Previous Press for SOAR® Study Skills
Oakland County Executive’s Elite 40 Under 40 Winner – February, 2014
Washington Post – January, 2014
Women on Fire – December, 2013
ADDitude Magazine – Winter, 2013
Daily Edventures – October, 2013
ADDitude Magazine – Fall, 2013
Associated Press – August, 2013
ADDitude Magazine – Summer, 2013
Associated Press – April, 2013
ADDitude Magazine – Spring, 2013
Associated Press – January, 2013
ADDitude Magazine – Winter, 2012
The Madison Eagle – November, 2012
Associated Press – November, 2012
HowToLearn.com – October, 2012
Oakland Press – January, 2012
Oakland County Prosper – September, 2011
Vicki & Jen – August, 2009
Vancouver Family Magazine – August, 2007
Detroit News – August, 2004
Oakland Press – June, 2004
St. Clair Shores Sentinel – January, 2004
Oakland Press – February, 2003
February, 2014: Oakland County Executive’s Elite 40 Under 40 Winner
To see the full article, click here.
January, 2014: Washington Post
To see the full article, click here.
December, 2013: Women on Fire
See what Susan has to say about her chapter in Women on Fire here.
Winter, 2013: ADDitude Magazine
October, 2013: Daily Edventures
To read the full article, click here.
Fall, 2013: ADDitude Magazine
August, 2013: Associated Press
Children Petition for Their Right to Study: Whole School Raises Grades by 1 Full Grade-Point!
Unlike the common misconception that kids these days are not interested in school, student Timothy Decatur-Luker of Madison, VA, and students from Maeser Prep Academy in Orem, UT are breaking the stereotype.
Timothy Decatur-Luker is a 6th grade student at Wetsel Middle School in Madison, VA. He is the school’s youngest ever student council president. He’s also involved in multiple sports and noticed that his peers were having trouble maintaining eligibility for sports because of low grades. Timothy wanted to fix the problem, so he did a little research and found www.studyskills.com, hosted by SOAR Study Skills.
Timothy asked his school board to adopt study skills curriculum, but his request was shot down due to budget issues. Knowing this was what he and his friends needed, Timothy collected over 200 signatures from his peers, petitioning the school board to let them learn *how* to learn so they can be successful in school. A community sponsor stepped forward and now, thanks to Timothy, 6th graders at Wetsel Middle School are about to discover what students across the country – in Orem, UT – discovered last year.
Over in Orem, students at the public charter school, Maeser Prep Academy, made incredible gains by learning how to study; their entire 6th grade GPAs increased by more than one point! Their standardized test scores rose by an average of 5 standard points! Just like the students at Timothy’s school, Students at Maeser Prep Academy have a new passion for learning.
“Some schools say they don’t have a budget for study skills. For us, it is not even an option to not get it anymore,” said Principal Robin Ellis, of Maeser Prep Academy.
SOAR Study Skills is changing the way students feel about education. Students around the country all have similar challenges; they are never taught *how* to learn. SOAR provides their solution.
Summer, 2013: ADDitude Magazine
April, 2013: Associated Press
Sixth-Grade Students Petition School Board for Missing Piece in Their Education
It’s not every day that a middle school student spearheads a major school curriculum initiative. Yet that’s exactly what happened when a sixth-grader at Wetsel Middle School in Madison, Va., compiled a petition of 250 student signatures and asked the school board to adopt a study skills program currently used in 1,500 schools nationwide and 14 countries with a 98.9 percent success rate.
That sixth-grader is Timothy Decatur-Luker, who happens to be his school’s youngest student council association president ever and an A+ student with Asperger’s syndrome. Also a busy student athlete, Timothy recognized a need for himself as well as among his classmates for a program that would help them organize time and study smarter. He found a study skills program through a Google search and felt it matched his classmates’ needs.
The program is SOAR® Study Skills, which simplifies study habits to make learning easier. Authored by Susan Kruger, M.Ed., SOAR® is a leading resource for all learners seeking effective, stress-free study habits.
When Timothy delivered his request for the study skills program to the school board, the board responded enthusiastically in favor of the request but had to table it because of the district’s strapped budget. That did not stop Timothy. He wrote to Kruger for support when he met the funding roadblock.
