Starting a Successful School Year

Believe it or not, school is back in session and that means it’s time to set your students up for success. The first week of school has a huge impact on the year – new teachers are met, and new expectations are set. Prioritizing and planning a school year strategy can help your child get ahead right off the bat. Below are a few tips from our tutors about their best practices for starting the school year strong.


Tips From Our Tutors


  1. Make Use Of A Planner. It can be hard to keep everything in order once the school year kicks back into gear, especially for high school students. Help them to prioritize schoolwork amongst all of their extra circulars and social events right from the start so they understand how to balance everything from the beginning.


  1. Prioritize Preparation. The grading comes at the end of an assignment, project or class, but the preparation throughout is what earns that grade. Make sure your student understands the importance of preparation in the classroom and the positive effects it can bring. Procrastination can be a tough habit to break once it begins, so lead by example and meet deadlines head-on.


  1. Ask For Help Before It’s Needed. It can be challenging to jump back into school after the long summer break, so getting help right away can do wonders for any student. Take some extra time to meet with a teacher, set up a student study group, or schedule a consultation with a Raise The Grade Tutor to pick up where school left off and dive back in confidently.


  1. Daily Reflection. Checking in on progress should be done on a consistent basis, and more often than many of us make time for. Start strong this year by checking in with your child daily to see how he or she is progressing or in what areas he or she might be struggling. Ask your student to think about what he or she enjoys most and begin a dialogue about your child’s goals for every subject from day one.


  1. Balance Work With Play. Doing well in school can be improved when students see success and experience rewards. Make sure they don’t work 24/7 on essays, test prep, or homework. It’s important to have a balance between schoolwork and the fun things they enjoy outside of the classroom. Encourage involvement in a sport or musical group, a regular volunteer group, or even just good old-fashioned get-togethers with friends.


  1. Don’t Forget Sleep! This is a commonly forgotten tip, but an important one. Focusing in school can be difficult for many students, especially when they aren’t getting enough sleep. Institute a no-screen time 30 minutes before bed so your child can relax and prepare for a restful night of sleep.


We hope these tips were useful and help prepare your family for starting a successful school year!

Thanksgiving 2016

Thanksgiving food driveAnother holiday season is just around the corner. Most of us are excited for the time to relax and come together with family and friends, but it’s important to think about others who are less fortunate, those who feel they’re struggling.

While at times it seems we as a nation are more divided than ever before, it helps to remember that regardless of the current social and political acrimony, there is so much we have in common.

We all desire happiness, good health, and meaningful relationships. We all want the best for our children and a safe place to call home. We are all members of one human family.

And we have a lot to be thankful for.

So as Thanksgiving is fast approaching and Christmas is waiting patiently, let us focus on the true values of these holidays – friends and family, compassion for others, gratitude for what we do have, and generosity towards those who have less.

Let us remind ourselves that life is a shared experience, and we all deserve an equal chance for joy and prosperity.

Parent Teacher Conferences

parent teacher conferencesParent teacher conferences play a vital role in tracking a student’s academic success. We all live busy lives, and at times may think they’re an inconvenience, but parents should strive to make the most of these meetings. The insights gained relating to a child’s academic progress are invaluable. Outlined below are three tips to help guide you when meeting with your child’s teachers.


1) Be proactive and ask questions. It sounds simple enough, but after a long day of work it’s easy to check out during parent teacher conferences. In order to understand the big picture, parents must thoroughly engage teachers and ask the right questions.

  • “Is my child on track to get ahead or are they falling behind?”
  • “What are his or her behavioral patterns in school that may be helping or hurting academic performance?”
  • “Are there certain areas in which my child is excelling, or others where he or she needs some extra help?”
  • You may even ask bluntly, “What exactly does my child need to do to raise his or her grade in math from a C to an A?”


2) Listen intently. Asking the right questions won’t do you any good if you’re not prepared for the right answers, even if the truth is hard to swallow. If your child is struggling with a certain subject, listen carefully to understand exactly what the issues are, how he or she can improve, and the ways in which you can help.


3) Make a game plan. Developing a plan with a teacher is most impactful when a student is on board. It may be difficult for your child at the beginning, but encouraging him or her to be proactive on their own is the first step toward improvement. Good grades are not handed out, they are earned. It is the responsibility of both parents and students to use the information learned during parent teacher conferences to make an academic plan that outlines the specific steps to improvement.


As a parent, your main goal during parent teacher conferences should be to understand if your child is struggling, maintaining good grades, or exceeding academically. What you and your child make of that information will determine your next steps and, ultimately, his or her success in the classroom.


It’s been said many times, no one person is an island. A student alone cannot be expected to exceed academically without the encouragement of his or her parents and teachers. Those who do excel usually do so in proportion to the strength of their support network. Therefore, parents, students, and teachers all need to work as a team to make a difference in academic performance.

3 Ways to Enjoy Fall in Madison, WI

Fall in Madison, WI Bascom HillThe weather is turning, and your child is most likely starting to need some help with time management. Homework is coming in, extracurriculars meet on a regular basis, and the school year is officially in full swing. He or she may be busy, but there’s still plenty of time to enjoy the fall season in Madison this year. Here are three tips for students to make the most of fall before it’s gone.



1) Don’t shy away from the cooler weather – embrace it! Admittedly, most of us already feel like shutting ourselves in for the winter, but there’s so much to do during harvest time. Pumpkin patches, apple orchards, and corn mazes are waiting to be explored. Local and state parks are perfect places to witness the dazzling colors of the changing tree foliage, and a brisk fall nature walk is the perfect way to de-stress from those looming exams. For the ultimate guide to outdoor family fun, read more here.


2) Start a creative side project. If you’re not a fan of the great outdoors, we’ve still got you covered. What better way to spend the cold weather and long nights indoors working on your new creative outlet? You can take on a new hobby, start a small business, master a musical instrument, keep a journal, or maybe even start the next great American novel. The possibilities are endless, and having a passion project to work on outside of school will keep your child well-rounded and motivated.


3) Fuel up on your favorite fall recipes. Perfecting your favorite harvest time treats can take time, energy, and lots of patience. Cooking can be therapeutic and rewarding. Seeing (and tasting) your hard work is definitely worth all the effort, and your child will feel accomplished after creating a side dish for family dinner time or a special dessert for a harvest party. Plus, focusing on what your child eats at an early age emphasizes the importance of nutrition and helps form healthy lifestyle habits. Check out some simple recipes to make with kids here.

Fall in Madison, WI



This time of year goes fast in our area, so it’s important to prioritize taking advantage of all it has to offer. And don’t forget to participate yourself. Take some time to enjoy fall in Madison, WI, and relax before the hectic holidays arrive – they’ll be here before we know it.