Executive Function

Frequently Asked questions

What Exactly Is Executive Function?

Executive Function is a “self-management system of the brain” (FOOTNOTE BELOW). It is a set of skills that allow people to control their behavior and direct it toward longer-term goals, rather than doing what is automatic or easiest to accomplish.
There are three broad categories where executive skills come into play:

1. learning
2. behavior and emotions, and
3. social situations and relationships.

While The StudyPro focuses most directly on learning skills, the behavioral and emotional side have a large effect on learning success (e.g. anxiety that causes avoidance of work, etc.).

Learners develop their executive skills at vastly different times in their academic careers. Some students come by executive skills naturally and don’t need to “externalize” the process. Others need support with developing strategies for success until the process becomes natural for them. The continuum for brain maturation is natural and appropriate, but not forgiving to the student who has not internalized the necessary skills to meet the demands of their school curriculum.

WHY STUDY SKILLS EXECUTIVE FUNCTION SKILLS?

We have attempted to answer that question here, but the answer may be specific to your student. If your child is struggling with mastering the content of a specific subject, e.g. math or science, a tutor is a great start. If your child is struggling with initiating, planning, organizing, or managing their work and/or has higher-than-desirable anxiety about their overall workload, helping them improve their Study / Executive Function Skills will help.
An Executive Function coach helps the child understand the process of learning across all subject areas where a tutor who will help them master content in a specific subject area.
To better understand the critical role that Executive Function plays in your child’s motivation, organization and overall academic success, please see our overview of Executive Function as well as this excellent eBook provided by Understood.org. Other resources can be found at the bottom of the Executive Function page of our website.
The number one reason that smart students get poor grades is because school is graded on process not intellect. If you haven’t mastered the process, you won’t get the grades you intellectually deserve.

In many cases, smart students can master the simpler “process” / rigor of elementary school, and then as they enter a new school or a new level of demand, their lack of Executive Function skills overwhelms them.

Getting Started with The StudyPro

We understand this question. It is a lot to digest! Our center is unique in that our 3 programs work together to steadily and purposefully help improve Executive Function skills and homework success. We normally suggest that students:
1. ACQUIRE the fundamental skills by signing up for the Essential Study Skills Course.
2. PRACTICE their newly acquired skills in our Homework Center — on nightly work, as many evenings as is practical for your family.
3. PERSONALIZE their weekly plan — if necessary — with 1:1 Coaching. This is for students that need a bit more personalized assistance from a highly trained special educator who specializes in Executive Function (Scroll down to see bullets in Purple Box).
All that said, we know that every child is unique, so if you are unsure, please email or call us!
We recommend all students start with our Essential Study Skills Course where we are able to assess their learning style, baseline competencies and introduce them to the core Executive Function / Study Skills that are critical for their schooling success. We will then provide a diagnostic profile for them which will allow you, your child and our coaches to know how they should most efficiently approach their work.
We understand that many students resist “getting help”. While each child is unique — and we are more than happy to provide specific advice for your child — we have had great success with parents telling students:

• We help them have a plan and feel more confident about going to / doing better at school / getting homework done / having strategies to do better on tests / reducing test anxiety/etc.
• Kids like to feel in control. Here they will be taught a study process that will give them the skills to feel more in control of their schoolwork and make the process of planning and completing homework easier.
• If they want to get their homework done “fast”, being in a place that has the experts you need if you get stuck and NO distractions, will leave them with more free time. Being at home, stressing about getting started and/or the pull of electronics is just a distraction that slows you down.
• Whether in 1:1 Coaching, in our Class or in our Homework Center, we won’t single them out or put them on the spot.
• “You can can’t say no until after day one…try it and if you don’t like it, you don’t have to come back.”
• “When you are at home, I nag you, but if you go there, I won’t!”

Whatever the approach you take, like exercising, it may be hard to start, but once you do — and after you are done — you feel much better and are always glad you did!

To see if The StudyPro is right for your child, please click here and review our student profiles, to see how we help students that best represent the profile of your student.

Some other questions you may want to consider:

• Does your child sometimes avoid work? (and/or forget to bring needed supplies for work)?
• Does your child have a hard time getting started on their work?
• Does your child have a hard time remembering to turn in their work?
• Does your child make a plan for how they are going to complete their work?
• Does your child break down long-term assignments in to nightly “chunks” to ensure the work gets done (evenly) over time?
• Does your child sometimes appear “lazy” regarding homework?
• Have your child’s grades dropped?
• Do you and your child fight about homework?
• Is your child currently showing signs of stress due to their homework / workload?
• Does your child have anxiety during tests and therefore not do their best?

If you have answered “yes” to any — or many — of these questions, we can help!

