Monday, October 6, 2008

New Website, New Year!

Welcome to our new website! Thank you for taking the time to check out one of our newest editions: Tutorpedia’s Blog. In addition to our new blog, we have brand new Tutor Search functions, User Accounts, and College Resources sections. I hope these new features make our site more user-friendly and our tutoring more effective and enduring.

We are continuing to write SAT curriculum that we will pilot in the early months of 2009. Through No Child Left Behind, we continue to contract with new school districts – Berkeley and Oakland this year – to provide free tutoring services to low-income and under-performing students.

The coming election provides us with a chance to make our voices heard in the political process, and whatever your political bent, I urge you to take the time to vote. I am forever frustrated that our country’s failing educational system is not seen as a national crisis – we can spend billions on wars and Wall Street bailouts, but we can’t seem to find the resources to sufficiently fund and fix our decaying public schools – where 1 in 3 students drop out before they graduate. I hope that our tutors and students will one day find their way to the top levels of local and national politics to change this.

In a more practical sense, let me provide several opportunities for parents to help their kids survive the steep expectations and more competitive landscape that comes with starting a new school year:

Plan your year – Mark your calendars!
You have the whole school year in front of you – before you fill your schedule with football games, school dances, and family vacations, ask your teacher when major assignments, tests, and projects are due. Mark your calendars in advance, noting AP exams, Finals, the SAT or ACT. We can’t plan for everything, but that which we can plan for, we should.

Prepare ahead of time – Stay current in class!
Don’t wait until the week (or day) before a test to start studying! In my many years as a student, teacher, and tutor, it still amazes me how many of us try to cram everything in to one day or one week’s worth of preparation. Keep up with your homework daily, attend regular study sessions with friends, and make sure your tutor is available to help out on a regular basis – not just to bail you out last-minute.

Promote college interest – Visit schools together!
Stay involved in your children’s academics, promoting and encouraging their interests inside and outside of school. Talk to them about where they’d like to go to college, and if you can, take them on visits to their favorite schools. This is a great bonding experience for students and parents, and also reduces the anxiety of having to choose between schools you’ve never seen or experienced.

As the Jewish New Year passes, I try to both pause and reflect on the past year - I hold on to what I want, and throw off what I'd like to leave behind. As we all begin this new school year, I wish you a happy and healthy year - a year of continued academic and personal growth.