Virtual School Meanderings

July 20, 2021

“How to Help Adolescents Think About the Last Year” – This Week: Parenting for Academic Success (and Parental Sanity)

Filed under: virtual school — Michael K. Barbour @ 8:08 pm
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This item may be of interest to some readers.

In a New York Times article this past April, entitled “How to Help Your Adolescent Think About the Last Year,” writer Judith Warner notes that: “On and offline, parents are trading stories — poignant and painful — about all of the ways that they fear their middle schoolers are losing ground.” She starts with the story of a young man in seventh grade, for whom spending the year at home durin the pandemic “has just been too much.” At the time of writing, boy hadn’t met any of his classmates in person, nor had he made a single friend–and so bored he would chat with strangers online even during class time. His parents are sympathetic, but worried.
Ms. Warner writes:
“Virtually everyone has waded through hardships this past year — job losses, relationship struggles, chronic stress and, in the worst of all cases, the loss of loved ones to Covid-19. And parents with school-age children have battled the demands of combining their usual work and family responsibilities with at least some degree of home-schooling.
“But mothers and fathers of middle schoolers — the parenting cohort long known to researchers as the most angst-ridden and unhappy — are connecting now in a specific sort of common misery: the pressing fear that their children, at a vital inflection point in their academic and social lives, have tripped over some key developmental milestones and may never quite find their footing again.

“Experts say some of their worries are justified — but only up to a point. There’s no doubt that the pandemic has taken a major toll on many adolescents’ emotional well-being. According to a much-cited report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the proportion of emergency room visits that were mental health-related for 12 to 17 year olds increased by 31 percent from April to October 2020 compared with the same period in 2019. And there’s no question that witnessing their loneliness, difficulties with online learning and seemingly endless hours on social media has been enormously stressful for the adults who care about them the most.”

However, she goes on to write:

“Despite all of this, Ms. Fagell [a therapist, school counselor and the author of the 2019 book ‘Middle School Matters’], much like the dozen-plus other experts in adolescent development who were interviewed for this article, was adamant that parents should not panic — and that, furthermore, the spread of the ‘lost year’ narrative needed to stop. Getting a full picture of what’s going on with middle schoolers — and being ready to help them — they agreed, requires holding two seemingly contradictory ideas simultaneously in mind: The past year has been terrible. And most middle schoolers will be fine.”

Keep reading HERE to see why she and others think that students this age are “extra-primed for adaptability and resilience” and how the way that caring adults tell the story of the past year will be a big part of how the students see themselves.

And please consider taking, or letting others know about, our Parenting for Academic Success Course, which starts this week!




We are excited to announce that Learning Revolution (and Classroom 2.0 and Library 2.0) will be hosting an ONLINE version of the much-sought-after course:

Parenting For Academic Success (and Parental Sanity)

This course is a five-part series of classes co-taught by Greg Smith and Chris Loper. Chris will share the key ideas from psychology and neuroscience that are most relevant for parents, while Greg will discuss how to apply this knowledge at home. Meanwhile, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to ask questions, and you’ll be given pre-class journaling questions, supplemental readings, and additional resources to support the course material.

“This parent seminar is like no other. Understanding the learning process and the development of executive functions is a component of parenting that is often overlooked. Greg and Chris are exceptionally skilled at what they do and amazing communicators. In this seminar, they provide a baseline of information that will help any parent become more empathetic and knowledgeable as they help guide these wonderful young persons in developing their own independence and confidence. This seminar applies to so much more than just academics – it applies to life skills.” 

–Jenifer Dobson  (More testimonials below…)

Your Instructors

8969486088?profile=RESIZE_400xGreg Smith: Greg has been an educator for 35 years, and he is the owner of Northwest Educational Services. He has over 40,000 hours of one-on-one experience supporting students and parents in their respective learning processes. Greg is married with two teenage daughters and understands the challenges of parenting from both a professional and personal perspective.
8969486476?profile=RESIZE_400xChris Loper: Chris has been an academic coach since 2014. He writes an education blog for parents and students at, and he is the owner of South Cove Tutoring in Issaquah, WA. Chris is also the creator of, where he writes about self-improvement and works one-on-one with adults on habit formation.