“Timothy sent me a very professional email outlining his own personal accomplishments, in spite of learning challenges, and asked me how he could get this program into his school,” Kruger stated. “His tenacity has driven this initiative, and I was happy to network for him in the hopes of securing a sponsor.”
Kruger put out a call for a community sponsor of the study skills initiative. Taradel, LLC, a Glen Allen, Va.-based printing company, answered that call.
“We’re excited to support this student-driven initiative,” commented Jim Fitzgerald, Taradel’s president and CEO. “When children are asking to learn, and independently finding solutions to make that happen, the clear response is to support the children to the full extent. The students at Westel are already so excited about SOAR®, and as soon as the school administration adopts the program, it will be an empowering educational experience for everyone involved.”
With a community sponsor and school board support in place, all that’s left to bring study skills to Westel students is for the school administration to adopt and implement the program.
Kruger concluded: “Thanks to Taradel, Timothy, and the school board, Wetsel students have a learning opportunity they deserve. They have an opportunity to learn the strategy behind learning; this is a gift that will serve them for life!”
About Taradel, LLC
Based in Glen Allen, Va., Taradel (http://www.taradel.com) is both an online and local leader in high-quality, print advertising production. Offering some of the most competitive rates in the industry, Taradel specializes in a diversity of printing needs, from full-color flyers to glossy postcards, delivering first-rate results and vibrant full-color printing. Particularly designed for small business needs, Taradel excels in going the extra mile when it comes to its top-notch products, timely, dependable services, and personable customer service.
About SOAR® Learning, Inc.
SOAR® Study Skills is the brainchild of Susan Kruger, M.Ed., who is a certified learning specialist and former struggling student. Growing up with learning disabilities, Susan was shocked when she simplified a few study skills in college — and graduated with a 3.9 GPA! Since that time, she’s taught thousands of students how to achieve the same sense of accomplishment and confidence with study skills. Susan is the author of the international bestselling study skills book SOAR® Study Skills. Her curriculum materials are used by over 1,500 schools nationwide and in 14 countries.
Spring, 2013: ADDitude Magazine
January, 2013: Associated Press
Popular ADDitude article illustrates how the simplest approach, backed by SOAR®’s proven solutions for student achievement, support the “ADHD brain.”
Parents and teachers who want a student with ADHD to do better in school should get to know the ADHD brain, states a breakthrough article recently published by ADDitude Magazine. The author, Susan Kruger, M.Ed., is founder of SOAR® Learning, Inc., a leading resource for study skills and study skill curriculum for ADHD students. The article provides a simple explanation about the brain biology of ADHD then clearly illustrates how to work with that biology to maximize learning power.
Documented as the most-read feature in the winter 2012 issue of ADDitude, the leading resource for families and adults with ADHD and learning challenges, “To Succeed in School, Simplify” (http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/9757.html) is sending a clear message to parents and educators of ADHD children. Simplifying study skills and adopting very specific habits reduces stress on the ADHD brain — and that’s important because the less stress on the brain, the greater the chances of it making the necessary learning connections.
To illustrate her point, Kruger likens the brain and its connections to a strand of holiday lights. If any connection fails due to power or wiring problems, the whole strand goes dark. Likewise, any stress on the brain can result in a system failure, making it hard for the brain to make connections. The trick is to keep the lights on, tapping powerful solutions that don’t tax the brain but maximize the success rate of the connections, so goals and learning are achieved.
“When it comes to ADHD and classroom achievement, you’ve got to understand the importance of simplicity,” Kruger says. “It’s a unique biological need for these students because they physically lack the proper brain chemicals fueling the brain; even the simplest task requires a lot of commands from the brain. So, anything with more than a few steps becomes a serious challenge for their brains.”
Kruger recommends a three-step plan in the article, plus SOAR®’s ADHD School Success Kit (http://studyskills.com/adhd), which is designed with simplicity in mind. Developed by Kruger, who has both a professional background in education and personal experience mastering ADHD, the kit is making such a difference for ADHD students that she’s been recognized as a leader in her field from a number of notable ADHD authorities and sources. In fact, ADDitude Magazine recently named Kruger their “Education Expert” and featured her in a popular webinar (http://www.additudemag.com/adhdblogs/11/9790.html) dedicated to people and families with ADHD and learning disabilities.
