Turning Around A Failing Sophomore Year: a HomeworkCoach Success Story

  • Turning Around A Failing Sophomore Year

Executive Function Areas Addressed


A daily subject agenda helps Caitlin keep track of both short and long-term assignments

Time Management

Coach and student map out the hour at the start of each session


The coach provides the encouragement Caitlin needs to get started on big projects

Ninth grade was a tough one for Caitlin McLaney and her sophomore year was off to no better of a start: she had failing grades in all of her subjects. The East Cobb, GA, student had always had academic challenges and had long benefited from medication for ADHD, but the transition to high school was proving particularly difficult.

“I knew we couldn’t have a repeat of last year,” Caitlin’s mother Elaine says. “Yet with both parents working outside the home, and with Caitlin’s own busy sports schedule, we needed a solution that could fit with our schedules.”

The McLaneys turned to In-Home Tutors of Atlanta and its HomeworkCoach division. As Elaine puts it, “A one-on-one student to teacher ratio is what works best for Caitlin.” HomeworkCoach assigned Courtney Taylor (pictured above left) to tutor Caitlin (right) and implement the program’s learning-specialist-tested methodology. A homework coach is a tutor whose goal is to help the student’s overall academic success, providing the tools and encouragement needed for the student to stay on top of all her assignments

Tracking assignments and deadlines

While Caitlin was struggling in math, English and physics, Courtney knew that it was an overall approach to homework and studying that needed to be addressed. “We started by looking at Caitlin’s short term and long term goals,” she says, “providing Caitlin with specific achievements we’d aim for within stated timeframes.”

An early focus was to establish a system for Caitlin to track her assignments and deadlines. “Every student functions differently,” explains Courtney, “So it is important to find a suitable agenda system for each student. Some students may prefer a daily agenda divided into subjects, and some students may prefer a weekly agenda divided into school days.” In Caitlin’s case, a daily subject agenda helps Caitlin keep track of both short and long-term assignments while providing a focused day-by-day plan.

Courtney typically sees Caitlin three times a week, one hour sessions. At each session they review what’s happening with all her subjects, then focus on completing the day’s homework and studying for tests. The hour ends with a listing of the tasks Caitlin needs to complete before the next session. In this way, Caitlin is absorbing the organization and time management skills that will serve her well as she completes high school and transitions to college. Just as important, by identifying the tasks Caitlin will do between sessions, Courtney can keep her accountable and responsible for completing work on her own.

Within the first semester of sophomore year, Caitlin’s grades improved from failing grades to a B in her math class and a grade of C in her other classes. Courtney works with Caitlin in all subjects, but Caitlin notes that “Courtney has helped me improve in my math class the most.” Caitlin learns most effectively with a step-by-step process, so “Courtney explains more about the details than my math teacher.” Courtney’s concern for and understanding of Caitlin’s learning style has allowed Courtney to adapt her tutoring approach to be most effective with Caitlin.

Not only has Courtney helped Caitlin with grade improvement, but Caitlin acknowledges that having a tutor has helped her “stay organized and up-to-date on homework and studying.” Caitlin benefits from additional time outside of the classroom and finds that “Courtney knows how to better explain my class material and has strategies to help me study for tests.”

“She has become more outgoing”

Caitlin has made remarkable academic progress during her first semester of sophomore year, but having a tutor provides more than success in the classroom. Courtney’s interest in Caitlin’s activities outside of the classroom has improved Caitlin’s overall confidence regarding school. In the beginning of the year, Caitlin “wouldn’t really get involved with school, but working with Courtney has helped [Caitlin] become more outgoing.”

By the end of sophomore year, Caitlin’s goal is to achieve a grade of B in all of her classes. Both Elaine and Caitlin agree that the goal is attainable “with all of Courtney’s support and encouragement.”

“Courtney has been an answer to our prayers,” Elaine said, “and we would recommend In-Home Tutors and HomeworkCoach to other parents.” When asked if Caitlin would recommend the program, she said “Absolutely! HomeworkCoach really improved my grades and I think they would help others, too.”

Caitlin is one student among many that have found academic success through the HomeworkCoach program. With dedicated and supportive tutors and a unique program methodology, HomeworkCoach is committed to helping students blossom into well-rounded, confident individuals.

HomeworkCoach can do the same for your child!  For pricing and additional information, please call us at 877-715-5442.

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