5 strategies for managing teen stress


With never-ending homework, tests, school projects, soccer practice, band practice and countless other obligations, an important factor in overcoming stress as a student is learning how to manage time. Here are 5 simple steps to help organize and structure the life of a student.

Step 1 – Write it down

Write down all assignments in a planner each day at the end of each class. Only leave a classroom when you have written down the complete homework assignment, upcoming tests or projects and when you have a clear understanding of the teacher’s expectations for those assignments. A correctly written assignment looks something like this:

Biology – page 235 #1-5 Write the questions and the answers. Test on chapter 16 Friday, 3/21.

Step 2 – Visualize your week

For students participating in after-school clubs and sports, keep a calendar/planner that shows the hours in each day.  At the beginning of the week, make it a point to sit down with your calendar/planner and plan out your week by marking off time for each and every activity. Each hour of the day should be marked with something – sleeping, class, baseball practice, student council meeting, study/homework, dinner. This helps students visualize their week ahead so that they can keep track of how much time they have for different activities.

Step 3 – Keep papers organized

Keeping all school supplies organized is a must. Have notebooks and folders for each subject. Only put math papers in the math folder/notebook, English in the English folder/notebook, etc. Being able to easily and quickly put your fingers on the homework that you completed last night will prevents unnecessary stress. Too often students do work at night and cannot find it when the teacher asks for it the next day.

Step 4 – A few minutes a day keeps the all-nighter away

Spending time each day on each subject will eliminate anxiety when it comes time for tests, project due dates, exams, etc. Because adolescents tend to live in the moment and do not see much past that moment, they often wait until the night before a project is due or the night before an exam to pull an all-nighter of memorizing (not learning) the information. Spending just a few minutes each night on each subject will eliminate the need for unhealthy, all-night cramming. Read over a chapter or the notes you took that day, make flashcards of key ideas/vocabulary that were discussed that day, and outline a chapter you read are all practices that will help students keep up with the information as the concepts are presented over time.

Step 5 – Structure, balance, accountability

Structure and accountability are key. Students need a proper balance of school, sleep, extracurricular time, and down time (or with young children, free play). Parents play a huge role in making this balance possible for their scholar kids. Maintaining a structured lifestyle helps keep students organized so that they can make the best use of their time. Holding students accountable for getting school work done is also paramount. Parents should stay on top of how their kids are doing in school so that they can help them make adjustments to their schedule if they’re missing homework or not performing well on tests.


5 Steps to Building an Empathetic Child

It can be hard to imagine that egocentric toddlers can, and will, turn into empathetic beings. Just as it is adaptive and developmentally appropriate for very young children to see themselves as the center of the world, as they mature, their perspective shifts and they are able to recognize that others have thoughts and feelings too.

The building blocks of empathy are apparent as early as infancy. Researchers have found that within the first few hours of life, infants will attempt to mimic the facial expressions of their mothers. This simple action reflects primitive wiring for social connectedness and sharing. As babies grow, they begin to understand that people’s actions are not just random and that behind people’s behaviors are reasons and motivations. Furthermore, not only do they recognize it, but many will assist others in achieving their goals. Researchers have observed children as young as 14-months-old attempt to help an adult retrieve an object just out of reach. In two-year-olds, early signs of empathy are shown as the toddler offers assistance by bringing things that are comforting to them, such as a favorite toy or blanky, to someone who they see is upset.

The hard wiring for empathy is present in most normally developing children, but it is not until later childhood that we see displays of empathic concern. Empathic concern is the feeling of compassion and concern for others. That feeling of empathy then often motivates a person to want to help another feel better. For instance, when a playmate’s knee hurts from a fall, your child may feel compassion for their pain and also desire to help them feel better.

As our children transition towards becoming empathic beings, there are many steps we can take to assist in their progress. The National Center for Infants, Toddlers, and Families recommends the following actions:

1. Empathize with your child. Validate your child’s experience and reactions.

For example, “Are you feeling scared of that dog? He is a nice dog but he is barking really loudly. That can be scary. I will hold you until he walks by.”

2. Talk about others’ feelings.

Identify feelings in others through conversation and play. For example, “Gray is feeling said because you took her toy care. Please give Gray back her car and then you choose another one to play with.”