“Whether it’s issues with homework or just getting organized for school, the goal here is to eliminate unnecessary steps with a number of shortcuts and improve brain power,” Kruger concludes. “Do that and you’ll get more than better grades — you’ll gain renewed self-esteem that will motivate your child to continue pushing, achieving and excelling.”
A customized solution with the free ADHD School Success Scorecard is available at http://studyskills.com/adhd.
SOAR® is the brainchild of Susan Kruger, who has transformed her life’s experiences and successes with ADHD into an opportunity to help others with ADHD. A certified teacher with a master’s degree as a Reading/Learning Specialist, Kruger is now a coach, speaker and the creator of many ADHD programs and resources, including SOAR® Study Skills, the bestselling study skills book in the world. Most recently, she has been endorsed by the world-renowned ADHD expert Dr. Ned Hallowell, and she is a regularly featured education expert with ADDitude Magazine.
Winter, 2012: ADDitude Magazine
November, 2012: The Madison Eagle
November 2012: Associated Press
World-Renowned ADHD Expert, Dr. Ned Hallowell, Endorses Study Skills System for Students with ADHD
Students gain impressive results with SOAR®‘s ADHD School Success Kit from study skills leader
For students with ADHD, simply following a teacher’s command such as “put your papers in your folder” can feel like a monumental task. The basic expectation in today’s traditional education system is a real roadblock for students whose brains struggle to carry out common commands from start to finish. Yet according to world-renowned ADHD expert, Dr. Ned Hallowell, there is a way to take control of the chaos that ADHD presents. And, not just manage this chaos, but excel at defeating its counterproductive tendencies.
The solution lies in the ADHD School Success Kit (http://studyskills.com/adhd) developed by Susan Kruger, M.Ed. Kruger is the founder of SOAR® Learning, Inc., a leading resource for study skills and study skill curriculum for ADHD students. An established ADHD expert, Kruger has been praised by Ned Hallowell, M.D., Ed.D, for her talent and the program’s effectiveness.
“Susan Kruger is an absolute genius,” Hallowell says. “She’s made getting organized simple, which is the only way kids will stick with it, and she’s made it fun, which is a minor miracle. She’s tremendously innovative, creative and wise. I can’t wait for the world to discover this amazing woman and all she has to offer!”
Explained in detail at StudySkills.com (http://studyskills.com/adhd), the ADHD School Success Kit, currently deployed in 1300 schools nationwide, includes all the supplies and strategies a student needs for achieving success in school and even peace at home. Specifically, it helps:
Stop homework fights and anxieties;
Cut homework time in half;
Improve grades in less time; and
Build motivation and self-confidence.
The kit helps students realize these achievements by tackling common ADHD hurdles, from organizing work to using textbooks, note taking, studying, testing and more. As outlined in a number of parent and teacher reviews (http://goo.gl/afByu), ADHD students excel with SOAR® in a way that’s not just boosting grades but self-esteem, too. The result is happier, more driven students who earn better grades and, importantly, retain what they learn.
At SOAR®‘s core is Kruger — someone who understands what ADHD students experience when challenged and rewarded. Her life work isn’t simply a career but a passion that developed after experiencing dramatic, personal results with the strategies she created. That’s become a key ingredient in SOAR®‘s recipe for success.
“I went from a struggling high school student to an honors college grad,” Kruger says. “SOAR® offers hope, but much more than that — it delivers real results for ADHD students everywhere. The system works because it explains the simple biology of an ADHD brain, then shows you how to work around those biological challenges. It’s aligned to the circuits of an ADHD brain.”
Get a customized solution with the free ADHD School Success Scorecard at http://studyskills.com/adhd.
Kruger will be attending the 24th Annual International Conference on ADHD sponsored by CHADD, the nation’s leading non-profit organization serving individuals with ADHD and their families. Meet her at the conference, Nov. 8-10 in San Francisco (http://goo.gl/Kxq1x).
SOAR® is the brainchild of Susan Kruger, who has transformed her life’s experiences and successes with ADHD into an opportunity to help others with ADHD. A certified teacher with a Master’s Degree as a Reading/Learning Specialist, Kruger is now a coach, speaker and the creator of many ADHD programs and resources, including SOAR® Study Skills, the bestselling study skills book in the world. Most recently, she has been endorsed by the world-renowned ADHD expert Dr. Ned Hallowell (http://www.drhallowell.com), and she is also a regularly featured education expert with ADDitude Magazine (http://www.facebook.com/additudemag).
