Four years ago, my driving motivation to start Academic Ascent was to connect with students on a deeper level than my experience in classrooms and various learning center environments. I envisioned our role as educators going beyond that of a standard subject tutor; I wanted to also be cheerleaders, supporters, listeners, and motivators. I wanted to build a strong team of mentors that push students to do their best each day, every day – to dig deep and persevere, especially when things get hard. And we all know, in life things do get hard!
I’m proud of our small team of coaches who for the last four years have done just that. I believe deeply that education goes beyond just good grades. Yes – we strive for academic success, but I also celebrate our students’ soccer wins, picking up a book for pleasure, trying a new food, or beginning an exercise routine. When it comes to self-development and personal improvement of our students & families, I want us to support it all!
We are here for it. It's no secret that now is an enormously challenging time to be a kid. As teachers, especially working with students one-on-one, we see up-close the obvious signs of weariness, stress and fatigue on the faces of virtually every student we work with; the tumult of the pandemic and violence in schools over the last few years no doubt coming to bear on their still-developing brains. We remind ourselves that our students’ needs are unquestionably different today than when we were young, and I have made it our call to answer: our kids need better, our kids deserve better.
What more can we do? How can we show up better for our students? How can we be better resources for our families? What other ways can we support them; usher and coach them through the enormous challenges not just in academics, but in other areas of their lives? These are the questions that consume the mind of a lifelong educator, the answers to which are serving as our compass as we embark on the next phase of growing our business and expanding our reach.
Through this process we have come to the realization that offering our services exclusively online, while advantageous in so many ways especially during the pandemic, also presents indisputable drawbacks when it comes to person-to-person human connection. This is a crucial truth for us to reconcile as we currently have active students in at least ten different states from Maryland to California. Naturally, we understand that offering an in-person solution to each student we have on our roster is unrealistic. We CAN, however, build a concept to serve the future students of Academic Ascent here in the Greater Seattle area (and perhaps later, beyond) – one that features similarly meaningful engagement with our students, but in a physical ‘student center’ format; one that is based on the concept of meaningful engagement, and designed specifically to tackle the broad range of challenges affecting our students today.
The Academic Ascent Student Center concept began to take shape last fall and today we are deep in the throes of planning for what we see as the first of its kind, whole-student based learning center where students can receive tutoring, coaching, occupational therapy, speech and language pathology, and other related academic life services. We envision the location as a welcoming place where students can expect to find belonging; where they can build and hone various skills with caring, devoted and engaged educators and mentors; where they can spend time after school doing homework, or participating in different physical education activities which are so critically important to child and adolescent health.
In addition to offering a comprehensive menu of student services, we also envision hosting free weekend workshops for parents on critically important topics involving student life, as well as collaborating on events that educate and encourage community engagement. This opportunity to serve families in a deeper way will also help us drive home the absolute truth that each child’s success in academics is a full-scope endeavor involving coordinated efforts from their parents, teachers and coaches on everything from study habits to proper rest, nutrition, exercise and social interaction.
What I'm giving you today is a brief overview of what our vision for a modern student center designed to tackle the specific challenges abound in today’s world looks like. In the coming months, we will continue to share with you our progress and ideas as we work toward realizing our vision. We will continue to seek input and feedback from our community of clients and friends as we embark on this next phase, for which we express our deepest appreciation in advance.
Four years in, and yet in many ways we are still at the beginning of this journey. While the mountain is tall, we know we can summit with a little determination and a lot (perhaps an awful lot) of grit. I’m looking forward to sharing this all with you as it unfolds.
In closing, I want to thank you all for an incredible four years. Thank you for inviting us into your homes – night after night and week after week – and for giving us the opportunity to be a part of your child’s success story. We would not be able to do any of this without the enormous support and dedication of our families - you fill our hearts every day!