Executive Functioning

Getting organized, staying focused

Executive Function: A set of mental processes that helps connect past experience with present action. People use Executive Function to perform activities such as planning, organizing, strategizing, paying attention to and remembering details, and managing time and space. (Source: National Center for Learning Disabilities)

Does your son or daughter have trouble planning out assignments, understanding how long an assignment should take to complete, and even explaining what happened in class? Difficulty starting assignments and generating ideas independently are signs of low Executive Functioning skills. Thames Academy students typically enter the program with gaps in their Executive Functioning, so we developed embedded, programmatic workshops and skill building goals.

Executive Function Program

Thames Academy incorporates a 16-18 week course called Seeing My Time. This comprehensive course takes a metacognitive approach that teaches students to “think about their thinking.” Research shows that the best time to redirect neural pathways is between the ages of 18 to 25 years-old, a time known as “emerging adulthood.” This course brings innovation and education together beyond fancy notebooks and colorful binders to build new understanding to the process of learning.

Thames Academy is the optimal academic environment for students to learn about their meta-cognitive abilities, work on goal based learning strengths, and create a toolbox of learning skills they will take through their entire academic and professional lives. This program encourages flexible thinking and incorporates all learning styles. Faculty are trained to deliver this program and continue professional development opportunities with Mary Dee Sklar and other professionals in the field of executive functioning.

Class Session: Seeing My Time is a unique and progressive course with exercises, discussions, and in-class projects. These engaging sessions intentionally pushes students to understanding different learning styles, alternative ways to work on projects, and how to have mental flexibility. Students are asked to engage in work during class with drawings, verbal and written response, and projects that meet their learning styles. Students are relieved to learn new ways to handle the stress of academic pressure, finding new organization tools, and seeing success in their for-credit courses as a result of this element of the program.

Individual Sessions: Students also have a chance to meet one-on-one with their advisors to apply what they’ve learned in class to their real time academic progress. It is also important to implement Seeing My Time with students who need to develop organized workspace and social planning. This one-on-one time can help answer specific questions and create proactive plans.

Results: Seeing My Time results in more than just organized students. It builds confidence and the understanding of what it means to be successful. Students who have been on a traditional high school or boarding school schedule for most of their educational experience find uncertainty with an unstructured college schedule.  This program allows students to understand the rigor and commitment of a full collegiate course load. Seeing My Time is the cornerstone to building the confidence and skills needed to navigate the demands of college life.

”In Seeing My Time, we see a difference in the student’s thinking and organization. It is a confidence shift. This is where we see students take ownership of their academic achievement. It is a very exciting transformation.”

Ron Samul, Humanities Instructor,Thames Academy

An Executive Functioning Checklist for Parents

Your son or daughter may have Executive Functioning challenges if he or she:

  • Has difficulty paying attention
  • Requires many reminders to stay on task
  • Has trouble identifying where to start on assignments
  • Has difficulty getting started and seems to procrastinate
  • Loses track of time or assignment due dates
  • Forgets to turn in completed work
  • Seems to have difficulty controlling impulses
  • Says or does things without thinking first
  • Struggles with keeping track of materials, leaves them at home or loses them