I believe that students learn best when they are supported and encouraged to be themselves. My lessons start with a book that we select together. Most of my students are moving to new cultures and my booklist includes many examples of people who build bridges from their backgrounds to the new lives: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian, The Hate U Give, Dreams of my Father by Barack Obama and Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld. We read classics like Emma and Call of the Wild. We read books that explore deep moral choices like the Kite Runner, My Sister’s Keeper and The Fault of Our Stars. And sometimes we just want a great read like All Creatures Great and Small or Presumed Innocent. With each lesson I encourage my students read the books as writers so that they understand the choices the author makes and why they are effective. We then practice these ideas in weekly short essays that work to improve their writing. I have been working with a group of 15 students for two years and they all see improvement in the grades and skills.
I offer small classes on Fantasy Writing 101, AP English Prep, and Mastering the Personal Essay. Each class consists of 6 students and runs for 8 sessions. Students learn the fundamental principles of each subject through reading and discussion. They submit writing samples for critique by the class. My courses are designed to give students an advantage so they will excel at AP English and have a set of essays that they can use in the college admissions process.
Top schools admit exceptional students. When Stanford receives 45,000 applicants for a class of 1,600, how can any student standout? We approach admissions as competitive positioning. We understand as much as we can about the applicant pool and then design a student’s profile and admissions materials to create a compelling story that differentiates them from the pack. We are ready to help the post-pandemic applicants to navigate a new world of admissions so that they find and attend their dream schools.
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