3. Model empathy.

Encourage your child to assist you in your compassionate actions. For example, “Holden fell and hurt his elbow. Let’s get Holden some ice for his boo-boo.”

4. Read stories about feelings – Some suggestions include:


5. Be Patient.

Developing empathy takes time. Your child probably won’t be a perfectly empathetic being by age five (There are some teenagers and adults who have not yet mastered this skill perfectly, either). Remember that empathy is a complex skill that will deepen across your child’s lifespan.

The Aries Child (March 21-19)

Happy Spring! With spring comes daylight, warmth, flowers, fresh air and song birds. Spring is about beginnings. Even the zodiac calendar begins on the first day of spring, which makes the Aries (March 21-April 19) the first sign in the zodiac calendar.

My sweet friend and famous psychic / astrologer, Cari Roy, and I decided it would be fun to feature a horoscope every month that focuses on the child. So, if you’re the parent of an Aries, here is some insight into what you have to look forward to this month, as well as some tips for how you can nurture your little Numero Uno. Enjoy!

About the Aries Child

ARIESfinalFearless, creative, confident, and a natural born leader, the Aries child plays best when she gets to lead the group. Otherwise, forget it. If an Aries kid gets challenged on leadership, she will sulk.

As parents, sometimes we feel socially obligated to force our kids to conform contrary to their their natural born strengths (in this case leadership). But when we do this, we take away the very power that will eventually serve them well in the future. Our world needs good leaders, so it’s our job as parents to nurture this strength (and harness it) so that they can become the best leader they can be and bring about positive change in the world. Aries take his role as leader very seriously and feels deeply responsible for the group (or family), so if he’s driving everyone else nuts, give him permission to have some alone time.

More than any other sign, the Aries child does not like being teased and does not like being the butt of a joke. What leader does?

Patience does not come easy to the Aries child because they are born one step ahead of the game (first of all the signs) and already have all the answers. They also bore easily, so it’s important to keep the Aries child challenged. If you want her to do something, tell her she can’t… and she will.

From now until June, your Aries might feel a bit sluggish and a little cranky. This is because their ruling planet (Mars) is in retrograde. They have to work twice as hard to do something simple and being that they are naturally impatient, this will be incredibly frustrating. As parents, it’s important to remind them that Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Lesson Plan

Since patience is a key lesson for the Aries right now, use springtime to help him understand the wonderful gifts that patience brings. Plant something with your Aries child so that he can physically see how good things take time to grow and that patience rewards us with a beautiful flower or a delicious fruit. Put him in charge of the planting and watering, of course!

Astrology is a great tool for understanding personal strengths and tendencies that can be nurtured and directed to help our children shine their brightest. To learn more about your little superstar or yourself, visit Cari’s website at www.neworleanspsychic.com.

5 steps to planning your family’s financial future

Congratulations! You’ve got a little bundle of joy on the way and are through the moon with excitement, as you well should be. Sometime after the adrenaline wears off you’ll slowly start to be overtaken with fear about your new responsibilities for that helpless little creature.


Here are some things to think about so that you can provide a solid financial footing for your family.

1. Understand your spending habits.

The things you spend money on are likely to change pretty dramatically in the early days and years of your child’s life, so actively getting involved with your spending and tracking where it is going is the critical first step. Use a tool like Mint.com to automate the tracking process, and review your spending each week to leaner what’s working for you and what’s tripping you up.

2. Review your employer benefits.

If you have benefits at work, you should review them to know how much you should expect to spend for the birth of your child (with hospital deductibles, etc) and how to add them to your benefits for health insurance and other programs such as family life insurance. While you’re speaking to HR anyway, check your beneficiaries on your retirement plans and life insurance to make sure they’re listed properly.

3. Life Insurance.

Chances are you need more life insurance than is offered from your employer. Term Life insurance is fairly inexpensive if you’re in good health, so request quotes from a local independent insurance agent (or one of the many online services) and choose the one that makes sense for you. One note here is that you likely only need insurance to cover your family during your child’s growing years, so avoid expensive permanent life insurance products like Whole Life or Universal Life unless you have a solid additional reason for purchasing these. These policies have benefits, but they also have huge conflicts and commissions that come along with them and are rarely as beneficial as they’re made out to be (or as Dave Ramsey says, they’re the ‘Payday Loans of the middle class’).

