives and yours! 

Coaching Philosophy: We truly believe that coaching is an amazing process for facilitating growth - but we also acknowledge that growth is not always a linear process. As coaches, we believe our job is to help your child navigate the challenges they face and make progress on their goals - rather than take over tasks that belong to them. Because of this, your child may occasionally hit a bump in the road - a low grade or a missed assignment, for example. Our philosophy is designed to help minimize these occasions as much as possible but also to help your child learn how to deal with them. Our belief is that learning how to deal with these situations will serve our clients better in the long run and help them build skills for independence. However, we also respect that not eveyone is looking for this type of support! If this does not align with what you are looking for, please let us know and we can end our coaching relationship. Additionally, sessions are intended to be used during the school year.

Communication with Coach: If you are noticing positive changes in your child's academics, we'd love to hear about it! If you notice a bump in the road, we also want to hear about it, but please remember that these bumps are part of the growth process. Additionally, we want to communicate in a way that works for you, so we provide you with both our email and cell phone numbers. We encourage you to schedule a call with your child's coach at least once per semester. You may also text and email us. We acknowledge that our working hours and communication hours may be different from yours. If we contact you at a time that is not ideal for you, please let us know so that we can adjust. Feel free to text us during the day. If it is after 8pm or a weekend, please use email instead of texting. Thank you! 

School Communication: All schools have confidentiality procedures in place that limit our ability to talk with teachers about your child. If you would like us to be able to communicate with teachers, please ask your school for a release form that you can sign to grant permission for us to communicate with them. However, please continue to maintain your communication relationship with the school and your child's teachers; we are happy to be part of the support team, but we do not take over full responsibility for communication and grade information.

Grades: Students should be prepared to share grade progress at the end of each grading period, but we may sometimes require your help in this, especially if a student is struggling with sharing their screen. Although grades are not solely what determines a student's progress and success it helps coaches get a more clear understanding of where there is room for growth.

Cancellation/Rescheduling of a Session: We ask for at least 24 hours' notice (not including weekends) for sessions to be cancelled without penalty. Monday sessions must be cancelled by Friday at 4pm. This is so we can meet with all of our students each week and provide effective support. When we have a cancelled session and are unable to fill that spot, it makes it difficult for us to meet with all of our students. Because consistency is key to helping your child make progress, it's important that we are able to meet with all of our students.

 

Late Cancellations: If you are signed up for and utilize the school year package, and you must cancel a session with fewer than 24 hours' notice but more than 1 hour notice, you are entitled to a complimentary reschedule on 2 occasions throughout the school year. This is to ensure you feel valued, and this accounts for those last minute emergencies or circumstances that may arise. After these 2 occasions, additional late cancellations will not be eligible for a reschedule and will be considered used from the package.

No-Shows: A no-show is when a student does not arrive to the session within 10 minutes of the start time or when a student or parent/caregiver cancels the session within 1 hour of the start time. No-shows are not eligible for rescheduling and are considered a used session and deducted from the package since we are unable to now use the time slot for another student.

Late Arrivals: As we know that many of our students have ADHD or other conditions which may in some cases make punctuality a challenge - and that many of our students are seeking our help for this reason - we do offer a 10 minute grace period at the start of each session. If a student does not arrive to the session on time, after 5 minutes, the coach will text the student and parent. If a student does not arrive to the session within 10 minutes, the coach will leave and the session will be considered used. Because we want to help students develop the skills that lead to timely attendance, the coach will work with the student to incorporate habits that will help them to attend on time. 

After 2 consecutive no-shows and/or late arrivals, we will request to meet with the parent/caregiver and student to revisit our session day/time and recommit to a schedule that works for both sides.

Client Testimonials: We love happy clients! If you have had a great experience and have expressed that verbally or in writing, we love to share those quotes anonymously & without information that could lead to your identification unless you have expressly given us permission otherwise. If it is NOT ok with you for us to share these quotes anonymously, please contact us at info@EmpowerAcademicCoaching.com to share this request.