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In This Issue:
Perseverance Can Be Taught
Be Like Mike
Coach of the Month: John Boonin
Quick Links


Academic Success Partner of the Month

Our Success Partner this month is the Principal of grades 5-8 at St.Matthew's Parish school, Bruce Harlan. One of the finest PS-8 schools in the greater Los Angeles area, St. Matthews places a high value on student access to teachers and peers. There are 325 boys and girls on campus, which translates to 11 students for every teacher.
Founded as an Episcopal school in 1949 and set on beautiful land one mile from the Pacific ocean, St.Matthews aims to nurture creative, spiritual and ethical individuals who will serve their communities in their endeavors. Leadership is developed within a challenging yet traditional academic program in which students work collaboratively with classmates, taking turns in a leadership role. In addition, every student in the school signs a Character Covenant (very relevant to this month's issue) that promotes the schools's motto -
Serve. Lead. Flourish
- through an emphasis on five core principles: Respect, Responsibility, Empathy, Honesty and Fairness. For more information, visit the website or call (310) 454 1350.

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. 

Check out Our  YouTube Video!



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 First Issue for 2014!
And with it we bring a story of perseverance and
inspiration that revolves around our fearless leader and owner of Academic Success, Jamie Altshule!
Jamie recently ran what is known as the Original Marathon, a race run along the original 24 mile route from Marathon to Athens, taken by the Greek messenger Phidippides in 490 BC. 
Jamie undertook an intense training regimen that required her to persevere on a daily basis, way outside of her comfort zone. In doing so, she not only discovered new challenges, but also dug deep to find new inner resources and solutions to overcome them.
We're kicking off 2014 with an issue devoted to the idea that with perseverance comes enormous personal growth, innovation and ultimately success in both life and career.
We'll present inspiring examples of people redefining themselves and their lives by sticking to their tasks and never taking 'quit' for an answer. We'll also explore a growing awareness among educators that perseverance plays just as important a role in a student's development as innate talent or intelligence.
At Academic Success, we know beyond any doubt that all students have the capacity to soar, and that failure is just another step toward success. 
Please call with any questions at (310) 823 4398 or


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All the best,


The Academic Success Team


"In the realm of ideas everything depends on enthusiasm.. in the real world all rests on perseverance."

                        - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Education News 

Perseverance Can Be Taught
Although educators have long known that students do
better when they've been able to cultivate an ability to persevere in the face of difficulty, actually teaching that ability has been another question. This insightful piece focuses on ground-breaking research last summer that may change the way our students are educated in the class room.
Climbing The Mountain


While all of us face differing levels of challenge in our academic lives, some tales of perseverance transcend the everyday. This incredible story about Moustafa Elhanafi, an 18-year old who could neither read nor write but who wanted to gain his high school diploma, should be an inspiration to anyone who believes in the power of perseverance. 


College Rewarding Perseverance over IQ


This inspiring article focuses on Penn State's Shreyer Honors College Gateway Scholarship. The scholarship is one of the first to reward perseverance and grit over IQ and test scores. One of its recipients, Angela Duckworth (pictured), has done ground-breaking work on what is termed the "psychology of achievement". 

Making Perseverance 
Your Theme


One of the central narratives to emerge from a conference this month on women's empowerment in Newburgh, New York, was transformation through perseverance and embracing who you are. This story features quotes from many inspirational speakers, exhorting young women from troubled homes to break the cycle through perseverance and determination. 


Why Character Matters


This informative interview with an associate at Boston University's undergraduate School of Education explores the crucial roles different forms of "non-cognitive intelligence" - for example, perseverance - play in the success of students. One important discovery he made was a dynamic he calls "perseverance profile": that is, the differing levels of perseverance and self-discipline in students from one subject to another.  

Study Tips 

Being Like Mike: Embracing Productive Failure

Too often we assume that those who have reached the highest levels of achievement in their chosen field were simply born with an innate ability that lifted them above the pack.
Yet the hidden, often untold stories of the greatest among us usually reveal a lifetime spent not succeeding where others have failed, but actually being willing to fail more often than their contemporaries - a hallmark of perseverance
Another term for this is productive failure. Those willing to fail repeatedly in tackling complex problems/challenges tend to solve those problems where others don't. More significantly, they are also forced, through perseverance in the face of repeated failure, to cultivate skills and resources that set them apart and allow them to take on even greater challenges. 
Some tendencies of high achievers who have embraced productive failure include:
Taking an intense interest in why and how they failed, instead of feeling discouraged 
Finding pleasure in trying new approaches to solving problems
A determination to try again and 'get it right next time', no matter how many times they have failed
An unflinching belief in themselves, which allows them to enjoy the process, no matter what the result may be 
NBA legend Michael Jordan missed more than 9,000 shots in his career. He lost almost 300 games and failed to make the winning shot for his team 26 times. If he was prepared to try again, why shouldn't you?

Coach Profile 

Meet John Boonin,
  Coach Profile of The Month

Born and raised in Ann Arbor, Michigan, John started acting in plays at an early age, performing in dozens of community theatre productions throughout his adolescence. Upon graduation from high school, John obtained a BFA from the prestigious New York University's Tisch School of the Arts.  

John then moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career as an actor; it was at this point that he discovered his passion for tutoring. John uses many of the skills he gained in acting school in his approach to tutoring. One of the keys to effective coaching is the ability to listen and to adapt to new and evolving situations. Communication is paramount, and he gets to know each of his students well in order to better cater his approach to their individual needs. Executive functioning skills like organization and time-management are among his specialties.

In his spare time, John enjoys traveling, listening to live music and playing basketball. He is delighted to be working with Academic Success.

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.