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In This Issue:
Common Core, Public and Private
Completing Overwhelming Tasks using the Messy Room Strategy
Coach of the Month: Katherine Bloch
Quick Links


Academic Success Partner of the Month

This month we're delighted to introduce you to Keren Geier. Karen is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who received her Masters in Social Work from California State University, Long Beach.  As a former academic coach, Keren is very familiar with the Academic Success Community.  She recently opened a private practice working with kids, teens and their families as well as young professionals.  

Specializing in assisting families with conflict resolution, communication, relationship building and parenting, Keren also works with individuals on transitions, life cycle events, relationship issues, depression and anxiety. With almost a decade of experience working in the therapeutic field, Keren has worked in various clinic settings and schools, and has multiple training certifications in programs targeting parenting, depression, anxiety and behavioral issues. Should your child struggle emotionally and/or behaviorally in the school setting, Keren provides school advocacy and is familiar with the various resources in Los Angeles County, including educational therapists, speech therapists, and psychiatrists.

Keren has offices in Santa Monica, Brentwood and Sherman Oaks and also offers a unique service of providing sessions in her client's homes. She knows that therapeutic work is difficult and challenging, and sees herself as a caring change agent who helps clients recognize areas for growth and learn the appropriate skill set in order to create meaningful change in their lives and relationships. For more information, visit her website, email her

or call (818 )224 0583.

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.

It's February and Big Changes Are Happening in Education!
In 2004, a report emerged called Ready Or Not: Creating
A High School Diploma That Counts.
 It found that the vast majority of high school students were not graduating with the requisite skills and knowledge to meet the demands of colleges and employers in the work force. The report represented a rude awakening for educators and education officials. 
Fast forward to 2014 and after much debate, research and collaboration between government and a variety of stakeholders in education,  the CCSSI - Common Core State Standards Initiative - is being implemented on a wide scale. 
At first glance, it seemed like a perfect idea: bringing Math and English standards into alignment nationally, with students expected to reach specific goals on a yearly basis through rigorous testing. 
However, in the three years since the CCSSI was first presented, there has been no shortage of controversy over the efficacy of the program. 
In this issue, we'll present reasoned arguments from both sides of the debate. With Common Core not going away any time soon, it's crucial for parents to be aware of not only the positive changes being ushered in, but also areas of concern within the program that will need to be addressed.
At Academic Success, we are fully determined to maximize the potential of any change or innovation on the educational map.
Please call with any questions at (310) 823 4398 or


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All the best,


The Academic Success Team


"Progress is impossible without change, and those that cannot change their minds cannot change anything."

                                               - George Bernard Shaw

Education News 

Common Core, Public and Private
California public schools (along with schools from 44 other states) are mandated to implement Common Core State Standards in the fall. Yet private schools have much greater flexibility in what measures from the CCSS to adopt. This article sheds some light on what parents and students can expect from their private school.
Re-branding Common Core


In Arizona, Governor Jan Brewer stripped the words "common core" from the title of the initiative in that state. In Iowa, it's been renamed "Iowa Core". And in the face of mounting opposition to the program, other states are following suit. This Washington Post report expands on the current re-branding of the CCSS being undertaken across the country.


Why Common Core is Worth Opposing


It should have come as no surprise to education officials that the introduction of Common Core would stir vigorous debate, a clash of viewpoints that continues to this day. This thoughtful, provocative piece by conservative columnist George Will takes a look at our educational history in forming a reasoned argument for opposing the program.

Why Common Core is Worth Supporting


While there has been passionate argument made against the CCSS, supporters of the initiative have been equally fervent. This rebuttal to the op-ed above in The Press Democrat, directed squarely at critics of the program, makes a strong case not only for the CCSS as it stands right now, but also for its expansion. 


Answers From An Expert


Critics and supporters of the program may be free to offer whatever opinion they wish, but ultimately the most valuable feedback on the efficacy of CCSS will be from those working directly with the new standards and protocols now being implemented. Paula Cordeiro, educator and dean of Education Sciences at UC San Diego, provides invaluable information for parents, students and teachers alike in this Q & A

Study Tips 

Completing Overwhelming Tasks, Using The 
Messy Room Strategy

With many changes about to be rung in through implementation of Common Core, students will experience new challenges as they move forward in their academic lives. 
Amidst a busy, often chaotic school environment, study tasks and assignments can seem overwhelming, with students wondering where or how to begin.
This is where the Messy Room Strategy comes into play. We've all been faced with an order from our parents to clean up our rooms when they're in a shambles. It can often seem an insurmountable, overwhelming task. Where to begin? How long will it take? Too many things to remove, clean and sort through! Often we put it off or simply avoid it altogether.
Yet what if our parent told us we only had to clean up one small portion of the room? Or complete a specific task, like picking up and putting away all our clothes? Suddenly these small pieces seem achievable, and we feel we can begin, completing one bite-sized task at a time. Before we know it.... clean room!
The Messy Room Strategy is the perfect antidote to overwhelming study tasks. Practice carving up your study assignments into small pieces, to be completed by a certain time. This is a possible order of tasks:
  • Review the specifics of the assignment, writing down any helpful research you could do to make it easier
  • Break up the assignment into 10 measurable portions
  • Put your study notes on the relevant subject in order, singling out those that you think could help
  • Begin work on the first portion and promise yourself an immediate 10-minute break once it's completed, to cheer yourself on!
  • If you encounter a problem in the first portion, make a note, do as much as you can and move on to the next. In this way you'll keep a consistent study flow  
Using the Messy Room Strategy will reduce stress and allow for a greater sense of achievement as you study. And remember, the moment a task feels too great and you want to quit... reduce it down to smaller portions!

Coach Profile 

Meet Katherine Bloch,
  Coach Profile of The Month

This month we're excited to introduce one of the newest members of our coaching team, Katherine Bloch. Born and raised in Los Angeles, Katie has devoted her life to learning. After attending Crossroads School, she went to Pitzer College in Claremont, where she majored in psychology. During her undergraduate career Katie received national honors in scientific research and psychology, graduating with the highest honors in her field. She continued her education at USC, graduating with her Master's Degree in Social Work. Katie's love for education led her naturally to coaching. She focuses on a holistic approach to learning, creating an organized and calm environment for students. She also utilizes her background in psychology to foster a truly effective learning space during her coaching sessions. Katie has a wide range of academic interests, including literature, writing, the arts, Spanish and natural sciences. In her free time she is an avid reader and gardener, antique book lover, live music enthusiast, amateur yogi and proud mom to her Maine Coone cat, Beau

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.