PRICING / PAYMENTS

Our pricing can be found here. The Essential Study Skills Course is $850 for the 5-module course (each module is 2 hours). Both the Homework Center and 1:1 Coaching are available via a monthly membership* OR drop-in pricing. To download our pricing sheet, please click here.

*Please note that all memberships are paid every 4 weeks and the nightly fees shown on the Fee Sheet are for informational purposes only.

Nope. While we don’t believe that change will come without practice and commitment, we also don’t believe that anyone should be forced to remain with a program that they don’t want to attend for any length of time. We offer “drop-in” and “pay-as-you-go” pricing and our monthly contracts can be cancelled at any time. We also provide nightly, monthly and quarterly feedback so you are able to judge our results for yourself and monitor your student’s progress.
All of The StudyPro programs can be purchased online and charged directly to your credit card. Our monthly Homework Center and/or 1:1 Coaching memberships are charged every 4 weeks to the credit card on file, and can be cancelled at any time.

HOURS, SIGN-UP AND REGISTRATION

During the school year, we are open Monday – Thursday from 3:30pm – 9pm and Sundays from 10am – 4pm. During the summer, we are open Monday – Friday from 10am until 4pm.
Here are some details that we hope you find helpful:

– The Homework Center will be open from early September through mid-June. You can sign your child up via email, online, or by calling us at 571-321-5800.
– 1:1 Coaching is available throughout the year (both summer and schoolyear). You can sign your child up via email, online, or by calling us at 571-321-5800.
Monthly subscriptions, which reduce the per-night fees, are available for the Homework Center with or without 1:1 Coaching.
– If you wish to participate in 1:1 Coaching only, without the Homework Center, the fee is $150/hour.

Certainly if you are in need of extra support for a test or heavy homework evening, or if you just want to try it out, please call or email and we will fit you in! In general, however, it is best, if possible, for you to make a recurring reservation for your student at the Homework Center. We staff according to our reservations, so we are able to provide adequate Homework Center Coaches to support the number of students we have each session. It is possible that if you call us, we will have an open slot, so please do try, but whenever possible, please plan ahead as much as practical.
Once a reservation is made, your student can stay for as long as they need to complete their work. (See Hours of Operation). Regardless if your student stays for the entire 6-hour slot, or only one hour, the cost is the same. Over time, we are sure it will all equal out!
We strive to be as flexible as possible and understand that schedules shift. Students are always welcome to come to a class, 1:1 Coaching session or the Homework Center any night that a slot is available.
Yes, assuming we have a slot available, you are free to add any days that you think would be beneficial for your student. You can also add times to your regular monthly schedule as soon as you know midterm and finals schedules. The early addition of sessions is your best way to assure that space will be available.

ESSENTIAL STUDY SKILLS CLASS

Yes, the 5 sessions must be taken in order as they build on the concepts of the previous classes.
These free sessions are essential for students to practice what they have learned in the class. Students can utilize the homework center any evening of their choosing, and are not restricted to the days that they are taking the class. To register for the HWC, please use your Mindbody account or email info@thestudpro.com.
During the school year, the 5 free sessions expire within 3 months of the first day of your student’s Essential Study Skills course, or June 15th of that year. During the summer, the free HWC sessions can be used anytime between September 15th and December 31 of the upcoming school year.

HOMEWORK CENTER

Upon entry in to the Homework Center, the students will be assigned a Homework Center Coach. That Coach will ensure that they complete their Work Plan (see sample). The Homework Center will always have HWC Coaches (at a 5:1 ratio to students) who have strong competencies in Humanities, Math and Science, so if your child gets stuck on a problem and/or approach, they can seek assistance.

The HWC Coaches will also ensure that work is being done and that breaks are adequate, but not *too* lengthy 😉

Upon leaving the Center, the HWC Coaches will “check out” each student, ensuring that they finalize their Work Plan. This Plan will provide details on the work that they have completed, work that is still “in-progress” and work that is incomplete. They will also note any areas that the student has struggled or seems to represent trouble areas in initiation or completion. The Work Plan will then be emailed home to the parents for review.

The HWC Coaches have competencies in either math/science and/or Humanities and work with students to support subject-related questions as well as keep them on-track with their Work Plan during their stay in the Center. The 1:1 Coaches are M.Ed’s with specialization in Executive Function.
No. Our “purpose-built” center was designed from the ground up to accommodate all types of learning styles. There are quiet, isolated areas as well as more communal study areas so that all types of learners can find a place to do their best work.
Science has proven that words intrude on words and modern music actually slows processing speed. Much like the majority of schools, we ask children to work without headphones and music that can slow them down. They can use noise-cancelling headphones if it isn’t hooked up to any music.