October 2012: HowToLearn.com
Download to Your Computer or Mobile Device:
November, 2012: Metromode
SOAR® Learning is growing in some key areas, boosting its bottom line, adding to its staff and expanding into new markets.
The Lake Orion-based education firm helps students streamline their study habits and learn more effectively. It has expanded into the markets that help parents with family education and families overcome ADHD learning disabilities.
“These are the markets where people are in need,” says Susan Kruger, president & CEO of SOAR® Learning, formerly SOAR® Study Skills.
That has allowed the 16-year-old company grow its revenue by 11 percent over the last year. SOAR® Learning also hired two people in the last year and now has a staff of four people.
“This has been a smaller year in terms of growth for us,” Kruger says.
January, 2012: Oakland Press
Common problem for parents: not understanding their children
Countless parents know their child is not working to his or her potential in school.
They fear that there may be a serious, underlying problem. What can these parents do? Where can they go for help? What resources are available? What are their rights?
A local educator and counselor is shedding some light on these questions and helping concerned parents. Karen Smigelski, MA, LPC, CAADC, is the owner of Willows Edge Counseling and Art Center and adjunct faculty member at Oakland Community College. Through her work, she met many parents who were completely lost over how to help their struggling child. Smigelski said she found herself acting as an advocate for these families, helping them identify specific areas of concern and navigating the system so they could secure the best resources for their child. After working with just a few families, Smigelski recognized that many serious gaps exist between concerned parents and the schools servicing their children.
Smigelski responded by offering services that focus on counseling and educational support for struggling students at Willows Edge. She is a certified administrator of PowerPath, a screening tool that efficiently identifies areas of potential learning challenges. PowerPath helps Smigelski narrow in on specific areas of concern. Armed with this information, she is able to guide parents through the process of getting help within their school system. Along the way, she also helps students develop successful strategies for themselves.
Susan Kruger is a Lake Orion parent whose son was recently diagnosed with dyslexia and ADHD. Kruger’s family had a tumultuous experience last year when her son was in first grade. She began to suspect that something was wrong and attempted to get some answers. However, she encountered many hurdles and serious roadblocks from her son’s school.
What makes her situation particularly unique is that Kruger is a professional educator with a master’s degree in reading and learning efficiency. She was a classroom teacher for several years, is a national reading consultant and the author of the best-selling book “SOAR® Study Skills.” Her husband, Brian Woodcock, is a nationally board-certified teacher in their son’s school district.
“With our education background and my husband’s personal connections in the school system, you would think we would have no trouble getting help,” Kruger explained. “But we had absolutely no cooperation from the school administration.”
The lack of support was so significant that Kruger and her husband were accused of “educational neglect” in a private meeting with their son’s principal. “He felt that our son’s attendance was the reason his reading was not improving, but our son was experiencing a lot of health issues as well. We were sent to more than seven specialists and had dozens of tests,” said Kruger. “Apparently, he paid no attention to the notes and emails documenting these additional health issues. We were flabbergasted. Absolutely flabbergasted.”
“Fortunately, we had a ‘Plan B’ and quickly enrolled our son in a private school that has been much more supportive and able to accommodate his needs. After only seven months, he is reading on grade level. We had many roadblocks, but we always had a plan and knew what our next step would be. All along the way, I kept thinking, ‘This is taking every ounce of my professional expertise and parental energy … what do parents do who don’t have our background?’ ”
Kruger met Smigelski last summer. As Kruger learned about the services she provides, she knew, first-hand, how much they are needed. “I only regret I hadn’t met Karen sooner,” Kruger said. “We have a ‘happy ending,’ but it was an extremely stressful process. I would have loved having the insight of a family advocate to help us evaluate things objectively and affirm that we were on the right path. I should have been very confident, but with my own child on the line, I was a nervous wreck.”
There are so many parents with concerns and questions, but very few resources for families. Even concerned and proactive educators within the system are so strapped for time and resources that they cannot provide the level of intimate care and concern that a struggling family needs. Therefore, Kruger and Smigelski have teamed up to host a free, informative seminar: Bridge Night for Parents: Education Tips and Resources to Bridge School Gaps.
