Study Strategies

Study Strategies

By Mary Miele

To navigate independent learning and studying, students must have a myriad of strategies so that they can move through the process of learning. Within this process, students must engage with material in multiple ways, within a structure that works for their learning style as well as over time. The goal is for them to gain knowledge, comprehend, apply, analyze, synthesize, and evaluate. You can see this process in Bloom’s Taxonomy (see picture below).

I met with a middle school student last week who showed me material from her six subjects. She takes English, math, history, science, Latin and Spanish. Most of her classes move at a rapid pace and her teacher does not cover some of what she needs to learn in the classroom setting. Due to the rigor of the curriculum and its fast pace, it is up to her to have organization and study skills so that she can properly digest material once she leaves the classroom.

This student’s experience is consistent with what I see happening to students we work with across New York City. There is an expectation that students take home the work they are exposed to in the classroom, then work with it until they truly master it at the highest possible level.

For a myriad of reasons, it is rare for these kinds of study skills and strategies to be taught explicitly to students in the middle school. Thus, many students are feeling stressed and unsuccessful within the studying continuum. They come home and complete homework, but do not have an approach to master the material they are supposed to learn.

Thus, those of us who support school are tasked with finding ways to support our students through the study process. The following are a few of my favorite study strategies that you can pass along to your student or child today:

Work Within the Evolved Education Study Process

Teach your students to work within a studying continuum.

  1. Gather – collect the information you need to learn
  2. Organize – categorize and simplify what you need to know
  3. Study – engage actively with your material (see below for some ideas)
  4. Self-Test – test yourself to see what you have learned – use Bloom’s taxonomy to help you find some action words to help you (e.g. describe, analyze, compare, criticize ..). Also, know the format of the test and create a practice test to take using that format.
  5. Repeat steps 3-4
  6. Create a one-pager with info you need to study – create a one-pager with the information that is not at 100% just before the test date to review and copy over.

Take Your Time

Study over time. Most students we start working with only work through the first step of the Evolved Education Study Process. They gather up what they need to know, read over it and head into the exam. The problem with this is that they have missed key tasks to ensure they are properly prepared. Anxiety is often formed because these students arrive at the test without being fully prepared. It’s not a great feeling to be unprepared.

When we talk with students about studying, they often tell us they are spending HOURS of time studying. This is often true! However, they are not using that time properly, which is why they are not seeing results.

The key to effective studying is to work through the Evolved Education Study Process routinely well before the test date. In fact, students should be Gathering Information WHILE they are learning and taking classes. They should be Organizing Information EACH weekend. They should begin the studying process a few days before the assessment.

Smart Study Guide Prep

The key to effective studying is to be innovative with how you organize the information you have to learn. I just did a Facebook Live segment on study strategies and you can see me explain a few of these approaches there, too.

Create a two or three column study guide.

The best part about these study guides, which are adapted from the Cornell Notetaking System is that you can take notes as you are learning and then turn those notes into a study guide and experience right away! This can be done on a computer too by typing in notes and then adding a column to the left and/or right of your notes.

Let’s say your child is tasked with learning the information on this page:

Text taken from Eye Wonder Science

Typically, a child will read and take some notes on the important information. To be efficient, just leave a little room on the left-hand side (you can fold the paper to make the line, or add a column in a word or google doc).


Students can record notes on the right side of the page and add in questions afterward to aid in studying

The student takes notes and then goes back afterward to write in questions that they will need to be able to answer about the notes. Again, go back to Bloom’s taxonomy and create questions that not only ask the student to comprehend the information, but also analyze it, evaluate it, combine it, etc.

For math, students can divide the page into three columns. The direction for the problem goes on the left. The actual problem goes in the middle and the solution is written on far right side of the page. This approach allows a student to link the directions to the problem and its solution. Often, students are learning language in conjunction with mathematical concepts, so this kind of organization allows students to link the language presented in the directions with the mathematical concepts and skills they are learning.

To study math, students should write directions on the left, problem in the middle, and solution to the right. By folding the page, students can practice following directions and solving problems.

Aside from the column notes, visual vocabulary is becoming more and more helpful for students. Pictures provide students with context for the new language. In addition, see below how we use color to highlight word roots. Email me if you’d like to get more sheets of visual vocabulary.

Students can assign pictures to words they are learning and identify root words within words by using color-coding.

In closing, studying is a process, and part of that process is to review your test taking approaches and feedback from the assessment itself. Please join me on Sunday 12/17 on Facebook Live as I talk about the Aftermath of Testing. I’ll present information about how to rebound from a quiz you could have done better on and how to use feedback to inform your studying process.

In the meantime, if you have specific questions about what you can do to help your child with study skills, please do not hesitate to reach out to me at



For Educators: Five Ways to Maximize Your Student’s Potential During Tutoring Sessions

Five Ways to Maximize Your Student’s Potential During Tutoring Sessions

By: Mary E. Miele, Learning Specialist K-12 and Founder of the Evolved Education Company

1) Create goals for your work

What goals do you have for your student?

What are the goals for the support program?

In order to create goals with your student and your student’s family, you can ask about the 5 areas of the Evolved Education Paradigm.

What has been the student’s academic history so far?

What is the student’s learning style and what skills does the student need to learn?

How does learning happen at school?

How does learning happen at home?

How is the student developing socially, emotionally or physically; and are any of these areas supporting or interfering with the student’s academic performance?

2) Identify and make use of the strengths of your student

In what situations has your student been successful?

My favorite activity to do with students is called “Magical Moments on the Mountaintop,” a worksheet published by ADDCA.

During this activity, a student describes three events in which they felt they were on top of the world, in one-two sentences each. Then, they describe what it feels like to think back to that “magical moment.” Then I ask the student “What about this moment feels vivid and visceral?”

When tutors are called in to work with students, they are being asked to boost an area of challenge or to prepare a student for a test. By knowing the strengths that a child has and a story of success from his or her past, the educator can use the areas of strength to help boost the areas of challenge.

A few years ago, I was working with an 11th grade student on executive functioning. She had tried just about every type of organizational and planning approach and had not had success with anything. When we did the Magical Moments on the Mountaintop exercise, I found out that she had successfully performed the lead role in a play. We began to unpack how she was able to learn her lines and stage directions and then used those processes to develop strategies to organize and plan the other areas of her life.

A secondary effect of revisiting a moment of success and using that to create strategies for areas of challenge was the enthusiasm the student showed for the new strategies. By associating them with a successful, meaningful experience, the student felt positively about the new strategies and was inclined to use them.

