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What is
academic coaching?

Academic coaching is a student-centered and holistic approach to education.


Academic coaches are caring and knowledgeable guides rather than authorities.


During an academic coaching session, we work collaboratively with students to set goals and progress toward them. We ask more questions than we give answers, and we empower students to develop their own solutions to problems as well as celebrate and build on their successes.


We acknowledge that there is no "one-size-fits-all" approach, and we work with students to mindfully identify strategies that are worth trying. 

Is it the same thing as tutoring?

Academic coaching provides support & learning for students just as tutoring does, but we approach all assignments with the deeper goal of teaching students successful strategies that they can always apply across the board.


For example, when we help a student study for a U.S. history test, we don't just care that they learn the history facts; we are also practicing & modeling evidence-based study strategies with them that they can use on many different types of tests. When students need help with creating an outline, we collaborate with them to develop their own structured thinking that they can use for future writing assignments. When students are struggling in a class, we help them open communication channels with their teacher, teaching them skills they can use in college and beyond when they need support.


However, academic coaching is different from tutoring. In some cases, students will benefit more from tutoring. This includes students who are only struggling in one subject area or students who do not want an academic coach. Our best results come when students actively want our help rather than parents requiring them to have sessions.

How do you help students and parents? 

We meet with most students for approximately one hour once per week, excluding school breaks. We structure our sessions to focus on the most important long-term goal the student has selected; then, we identify short-term goals we can work on to achieve their vision.

We do this by helping students plan for their assignments, tests, and deadlines -- including both stated and unstated homework. For example, if a biology test is given on Friday, teachers may not explicitly say to study for that test - or if they do, may not say exactly how to study for that test.


We help students determine what their study tasks should look like using evidence-based strategies like retrieval practice and distributed practice.


We also help them determine how much time they need to complete those tasks so that they can learn the material in a calm, purposeful way rather than cramming the night before or just hoping for the best on exam day.

We provide support for students on homework and assignments in authentic & academically honest ways. For example, we will teach students a grammatical rule and show them one example rather than correct it throughout their paper. We guide students through a revision & editing process rather than proofread their paper for them, not only to maintain academic integrity but also to maximize learning.

We help parents reduce the number of tense conversations around school. We can also provide guidance on strategies for learning.


When can we expect to see results?


Academic coaching is a process and takes time and energy. Although some results come quickly, and we do focus on helping students establish a few quick, low-stakes wins at the beginning to build confidence, others take time and persistence -- just as any truly important and substantial change does.

Although many of our students see results as quickly as their next test, we cannot guarantee results in the form of specific grades. Our work goes much deeper than grades; we are focusing on building skills, strategies, and confidence. If you are looking for someone just because your child has low grades, we're likely not a good fit for your needs.

What does this look like in a typical hour-long session?


We use the emPOWER Approach:

  • Prepare:

    • We check in with students about the long-term goal they are working toward that they identified in our first meeting together. This could be related to improving grades, increasing language fluency, becoming a more organized writer, etc. 

  • Organize:

    • Stated Homework: We help the student identify all stated homework, tests, deadlines across all platforms (online calendars, class websites, teacher emails, in class announcements, etc.).

    • Unstated Homework: We work with the student to extrapolate the unstated homework from those assignments. For example, if an essay is due Thursday, what are the steps leading up to that? When will you brainstorm, identify your topic, write your thesis statement, etc.?

    • Break It Down: We work with the student to identify which of these steps the student needs support with. For example, if they are unsure about how to write a thesis statement, we commit to working on that together during the session rather than schedule it for independent work time after the session. If the coach is not the best person to provide that support, we help the student identify other resources, such as class tutorial sessions or relevant websites.

    • Schedule: Once we have identified all the learning tasks, we help the student schedule those in their planner.

  • Work Time:

    • We engage in collaborative work on the tasks they need help with, such as learning about thesis statements, identifying resources for studying, modeling & practicing specific study techniques, providing feedback on work, etc.

  • Evaluate:

    • What did we accomplish in this session? What are the takeaways? What are our next steps?

  • Reflect & Record

    • Students record their answers as a way of reinforcing learning & holding themselves accountable for next steps.

How do I know if academic coaching is right for my child? 

  • Your child wants help and is excited to work with a coach

  • You saw during the COVID-19 school closures that your child struggled with managing their work

  • Your child wants to improve their education in general rather than just one subject area

  • You are passionate about helping your child build confidence and life strategies rather than just boosting grades

  • You know that your child can build these academic skills, but it's causing tension in your family for you to be the one leading this process, and you want to invite a more neutral stakeholder to the table

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