“Our goal is to provide practical and actionable strategies, but also help parents learn more about their options,” Smigelski explained. They also plan to share their stories and provide vindication for parents who are often left to feel like they are going crazy. “As my story evolved last year, I shared it with thousands of people through my newsletter,” Kruger said. “I received many, many emails from parents around the country who shared similar experiences. Karen and I want parents to trust their gut and know their options so they, too, can have a ‘Plan B.’ ”
FYI — Bridge Night for Parents: Education Tips and Resources to Bridge School Gaps is a free event that will be held 7 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 7, at the Willows Edge facility in Lake Orion. Willows Edge is located just east of Lapeer Road at 81 Indianwood Road. For more information, visit WillowsEdge.net and StudySkills.com or call 248-834-0614.
September, 2011: Oakland County Prosper
SOAR® Learning teaches the building blocks to success
by Ashley C. Woods
They say it on the playground — it takes one to know one.
Reflecting on the astronomical success of SOAR® Learning, Inc., a Lake Orion-based start-up with an innovative curriculum that teaches kids how to effectively learn, it all circles back to that schoolyard retort. Before selling half a million copies of her book on Amazon.com, before 700 schools across the country adopted her study strategies, even before becoming a teacher and successful tutor, Susan Kruger was a struggling student.
High school, she remembers, was always a challenge. Leaving Dearborn for Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, “I heard horror stories that college would require two to three more hours of study time every day,” Kruger says “and I thought, ‘There is no way I can do that.’
She armed herself with books on study skills and personal organization; adopting the strategies that seemed to help, abandoning what she couldn’t use. And that first semester at WMU, the struggling student came home for the holidays with a 3.9 GPA.
“I finally learned I can do anything I set my mind to,” Kruger says. “I didn’t feel anywhere near that much confidence when school was such a challenge for me.”
Armed with her new-found knowledge, Kruger became a teacher and tutor, opening her own business in 1996. Her one-on-one lessons were so effective, she says, “that it got to the point where I had more requests for tutoring than I had after-school hours.” So she began to plan a workshop. Within 15 minutes of brainstorming, Kruger says, the SOAR® acronym and the birth of her entrepreneurial venture both began to take shape. “I had one piece of notebook paper, and on it, the whole program just poured right out of my head,” she says. “It took some time to create the course pack. Within a summer I had the course developed, and I started offering it the following fall.” It was the seed of a hunch Kruger always had, that she could find a way to combine her business smarts and professional educational development into one career. SOAR® Learning, Inc. was born.
The SOAR® Curriculum sets itself apart for a number of reasons. “If you do a search on study skills online, you’ll find millions of results — but it’s a hodgepodge of tips,” Kruger cautions. First, and most importantly, since it’s designed for young students, the curriculum is purposefully easy to master. “For some of these strategies, students really have to know the subject well to know what strategy to use to learn it,” she says. “And if they know the subject that well, then they don’t really need the study skill in the first place.” The strategies and concepts Kruger teaches stretch across curricula, connecting piece-by-piece into a framework students can use for their entire lives. The program also encourages active participation from family members.
With a new baby at home, Kruger began the often-arduous process of writing and publishing her own book in 2005. “It was an undertaking because I didn’t know what I was doing and I didn’t have much money at all,” she remembers. “So every mistake took money, and it was a setback to have to wait until the next round (of printing).” That book, titled SOAR® Study Skills, is regularly #1 in test prep and a top 10 bestseller in the education category on Amazon.com.
But the first few years were marked by slow growth. “We had a big growth spurt during the whole season of 2009 and I attribute that to a very specific marketing plan,” Kruger says. “I had taken a class and really learned how to use Google AdWords and optimize our website.” In 2009, her business grew 600%.
A fortunate meeting with Oakland County Deputy Executive Matthew Gibb, then the Supervisor of Orion Township, helped Kruger deal with her company’s sudden and surprising growth. In a speech he gave at a State of the Township breakfast, she says, Gibb told the audience, ‘If you’re a small business in Orion and you need help, let us know how the government can help, instead of get in your way.’ I didn’t really realize at the moment that I needed help, but that sound bite was so powerful to me that I remembered it.” Months later, Kruger realized that she had outgrown her home office and called Gibb, who helped her sub-lease office space from Scate Technologies, another fast-moving Orion company.