4. Wills

Now that you’ve got a child, it’s up to you to decide who will get to take care of them if you get run over by a Mardi Gras float. Going to a lawyer who prepares estate documents should get you a Will (which governs your possessions and can be used to designate guardians for your children), a Living Will (which spells out your end of life choices if you’re on life support with physicians concluding you have no chance of recovery) and Powers of Attorney (which gives your partner rights to make medical and financial decisions for you if you’re not capable of making them yourself). When you have minor children, you should really take the time to choose who will take care of them if the unthinkable happens. Don’t leave it up to your remaining friends and family members to try to decide. State your wishes and let a professional help you.

5. Fund your retirement before you fund college

As a parent myself, I understand the inclination to want to do for your child before you take care of yourself, but this is dangerous and costly as you approach retirement. As I tell clients, they make college loans, they don’t make retirement loans. Unless you want to plan to live with your children when they are adults, you’ve got to do a good job of taking care of your own retirement savings before you look at setting aside large sums of money for college. Part of saving for retirement can be funding Roth IRAs which provide powerful tax-deferred growth and potentially tax-free withdrawals in retirement, that can also be used for paying for college if you get to that point and are in good shape from a savings standpoint.

Take care of these 5 areas, and you’ll be well on your road to a successful financial future for you and your family!

Parent Fail: Valentine’s Day Heart Magnets

So this is what I decided “we” would do for the girls’ school Valentines. Doesn’t it look dreamy? I rarely do crafts with my kids. Don’t get me wrong, I love Pinterest and get sucked into the vortex of DIY as much as the next mom. I don’t know what happens when I’m in there, but for some reason I start to believe that I am a crafty mom and that crafty moms are good moms so I should do more crafts. This also happens when I go to Michael’s. It is not okay for me to go to Michael’s.

The biggest problem I seem to have with making crafts with the kids is the kids. I liken it to co-trimming the Christmas tree with my husband. Nothing good ever comes out of it. So what do I do? I make sure to do it before he gets home. It seems to be working because we’re still married.

So there I was with all the ingredients for making Valentine’s Day Heart Magnets and three very anxious and excited little girls. They each needed their own bowl. They each needed their own measuring cups. They each wanted to stir. They each wanted to destroy my dream of making perfect Valentine’s Day Heart Magnets.

I wanted this:


They wanted this:


Then they got all crazy with the doilies so I sent them to bed. And under great duress, my husband stayed up late with me to finish the magnets.

For the record, I do know that this was a parenting fail. Not only did I plan this all wrong (I should have just handled making the actual hearts myself and then given them carte blanche to design them as they wanted), but I missed the mark on why we were doing this craft in the first place. It was meant to be something that we could do together that was crafty and creative. I wanted them to give their friends more than just a Valentines- in-a-Box. I wanted to be that crafty mom.

But I’m not, and now I know.

What’s your sign, little Valentine?

My friend, Cari Roy, is a third generation psychic. She’s kinda a big deal and I adore her. With Valentine’s Day coming up, we thought it would be fun to put together a little cheat sheet for parents and offer some insight into what to get our kids for Valentine’s Day based on their astrological sign.

One of the great things about knowing and understanding your kid’s astrological sign is that it gives you a personality blueprint. Whether you buy into this stuff or not, it’s something to throw in your parenting toolkit for those times you find yourself grasping at straws.

ARIES the Numero Uno (March 21–Apr 19)

As the first sign in the zodiac, your ARIES is your little #1 and extremely conscious of the self (think ME! ME! ME!). They love to be the center of attention and to be fussed over, so consider taking your little girl to get pampered with a mani/pedi or give your best little man a cool Fedora, superman shirt or pink bowtie – anything stylish or slightly flamboyant that is sure to garner him some attention/adoration.

