Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Appreciating and Supporting TEACHERS
By Carol C. Wood / Founder & CEO
Total Learning Concepts, Inc.

As the new school year begins, it is a good time to recognize those who have dedicated and committed themselves to the education of students. Whether one teaches 4-year olds in a Pre-kindergarten program or adults who are furthering their education, the common component for educators is their passion for people.  When asked what I do as a career, I often respond with, “I am in the ‘people building’ business!”   Most people I know who are teachers feel the same.
It is difficult to understand why some feel compelled to teach, but they do.  It’s as if God “taps” certain people for this life role. 

What are some of the characteristics of a teacher?

T         Trustworthy, Tenacious, Thought provoking

E         Expert, Enthusiastic, Entertaining, Energetic

A        Approachable, Appreciative, Attentive

C        Caring, Challenging, Constructive, Creative, Comforting, Communicative

H        Honest, Hard-working, Humorous

E         Engaging, Empathetic, Encouraging

R        Role model, Rebuilder, Responsible, Respectful, Receptive

Following are a few reminders to establish a positive working relationship with teachers during the next school year:

·         Provide teachers with information about your child that will help them know him or her as an individual.

·         Volunteer your time and energy to the classroom and school when needed.

·         Demonstrate respect for each teacher’s expertise and experience with subject matter and student behavior management in the classroom.

·         Send a note of thanks and appreciation to teachers when things are going well in the classroom.

·         Be on each teacher’s “team” by supporting his or her instruction, classroom policies, and procedures and expectations from your child as a student. 

·         If you disagree with a teacher on any matter, never voice this in front of your child.  Doing so may cause your student to place blame on the teacher rather than accepting personal responsibility for the matter.

·         When desiring to talk with a teacher, contact him or her via email or a written note initially and briefly describe the nature of your concern(s).  Ask for a return phone call and provide your best number and time of day to be reached.  If a phone call is not sufficient to handle your concerns, request a brief in-person conference.  Emailing concerns can be risky since they do not reflect vocal tone, expression or mannerisms.

·         When talking with the teacher via phone or in a conference, begin with questions rather than accusations.  Asking questions will allow you to have a better idea of the manner in which classes are conducted and subjects taught.  You do not want to put the teacher in a defensive mode and verbal accusations will likely do this.  Teachers are human beings first and want and deserve your respect and approval of the work they do with your child each day.

So, as the new school year begins, recognize the many special characteristics each teacher brings to the learning environment and achievement of students’ goals and potential and support their efforts with your child.  

Have a fabulous school year!

Friday, June 19, 2015

For Rising 9th Grade Students:
Launch to High School

By Carol C. Wood / Owner & College Admissions Process Counselor
Total Learning Concepts, Inc.

So, you’re a rising 9th grader, your first year of high school! As you begin your high school career, you will adjust to a new building, attend school as the youngest, meet lots of new people, acclimate to the expectations of high school teachers, have an array of clubs and activities in which to participate and make LOTS of new friends!  How exciting! 

As high school begins, it is important to recognize that every course grade you earn is likely a determining factor for your future college and career plans.  And, there are many tasks to complete as you begin your high school journey in preparation for the college admissions process. 

Let’s start first with you utilizing the most effective and efficient study strategies.  Following are just a few study tips as you begin high school:

  • Attend all classes and be on time.  Only an emergency or illness should cause you to miss class.
  • Select a seat in the classroom where you can pay close attention to the teacher’s instruction and directions.  If the student next to you caused distraction, find another place to sit or privately ask the teacher to be moved.
  • Know each teacher’s course website where he or she posts homework assignments, projects, due dates, test dates, etc.  You are responsible to keep up with each course and teacher’s expectations.
  • Consistently use only one agenda; either electronic or paper, in which you notate due dates, test dates, activities, etc.   
  • Take detailed, legible class and study notes.  If you are absent from school, ask a classmate for a copy of his or her notes.
  • Find a study buddy for classes which present you the most challenge.  Ideally, this person is another responsible student like you!
  • Select a study space at home in which you can concentrate and remain focused. 
  • Exhibit good management of your own behaviors by turning all forms of technology OFF while studying.  Technology time-out is necessary for quality learning time!
  • Read assignments thoroughly and re-read when necessary to fully grasp the content.
  • Do all homework assigned and MORE by drilling and practicing each day’s class material presented by your teachers.  In other words, master a little at a time, rather than cramming in weeks of material in one night when preparing for a major test.

