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In This Issue:
Taking the Gritty Approach to Education
Study Tip: Where you place on the Grit Scale
Coach of the Month: Nicole Mirkin
Quick Links


Academic Success Partner of the Month


This month we highlight The New Money School and its co-founders, Alison Ivy Seligson and Lee Broekman. The two women, merging their expertise in communication and finance, recently founded this innovative school which educates parents and young people about money. 

After leaving the corporate world, Alison began teaching personal money management to teens at the Boys and Girls Club of Venice. Since joining forces with Lee, who began her doctoral studies in education and curriculum design, the two women have created a meaningful, dynamic and effective program that is fun for the students while also giving them the tools to prepare for their financial lives. Alison & Lee believe that demystifying money is crucial in getting students to understand how it works and can work for them in achieving their goals and living their dreams.

The New Money School also creates purposeful and practical money lessons for parents, knowing how powerful they can be in guiding their kids' financial futures. For more info visit the website, email or call 310.853.0734.

Looking for a Student Community Service Opportunity?

Meet Rickey Smith, social entrepreneur and owner of the sustainable food business Urban Green. He's started a community education venture called the Urban Green Kids Row program, creating opportunities for kids from diverse backgrounds to participate in many activities related to food sustainability, from planting seeds  to learning about how organic food is grown and harvested. For more info on a terrific community service and volunteering opportunity for kids, email Rickey, visit the website at

or call (800) 200 3320. 

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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.


Welcome To Our Gritty October Issue...


As this newsletter still burns hot off the digital presses, there is a growing awareness in the media and among those involved in the education of our kids- educators, academic administrators, parents, counselors- that even the best education may not be enough to guarantee high performance at any level.

So what is the missing element for so many of our kids?

The buzzword now emerging is grit.

Possessing grit is defined as having a "firmness of character"... an "indomitable spirit".

In this month's issue, we'll show examples of how that is now being actively taught in our classrooms. We'll lay out what grit means for our students facing today's academic challenges and provide a path forward for students looking to find greater resolve and spirit as they move toward their goals.


At Academic Success, we know that a student equipped with both a developed brain and a strong spirit has the ability to soar to new heights. 


Please call with any questions at (310) 823 4398 or


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All the best,




"Man has never made any any material as resilient as the human spirit."

                                                      - Bern Williams

Education News 

Taking The Gritty Approach To Education


With so much priority placed on advanced placement and finding the best schools, the advantages of strong character and a willingness to fail are often overlooked. This fascinating New York Times Magazine piece details how a veteran New York private school headmaster is teaching students and their parents that grit and strength of character are just as important as a high IQ.


Grit Goes National


This fantastic NBC Special Report by anchor Brian Williams takes us inside some innovative schools that are adopting a provocative new approach to education: the teaching of 'grit'. 


Running With This New Philosophy


As this prominent educator notes, scholastic achievement 

is only part of what students need to succeed in life. This sensitive essay by the head of the New City School in St Louis may help to alleviate any worries on the part of parents who may encounter this new teaching method.




Can Perseverance Be Taught?

The short answer, if you listen to noted psychologist Angela Lee Duckworth, is YES. This presentation, part of the prestigious TED Talk lecture series, is eighteen inspiring minutes not to be missed for those looking to stay ahead of the curve. 

An Idea Whose Time Has Come


In this fascinating report, we follow the progress of two school adminstrators. One heads up an inner-city charter school that has instituted a CPA grade for its students: Character Point Average, based on seven essential factors graded by teachers. The other administrator, running a wealthy suburban school with an excellent academic record, is beginning to sense that his students might be missing out what is becoming a core element in preparing our kids for success in the adult world.

Study Tips 

   Discovering Your Inner Grit    


While simply putting more hours into study and improving study strategies will improve overall academic performance, helping a student realize for themselves that their attitude and character may also need work can be hugely beneficial for the rest of their lives. 
A fun yet rigorous way to pave the way for inner growth is for students to find out where they stand on the 
Grit Scale
This short questionnaire, developed by Dr.Amanda Duckworth (featured above), has the potential to awaken students not only to how much grit and character they're bringing to the table, but also how much more they may be capable of. 
The only requirement is honesty. Parents and their kids could do the test together- maybe the adults will also feel the need to step up in certain areas of their lives. 
By answering eight simple questions, students across the academic spectrum have the opportunity not only to gain greater self-understanding, but also to pinpoint areas where they can improve themselves and achieve even greater success in their world.

Coach Profile

  Meet Nicole Mirkin,
  Coach Profile of The Month
  This month we profile Nicole Mirkin, a tutor with a passion for helping people. Nicole creates an excellent rapport with her students, having obtained a degree in school counseling. Her list of educational accomplishments is already impressive, having received her Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Studies with a minor in pre-law at the University of Arizona. She is now studying for her doctorate in Clinical Psychology. Nicole 's goal is to become a child psychologist with a view to helping kids become better, more educated adults. 

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
Academic Success, Inc.