Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Back to School - and Back to Success

This Week with Sara Fitts is celebrating Back to School - and Back to Success with a tutor/academic coach.  Sara Fitts and SLF Consulting provide math tutorials, reading tutorials, SAT Prep, and study skills / time management for students of all ages and grade levels, including college.  Each tutorial session is designed for the specific needs of each student - and is delivered one-on-one.  Even our SAT Prep programs are individualized for the specific needs of each student and delivered one-on-one.  We provide tutorials in our office at 8425 Dorsey Circle, Suite 102 in Manassas, Virginia - as well as world-wide via Skype.

Sara Fitts has more than 30 years of experience as an educator and coach - and SLF Consulting has been in business since 2000.

If you are wanting the student in your life to experience greater success, please  contact us today!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Back to School Boot Camp: Top Apps for Students

This Week with Sara Fitts focuses today on the top apps for student success.  These apps are easily used on all devices - especially phones.  And most are free and available on all platforms.  

  1. Office Lens is free and available on iOS, Android, and Windows.  This app is from Microsoft and takes pictures of whiteboards, blackboards, magazines, books, etc. and converts them into editable and shareable text.  You can save images in PDF, Word, or PowerPoint files.
  2. Dragon Dictation is free and operates on iOS platform.  This app allows you to talk while it writes what you say.  Powerful tool - especially for students who aren't strong spellers.
  3. Microsoft Office mobile app is free for iOS and Android platforms.  The app includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and OneNote.  
  4. myHomeworkStudentPlanner is free and available on all platforms.  The premium version is $4.99.  This app keeps you organized and on time for all projects, assignments, and tests and exams.
  5. Free Graphing Calculator is available on iOS and Android platforms.  It provides on the spot access to a scientific calculator and is extremely helpful for all math classes, including calculus and statistics.
  6. Flashcards Deluxe is $3.99 and available on iOS and Android platforms.  When studying any subject, flash cards are extremely helpful.  
  7. Evernote is free and available on all platforms.  It very helpful in taking notes in all subject areas.
  8. Merriam-Webster Dictionary is free and available on all platforms.  This app can prove to be a valuable asset.
  9. ScannerPro is $3.99 and available on iOS.  This app allows you to scan all paper and make you digital-only - which saves time and keeps you more organized.
  10. Tinycards is a free flashcard app on iOS platform.  It comes pre-loaded with many subjects; however, you can create your own flashcards, too.
  11. Dropbox is a cloud-based app that allows you to keep all your notes, papers, and projects in one secure place.
  12. Scribd is a virtual library.  Although costly at $8.99 for a monthly subscription, it is still a deal if you are required to read articles from different magazines and newspapers.  Check it out to see if this app would work for you and your educational needs.
As you see, lots of apps (and they are being developed daily) are out there to improve student success.  Take advantage of the technology that exists in order to improve your learning, your grades, your organization, and lessen the stress in your studies.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Back to School Boot Camp: Setting the Stage for Success

This Week with Sara Fitts is all about Back to School in this week's installments.  Today the focus is on Setting the Stage for Success.  It takes just a few things to improve each student's chances for a successful academic year - and the following will hopefully set the process in motion.

First, be organized.  Most teachers require notebooks and other items for class.  Make sure the requirements are followed and understood so that all assignments and notes are easily located when needed.  Utilize a variety of colors in order to color-code different items and/or subjects.  Often it is a very simple way to organize that makes all the difference.  Make sure the organization works for you.

Next, utilize technology.  So many apps are available - many for free - that will help you in organization, study skills, test prep, and actual help with a variety of subjects.  (More on this later this week.)  The key is to be open to the technology that is available and utilize it for your best results.

And don't forget old school structures:  index cards, color-coded sticky notes/flags, and binders with dividers.  Whatever it takes for you to set the stage for success, you must incorporate it into your "back to school" mindset.

And, perhaps the most important thing to remember in setting the stage for academic success is your mindset.  If you are to be successful, you need to 
  • believe that you will be successful and envision what your success looks like:  Honor Roll, Dean's List, no D's - however you define your success
  • set specific times for study and homework - and study is different from homework!  So set times for both!
  • have specific places for homework and study - quiet without distractions, music if it helps you work and study, and time limits
  • take breaks, exercise, drink water, and get plenty of sleep
  • reward yourself for your successes and use your times of less-than-success for re-grouping and learning 
  • enjoy the learning and make it meaningful - even if you take courses that you may not like, it will lead you to a diploma and a job - so make the most of the journey!
...More to come

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Ready for the New Academic Year

This Week with Sara Fitts is gearing up for the new academic year.  Test prep makes an incredible difference in the lives of students and their parents.  Whether it is PSAT, SAT, ACT, SOL, or any other standardized test, the preparation is the real key to success.

