Fredericksburg Parent

July 2019

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48 Fredericksburg Parent and Family • July 2019 INTERVIEWED BY EMILY FREEHLING in the coming school year with Learning Enhancement Centers and The Marshall School Every student has a unique learning style, and helping those students succeed in an education system dominated by standardized tests is on the minds of many parents as Fredericksburg-area schools prepare to start a new academic year in August. This month we're sharing thoughts and per- spective from Christina Carson. Christina is a former public school special education teacher whose frustration with the limitations of "teaching to the test" led her to open Learning Enhancement Centers, where students come for one-on-one tutoring and help, and The Thurgood Marshall School and Leadership Academy, a full-time day school serving kindergar- ten through twelfth grade. Located in Spotsylvania County, these educa- tional organizations both focus on training the brain to process informa- tion, and equipping students with the thinking and learning strategies they need to succeed over a lifetime of learning. Q: WHAT CAN I DO IF I KNOW MY CHILD IS STRUGGLING ACADEMICALLY, BUT I DON'T KNOW HOW TO HELP, OR THE STRATEGIES WE'VE BEEN USING AREN'T WORKING? You have to know specifically where things are breaking down before you can make it better. When we do evalu- ations of new students, we are looking at the big picture of how your child's brain processes information. How are their thinking skills, their memory, their attention, reason, processing? Where are they academically, and what is an efficient way to improve that? This information is such a gift, and it gives you so much understanding about how to help your child and what they really need. From that point, we can talk to our families about a customized plan of tutoring at Learning Enhancement Centers, or enrolling at The Marshall School if that is what they need. Or if it's something we can't address ourselves, we will try to refer the student to someone who can. Q: HOW IS THE MINDSET AT YOUR SCHOOL AND TUTOR- ING CENTER DIFFERENT FROM WHAT YOU ENCOUNTERED AS A PUBLIC SCHOOL TEACHER? When I taught in public school, I had a deep desire to see my stu- dents genuinely learn — not just to be able to pass a test. So I was incredibly frustrated when my students were sent on to middle school before they had mastered the basic skill of reading. They had passed the test, so in the school's eyes, they were ready for the next level. I like to think about it like building a house. Let's say you've got your foundation 70 percent fin- ished. No building inspector would ever come out and say, "That looks great, keep building." But that's what we're doing in our schools. As long as students score 70 percent on the Standards of Learning (SOL) test, we move them up to the next level. Then when kids start to get up to higher levels of academic subjects like math, things start to fall apart. We want kids to master one skill before they move on to the next thing. To learn more, visit or Stay tuned to our Facebook page so you don't miss Christina's Facebook Live interview in July. PREPARE for SUCCESS CHRISTINA CARSON Executive DIrector and Founder

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