TAURUS the Stubborn (Apr 20–May 20)

Your stubborn, er, strong willed bull has a deep appreciation for all things beautiful. After all, they are ruled by Venus. The Taurus loves music and art, so pick out something that is beautifully designed, or elegant—a lovely journal or beautiful notecards. They love to be soothed by music, so maybe an iPod or an iTunes gift card. The Taurus does not like to be rushed, so maybe a stroll through The Ogden or WWII Museum?

GEMINI the Multi-Tasker (May 21–June 20)

Your little multi-tasker loves gadgets and gizmos, so a gift that he can fiddle around with and figure out how it works is a great idea. The latest tech gadget or video game should be a slam dunk and since Gemini’s are such great communicators, a super cute iPhone case should cover all your bases! Gemini’s are also information sponges so anything that feeds the intellect like a good book on a new and interesting subject, a challenging puzzle, or a game like Trivia Pursuit or Battleship might be fun.

CANCER the Caretaker (June 21–July 22)

Doc McStuffins is probably a Cancer. These little nurturers and caregivers love to play doctor and patch up their dolls. They also love to be in the kitchen cooking with you. Consider a doctors kit or a set of pots and pans. Nurture their nurturing disposition.

LEO the Superstar (July 23–Aug 22)

Your Leo is a superstar and loves the limelight. Take her to the theater, get her some acting classes or give her a microphone ‘cause you’re gonna hear her ROAR!

VIRGO the Perfectionist (Aug 23–Sept 22)

You should never have to tell your little perfectionists to clean her room because she likes to have things in order. Take her to a florist and let her create her own Valentine’s Day flower arrangement. The Virgo child would love a set of stickers and a sticker book or box to keep them organized. Anything they can use to get organized, like a jewelry box, kraft/pencil box or a cool wooden box would be fun.

LIBRA the Peacemaker (Sept 23–Oct 22)

This is the peacemaker of the zodiac. Libras like everything to be harmonious, beautiful and peaceful. They know in utero the difference between a 200 thread count and Egyptian Cotton. Luxe soothes the Libra, so take her to high tea or let him pick out a fancy suit or tie. Also, Libras want to be with their best buddy all the time, so a special playdate at a fancy restaurant might be the perfect treat.

SCORPIO the Detective (Oct 23–Nov 21)

Scorpios are intense, love mysteries, and love solving mysteries even more. Outfit your your little detective with binoculars, a secret treasure box (like those wooden puzzle boxes), send him on a scavenger hunt or find a good mystery book you can read together. The Where’s Waldo books are great, too! For an itty bitty, give her a small box packed in a bunch of bigger boxes – something that she has to keep searching for to get to the end. Her heart will be all aflutter!


SAGITTARIUS the Eternal Optimist and Clown of the Zodiac (Nov 22–Dec 21)

Nothing makes a Sag happier than to make others happy. Your little archer is footloose and fancy-free and probably needs a butterfly catcher. The Sagittarius loves to travel so give him a cool backpack, suitcase, or globe. Fancy Nancy Explorer Extraordinaire is a great book and Little Passports, a magazine subscription travel program for kids, would be a perfect fit. As lover of animals, especially horses, a My Little Pony will delight her and a cool movie like War Horse or Black Beauty would make for a great family movie night. Or just take your explorer extraordinaire to the zoo! It’s important to note that the Sagittarius is fair to a fault, so that’s something to think about when you’re doling out gifts.

CAPRICORN the Old Soul (Dec 22–Jan 19)

Your family historian is fascinated by history and loves to be surrounded by pictures of family, both now and then. Tell her stories of when she was a baby or give him letters that your grandfather wrote to you while you were away at school or letters from war generals or past presidents. Anything that connects this old soul to the past is sure to delight. For her, a historic paper doll book or an antique tea set (you can pick up some mismatched ones at any antique store for $8) will bring a lot of joy.

AQUARIUS the Child of Tomorrow (Jan 20–Feb 18)

Your little Aquarius may at times seem aloof and detached but it’s only because she’s focused on the future and how she can make the world a better place. Have a family outing to a local food bank, like Second Harvest, to volunteer or help them set up their own food drive. Whatever you do, give your Aquarius something as quirky as he is—something unexpected and out of the ordinary. They love space (probably because it’s as “out there” as they are) so a telescope or map of the stars might be fun!

