We all recognize that Fairfield County has a very mobile population with corporate moves bringing new families to the area throughout each year. Whether it’s a move of thousands of miles or the more typical transitions from elementary to middle school, and middle school to high school, any major change can create educational challenges for students and their families. For example we recently spoke with the “Smith” family (not their real name) about their move from Arizona to Connecticut last August and how Sylvan Learning Darien is helping their son “Tyler” (also not his real name) succeed in his new school system.
In Arizona, Tyler attended a small, private, country day school from kindergarten through ninth grade. Like schools here in Fairfield County it provided a good education. Unlike public schools, Tyler’s private school offered more personal attention with smaller classes (15-18 students).
The Smiths thought of their move to Connecticut as providing a good opportunity for Tyler to transition to ‘larger structured institutions’ as he prepared for college. But they also wanted to insure the transition would be successful; they wanted to get him off to a good start in his new, larger school. They researched their options for getting Tyler a little extra help to aid his transition.
We spoke with Mrs. Smith about their experience.
Question: So Why Sylvan?
The Smiths were originally introduced to Sylvan Learning in Arizona where Tyler’s older sister had had a positive experience with the local Sylvan Center in preparing for her SATs. Knowing that each Sylvan Center is an independent franchise, they conducted a full review of other learning facilities operating in Connecticut. Speaking with Gwynne Campbell made their decision easy; they decided Sylvan was right for Tyler.
Question: Where Was Your Focus?
A small, private, K-12 school by its nature is able to watch over each student with more attention than a larger high school. Tyler had always been a good student, but they were concerned about his organizational skills. There were situations in the past in which he would wait too late to start preparing for a big test, and others in which he would complete his homework on time but leave it at home. These were the kinds of behaviors that lots of teenage boys experience and issues that were easily managed in a private school, but in a larger public school and in the future, could become more serious problems.
Question: How Did Sylvan Learning Darien Address Tyler’s Issues?
Tyler agreed that he could use a little help and started meeting on a weekly basis with Rene at Sylvan Learning Darien. She worked with him on his writing skills but probably more importantly got him using his calendar to prepare for upcoming events, tests, and projects. Rene helped Tyler develop the habit of making lists, checking items off, prioritizing assignments, adding yellow sticky notes to his calendar, and more. It probably wasn’t much more than what a hovering parent might do, but it was accepted much more easily coming from an outsider.
Question: What Were the Results?
Being better organized had a tremendous impact. Tyler started realizing the difference it made. It helped him build his confidence. He realized that if he applied himself he could be much more than just an “OK” student. He was invited to step up to several honors-level classes. Rene soon suggested that his improved organizational skills warranted meeting less frequently and suggested that Tyler cut back his sessions to every other week (at the most or even discontinue them altogether). At about that time some new material was introduced in the honors chemistry class for which Tyler (having not been part of the class from the outset) lacked the proper background. Sylvan Learning was able to switch gears, bring in Jeremy, a content specialist in that subject, and help Tyler address his new need.
Question: What Happens When Tyler Finishes Chemistry?
The move has been a success and Tyler is enjoying the experience with Sylvan. The transition to Fairfield County and life in a larger, public high school is going well. Once chemistry is done for the year, Tyler is considering doing some additional work at Sylvan over the summer to get a head start for his junior year.
Gwynne Campbell and Sylvan are always ready to speak with parents and students who are making a transition or are taking on new subjects. You can suggest to your friends facing such challenges that they reach out to Gwynne at 203-655-3276.
Interested in reading more? Visit our Educational Tips blog on the Sylvan Darien website, or follow this link to archives of our most recent emails: http://us3.campaign-archive2.com/home/?u=1e838e6cd86e6252f62fa5fd8&id=c080cf4394