approach that addresses academic and selfesteem challenges while helping students become independent thinkers and problem solvers. We also build emotional intelligence by practicing mindfulness skills and mentoring students on how to manage stress and take care of their physical and emotional health. We simultaneously work with parents to help them create a home environment that supports building strong executive function skills. AK: Can we hear how this process works more specifically? SR: Suppose we were talking about a child who experiences difficulty organizing his space, remembering things, and managing his time. As a result, he struggles in several of his classes, including writing, history, and science. He experiences anxiety both in class and while doing homework. Suppose also that there are areas wherein the student excels, including math and music. First, we would meet with the student’s parents to learn everything we could about his strengths and vulnerabilities, completing an individualized assessment to help them understand more about their child and his executive functions in general. The parents would leave our consultation with a summary of our assessment and an executive function primer. In follow-up meetings and discussions, we would continue to educate
them about executive functions and related skills, including mindfulness and self-regulation. We also educate parents about the importance of a growth mindset, which means believing that you can change if you work, practice, and try new solutions to the things you couldn’t accomplish before. With this information, his parents can support the student’s skill-building at home. In this hypothetical case, our work with the student would begin by using his interest in music to engage him in a drumming practice with our talented musician mentor. Drumming is an excellent mindful movement activity that can build executive functions while helping students connect with others. As he immerses himself in this creative and fun practice, he is building the three core executive function skills that will then transfer to other areas of his life. The second part of our student intervention is academic support. Since the student enjoys math, we can use skillful reflections to show him the connection between executive function strengths and high levels of achievement. In the areas where he struggles – writing, history, and science – we would provide contentspecific support and strategies to help develop necessary executive function skills. This academic mentoring addresses gaps in knowledge and skills while reducing stress and building selfesteem.
AK: What is a typical schedule for a student being mentored at EFCNY? SR: Most students work with our mentors twice per week for ninety minutes, plus short digital check-ins three days per week to reinforce the work from the sessions. We generally work with students in this intensive way for a semester or about four months in order to make significant progress in improving their academic performance and building the foundational skills for independent, successful navigation of schoolwork and life in general. AK: Where do you work with students? SR: Our main learning center is located in the Flatiron District of New York City, we have a satellite learning center on the Upper West Side, and we also mentor students in the tri-state area, across the US, and virtually anywhere in the world using digital technologies such as Zoom, Skype, WeChat, and WhatsApp. AK: Thank you. How do we learn more about EFCNY? SR: It’s been a pleasure. Our website is www.efcny. com. We can be reached directly by phone or text at 917-575-9662. There is also an EFCNY YouTube Channel, which can be accessed through our website. Spring 2019 | 87