“Susan is the harvest of the entrepreneurial garden we planted in Orion,” says Gibb. “She needed a helping hand, so we found what she needed and watched as she herself “soared”.
Today, the SOAR® Curriculum has expanded to offer numerous resources for students, parents educators. In Troy, Pontiac, Royal Oak and Northville (and about 800 other schools across the nation), kids are learning tips and strategies to make learning in every subject easier and more effective. Kruger says SOAR® is attacking two distinct areas of the education spectrum. “We have schools purchasing the program for students who are struggling; kids in Special Ed or at-risk types of situations,” she says. “we have other schools who have adopted a school-wide initiative. They want all the kids to learn fundamental organizational and learning strategies. They know that students are going to need that to be successful model students and also to be successful in the workplace.”
Study skills are often called “soft skills,” but the cost of not teaching students these strategies will have dire implications for the economy, Kruger says. A 2008 Emerging Sectors study conducted by Oakland County found that companies across industries valued skills like reading comprehension, time management and organization most. Out of 57 essential qualities for employees in the new economy, only four had anything to do with technology. A 2009 study by Ohio State University found that students who took a study skills class were 45% more likely to graduate from college. If they were average students in high school, that study skills class makes a struggling student 600% more likely to earn a university degree. And a joint study by Stanford University and the Carnegie Mellon Foundation interviewed 500 CEOs, discovering that soft skills, not technological know-how or industry expertise, accounted for 75% of their professional success. “Employers are having to look elsewhere for employees who have these skills,” Kruger warns. “If you do a search on soft skills, you’ll see a lot of foreign companies are really catching on to soft skill training. They’re going to be taking our jobs.”
That’s why Kruger says the next phase of her company’s development will integrate the SOAR® Curriculum into a program for business professionals in the workplace. “I get a lot of requests from parents of kids I work with, asking if I would come to the office,” she says with a laugh. “Employers are screaming for soft skills. Education is just focused on content and we’re not teaching students how to learn this content and what to do with it.”
Arguably, it’s those soft skills that have made Kruger not only a successful teacher, but a wife and mom of two able to juggle a growing business with three full-time employees. “Being a teacher requires a lot of organization and lesson planning,” she says. “A lot of forward thinking and mapping things out. That’s what I do to grow the business exactly — map things out, keep it all organized and execute the plan.”
Visit studyskills.com to find out more.
August, 2009: Vicki & Jen
What Really Matters Podcast
August, 2007: Vancouver Family Magazine
21 Days to Back-to-School Bliss
August, 2004: The Detroit News
Camps hone learning skills: Sessions get students in the mood for fall classes
by Amy Kuras
…A “Girls Get Ready for Middle School” camp was canceled due to lack of participation, but a study skills camp running last week proved popular.
Taught by Susan (Woodcock) Kruger, a former reading specialist and classroom teacher, the class works around the acronym SOAR®, for Set goals, Organize, Ask questions, and Record your progress.
It’s geared to students in sixth grade and up, Woodcock said, because the type of learning that begins in middle school carries over into high school.
Woodcock gets the most requests to run classes around the time report cards come out, she said. But running the class before the beginning of the school year is a good way to get kids geared up, she said.
“A lot of parents believe it’s nice to have a course like this to help their kids focus and have a game plan for the a new year,” she said.
Top photo: Sarah Opdycke, 12, and Victoria LaFrance take part in a study skills class run by Susan (Woodcock) Kruger at the Livonia Community Center. Kruger is a former reading specialist and classroom teacher.
Bottom photo: “My goal is not to tell them they have to work harder, but to give them a plan for balancing homework with other things they want to do,” Susan (Woodcock) Kruger says.
June, 2004: Oakland Press
Young girls encouraged to learn, experiment at summer science camp
By Patrick Dutcher
A miniature Mars Rover wheels around the learning lab, hunting down little wooden targets and running them over.
The camera-guided, remote-control car is part of a summer program exclusively for girls at the Cranbrook Institute of Science called Science Expedition for Girls.