PICES the Empath (Feb 19–March 20)

Pices children are very emotional and sensitive and considered the most empathetic of all the signs. They pick up on everyone else’s emotions so to balance out their intense and uber emotions, these little feelers need solitude. An aquarium or fish will help to relax your Pices because he can just sit there and stare for hours. If that’s not an option, head to the aquarium late in the day when it’s quiet so you can take your time just staring at the fish together. Take a quick drive to Pass Christian and go for a long walk together on the beach. And on a side note, Cari tells me she’s never met a Pices who didn’t like a good pair of comfortable shoes.

This was definitely one of the most fun posts I’ve worked on. I learned a lot about my kids (Capricorn, Aquarius and Cancer). Cari really nailed them, which is just amazing. If you want to learn more about astrology and how to create your (or your kid’s) own generic horoscope, head over to her website. She offers some useful links for creating your family’s own generic chart, and you can even schedule your own consultation with her.

When I was in my early 20’s, I had my astrological chart done. In retrospect, it see now that it basically gave me a roadmap to the next 10 years of my life. I remember my astrologist telling me that she sees me surrounded by children. I believe her exact words were “Children are everywhere.” She also saw me as a writer and that my future would be filled with words. As a single gal at the time who had never held a baby in her life and who had only recently mastered the art of writing a good email, I couldn’t really imagine my life that way. Today, I have a blog and my life is consumed by the written word, and by virtue of my blog being a parenting blog, I am indirectly surrounded by many children.

Getting my chart done was a wonderful, fun, insightful experience. I can’t wait for Cari to map out my kids’ charts, so that I can have a better understanding of who they are, where they’re coming from, and how I can nurture their nature.

Just another tool in the parenting toolkit.

True Grit: Helping Boys Find the Fortitude for Success

0-9 to 10-0. It was a turnaround for the ages – one which saw a dismal and frustrating football season in 2012 transform into a magical, record-setting one in 2013. Saint Stanislaus had never seen such a remarkable Cinderella story in its 160-year history. The mystery of how such a feat was accomplished became a major source of speculation among students, faculty and parents alike. This year’s results were all the more extraordinary in that our undefeated team was essentially comprised of the same core group of young men who suffered through last season’s ego-thumping.

So what was the difference between total failure and resounding victory? It certainly had something to do with an extra year of experience and the long hours in the weight room, along with our boys’ complete commitment to the school’s and the coaches’ philosophy of focusing on character first. Yet, for those who witnessed the weekly thrilling performances, for the fans who cheered as the Football Rock-A-Chaws battled and managed miraculous comebacks time after time, it was clear that there was another, less quantifiable quality behind it all.

When I asked the coach about this attribute that I couldn’t quite put my finger on, the source of their success, he used a word that summed it up perfectly: our boys had grit. Until recently, grit was a word that conjured memories of John Wayne wielding a rifle and single-handedly taming the Wild West. But lately, educators and researchers have begun to take notice of this important, if elusive, quality. In fact, one psychology professor, Angela Duckworth at the University of Pennsylvania, has made a name for herself by figuring out what this word means and even how to identify it. She defines it as “passion and perseverance for long-term goals.” Ms. Duckworth boldly claims that this character trait is the best predictor of success. Even more surprising is her argument that, in fact, “grit is usually unrelated or even negatively correlated with talent.”

In a fascinating validation of her research, Angela Duckworth’s Lab at UPenn developed a survey that ranks people on the “Grit Scale” and administered it to incoming West Point cadets. The hope was to predict which of the new cadets would be able to make it through the brutal summer initiation at the U.S. Military Academy. While West Point’s own evaluation – which takes into account SAT scores, class rank, leadership, and physical aptitude – wasn’t able to predict retention, Ms. Duckworth’s test was remarkably accurate.