3) Employ the I do, We do, You do Methodology


The goal of each tutoring session is to move a student first from familiarity to mastery with each concept and skill that is taught, and then ultimately to independence with each of these new skills. In the one-to-one setting, there is a challenge in how to accurately assess mastery. This challenge occurs for any number of reasons, but the ones that I have noticed are as follows:

  • A student in a one-to-one setting can be prompted easily and prompting does not mean the student has mastered the concept or skill.
  • Most concepts taught in a one-to-one setting are taught and move toward mastery within a short period of time.   Sometimes, students need more instruction time or guided practice before they can move to mastery. Often, tutors need to move a student quickly toward mastery in order to “get their job done.”
  • Students develop relationships with their tutors and may not be forthcoming about the questions and challenges they have – this is possibly due to a student’s desire to please the tutor or the fact that the student is too closely associating the tutor with an evaluator or teacher.

In order to best move a student toward mastery, it is helpful to employ the “I do, We do, You do” approach. In this approach, the tutor teaches, demonstrates, or models the skill or concept. Then, the student is prompted and guided through the application of the concept or skill. Finally, the student demonstrates understanding of the concept and skill on his/her own without prompting or assistance.


4) Communicate Regularly with Parents and Educators.

Tutoring is a supportive role that is best done in collaboration with a student’s parents and teachers. It is important to understand how learning is happening both at school and at home in order to support a student effectively.

We recently worked with a 7th grade student and learned from her teachers that she was not attending class because she was waiting for her tutor to teach her the needed information. We worked with the teacher and the student to help have better access to information in the classroom. The tutor was able to set up some boundaries around the re-teaching she would provide at home. As a result, the student started to use class time more effectively and the tutor improved the way she helped her student with the assigned homework.

5) Support Yourself in Order to Support Your Student.

The very best cases that I have been involved with have included a team of educators and professionals. These cases have allowed me to run ideas by another teacher when I was developing an aspect of support.

As support programs always Evolve, it is also important that the educator involved with the support change as needed. Often in my work, I begin to work with a student and uncover learning strategies. Then, a subject area tutor may step in to teach using the student’s particular learning style. Later, a student may just need support in how to conquer a long- term project or large exam.

By having professional support and the ability to converse with other types of support education professionals, I have been able to effectively support students as they evolve within their pre-kindergarten time through college career.

If you have any further questions about tutoring or how to use any of these strategies, do not hesitate to reach out to me at And, if you are an educator who would like to join the Evolved Education team, please send a letter of interest to Gina Rotundo at


Middle School Admissions Preparation

Evolved Education Middle School Admissions Preparation

By: Mary Miele, Founder of Evolved Education & Meredith Godsall, Admissions Preparation Teacher at Evolved Education

Who is this preparation for? NYC Students applying to middle school

What do they learn? Students learn the skills needed to showcase one’s personality, academic skills and individuality during an admissions interview and skills assessment

Interview skills

 Students learn how to

  • how to listen and respond to questions (including how to interject in a conversation, how to politely respond, agree or disagree, how to work as a group toward a common goal)
  • overall communication (body language, eye contact, facial expressions, annuciation and volume, poise, etc
  • learn about how to read your audience

On-demand, on-site math and reading/writing prompts

Often at school interviews, students must complete a math and/or reading/writing assessment on site. In Evolved preparation,  students learn how to

  • think and create solutions on the spot
  • best showcase their knowledge
  • conquer the “what ifs”

At Evolved Education, middle school admissions preparation is offered in two ways

2. Group Work 

Click here to register for the group class.

The benefits of this are that students will learn:

  • The skills within a peer group
  • How to interview and assess within a group
  • How to work as a team to solve a group problem
2. One-to-One

Click here to register for one-to-one lessons.

During one-to-one preparation, students will learn:

  • How to have a interpersonal conversation as opposed to group one.
  • How to feel comfortable within an unfamiliar situation.
  • To address individual challenges that a student may have with public speaking and on-demand assessments

Where? At Evolved Office: 364 East 69th Street, NY, NY 10021

When? Saturday, 10/28, 11/18, 12/2, 12/9, 12/16 from 9:00-10:30AM

Why Is this Preparation Beneficial? 

Evolved Education has been working intricately within the middle school admissions and academic support process for years and we have found there to be tremendous benefits in appropriately preparing children for the middle school application process.

Most 5th graders have not had interview and “on the spot” academic assessment experience.  Evolved Education finds that the preparation increases students chances of getting admission to their top choice school.

Test Taking Tips

Test Taking Tips for Parents

How to Prepare Your Child for the Test

From Evolved Education
Be Knowledgeable
A parent’s role is to ensure that a child is thriving and preparing for and taking a standardized test does not replace that important job. One of the most important conversations we have with our parents is educating them about the test. Become informed about the test your child will take (Format, Logistics) and how to best support learning at home is key for successful students.
In addition to the services, assessments, and simulated tests Evolved Education creates for our students and families, there are many other resources available for parents. If your child has a 504 or IEP, be sure to let the testing facility know and then prepare your child accordingly. It’s important to ensure that no one has any surprises on the day of the test.