Susan Woodcock is a former teacher and president of Through the Learning Glass. Her organization put together the Science Expedition for Girls and is in its second year of summer programs at Cranbrook. This year, for the first time, Woodcock is offering a girls-only day camp in an effort to keep young women interested in science.
“Our goal is to inspire scientific interest,” Woodcock says. “We want girls to see how exciting science can be.”
The Mars Rover is one of the projects Through the Learning Glass will be using to get girls excited about science. They’ll learn about landing and navigating a remote vehicle on Mars by building a landing system for the rover, tossing it from the Institute of Science’s roof and controlling it by looking at a TV monitor.
The inspiration for the camp came when Woodcock, 28, and her colleagues noticed a trend. Girls were losing interest in science and leaving it to the boys.
In last year’s camps, Woodcock noticed that the boys tended to jump right in and take the lead working on camp activities. Girls had a different approach. They would hang back and analyze the situation, sometimes getting left behind by the fast-acting boys.
“This is a natural interaction and certainly is not premeditated by boys,” Woodcock says. “But it does tend to gradually push girls out of the process, eventually causing them to lose interest.”
Girls tend to tune out science somewhere between the fourth and seventh grade, so Through the Looking Glass targeted those ages for its summer camp.
Woodcock hopes science will interest girls enough to make it a career.
The Science Expedition for Girls is built out of the most exciting projects from other science camps Through the Learning Glass offers this summer at Cranbrook. It covers topics that should excite even children who think science class is a snore.
Everything from the physics of flight to forensics and outdoor survival is covered in a fun and educational way.
“The kids should come away educated, but maybe not know they were educated,” says Karl Mayry, vice president of Through the Learning Glass.
He designs most of the experiments for the summer camps, and his model gliders and remote-control vehicles are the building blocks of the programs. Mayry says he handles the fun while Woodcock does the structure.
“We want to excite them, and motivate them towards science,” Mayry says. “We want them to see the bells and whistles.”
Mayry, 40, plans on putting the girls through a space walk exercise outside a simulated space shuttle and have a day of crime-scene investigation where students will use fingerprints and chemical evidence to try to identify a felonious camp counselor.
There could be a plot twist though: Mayry is thinking about framing someone this year.
January, 2004: St. Clair Shores Sentinel
Workshop helps with schools frustrations
By Julie Stevens
For many students, as well as for parents, back to class after the holidays signals the return of school and homework frustrations.
For many students, incomplete assignments, relatively simple assignments that take hours to complete, and rushing to finish last-minute projects, are among many of the common complaints that Susan (Woodcock) Kruger hears on a regular basis.
Kruger-Woodcock, the instructor of two educational programs that will be offered in January and February through the St. Clair Shores Adult and Community Education’s enrichment program, said such complaints are easily resolved.
As the owner of Lighthouse Learning and Organizing Services, Kruger-Woodcock has designed classes that teach students and parents strategies for making homework time much more efficient and consequently, more enjoyable.
SOAR® -which stands for Set goals, Organize, Ask questions, and Record your progress – is an interactive workshop for middle school, high school, and college students. Through this program, which will be held at James Rodgers Elementary beginning Jan. 28, students learn tips to manage homework, projects and extracurricular activities, organize materials, take meaningful notes, effectively prepare for tests, increase reading comprehension, and communicate effectively with parents and teachers.
“As a young student, I used to spend a lot of time on homework, but my grades never seemed to reflect my effort,” said Kruger- Woodcock, a certified teacher and reading specialist, specializing in study skills and organizational strategies. As I entered college, I learned many strategies that made my study time so much more effective. I was literally earning better grades in college than in high school and in half the time.”
As a high school and elementary teacher, Kruger-Woodcock observed a similar lack of problem-solving and study skills among her students. Kruger-Woodcock fells that these skill are not being taught in most classrooms because of an already overwhelming curriculum.
Kruger-Woodcock says lack of study skills is arising epidemic among student today. Kruger-Woodcock, who specializes in teaching study skills and organization strategies, believes the increase in a typical student’s work-load warrants the development of innovative study techniques. In short, students now need to study smarter, not harder. -Her workshops are designed to specifically teach students how to increase efficiency and free up valuable time.
One time-saving strategy Kruger-Woodcock recommends to students, especially those in college, is paying attention to the pictures and paragraphs in a textbook. She said publishers tend to spend a lot of money on color and detail, so illustrations serve as an effective tool for increasing reading comprehension.
