By Scott Lutostanski


The first quarter of school is over. For some students, it went awesome. For others, it may not have been the start that they were hoping for. Because of our executive function coaching program, we have seen all types of students come to work with us at this time of year. As we are heading into the start of second quarter, let’s take a look at some of the common student “situations” that we see.

The “Build-it-Back” Student: This student has been struggling for a little while and first quarter was just an extension of this. This story has become more common since COVID happened. A student falls into a bit of a tailspin with school, and possibly other parts of life, and so it becomes very difficult. This student needs to build back their executive function skills, perhaps some mental health as well, and start to function better and better as they work their way back to academic success.

The “Avoid the Same Old Pattern” Student: This is a student we see a lot. This student gets off to a good start each year but as the school honeymoon phase ends, they start to slow down. It’s a similar pattern year after year. At some point in October, the student starts to struggle, motivation dips, productivity starts to slide, and their grades will probably take a hit. This is a common pattern for students and takes sharpening their skills to improve task and self management, so they can improve in school.

The “Slow Slide Student”- This student is similar to the one above except it happens much more slowly. After a pretty good start, everything will slowly slide down. Sometimes this means from an A to C, but sometimes more. This student might start to have more and more missing assignments. Or perhaps they’re doing their homework, but their test scores are consistently low and dragging down their grades. There are definitely a few variations of this student, but the consistent thread is the slow drop in grades as the weather gets colder.

“The Deceiver”- This is a less fun situation, but it does happen. Some students will deceive throughout the first quarter and make everything sound great to their parents. It’s not that difficult of a trick to pull off. Eventually, when first quarter progress reports come out, the truth comes to the surface and everyone can see that the student is in fact having a really difficult time in school.

Low Test Scores- For some students, they are very on top of their school work, organized, and working hard. Their challenge is in one particular area: tests. These students usually need help to improve study skills and learning strategies. This can be frustrating and wear on students, but is often the key to getting their grades and their confidence up.

One Specific Class- For some students, it might seem that there’s 1 specific class that keeps giving them problems. These students most likely need tutoring in this subject to supplement and reinforce their learning taking place in school.

There are a lot of potential challenges that start to bubble to the surface around this time of year. Some students are able to work through these issues on their own, but others can accelerate the progress by getting some extra help. No matter the challenge, the hope is that students can have a great 2nd quarter and finish first semester strong.