Make Skill Building Part of Your Daily Routine 
Children are constantly learning from everything and everyone around them. With our younger students – three-to-five year olds- it is a steady stream of “how” and “why” questions. Use this natural curiosity and your responses to them as part of your daily routine, to support your child’s skills that are needed for these first tests.
When we prepare the children for these early tests, there are three important aspects to the test prep: content knowledge, test taking skills, and a cognitive flexibility to focus on a range of types of questions. Underlying all of this is the stamina to sit and work on the material.
With just a little extra thought, you will be building on your child’s natural sense of learning and questioning- and filing your child up with the skills that are part of these early tests. “Test prep” then becomes easy, because learning is engaging and a wonderful part of your child’s everyday life with you and other people and experiences.
Here are a few of our favorites:
  • When you take a walk or play with toys- categories of information are all around you.
  • Before you go out for the day, or when you are going to do something together in the apartment, talk about what you are going to do “first”, “second” and “third”. Have your child repeat the “plan” to you and ask your child as you complete one part of the plan, what is next? Not only are you reinforcing these positional terms, you are supporting your child’s memory and recall strengths
  • For example when you see a bus, a car and a train- beyond identifying them individually, classify them as “transportation” in your conversation. When you see a dog, have your child name 3 or 4 “animals”. Try examples of categories such as: things that fly, cold things, things you wear, etc. Building toward higher level categorical information is an important skill.
  • When you are putting food on a plate- count with your child how many string beans the child has and how many you have- who has “more”, who has “less”- how many “more or less”? How many do we have to add to the amount which is “less” to have an “equal” amount on both plates? This can be a very motivating example if you use cookies! This builds early math skills and an understanding of the associated words.
Foster Independence
Allow your child to take the lead with regard to their standardized test preparation experience. A child’s standardized test experience should be characteristic of his or her whole academic experience. While it sounds silly, children in Pre-K are able to show their comfort level and gain the skills needed to walk away from you during testing. One of our favorite stories is the child who walked into the G&T Test for Kindergarten and said his name was Batman. While his mother made sure the proctors knew who he was, he was calm and prepared.
Feelings Matter – Even Yours! –
  • Pay close attention to how you are feeling about the standardized test. If you are anxious and worried about the test, your child may be as well. Check in with your child about how he or she is feeling about the test.
  • Work closely with your child’s teacher and tutors to help as needed with feelings of anxiety or ambivalence.
  • Over preparing or under preparing a child for a test may translate into unsuccessful results and/or undesired outcomes for a child. How your child feels about a test or during the testing period matters.
  • If your child is experiencing social stress or emotional issues, he or she may not perform at his or her best.
Be Prepared. Plan – Before – During- and After the Test
Before the test, engage your child in a discussion around the days leading up to the test and have your child jot down notes with their response. Ask your child questions such as:”How will the days leading up to the test feel and what might this look like? What can you do to feel prepared, stay busy, and keep calm? What can we (mom and dad) do to help support you in the days leading up to the test?”
Create a “During the test plan.”Engage your child in a discussion around visualizing what it will feel and look like to walk in the testing room and how to cope. Have your child write down the plan and any other thoughts. Ask your child, “How might it feel when you walk into the testing room and sit down to take that test? Can you explain what that will look like in detail? How will you cope with nerves in those moments?
Have a plan for after the test: Engage your child in a discussion around the experience after having completed the test. How might your child feel? What if it feels like things went well? What if things feel like they did not go well? Create a plan of how to manage nerves around this and how to keep busy while waiting for the results.
Tests are stressful! It will be important to work on coping skills ahead of the test by engaging in discussions about the child’s feelings, hopes, and concerns and plans of action to help the child feel more grounded and safer.
 Discuss A Testing Strategy
How will your child tackle the test? What are they thinking? What is their approach? One suggestion is to use Evolved’s 3-Tier Approach to Test-Taking:
●     STEP 1: Read through the shorter questions first and ONLY answer items that you are 90-100% confident in knowing the correct answer.
●     STEP 2: Read through the longer questions (lengthier text and steps) and ONLY answer items that you are 90-100% confident in knowing the correct answer.
●     STEP 3: Go back to the start and complete all of the remaining unanswered questions that you felt less confident in knowing the correct answer.
At Evolved Education, our team of teachers and specialists are ready to help your student and your family better understand what skills they need to be prepared. If you would like to discuss how our team can help your family, please fill out our Student Profile so that we can better understand your child’s current needs!

Morning and Afternoon Routines

Morning and Afternoon Routines

By: Mary E. Miele, founder The Evolved Education, learning specialist and mother of three children

Parents know that morning and evening hours are challenging, especially at the start of school. So much needs to be done. There are many moving parts, and whether you have one child to get ready, to get homework done with, or to get to bed, or more than one child to care for, these hours can be difficult to manage.

The best piece of advice I can give you to avoid a ‘free for all’ in the morning or in the evening is to establish morning and evening routines with your K-12 student. If possible, begin these routines BEFORE school starts. By having your children work through the morning routine at least a week before school starts, your children will transition to school with better form.

For this article, I have divided the routines into suggestions for each grade category (early elementary, upper elementary, middle school and high school). Please visit our site for examples of checklists you can use for your child for his or her morning and evening routines.


Five steps to make your early elementary students’ mornings and evenings go well:

1) Make a list of what you need your child to do in the morning and in the evening.

2) Pair the list down to its MOST ESSENTIAL components. Children at this age need a FEW items to do, not MANY.

3) Find pictures to correspond with each task you wish your child to complete.

4) Place these pictures IN ORDER OF HOW YOU WANT THEM DONE onto a document. If you are computer savvy, you can create this document on the computer. You can also cut and paste pictures onto a piece of paper. I advise that you have your child do ALL of the ‘work’ tasks before playing (so in the morning get dressed, eat breakfast, brush teeth, pack up backpack, THEN play)

5) BE CONSISTENT: Walk your child through the checklist and post the checklist. Keep it up–eventually, your child may know it so well that he or she will not even need to look at it!


Four steps to make your upper elementary students’ mornings and evenings go well:

1) Make a list of what you need your child to do in the morning and in the evening.

2) Have your child weigh in and let you know what order he or she wants to complete the tasks. For instance, if your child needs to get homework done, read, do a chore, eat dinner and brush his teeth, you can allow your child to read and do chores after or before dinner.

3) Put times onto the checklist so that your child knows when to get up, when to go to sleep, when dinner will be.

4) Be sure that your child understands what he or she will be doing in the afternoon. Each morning, it is a good idea to remind him or her what day it is and where he or she is going after school.


Four steps to make your middle school students’ mornings and evenings go well:

1) Before you meet with your middle school student, spend some time creating a list of the tasks you wish your pre-teen/teenager to complete in the morning and in the evening. Also, have your child do the same.

2) Have a meeting in which you negotiate the terms of the morning and afternoon routine. Of course you can deem certain items “non-negotiable” and others “negotiable”.  It is important for middle school students to have a voice in how they spend their time.

3) Talk about accountability for following routines. Agree upon what will happen if the routine is not followed. Talk about the privileges that will be in place if the routine is followed. Write these agreements down.

4) If you get push back on creating a routine with your middle school student, remind him or her that you are doing this to help; as in life, routines help us to achieve goals and to be successful in accomplishing important tasks. Sometimes knowing WHY a new set of rules are being established can help. Remind your child–when a middle school student has to juggle homework, studying, extra-curricular activities, social connections as well as self-care, a routine ensures that there is time to address each component of a middle school student’s life.

If nothing else works, “This is what we do in our family,” tends to be a reason that most pre-teens and teenagers cannot argue.


Four steps to make your high school students’ mornings and evenings go well:

1) Before you meet with your high school student, spend some time creating a list of the tasks you wish your teenager to complete in the morning and in the evening. Also, have your child do the same.

2) Have a meeting in which you negotiate the terms of the morning and afternoon routine. Of course, you can deem certain items “non-negotiable” and others “negotiable”.  It is important for high school students to have a voice in how they spend their time.

3) Talk about accountability for following routines. Agree upon what will happen if the routine is not followed. Talk about the privileges that will be in place if the routine is followed. Write these agreements down.