For additional study skills tips and strategies or for recommendations in the College Admissions Process, you may contact me on 770-381-5958 or

Have a fabulous start to high school!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

The New SAT and Suggestions for Rising Juniors (2015-16 school year)

Did you know that the SAT is changing in March of 2016? The new test will have several key changes, including a writing and language test and a portion of the math section on which no calculator is allowed. In the long run, the changes are promised to be a more accurate representation of a student's abilities. As the test is administered and scored over the next year or so, we will see trend data and will be able to compare student scores to their success in college. For details about the new SAT, click here.
What does this mean for rising seniors?  There will be three opportunities to take the SAT in its current form in 2015 and one opportunity in 2016. These dates will not impact seniors much, as most of their college application deadlines will fall within the range of these test dates. It will be very important to pay close attention to all application deadlines, to plan ahead, and to register to take the current SAT this fall at least twice, if not three times. It is also important to take the ACT at least two to three times as well. Colleges will often take the BEST scores from either the SAT or the ACT. The ACT is NOT making changes to its current format. For details about the differences between the current SAT and the ACT, click here.
What does this mean for rising juniors?  The class of 2017 will be allowed to submit both current (2015) SAT scores and new (2016) SAT scores when applying to colleges. As always, colleges will also accept ACT scores and will take the best scores. What is advised for you to do? We suggest doing things a little differently this year. It is best for juniors to begin preparing for the current SAT this summer, but no later than August in order to be prepared for the SAT this October and November 2015. It is best to take the SAT at least twice this fall, but three times is recommended. This allows for optimum score potential. The SAT will also be administered in December, 2015 and January, 2016. The exact national test dates will be posted sometime this June. Juniors should also plan to take the ACT at least two to three times.

Should juniors take the NEW SAT in March 2016 or later? It's definitely up to the individual student. We recommend "go with what you know." If a student has the opportunity to take the current SAT, it is definitely better for him/her to prepare for and take it as often as possible, as colleges are more familiar with the current test and what the scores represent. Taking the current SAT and the ACT will give juniors more options when applying to colleges.

What does this mean for rising freshmen and sophomores? They will be required to take the new version of the SAT, and at present, colleges will only accept test scores from the SAT's newest version. Rising freshmen and sophomores will also take the new version of the PSAT this October.
How can Total Learning Concepts help? We offer a preparation course for the new PSAT and will have our first class this summer. We will also offer SAT/ACT preparation session options for rising juniors and seniors this summer and fall to prepare for the current SAT. For more information on our course dates, please click here.
To discuss your student's academic goals for the summer and upcoming school year, please call your center director and schedule an in-person consultation. Together, we can determine the best course of action for you and/or your student!


Lilburn: (770) 381-5958  Loganville: (770) 466-8282  Dacula (770) 271-7544

Monday, April 27, 2015

Start School Sharp.

This summer, Prepare to START SCHOOL SHARP!
By Carol C. Wood Founder & CEO
Total Learning Concepts, Inc.

Woohoo!  School is out for the summer so learning can stop!  Right?  Wrong! 

Summer time provides the BEST opportunity students have to enrich their academic skills if they desire to get ahead before school begins again or catch up in skills if they ended the school year below average in an area.  During the summer, because school has ended and teachers are not moving through additional curriculum, students have the opportunity to gain ground in their academics.  Whereas, during the school year if students fall behind, they must catch up with what they have missed AND keep up with what is being taught on a day-by-day basis BOTH at the same time.  This is difficult to do and can be stressful!  So, parents, give the students in your family the opportunity to do what they can not easily do during the school year, which is to CATCH UP or MOVE AHEAD in their academics this summer and solve their STUDY SKILL weaknesses!

What you can do to get started for summer learning:  First, locate your child’s recent school standardized test scores and school report cards to determine the areas they are performing below, on, or above average as compared to his/her school grade level.  Any area(s) in which the student scored below 50th percentile or below their grade and month level in school when the tests were administered, are ones in which the student was performing below average at that time.  If the student scored above 50th percentile or above his or her grade level, he/she is performing above average so summer tutoring could entail enrichment work to maintain skills or further build on the student’s strengths in preparation for the next school year.  By examining your child’s most recent test scores and determining which areas are below, on, or above average, you will then know which academic areas to build upon so the student can START SCHOOL SHARP! 

Next, seek educational resources for your child with a track record of success should you decide to teach your children at home.   Purchase the appropriate levels of materials and teach your child on an established consistent, weekly schedule.  Do not allow the student to skip around within workbooks and complete the “fun” pages first, as the material is purposefully presented in a sequential order.  Select a study place for each student which is equipped with the learning supplies and tools needed. 

If you do not feel qualified or do not have the necessary patience with your own child, contact me at Total Learning Concepts since we are a full-time professional academic support service and have a successful 29-year track record helping students in the community reach their goals and potential!  Schedule summer learning sessions with us on a consistent weekly basis with the same degreed and experienced instructor.   Remember, at Total Learning Concepts we utilize nationally recognized materials and proven teaching methods and conduct individualized instruction in an environment free from distractions and interruptions.

Remember, SUMMER is the most ideal time for students to get a JUMP START on the next school year!