The Classes

#1 Psychology and Neuroscience Essentials 

  • The history of the human brain as it relates to academic success
  • Brain health: the effects of sleep, nutrition, exercise, and technology
  • Positive psychology: encouraging mental health and success
  • Leading by example: the importance of modeling healthy habits

#2 Growth Mindset Parenting

  • The dynamic human brain: how the brain changes and grows
  • Growth mindset vs. fixed mindset
  • Growth-minded language
  • Leading by example: the growth-minded lifestyle
  • Cultivating healthy self-esteem and self-efficacy

#3 Studying and Learning

  • Test anxiety: where does it come from and what can we do about it
  • What is “studying?”: learning techniques and memory formation
  • Problem-solving: technique, strategy, and the value of real breaks
  • Technology: distractions, multitasking, and tech-addiction
  • The pursuit of mastery and love of learning: curiosity and depth vs. grade management

#4 Behavioral Change and Productivity

  • Realism: how change actually happens
  • Using willpower wisely: habits, strategies, and reminders
  • Self-perception: how outer change drives inner change
  • Procrastination: why we do it and how to do it less
  • Perfectionism: moving away from debilitating all-or-nothing thinking

#5 Cultivating Executive Function

  • Park the helicopter: how micromanaging hinders development
  • Skinned knees: what kids learn when they’re allowed to fail
  • Coaching vs. teaching: encouraging resourcefulness and independence
  • Talking with your child about school: navigating the emotional difficulties of academic conversations
  • Active agent vs. passive victim: blame, parental language, and cultivating responsibility

If you miss a class, we will provide you with a recording of the lecture, but in order to maintain the privacy of the families who attend, we will not be recording the Q&A.

Dates and Times

Thursday evenings 7:00 – 9:00 pm US-Pacific Time (PDT) beginning 7/22/2021 and ending 8/19/2021.

Cost & Registration

$299 per family (a set of parents and/or guardians). Space is limited, so please let us know right away that you’d like to reserve a spot. To reserve your spot, please register here:

Parenting For Academic Success (and Parental Sanity)
If you need to pay by check, please email and we’ll hold the reservation and send an invoice. Please send questions to

Other Testimonials

“I took the parenting course in summer 2019 and learned so much about how the developing brain, growth mindset, and the importance of modeling (as opposed to managing), and much more. I still have my notes and refer back to them periodically. I highly recommend the course for anyone interested in supporting their children as they grow into lifelong learners.”

–Caitlin Moulding

“Chris and Greg’s parent seminars are not to be missed! In a short time, I became more savvy about myself and my kids as learners. Their coaching tips aim to reduce parent-child conflict by leveraging current research on the brain and descriptive stories of their students. I highly recommend their seminars for parents of all kids!”

–Vicki Pettiross

“We attended Northwest Educational Services’ parent seminar series in 2019 – the content was highly relevant and well presented, and the welcoming setting provided us the opportunity to engage directly with expert educators and other parents.  As parents of middle and elementary school students, we were able to relate to the information shared, and apply the seminar’s concepts directly into our own family interactions and dynamics.  We look forward to attending again this year.”

–Jill Nolton

“We are the fortunate parents of twin daughters, both with unique-to-them strengths and challenges in the learning environment. No one-size-fits-all approach for us. We were looking for some coaching to sort out the best ways to give each daughter the specific support they needed to be successful in their school environments. The Parenting for Academic Success classes we took through NWES provided us with that and more.

“Coaches Greg and Chris spoke to all learning types, teaching parents how to encourage their kids to identify and articulate what they needed, and how to ask for it, so that they could become independent drivers of their own academic success. Once we began to implement some of the tools we learned, both of our students began to, more and more readily, reach out for help from resources beyond us (other students, academic coaches, school tutors, and teachers) and do so in a timely manner, before test anxiety or project panic set in.

“We also learned new tools to support both daughters in becoming more consistent in their study habits. Instead of ‘cramming’ the night before an exam, the girls began to develop habits which vastly reduced last-minute, stress-driven studying.

“Our daughters have now transitioned to great-fit universities where they are happy, engaged, independent, and consistently experiencing academic success.

“Greg and Chris brought their combined years of expertise coaching students at all grade levels, and advising parents who desire to support student success, and shared concrete, well informed, research based, ground tested, information and strategies that aided us in our efforts to support our unique learners. We cannot recommend them highly enough.”