“What’s written in the text really supports the illustrations,” she said. -Kruger-Woodcock also offers a workshop that coaches parents in helping their children succeed. She says parents are essential to a child’s learning process. In elementary school, as well as high school, “the interest and pride parents show in their child’s activities contributes to their success more than anything.
BEACON is a program for parents that goes over strategies for effectively assisting children with homework, while avoiding unpleasant power struggles. Tips include strategies for scheduling homework, organizing homework space and materials, balancing homework with free-time, and effective communication strategies between parents and students.
According to Enrichment Coordinator Kay Schoof, the workshop that is available to the school children is very important for school success.
“But we like to offer a good variety,” says Schoof. “Most students lack study skills and organizational skills. It’s a very helpful program.”
While the workshops are geared toward all students, it can also assist those students who suffer from Attention Deficit Disorder.
And the program has proved successful. – I’ve had many students tell me that it was very successful for them,” Kruger-Woodock said. “It’s drastically improved their comprehension.”
SOAR®, a three-session program, is being offered through St. Clair Shores Adult and Community Education beginning Jan. 28 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. The cost of the program is $70 with a materials feel of $35. Materials include a study course-pack for student’s continued reference. BEACON is a two-hour program that will be held on Feb. 5. The cost is $20 with a materials fee of $10. For more information, contact St. Clair Shores Adult and Community Education at 586-285-8880 or Kruger-Woodcock at 248.98.STUDY
(248.987.8839). Workshops are held at James Rodgers Elementary located at 21601 L’Anse.
February, 2003: Oakland Press
Opening Up to Learning: Workshops help kids with attention deficit make the most of study time
by Tamara Moin
In a quiet corner of the house designated as a study area, Katie Houck, 12 struggles with her homework. The Grand Blanc Middle School student has spent the entire afternoon on this particular assignment, yet a large chunk of the task looms before her. She is dismayed as another sleepless night beckons.
Susan Woodcock, a Berkley teacher, says lack of study skills is a rising epidemic among students today. Woodcock, who specializes in teaching study skills and organizational strategies, believes the increase in a typical student’s workload warrants the development of innovative study techniques. In short, students now need to study smarter, not harder.
“Unfortunately, in an already demanding curriculum, most teachers don’t have the time to teach their students the skills they need for better time-management,” Woodcock says. As a result, an alarming number of students face situations similar to Katie’s,
Through her company, Lighthouse Learning and Organizing Services, Woodcock has launched a series of workshops designed to tutor students and parents alike in problem-solving techniques. The workshops were developed as a response to requests their from chagrined parents.
Her classes, offered at West Bloomfield High School, are designed to teach students how to increase efficiency and free up valuable time. “I’m not an advocate of all work and now play,” Woodcock says, “and that’s why it’s essential for students to get into a regular routine and learn how to pace themselves.”
One time-saving strategy Woodcock recommends to students, especially those in college, is paying attention to the pictures and graphs in a textbook. Publishers tend to spend a lot of money on color and detail, so illustrations serve as an effective tool for increasing reading comprehensions. “What’s written in the text really supports the illustrations,” Woodcock says.
Woodcock also offers a workshop that coaches parents in helping their children succeed. She says parents are essential to a child’s learning process. In elementary, as well as high school, “the interest and pride parents show in their child’s activities contributes to their success more than anything.”
While the workshops are for everyone, Woodcock takes a particular interest in gearing her work toward people with Attention Deficit Disorder, also known as ADD. “Some of the most brilliant people I’ve ever known suffer from ADD,” she says, “and all they really need is someone to show them how to focus themselves and make the most out of their time.” And that takes strategy she says.
Woodcock has a contract with West Bloomfield Schools to teach at night, and plays to continue her classes in the future. “I’m always open to new ideas, and my workshops adapt based on the feedback I receive from students and parents,” she says. “(The classes) are always improving.”
Tonight, in a quiet corner of the house designated “study area,” Katie tackles her homework. It has been two months since she enrolled in Woodcock’s workshop, and her parents, Laurie and Jeff, have already noticed a dramatic improvement in her grades and study habits.
Katie smiles. Tonight, she will sleep well.