To be successful on standardized tests, the test-taker needs to focus on:

  1. time management - managing the time it takes to read the question and prepare the answer
  2. stress management - managing the physical, mental, and emotional parts of test-taking
  3. test management - managing the various parts of the test to create maximum return
  4. curriculum management - managing the actual material that is on the test, knowing the material to be tested, and understanding the process
  5. confidence in taking the test

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Summer Session 2016 Begins This Week

Summer Session 2016 at SLF Consulting begins this week!  We are offering an 8-week SAT prep course, and 8-week ACT prep course, reading and math improvement at all grade levels, study skills and time management for all students.  Instead of our regular fee, we are offering reduced prices for our Summer Session courses.  Our SAT and ACT programs are $500 and include all materials, textbooks, practice tests and assessments.  Our reading improvement and math improvement courses are $350 for 8 sessions/8 weeks.  And our Study Skills program is $150 for 3 hours.  

Each of our students will work in a one-on-one instructional environment based on the specific needs of each student.  

We have a proven track record since 2000 - and have something that no other tutoring business and test prep company has - Sara's Little Formula.  

Our space is limited for the Summer Session - so please contact us today to enroll in Summer Session 2016 and get ahead of the game.  We are the clear difference in test prep, tutorials, and teaching and learning.

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Reducing Stress and Struggle for Students

This Week with Sara Fitts is all about reducing stress and struggle for students.  For more than 30 years I've been working with students in various capacities - as a math teacher, a high school principal, instructional coach - and business owner committed to reducing stress and struggle for students as well as for their parents.

First of all, I think we can all agree that life has its stress and struggle - and that being said, schools should not be places for undue stress and struggle.  Schools should be places for teaching and learning.  Schools should be places for growth and development.  Schools should be places where it is safe to practice new academic skills without fear of failure and added stress and struggle.  

Schools should not be all about the test scores.  Schools should not be only concerned with teaching to a test.  Schools definitely need to examine what is being taught and what is being learned; however, testing only for the sake of getting a particular score is not the answer that is needed in education today.  Schools today are often such stressful environments.  Not much can ever be learned in stressful situations.  No one can learn their best lessons - or teach their best lessons - when intimidation abounds.

And I strongly believe that rigor is an essential element in all curricula and in all classrooms.  Rigor is very much needed; however, I see the lack of rigor in schools and classrooms where the only driving force is test scores.  So here's my plan.......

Begin with the end in mind.  By this I mean know what the final expectation of the course is - and then build the curriculum around that end result.  After students are presented with the basics, and then master the concepts - bring on the rigor!  Students will rise to the challenge because they will not be so stressed with the "threat" of test score numbers.  They will only be achieving and rising to the next level of learning.  And they will do so without intimidation, without stress, and without struggle.  And I bet you money that the test scores will be better than ever!

This is my Simple Little Formula for educational success.  And with it comes reduced stress and struggle for all students.  And all students can succeed to even higher levels.  And rigor will return to the classrooms once again.  And test scores will be good!

Sara Fitts is an academic coach and educational consultant in Manassas, VA.  She owns SLF Consulting and works with students to reduce stress and struggle.  For more information, visit her website and to contact her, click here.

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Summer Session

This Week with Sara Fitts is announcing SLF Consulting's Summer Session that begins next week - July 6.  We are adding several different courses to our offerings this summer as a result of requests by students and their parents.  For a complete list of our Summer Catalog of Courses, click here .  

Some of the highlighted courses we are offering this summer include Math Improvement (both 3-week and 6-week editions) and Reading Improvement (both 3-week and 6-week versions).  The need for these courses is crucial to students' sustained success for the next academic year.  Just a few strategies and techniques will improve the learning for students and will create a broader base for success in the next academic level of coursework.

Senior Seminar is another excellent option for rising high school or college seniors.  This 3-hour course is a must for providing a structure for success at the next level after graduation.  We offer coaching to set goals with an action plan for success.

Vocabulary Builder is a course for all grade levels.  It is designed for the specific needs of each student.  A student with a strong vocabulary is a better student overall.

We also offer a College Math Placement Test Prep course that reviews basic algebraic skills, geometry fundamentals, and trig.  This is a 3-hour course.

And our 6-week SAT Prep course in addition to math tutorials in all areas of mathematics are still our trademark courses.

For more information - or to enroll - please contact us today - visit our website today.