-Kelly and Steve Nolan Shafer

Learning Revolution | Library 2.0 | Global Education Conference · 1776 Park Ave # 4-228 · Park City, UT 84060-5148 · USA

July 13, 2021

Article Notice – Technologies, Challenges and Needs of K-12 Teachers in the Transition to Distance Learning during the COVID-19 Pandemic

I wanted to highlight one of the articles that was included in the TechTrends – ToC Alert that was posted yesterday.

Original Paper


Technologies, Challenges and Needs of K-12 Teachers in the Transition to Distance Learning during the COVID-19 Pandemic


In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, K-12 schools in the United States closed and teachers transitioned to distance learning. The purpose of this survey research study is to determine technology resources and strategies K-12 teachers have used in this transition. Additionally, this study examines the difficulties teachers experienced, along with support they wish they had during the transition. Findings indicate that a wide variety of websites and applications were used to provide academic continuity, the majority of which were familiar to teachers. In the transition process, teachers were faced with various challenges, including difficulty engaging students and parents, a lack of school/district guidelines, and student Internet and computer access issues. Recommendations to prepare for future emergencies include making clear plans for emergencies and incorporating online components and training within current face-to-face classes and professional development.

Note that the full text of this article is available at:

July 10, 2021

5 Strategies to Combat the Remote Learning Crisis

This item may be of interest to some readers.

Strategies to Combat the Remote Learning Crisis

Over a year of remote learning has affected test scores, knowledge retention, and overall student mental health. COVID-related school closures have caused up to 20% of losses in potential learning gains. To bounce back from the learning crisis, educators are seeking to personalize instruction to boost student performance.

In this interactive infographic, discover how schools are increasing student and faculty engagement to enhance academic results. Readers will learn:


  • How to create equitable access to education resources
  • Strategies to boost high-stakes test scores
  • How schools are improving student connections with teachers


About this email: You are receiving this message as part of your complimentary newsletter subscription to K-12 Dive. K-12 Dive is a product of Industry Dive, Inc. 1255 23rd Street NW, Suite 550 Washington DC 20037

Want to reach 40,000+ administrators and educators with your own message? Get the media kit or contact us directly at

July 6, 2021

REL Appalachia: Research-Based Strategies for Effective Remote Learning

A colleague alerted me to these workshops that REL Appalachia conducted over the past year.  Some interesting and useful material here.

Research-Based Strategies for Effective Remote Learning

Tuesday, December 8, 2020 | Thursday, January 28, 2021 | Wednesday, March 24, 2021

REL Appalachia (REL AP) staff, in partnership with education leaders from districts in eastern Tennessee and representatives from the Niswonger Foundation, developed a train-the-trainer workshop series to share effective methods for delivering online instruction to students in grades K–12. Participants in the workshops listed below will learn about what can work best for students and teachers in their schools and districts. Following each workshop, participants will be able to both apply what they learned to their own practice and support their colleagues to provide high-quality remote instruction.

To continue, visit

July 5, 2021

Report – Disparities in Learning Mode Access Among K–12 Students During the COVID-19 Pandemic, by Race/Ethnicity, Geography, and Grade Level — United States, September 2020–April 2021

This report may be of interest to some readers.

Disparities in Learning Mode Access Among K–12 Students During the COVID-19 Pandemic, by Race/Ethnicity, Geography, and Grade Level — United States, September 2020–April 2021

On June 29, 2021, this report was posted online as an MMWR Early Release.

Emily Oster, PhD1,2; Rebecca Jack, MPP1; Clare Halloran, PhD1; John Schoof1; Diana McLeod1,5; Haisheng Yang, PhD1,3; Julie Roche4; Dennis Roche4


What is already known about this topic?

Reduced access to in-person learning is associated with poorer learning outcomes and adverse mental health and behavioral effects in children.

What is added by the report?

Although access to in-person, hybrid, and virtual learning modes varied throughout the school year, during January–April 2021, access to full-time in-person learning for non-Hispanic White students increased by 36.6 percentage points, 31.1 percentage points for non-Hispanic Black students, 22.0 percentage points for Hispanic students, and 26.6 percentage points for students of other race/ethnicities.

What are the implications for public health practice?

To increase equitable access to full-time in-person learning for the 2021–22 school year, school leaders should focus on providing safety-optimized in-person learning options across grade levels in all geographic areas. Vaccination and other efforts to reduce levels of community transmission should be intensified.

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