1:1 COACHING

Our 1:1 Coaches provide personalized and individualized student support in a weekly, 50 minute, one-on-one session. During that session, the Coach ensures that each student completes their weekly plan based on their upcoming assignments and personal commitments. The coaches also work on individualized strategies – which are more necessary for these students – to improve areas of Executive Function that have proven to be a struggle for that child. For example, if initiating work, test anxiety, organization, follow-through or time management are issues of struggle, they will devise strategies to create new habits and approaches to improve in those identified areas of weakness.
The one-on-one coaches all have Masters Degrees in Special Education and are Learning Specialists and/or have extensive teaching experience working with students on Executive Function competencies.
We believe that it is most beneficial for a child to meet with their 1:1 Coach only ONCE per week and then utilize the Homework Center as many days as practical in order to gain independent study skill competency and independence.
We understand that finding the best fit for your child is often what makes it work! We will work with you and together, we will decide how to best move forward.

PROGRESS TRACKING / RESULTS

Your child will be happier, less argumentative, and they will have a plan for their work. You will start to see more success in their work completion rate, work quality and effort. You will see them begin to study differently and their grades should start to improve.
Each child is different – if your child is committed to the process, you should see the child incorporating elements of the process fairly quickly. Just like any other skill, the more you practice, the more success you will see.
We believe in tracking progress! Our goal is for students (and parents) to be able to celebrate areas of improvement and identify areas where students have yet to reach their goals.

As outlined on our website (See: “How Will You Know It Is Working?”), we provide:

1. AN INDIVIDUALIZED ASSESSMENT AND RECOMMENDATIONS REPORT: Upon entry in to our program, and as part of our Essential Study Skills Course.

2. A DAILY/NIGHTLY STUDY PLAN: With each visit to the Homework Center, our students create a study plan which reinforces the habits of planning, allows measurement of completed work against predicted work and provides visibility to coaches, parents and other key stakeholders.

3. A QUARTERLY PROGRESS ASSESSMENT: Each student who has a monthly membership in our Homework Center will receive a Quarterly Assessment outlining their progress in the 10 key Executive Function Skills that are critical to Effective Learning:
• Managing time
• Organizing thoughts and materials
• Paying attention
• Planning and prioritizing
• Getting started (task initiation)
• Staying on track
• Remembering what to do and when to do it
• Problem solving
• Reflecting on past behavior and outcomes
• Managing feelings and emotions

Overall our goal is to improve their ability to be independent in “making and working” their plan.

If parents sign a release of information, we will speak to schools, doctors and/or other specialists working with your student. If a call lasts longer than 15 minutes, we will bill the account on file our hourly coaching rate.
You will know that they are ready when they have shown the ability to work at the center or at home independently while fully incorporating their newly honed Executive Function competencies and achieving the academic success that they have hoped for.

FOOD AND DRINK POLICIES

We realize that students may be in our center for many hours and are coming from school or after-school activities. Students who need to eat can eat! While we request the following, we will also have a list of meal options that can be delivered ahead of time:

• Students do not bring anything with nuts or sugary snacks.
• They only bring food for themselves.
• They do not bring drinks other than water.
• They eat in our cafe area, not in the homework area.

We will provide our meal options ahead of time. Please call or email for additional information.

We will have filtered water, but for purposes of individual allergies, we will not be providing food, beyond the delivery options that can be ordered (per above.)
Yes! If you would like to pick up food on your way to The StudyPro or after (vs. pre-ordering our meals as discussed above) or drop your child and get food yourself, here are some local restaurants.

• Pulcinella’s (across the street) – 703-893-7777
• Moby Dick’s (across the street) – 703-448-8448
• Chesapeake Bagel Bakery (one block away) – 703-506-0536
• Subway (across the street and one block up on Elm St.) – 703-506-8300
• Ichiban Sushi (one block away) – 703-448-9117
• Chipotle (a few blocks up Old Dominion) – 571-533-1815

To download a map of the area and local eateries, please click here.

RESOURCES AND RECOMMENDATIONS

We prefer that students use their school-provided planner, but we will with any student to find the planner that fits their learning style, including the option of online homework apps.
One of our objectives is to be a valuable community “citizen” and build relationships with many specialists in the VA/DC/MD area. We can provide names of practitioners in the area, but will not make recommendations as that is a decision that should be left to families. Once we better understand your child’s learning profile / needs, we can provide a variety of names to you. Additionally, if you have a resource that you think highly of, please pass on their name to us!
We believe that it is most effective to take the struggle out of the house – your home should be a place where homework and study struggles aren’t the central focus. Providing a structured environment, where “homework gets done” and is free of distraction is a gift for your child. Both parents and students feel better when homework gets done!