4) If you get push back on creating a routine with your high school student, remind him or her that you are doing this to help; as in life, routines help us to achieve goals and to be successful in accomplishing important tasks. Sometimes knowing WHY a new set of rules are being established can help. Remind your child–when a high school student has to juggle homework, studying, extra-curricular activities, social connections as well as self-care, a routine ensures that there is time to address each component of a high school student’s life.

If nothing else works, “This is what we do in our family,” tends to be a reason that most teenagers cannot argue.

Understanding Your Child’s State Test Scores

Understanding your Child’s State Test Scores

By Mary E. Miele M.A.Ed, Special Education Teacher

What tests did your child take?

Each spring, students in grades 3-8 take part in the New York State Testing Program as required under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The English Language Arts and Mathematics examinations given are based on the Common Core Learning Standards (CCLS) adopted by New York State in July 2010. However, it wasn’t until the 2012-2013 school year that the assessments in English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics were used to measure a student’s progress towards mastering the Common Core Learning Standards. Students take the ELA and math assessments annually through grade 8. Science and Social Studies assessments are administered in grades 4 and 8 but are not Common Core aligned.

What skills are tested?

The ELA Common Core examination tests your child’s ability to comprehend key ideas and details presented in grade level texts. Their reading comprehension score is based on their responses to multiple choice questions that measure the common core learning standards. The mathematics common core examination tests your child’s ability to solve equations using the four operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division), base ten, fractions, the number system, ratios and proportions, measurement and data, functions and geometry; which are determined by their grade level.

Your Score Report Decoded

You can locate your child’s score on your NYC Schools Account: You need to have your child’s ID number (found on his or her report card) as well as an Account Creation Code (provided by your child’s school) to register.

For both the ELA and Math examinations, there are four major scores reported.

Scale Score: The scale score is determined by the number of points your child earns on the test. The higher the number of points your child earned, the higher his or her scale score. There may be no scale score listed if, (1) your child did not complete a sufficient number of questions on the test to generate a score, (2) if your child was medically excused, or (3) if there was an administrative error.

Quick Tip: You should NOT compare your child’s scale score this year to the scale score from previous exam years. The range of scale scores change by grade level and should not be compared as they may falsely indicate a better/worse performance than what actually occurred.

Performance Level 2016-2017: Students are assigned a performance level based on how they perform on the test this year. There are four possible performance levels:

NYS Level 1: Students performing at this level are well below proficient in meeting grade level standards. The skills they demonstrate are insufficient to meet grade expectations and Common Core Learning Standards.

NYS Level 2: Students performing at this level are somewhat proficient in meeting grade level standards. The skills they demonstrate are on track to meet current New York high school graduation requirements but are insufficient to meet Common Core Learning Standards.

NYS Level 3: Students performing at this level are proficient in meeting grade level standards. The skills they demonstrate are sufficient to meet Common Core Learning Standards.

NYS Level 4: Students performing at this level are currently excelling in meeting the grade level standards. The skills they demonstrate are more than sufficient to meet grade level and Common Core Learning Standards.

Overall State Percentile Rank: The percentile rank compares your child’s scale score to the scores of other NY state students who took the same test this year. The rank is reported on a scale of 1-99. The higher your child’s percentage rank, the better your child did compared to other students. For example, if your child’s percentage rank is 50%, it means that your child did better than 50% of all students in their grade who took the test.

Performance Level 2015-2016: The second performance level listed indicates your child’s performance in the previous year’s examination. The 2015-2016 performance level can be compared to the 2016-2017 performance level (this year’s level) to determine if your child has improved. If your child’s performance level is lower this year than last year, it can indicate that there may be some interventions that are needed to ensure that your child continues to progress. These interventions can include providing test preparation, tutoring, and/or test accommodations offered through a 504 plan or Individualized Education Plan (IEP).

Quick Tip: Students taking the 3rd grade test will not have a previous year performance level as this is the first year of administration. Use this year’s performance level as a baseline to compare to in future years.

Next Steps

Understanding your child’s results is just the first part. While the results may or may not have been what you expected, your understanding of the results can help you support your child during the school year and help them prepare for their next assessment.

If your child’s performance was a Level 1 or Level 2:

  • Speak to your child’s teacher to get an understanding of what standards they struggle with the most. Ask for suggestions on how you can support learning at home.
  • If you went through tutoring support, review that support with your child’s tutor and create a list of what improvements could be made for next year’s process.
  • Advocate for your child to receive additional support as needed. Students whose performance level is either Level 1 or Level 2 are eligible for academic intervention services (AIS) from their schools.
  • Speak to your child about their testing experience. Ask about any fears, anxieties or difficulties they faced during testing. Your child’s feedback may help you determine what type of support they need during this time.
  • Find ways to help your child practice skills outside of school. For example, household activities like cooking, baking and shopping can help your child practice skills that will help them during testing. These activities can help students develop skills such as following multi-step directions and calculating measurements that are assessed during testing.
  • Encourage independent reading at home. All children can benefit from additional independent reading time, not just struggling students. However, some students are more hesitant to pick up a book and read without encouragement. Find a book series or genre that your child particularly enjoys and don’t worry about how “educational” it is. Even magazines, newspapers and comic books can be good material to encourage reading.
  • Consider having your child evaluated for special education services for additional support that they may need. Many students struggle silently with learning disabilities that are unsupported and are not allowing them to demonstrate all that they know and can do. Students who qualify for special education services are entitled to receive support throughout the school year and testing accommodations during assessments. Testing accommodations that may be considered include breaks during testing, administration in a distraction free location and questions read aloud. These supports can make all the difference for some students. In addition, even if they receive these supports, there are no future implications on their post-secondary school and career options.

If your child’s performance was a Level 3 or Level 4:

  • Continue to encourage your child’s progress and do not look at the results as a reason to lower expectations for their performance. Some children (and parents) develop a false confidence that can cause them to slack on school and homework. Learning is a continual process that should be guided by your child’s curiosity and your encouragement.
  • Challenge your child’s critical thinking skills. Regardless of what grade level tests they take, all assessments test your child’s ability to think critically and analyze information presented. Help your child develop critical thinking skills by asking open ended questions, encouraging them to make decisions independently, and having them make connections between what they learn and what they experience in life.
  • Help your child develop their group work skills, their social skills and reinforce academic skills by having them act as a peer tutor. School is a very important aspect to a child’s social life and development. Giving students the opportunity to interact with their peers in an academic setting is preferred by many. Many advanced students thrive in this leadership opportunity. In addition, some struggling students benefit from learning directly from their peers.
  • Speak to your child’s school about possible early promotion. Can they be switched to a higher level math class based on a strong performance? While you don’t want to push them if they are not ready, you also want to ensure that they are appropriately challenged for their ability levels. Nothing is worse than a student who loses motivation due to being “bored” and unchallenged in the classroom. Inquire about enrichment programs that may be a good fit for your child.

