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Academic Success Gazette 


In This Issue:
Teacher Skills Vary Widely According to New LA Times Study
When Applying to College, It is Better to be Thoughtful than Quick
Study Tip - Let Students Pick Out Their own School Supplies
Monthly Coach Profile
Quick Links
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Academic Success Partner of the Month
Ruthanne Iliff 
This month we highlight Ruthanne Iliff, a LMFT with office in Brentwood and Sherman Oaks who specializes in neurofeedback (NFB).  NFB is a cutting edge technology that works by activating the brain's natural ability to form new connections where they are no longer working.  During the training, sensors are strategically placed on the scalp and the earlobes.  Brainwaves are measured as the participant looks at their visual manifestation on a computer screen.  The treatment is non-invasive.  Instead, it relies on training the brain to relax and focus as it is rewarded for activating certain desirable brain wave frequencies.  This promise has shown promise in treating sleep issues, depression, anxiety, ADD/ADHD, addiction, mood swings, concentration, focus, stress and other critical issues.  Call Ruthanne at 818-669-0207 or e-mail her at [email protected] for more information. 
Looking for a Student Community Service Opportunity?
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Vista Del Mar is one of the most comprehensive care facilities for children experiencing mental health, behavioral emotional or social problems.  Located in west LA, this non-profit organization provides a variety of services, including foster care, adoption and the treatment of children with developmental difficulties.  They have several different volunteer programs for teenagers from being a teacher's helper to working in their theater program.  Vista is one of the jewels of our community and a great place for any student looking for an opportunity to volunteer.
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 The Higher Road life skill coaches work with teens in the most challenging aspects of their lives: social skills, managing stress, motivation, organization, health and wellness and oppositional behavior.

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Check out The Higher Road website to learn more about this dynamic program.
Check out Our  YouTube Video!


Academic Success
is very proud of the two-minute video we recently produced to give you a feel for who we are, our philosophy and the way we approach our work
How Academic Success Can Support You
At Academic Success we take great pride in finding the right coach to support the unique needs of each student we help.  Please check out the areas where we work on our web site and let us know how we can support you.

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Looking for a College Counselor or Ed Therapist?
We work and partner with excellent Educational Therapists and College Counselors throughout the L.A. area.  Give us a call and we can recommend the right fit for your child.


It's time to head back to school! While most students feign devastation at the thought of going back to class, truthfully most kids, on some level, look forward to being back.  While the prospect of homework may not be thrilling, most students are ready for classroom stimulation, time with friends, and more structure in their lives.
Getting off to a strong start and making a good impression with teachers is critical. Students who are organized and prepared to produce quality work right out of the gate have a real advantage.  Those early impressions make a huge difference on the way a teacher will perceive a student and will shape the expectations that your child will be asked to live up to throughout the year.

At Academic Success,  we want to support students in putting their best foot forward with new teachers and keeping up with the challenges of the upcoming school year.
Please call us with any question or concern at 310-823-4398.

Jamie and Eric

Education News

Teacher Skills Vary Widely According to New LA Times Study

stat girl  This month, the Los Angeles Times published a groundbreaking study about teachers in the LA Unified School District.  While parents may fret over which school their child goes to and how that school compares to others, the most critical influence in a child's educational growth is the one over which parents have no control - which teacher is assigned to their child.
  The study, which analyzed test scores for students taught by more than 6,000 LAUSD teachers over a six-year period, revealed significant differences in outcomes among teachers who teach the same types of students in the same schools.  One teacher will help their students consistently improve scores by 10-20 percentile points while a teacher right next door can see their students drop 10-20 points.
  Since the study compared teachers who taught the same grades in the same schools, other factors that affect test scores - socio-economic backgrounds, geographic location, proficiency in English, school facilities - should be the same.
  The authors of the study caution that the main conclusion from this work should not be a list of teachers that should be fired.  Instead, the goal of this study should be to identify which teachers are performing the best so their techniques can be analyzed and passed on to bring the skill levels up for all teachers.
  A complete data-base of all the teachers and their scores has been published on-line.

When Applying to College, It is Better to be Thoughtful than Quick

college application  On August 1 at midnight, the common college application was released on line.  This application, which is accepted by the admissions departments of over 400 schools, including Harvard, NYU and many other popular colleges, is an important piece of the college admissions puzzle.
  Even though applications are not due at most schools until the end of the year, by August 2 more than 1000 applications had already been submitted to colleges across the country.
  Is it in the student's interest to rush their application in?  Not really.  Most schools will not even download and begin looking at the application until October.  Until then, the application is just hanging out in cyberspace.
  It is far more important for the applicant to produce a neat, well-organized application.  There are two essays that are part of the common application, and it is critical that those essays be revealing and thoughtful.  Students need to do several drafts of these essays, show them to their counselor or friends to get other opinions, and make sure that this work represents their best effort.  To rush in the application may put a difficult burden into the rear-view mirror, but it will not increase the odds of getting a successful result. 

Study Tips

Study Tip - Let Students Pick Out Their own School Supplies 

bts shopping  Not all composition books are created equal, at least not to many students.  While acquiring the necessary school supplies may appear to be another errand that falls upon the shoulders of parents, we believe it is a task best left to the individual student. The choice of pencil bag, backpack and planning folder is a personal statement and can be both an empowering and a rewarding activity for the student.
  Just as an example, the standard black and white composition book that many of us are used to has been replaced in most office supply stores with books with dozens of different designs and colors.  What's the difference?  The paper inside is the same, but if a student finds a book that reflects their personal taste and style, they are far more likely to value it and use it.

Coach Profile

Meet Inessa Dombrovsky 
Coach Profile of the Month

  As a recent graduate from UCLA with a degree in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, Inessa has earned a breather.  She is currently applying to medical school while working in the Emergency Room as a scribe. Inessa has always loved to teach children. In middle school, she assisted in teaching a second grade Hebrew school class, and in high school she tutored several of her classmates as well as younger students.   Inessa started working for Academic Success as a junior in college and loves the impact she is able to make on her students. In addition to medicine and tutoring, Inessa also involves herself in many non-profit charity organizations. She founded a branch of Operation Smile at UCLA and continues in her role as president, raising over $16,000 to provide surgeries for children with cleft lip/palate conditions internationally. Inessa also loves to travel the world, play tennis, spend time at the beach, and hang out with her friends. 


We consider it a privilege and an honor to support students and their families throughout the Los Angeles area.  Please call us at any time; we welcome your thoughts and input.  We are available at 310-823-4398.
Jamie Altshule & Eric Altshule
Academic Success, Inc.