Inevitably, we had to know: how gritty are our boys? Our teachers and coaches have long stressed the importance of delayed gratification, a rare and critical quality in our on-demand society and a major factor in one’s ability to be gritty. Our boys are also aware of our school’s gritty culture, forged out of an incredible history of survival through hurricanes, fires, the Civil War, yellow fever and the Great Depression. So it was no surprise that, when our boys took Duckworth’s Grit Survey (which anyone can take at), they scored a 4.18 out of a possible 5, which is better than almost 90% of those who have taken the test. The next challenge for our football team will not be how to overcome adversity and failure, but how to handle their current successes. That too will likely require hard work, dedication, and, of course, grit.

Your daughter’s education – Open House this Thursday (sponsored)

I have three daughters. My oldest is in first grade. When I think about her education, I want her to love math and science and art and music. I want her to be a free thinker and a critical thinker, to take risks, be creative, think beyond herself and expand her boundaries, so that when she’s solving the problems of her time, her solutions and contributions are not bound by one place or one thing. She is limitless.

I want my daughter to benefit from technology, harness its power, and then walk away from it to go climb a tree. I want her to feel safe, guided, and supported as she discovers her individuality and develops into a young woman.

I want my daughter to know deep down in her gut that she can do anything, be anything, go anywhere.

Louise S. McGehee School is focused on understanding and educating the mind of the girl. The way she thinks, communicates, relates and learns is central to how the school’s curriculum and approach to education play out in the classroom, the community and beyond. This is a progressive approach to education.

This is The McGehee Advantage, and it is here for your daughter because she wants to soar.

If you want to know more about McGehee, read the school’s mission. It’s everything in a nutshell. If you want a picture of what they do everyday, visit their website. If you want to feel the spirit of McGehee, visit the campus. It’s contagious.

McGOpenHouse January

Navigating the PreK Intelligence Testing Process Required by New Orleans Independent Schools

A few years ago I produced an informational program to help parents navigate the PreK/Kindergarten intelligence testing process. Clinical psychologist, Dr. Arian Elfant, discussed the mechanics of the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence (WPPSI-III) required by most local independent schools, what to expect and how the results can be useful. Below is a recap.

For those of you who are new to town and/or New Orleans parenting of school-age children, all students applying to an ISAS (Independent Schools Association of the Southwest) school in New Orleans are required to take the WPPSI-III. For a list of ISAS schools, visit www.isasneworleans.org.

WPPSI-III Overview

The WPPSI-III is a preschool intelligence test administered to children within the age range 2yrs 6mos – 7yrs 3mos of age. It is considered one of the most reliable and valid intelligence tests designed for preschool children.

For children age 3, 5 verbal/nonverbal subtests are administered. The test lasts approximately 30-45 minutes. For children 4 years and older, there are 10 verbal/nonverbal subtests typically administered. The test lasts approximately 45-60 minutes.

The test itself is colorful, engaging and interesting for children and it is typically administered at the psychologist’s office.

A child’s score is compared to a normative sample of children within 3 months of age of your child. Change is so rapid at this stage of development, so your child will only be compared to other children within a very small window of his/her age. IQ is not stable until at least age 8.

A child can only be tested once within a year. A child’s test scores are confidential and are only forwarded to a specific school(s) per a parent’s written request.

What the WPPSI-III Test IS:

  • It is a snapshot of your child’s abilities;
  • It reveals a child’s ability to navigate the world/solve problems verbally and nonverbally;
  • It reveals a child’s ability to focus, which can indicate school readiness;
  • It evaluates a child’s verbal skills, such as acquired knowledge and understanding of words; and
  • It evaluates a child’s nonverbal skills, such as visual perceptual skills and spatial skills.

What the WPPSI-III Test is NOT:

  • Test results are not a reflection of you as a parent;
  • It does not necessarily predict a child’s potential or achievement;
  • It does not capture everything about how wonderful/unique/great your child is;
  • It does not evaluate a child’s creativity or personality;
  • It does not evaluate a child’s ability to read or write; and
  • It does not evaluate school-based information.

How the WPPSI-III results can be useful:

  • Results can give you a sense of your child’s strengths and weaknesses;
  • Results can provide you with a sense of the kind of learning environment in which your child will likely succeed;
  • You want to pick a school that is a good fit for your child and you want a school that can accommodate your child as an individual; and
  • These results may red flag a problem, but one that will probably not come as a surprise to you.

How much does the test cost?