Note about how to discuss your child’s results: 

The way you handle your child’s test results is a very personal choice and decision. I’m simply making some suggestions here from my experience in working with families and students to help navigate your own process.

What should I share with my child? 

I advise being factual about test results with children. Tell them the scores matter of factly and work with them on a plan for what they will do to meet expectations this coming year. Provide suggestions on how to talk about their test scores with peers — or better yet advise them to keep testing information private. Even if scores are at expectation, it is important to review the preparation and make a list of what worked and what did not work.

What should our “talk” look like? 

Give factual information. If you are feeling elated, excited, upset, frustrated, disappointed, or angry — cope with your feelings first. Talk with your child when you are calm. Ask your child a series of precise questions about the results and the preparation process such as: What do you think of these results? Do you have any questions? How do you feel your preparation went this year? Did you have enough time for instruction, enough independent practice, enough mock assessments? Did you have a successful mindset, discipline and/or attitude about the testing? What skills and concepts are solid and what may need improvement?

Write out the answers and use them to create a “goal sheet” for this coming year.

In addition to interpreting results and talking with your child about the goals, give your child a way to talk about testing with friends and teachers. I think if all parents talked with their children about the fact that results are private information — we would be all better off. But, since the questions and conversations do tend to happen — you may want to suggest your child know what to say if friends start to ask. If a friend asks, “What did you get on the ELA?” The student may be able to just say, “I did great – how did you do?” and give them ways to handle the peers who may really want to know a number, “You know, I don’t really want to publicize my numbers — that’s really private info, you know!” is a great line to use, for instance. Preparedness will help students to feel better about their social interactions.

What if my child did not meet expectations? 

First of all, remember that these are test scores, and while they are one important aspect of your child’s academic experience, they are also a snapshot of that one experience. Any number of variables may contribute to a child’s success during test taking. At Evolved, we view children as whole people — academics, learning, school and home experiences as well as their social, emotional and physical development come into play at any time during their testing.

If you are feeling disappointed in the results, it may be best to talk with me or with your spouse or another parent before you speak to your child. You want your mindset to be one of constructive criticism instead of destructive criticism. The point is — be frustrated, be disappointed, and then get to work on supporting your child. And remember — this is your child’s journey. It may not go the way you have planned, but it will work out and we can partner together to support you and your child along the way!

What if I don’t want to talk with my child right now? 

I would say that if your child is in 3rd or 4th or maybe even 5th grade that is okay, but if their friends will be talking about it, it is best for you to talk with your child about the results first. You will want your child to be able to ask you questions and not their friends. Most children have been involved in the preparation for the ELA and NYS Math Tests, so they are aware that results will come out. While they may not be aware of this happening this week, once they get back to school, they may have conversations with their friends about the tests.

Other questions? Contact me — I am happy to help!

If you have any further questions, do not hesitate to contact me at or at 917 388 3862.


Camp is over – How to prepare for a successful September

Camp is over – How to prepare for a successful September

And Why Early Bedtimes Matter

By Mary Miele Learning Specialist and Founder of Evolved Education

I never went to sleepaway camp, but when I was in college, I came home for a summer to work and stay in my childhood home. The transition back home after living away and on my own for the year at school was tremendously challenging. I remember having a hard time communicating with my parents and siblings. I had to account for family member’s routines and needs. I was asked to help around the house and with the care of my sisters. It was hard to live away from home and then come back to live there.

I can only imagine how the transition back home after sleep away camp is for our young students. Camp requires a level of independence and all children will change and grow over the course of time, so who you dropped off at the start of the summer will be different than who you pick up. Adjusting to the changes which happen over 4,  6 or 8 weeks requires some time. The transition won’t happen overnight.  In addition, camp is exhausting. Children tend not to put their guard down and relax completely until they are home. This is normal. A mother I spoke to yesterday let me know that her ten year old son has been sleeping and playing video games ever since he got back. He seems “out of it”.  Sleep and rest seem really necessary all of a sudden.

When I write these kinds of blogs I consider what our clients are struggling with and try to offer some perspective and expertise to help. So, if your child is transitioning into school again (and yes, that transition starts a few weeks BEFORE school begins), here are some nuggets of advice that could help you navigate the transition with your child:

  • Get into the routine of school again. My pediatrician and I were speaking yesterday about my son’s sleep. He’s 10 and can’t seem to get enough of it. I had been letting him sleep in, but she let me know that “sleeping in” is terrible sleep. The better way to get better sleep is to get to bed early. I proposed an early bed time to my son this week – he was shockingly fine with it! So, at 7:45, we are all settling in. He can read, he can relax, but he’s in his bed, with no electronics and no TV. It’s complete down time. He has to be up at 7 for his activities during these weeks, and that is still a little tough for him, but the early bed time ensures that he’s getting enough sleep to function, and I just started this with him–I know through experience that it’s important to give new routines at least two weeks to make a difference. So my advice to you is to stick with the changes over time until you make a judgment call that they are working or not.


  • Involve your child in the transition plan. Yes, I did say “plan”. It’s important for children to learn how to plan ahead and parents in this day and age do not typically give their children enough opportunities to be in the driver’s seat to make these plans. I’m guilty too – it’s so much easier just to take the reigns myself. I’m great at planning. I’ll make some playdates and go to the library. School will be here in no time. This approach is not the best for any child, though. It short circuits their opportunity to activate neurons in their brain. Instead, sit your child(ren) down and ask them what they need to do to transition back to school. Mention the idea from the pediatrician about an earlier bedtime. Talk about what options the children have for activities during their daytimes. Show them a calendar so they can see how much time they have until school begins. Involve your child in creating a list of action items everyone will do to prepare for the transition. Parents with teenagers may need to involve a professional to run interference to help with the planning. I find that most teenagers resist the advice of their parents and outsourcing the creation of these plans to a mentor, tutor or education professional can be extremely helpful. One student of ours was just set up with this kind of support — she was procrastinating doing her summer work. Her mother was getting very stressed about it and called us for support. We sent over an Evolved Education ELA teacher who worked with her child on getting the assignment started and mapping out a plan. Since we are a whole child company, the teacher also talked with the student about her overall transition plan — when she would get supplies, what clothes she needed to get for the start of school, what her am routine would be like (she’s starting high school in the fall), what her feelings were about the start of a new school and grade 9!! The ELA teacher partnered with our student’s mother to bridge communication and help with ways to effectively support her daughter.  The ELA teacher Skyped with the student over the course of last week and will do so this week to check in and to provide accountability to be sure the work is getting done. This sort of support allowed the student to become prepared and her mother to relax and focus on enjoying some time with her daughter instead of fighting over the summer work assignment. For some teenagers, there are preferred ways to receive support from parents, and our teachers have an understanding of how to help parents understand how teenagers need to be supported. The transition to middle, high school and college are transitions for parents as well – in many ways parents are all undergoing great changes as school begins.


  • Trouble shoot challenges and get support before they snowball. A client of ours called in to discuss a common challenge for our middle, high school and college age students and that is to complete summer work. Most students have to leave this work to the last few weeks of August because of camp and travel. Students get overwhelmed when they look at a 300 page book that has been mandated to read. Starting is hard and keeping the stamina going to really read something with great focus and attention to detail is tiring — if you don’t believe me, try it along with your student. It’s a great exercise to do. Help your child by doing some paired work (you work while they work). Read the book aloud to your child and be sure they take great notes — this causes them to be very prepared for the start of school. The more prepared a student is for the start of school, the happier they are to be there!


  • Know that transitioning is a process. This process will begin now, but it will not end when school begins. Often students are on a high during the first week of schoool– there is excitement in seeing friends and teachers again, in getting the supplies and starting a new grade. About a week or so into school, children can experience some anxiety, sadness, or stress. This is usually very normal and it is also where early bedtimes, strong support systems, and plenty of parent-child face time can be helpful.

If you have an issue that you are concerned about, email me to book a call at  When you plan and work in a supportive way through the back to school transition, it can be a magical time!

Back to School: The Parent To Do List

The Parent To-Do LIST

It’s August, and that means many families are gearing up for back to school. Here is a list of items every parent can do to make the transition back to school easier for students of all ages. Remember, Great Preparation = Success!

1. Calendars

Each family should have two types of calendars — a digital one and a paper/wall calendar. The digital calendar, google or iCal, is detailed with exact times/dates/locations. The wall calendar provides a visual for your family, which anchors them to time and dates.  It will include general events such as the start of school, a wedding, a sporting event, routined extra-curricular classes.

A recommended wall calendar
From Papersource $29.95

Here’s your list for this section:

  • Set up your google calendar or iCal for each member of your family. Go to your child’s school calendar and input dates for the year into your calendar. See if there is a way to share calendars or update calendars so that you do not have to input each date manually. Get your older children involved in sharing their calendars with you — teach them the basics of digital calendaring including how to input an event, a repeating event and how to put in locations and invite others to events.
  • Buy the wall calendar and post in a central location. The kitchen is a pretty popular spot for many families. Have your children help you put in the key dates for the first few months of school. This will provide them security for the transition back to school as well. If you have more than one child, choose a color for each one.

2. Organize Your Stuff

Before school is a great time to get things organized. I have a few key rules for organization. You can use this as your to-list for this section.

  • No one should own more things than they can take care of.
  • Everyone should learn how to organize their things by sifting  and placing (dump everything from one category into a pile and keep what you love and what serves a purpose – give away/throw away all else; and then place back what you will keep into ONE place).
  • Maintenance of organization is the hardest work and needs time and a personalized strategy to be successful. For children, it is important to build time into their schedule to enter dates into calendar, place new items into spaces, or tidy up messy areas.

3. Order/Shop

After you’ve gone through what you have, you should spend time gathering what is needed for the start of school. Most schools have supply lists. You can also read our blog on suggested school supplies.

Involve your child in the process of buying clothes, back packs, and school supplies because it allows them to transition well back to school.

4. Complete Paperwork

Ah, the fun part of the back to school time for all parents is here!

  • Go grab a file box and start to pile up the forms you need to fill out. Teach your children to place forms from school into these trays.

    Poppin File Tray $24
  • Create a folder on your desktop to  house digital forms such as medical records and other pdf documents.
  • Invest in a quality scanner to help you digitize forms you want to keep. This will also help your children to scan homework assignments and other documents.
Scan Snap Scanner — an investment, but well worth it! $429.95

5. Get Into Routines Again

About 2 weeks before school begins, it is important to get students back into school routines. They will need to have this time to get into the rhythms of sleeping, eating, and working.

  • Establish bedtime routines and morning routines. If you want tips on how to do this, read a blog I wrote about how to establish morning and afternoon routines for some additional ideas.
  • Many students need to use the two weeks before school begins to work on summer work and to boost areas of reading and math. If you need support in these areas, consider contacting us at or 917-388-3862 to book a tutor via Skype or in person during this crucial time.


Enjoy the last days of summer where ever you are! Here’s a short- hand list of the to-dos included in this blog for your reference:

  1. Calendar (digital and wall)
  2. Organize your Things (sift, place and maintain)
  3. Order and Shop
  4. Complete Paperwork
  5. Get into Routines Again



Back to School 2017

Get Ready for Back-to-School

Our Annual School Supply Picks

By: Mary E. Miele, founder The Evolved Education Company, learning specialist and mother of three children

It’s that time of year again — and if you are me, this is better than my birthday!  Whether you need  pens, pencils, index cards, folders, binders, paper or rulers, look no further! Included in this list are some of our favorite supplies. Enjoy and share the love!

Pens, Pencils and Highlighters: Why splurge? We find that when students can be colorful with their work by color-coding notes, edits, corrections and etc., they are enthusiastic about event the most mundane of assignments.

Le Pens $22.47
Le Pens $28.92
Uni-ball Pens $17.36
Uni-ball Pens $16.56
Pilot G2 Retractable Pens $8.78
Pilot G2 Retractable Pens $8.34
Ballpoint Pens $10
Ballpoint Pens $10
White TIp-Top Rollerball Pen
White Tip-Top Rollerball Pen $12                                                             

Pencils and Erasers

Ticonderoga Pencils $5.69
Erasers $2.28
Erasers $1. 69


Highlighters $4.99
Highlighters $2.00
Thin Highlighters $10
Thin Highlighters $10

Colored Pencils

Watercolor Pencils $24.96
Watercolor Pencils $13.96
Colored Pencils $55
Colored Pencils $26.48
Pencil Sharpener $5.20
Pencil Sharpener $1.59

 Pencil Cases: One for each kind of student!

Case It Pencil Case $14.43
Case It Pencil Case $14.69
Pencil Pouch $12
Pencil Pouch $12 Floral Pouch $14.95 Floral Pouch $14.95
Canvas Pouches $19.95
Canvas Pouches $19.95

Staplers: You never know when you’ll need one! This one is sturdy and can be used by even the youngest of students.

Staplers $14
Staplers $14

Scissors: Students are cutting and pasting all the way through high school.