Each psychologist has his/her own fee. A reasonable range might be $175-$400, which may or may not include a follow up consultation with the psychologist to go over the test results.

How do you pick a tester?

You can download a list of recommended psychologists who are qualified testers from any of the ISAS school websites. Also, ask for recommendations from schools, friends and/or family. If you are still confused about whom to choose, a good rule of thumb is to call 3 psychologists and find one you feel is a good fit for you and your child.

What credentials are required for a tester?

A tester must be licensed and have a Ph.D. in Psychology.

Where is the test performed?

The test is typically performed at the psychologist’s office.

What if I have a shy child?

Children communicate in many ways and not always with words. Shy children typically enjoy the one-on-one setting and your psychologist is well trained to handle this so that your child feels as comfortable as possible.

Should I have my child tested BEFORE or AFTER his/her 4th birthday?

It is up to you. The test for the 3yo is shorter in length than the 4yo year old test. Some prefer that their child have a briefer test and some prefer the longer test because more information is provided.

My child is bilingual. How will this affect her scores?

This information will be provided in the report as pertinent background information and considered in interpreting his/her scores.

Based on a child’s test results, will the tester/Psychologist make school recommendations?

Your psychologist will likely not make specific school recommendations, but may be able to help guide you about the type of setting your child will work well in (e.g., very structured vs. more hands-on learning). However, these recommendations are based on only limited information about your child. You are strongly encouraged to tour and visit the schools yourself. You know your child best. Ask yourself “can I picture my child here?” Another great resource is to consult with any teachers or caregivers your child has had and ask them questions about how your child operates in groups, interacts socially, etc.

Educating Boys: What We Learned from a Year of Co-education

The percentage of boys going on to college has dropped precipitously over the past 50 years—from 70 percent to 42 percent. That alarming number from the book Boys Adrift maintains that the decline has taken place even while the ratio of boys to girls has remained about the same: 51 percent to 49 percent.

Recently, a growing chorus of voices among education experts has advocated the need to refocus attention on boys’ academic performance as its decline has become too great to ignore. A lengthy but fascinating article in The Atlantic magazine by Christina Hoff Sommers details what she dubs the “war on boys.” As a community, we are seeking answers as to what has caused the drop and how to bring boys back from the brink.

As an educator at an all-boys school, I am often drawn into a debate about the merits of single-sex education. At Saint Stanislaus, we have had an unusual opportunity to witness both single-sex and co-educational settings at play.

Post-Hurricane Katrina, our campus became a real-life lab as we hosted students from our neighboring sister school. Our Lady Academy suffered total devastation of its campus in the storm surge of 2005. We opened our doors wide to welcome them to Saint Stanislaus and for one year, we were “two schools, one spirit.”

It was an instructive experience. The good news was that our boys started to comb their hair and use deodorant regularly, mindful of their status with the girls. As we have always known, women certainly have a civilizing effect on men – and that is important. However, the downsides in the classroom were all too apparent from the outset.

Where once our young men would focus in class on the material, they were distracted and less likely to participate or pay attention to the teacher; where we had a thriving group of school leaders who took the initiative in Student Council and other formal organizations, the girls dominated and boys lost their gumption.

Our faculty quickly noticed that, although the boys were better behaved and smelled nice, they were missing much more critical components of their formation – active participation and willingness to engage in the classroom, strong leadership and involvement in extracurricular activities and the bright-eyed ambition that our boys had been known for.

I was happy to have the girls in my classes because they were smart, interesting and almost always prepared, but I grew frustrated at how reticent even my most talented boys had become. In a private conversation with a student I had previously recognized for his intellect and insight, he confided that he was simply petrified of “looking stupid in front of the girls if I say the wrong thing.” His calculation seemed to follow Mark Twain’s advice that it is “better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.”

When the challenging year came to a close, the consensus among both faculties of Saint Stanislaus and Our Lady Academy was that this experiment had been necessary and instructive (and had its own moments of fun), but was not a situation we wanted to continue. The faculty and the kids all learned some important lessons about co-existing happily with our neighbors, but they also poignantly understood, both practically and intellectually, the clear value of giving both adolescent boys and girls the space they need to grow academically and emotionally.

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