Scissors $11
Scissors $11
Kids' scissors $2.94
Kids’ scissors $2.94

Three-hole punch: Do handouts get misplaced or ruined in pocket folders? Punching and sorting handouts into binders will keep your student neat and organized.

Three Hole Punch For the Desk $29.99
Three Hole Punch
For the Desk
3 Hole Punch for Binder $5.95
3 Hole Punch for Binder

Folders: Choose folders that speak to your student’s interests or go with a different color for each subject.

Meadsports 2 pocket folders $16.41
Meadsports 2 pocket folders $16.49
Pocket Folder $6
Pocket Folder $6
Pocket Folder $3
Pocket Folder

Paper: long gone are the days of buying hole repair stickers – go for the reinforced paper and never again worry about loosing a sheet!

College Ruled Reinforced Paper $3.47
College Ruled Reinforced Paper $6.30
Graph Paper $3.49
Graph Paper $5.09

Notebooks: Select a different color for each subject.

2 Subject Notebooks $15.10
2 Subject Notebooks
One subject notebook $8
One subject notebook $8
Smaller Sized Notebooks $5.43
Smaller Sized Notebooks

Binders: Zip-up binders come in handy for home filing. At the end of each quarter/semester/course, have your student file papers to keep in a sip-up binder, divided by subject.

Case-it Z-binder $21.99
Case-it Z-binder $21.99
Aqua Pocket Binder $10
Aqua Pocket Binder
Binder $27.66 for a six pack
Binder $27.66 for a six pack
Mead Flex Binder Assorted Colors and Designs $17.99
Mead Flex Binder
Assorted Colors and Designs

Dividers: Even if your child’s teachers do not include these on their supply list, these are a must for optimizing organization.

Dividers $4
Dividers $2.99
Dividers $2.99

Index Cards and Post-It Notes: Colors keep students interested and organized!

Oxford Index Cards are the best–hands down. I happen to like the colored ones, but they come in white too–lined or blank. $5.99/300 cards at
Index Cards $5
Index Cards $5
Index Card Box $14.54 pack of 4
Index Card Box
$14.54 pack of 4
Post-it Notes $6.59
Post-it Notes $4.69

Measuring Instruments

Ruler $8
Ruler $8
Clear Ruler $8
Clear Ruler
Compass $5.48
Compass $2.99
Protractor $7.72
Protractor $11.29

Backpacks: go for style, practicality and good posture with these selections.

Hershel Backpack Grey $59.99
Hershel Backpack Grey
Jansport Backpack $56.88
Jansport Backpack $56.88
Lands End Backpack $22.00
Lands End Backpack $22.00
LeSportSac Function Backpack $
Function Backpack

Planners: Stylish and practical. Get your students planning at the elementary school level so that it’s second-nature when they arrive in middle school.

Very Busy Planner $32.95
Very Busy Planner $32.95 Girl Crush Planner $20.95 Girl Crush Planner
Academic Planner $15.42
Academic Planner

Imagery: Making an Impact On the College App Essay

Imagery: Making an Impact On the College App Essay

By: Jonathan Shapiro, New York Writing and Evolved Education

Recently, I was working with a high school junior on her Common App essay. She told me she had lost 40 lbs. “Great! What was the turning point when you committed to losing weight?” I asked.  She described how her friend and her mom could not get a prom dress over the student’s shoulders.

That scene, that image, of having her mom and friend try to pull a dress over the student’s shoulder became the opening scene of the student’s essay. After detailing her transformation from overweight and shy to thinner and more confident, the student closed her essay with another image: singing a school cheer at an assembly of her peers.

In terms of writing, and something that most high school students are not aware of, a key to moving readers is imagery, language that evokes feeling through visual or auditory sensations.

The essay of the shy student who wrote about trying to pull her dress over her shoulders, and, then, triumphantly, confidently, leading her school from the gymnasium floor in a cheer, will move readers to feel her struggle and her joy. The student, then, will have a greater chance of her essay affecting readers than those whose writing stays broad, abstract, general, vague. Most students write broadly, and abstractly, and their essays will not move readers as much as they could.

The goal for writers of personal statements is to have their readers feel, so that readers on the admissions committee nod, say yes, or wow, or unbelievable, and then, lets invite this student to our school.  

Jonathan Shapiro of NewYorkWriting has been helping students write personal statements for their college applications for more than 20 years. His students have been accepted to the top schools in the country, including Stanford, Harvard, Yale, Brown, and many many more. To find out more about his work, visit and to sign up for his summer course at Evolved Education click here

What Happens When Summer Comes and Students Take the Road Less Traveled?

What Happens When Summer Comes and Students Take the Road Less Traveled?

By: Gina Rotundo

To do summer work or not to do summer work, that is the question

In just a few weeks, I will begin a familiar battle with my kids. Should they be doing academics during the summer? For one daughter, homework is assigned, but usually not collected nor graded. For the other, no summer work is assigned. Both scenarios make my job even more difficult. How can I MAKE them do summer work? As I was plotting out our summer plans, it occurred to me there are more plans this year with camps, traveling, family time…I realized, the battle this year would be bigger than ever.

Why DO I CARE SO MUCH?! Why do I so desperately want them to do work over the summer? Why can’t I be more relaxed about it? The answer to these questions lies in my experience. My kids are entering 5th and 10th grades. Over the years, I have tried everything, including not making them do anything at all.

If they take the road most traveled and do nothing all summer long, I KNOW what will happen for the first three months of the next school year and it’s worse than the summer battle. Not to mention, it is unfair to their teachers that they have to spend so much time on material from the previous year. So, this year I decided to hire a tutor who is flexible and can meet both in person and via FaceTime when we are away.

Here is why I insist my kids take the road less traveled, but the one that WILL make all the difference, just as it did for Robert Frost.

Continuity Insurer: If your students don’t spend time over the summer maintaining knowledge and skills, they will ride the infamous Summer Slide. And, just like real slides, going down is fast and easy. Climbing to the top, especially when you’re doing it over and over again is exhausting.

Stress Releaser:  September – December at EEC is MAYHEM and it gets really bad after the first report card, especially for those in new schools. Transition is hard, especially for kids. Give your child the benefit of a smooth transition. In our house, school ends, but tutoring continues. Yes, our tutor will visit or Facetime with my kids each week, just as she does all year long.

Confidence Booster:  Summer study is the only time your children can study and not be measured by an arbitrary and sometimes unfair system of grades. Summer assignments or summer camps that incorporate learning do it for the Love of Learning and that is something we all need more of!

Learning Style Facilitator: During the off months, educators and kids can freely explore how one learns best. Without the pressure of due dates, strict schedules and bedtimes, kids can explore the many different ways to learn and determine what works best for their individual learning styles.

Social-Emotional-Physical Enhancer: During the summer, academics and skills can be reinforced and learned outside, poolside, in the park, at the museum and through new mediums – one-to-one in person, Facetime, small groups, etc. Learning in new and relaxed environments allows one to thrive and will ultimately contribute to one’s intellectual growth.  

Contact us for a free phone consultation on how to get your kids studying this summer! 917-388-3862 or


To Watch or Not To Watch; That is the Question: 13 Reasons Why You Might Not be Able to Control What Your Kids Watch, But You Can Control How They Process It

To Watch or Not To Watch; That is the Question: 13 Reasons Why You Might Not be Able to Control What Your Kids Watch, But You Can Control How They Process It

By: Mary Miele and Gina Rotundo, The Evolved Education Company

If you have not already heard about it, 13 Reasons Why is a series on Netflix that many young people are watching. In the series, a teenager commits suicide and she blames 13 people in her life. The mystery of how she came to her decision is revealed in a series of tapes she leaves behind. The series has been banned in places like New Zealand because adults feel it is too graphic and too upsetting to young people. The series is based on the New York Times bestselling novel by Jay Asher. It has been translated into 35 languages and is also an International Best Seller. It has been on my bookshelf for a couple of years. I knew it was a mystery about a girl’s death, but never knew it was about a suicide. It’s no wonder my daughter never read it.

In NYC, schools are sending messages to parents warning them to not allow their children to watch the series. For many families, though, this warning is too late. They have already watched it, and the story is becoming part of their thoughts and most intimate conversations among friends. Its message connects with many of our young people. Teenagers in the movie engage in social ostracising, bullying, undeage sex and drinking and rape. The story could be unfolding in any high school, in any part of the world. It could be any of our kids.

Suicide is final. Controversy around whether she had a choice or made the right choice is what all the kids are talking about. Were there signs? Are the 13 people really responsible?  And now there is an off-spin trend – kids are now making their own lists of 13. “If you were to do it, who would your 13 be?” Apparently, everyone has a list. My daughter asked me if I had made MY list. Apparently, if you have seen the series, you ought to have a list.

At the end of the last episode the directors and cast are interviewed. Watch it. They all agreed the film needed to be made and that important conversations would happen as a result. Selena Gomez is the director. All the kids know she is open about her struggles with anxiety and depression. She is the face of our kids’ generation – they are self-aware; these issues matter to them; and, they want to talk about them all the time.

We are not here to tell you whether you should or should not let your kids watch this show. That boat has sailed. The truth is, they are already watching it. If you have banned it, they are most likely watching with friends, on their phones, or when you are asleep. I remember Judy Blume books were banned from my elementary school because she talked about menstruation in Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. What book did every single 6th grader have hidden under her bed? Yep.

Here are 13 reasons why you can’t really control what your kids watch, but you can control how they process what they consume:

1) Understand, where there is a will, there is a way.

Students will be talking about this series in school, and everyone will be curious. Where there is a will, there is a way. No matter how closely you watch your child, there is a way for them to view this material. Peers are often the window into these kinds of experiences. You want them coming to you with these difficult conversations first.

2) Know what happens when mom and dad say no.

Teenagers are in a position to test limits and to question authority. It is actually an important part of their development. They will likely not respond well to “no” or “don’t do this,” without explanation. It might even encourage them further. Offer to watch it together.

3) Recognize that social ostracization is the worst for a teenager.

Everyone is talking about it, and when a teenager can’t be a part of the conversation, this can be very painful. It’s important to give your child a WAY to be included, even if they are experiencing the scenario in a different way…which leads me to #4.

4) Empower you kid.

Talk with them about 13 Reasons Why. Ask them if they’ve seen it. If they haven’t, ask them if their peers are talking about it. Open the lines of communication.

5) Make it a teachable moment.

Watch the show and teach your child HOW to handle different issues that come up. Talk about “what if…” and discuss coping techniques for how to handle the situations which came up in the show. You might be surprised. My daughter and her friends were ANGRY at Hannah’s choice to commit suicide and blame it on her classmates. They talked about all the things she could have done differently. They were also disappointed in Hannah’s guidance counselor’s inability to see the signs. A wake-up call for adults that work with kids!

6) Be proactive, not reactive.

If you feel your child is NOT worried about these situations, remember that your child is spending 6-7 hours away from you each day. Your child is speaking with friends who may not have involved parents. The topic may come up. It is better to be proactive instead of reactive. Speak about the issues before they become an issue for your child. As a wise person once said, “You might be too early, but you don’t want to be too late.”

7) Give your teenager a WAY to be included.

If your child’s peers start talking about 13, what do you want your child to do? Leave the conversation? Engage in conversation? Show concern for their friends? Think about this and then give your child a game plan. This is what the show is about, these are the characters, this is what happens. It’s sad. It’s dark. It’s difficult. If you haven’t seen it, you can still engage in the conversation by asking your friends questions about how they are feeling.

8) Role play important conversations.

Even elementary school kids are talking about it, especially if they have older siblings. My 10-year old knows my 15-year old has anxiety and although I didn’t let her see the series, she knows what it’s about and has begged her older sister not to kill herself. As a parent, that is SO HARD to hear; but, it is impossible to ignore. I watched the entire series in one day. Yes, I binged it and I am certain some of your kids are binging too.

9) Don’t assume your child knows everything presented in the movie to the sophistication that you do.

The issues that are presented in a series such as 13 are complex and sophisticated. It is easy for a teenager to miss nuances and hidden layers within a story. You should watch the show and make a list of all of the points of view and underlying meanings you notice. Be ready to have open conversations about these tough issues and answer questions honestly.

10) Understand they will know someone who suffers what Hannah and the others suffer.

The truth is that these are real issues our kids are contending with or know of someone who is – depression, alcohol abuse, drug abuse, social ostracization, sexual assault and suicide, just to name a few.

11) Know the signs.

We pay a lot of lip service to this, but do we really know the signs of depression in teens? How is it different from their everyday mood swings? Do your research. Ask a therapist. Watch the series.

12) Create your village! Surround your child with trusting adults,  reach out to them and learn from them.

Spouses, partners, siblings, parents, aunts and uncles, babysitters, friends, therapists, tutors, guidance counselors, coaches, advisors, teachers – you would be surprised at what your child will share with others that he or she will not share with you.

13) Be curious, not furious.

If you have banned 13 Reasons Why and your child has watched/read it anyway, be curious – ask questions and listen.
Have questions or need support? Call us at 917.388.3862 or