Many high school students struggle to function independently without help from tutors and parents. Mentoring in academic and executive function skills can be life transforming for them. Doing this work prior to beginning college can help to avoid a “college train wreck.”

Acquiring skills for mindfulness, emotional intelligence and grit/resilience can also be invaluable. Collectively, these skills can help you to:

  • Decrease stress

  • Improve overall performance

  • Pay attention and focus

  • Plan tasks

  • Organize

  • Initiate and complete work

  • Keep track of progress

  • Improve communication

  • Feel calmer and happier

  • Understand and harness your emotions

  • Avoid distractions and impulsive behavior

  • Follow rules and directions

  • Maintain balance

  • Maintain healthy social relationships

  • Advocate for yourself

  • Enhance leadership capacity

Some students struggle and may feel that they can never succeed. Our work includes helping them get out of their “fixed mindset” and adopt a “growth mindset”, which encourages them to push and practice and solve problems in new ways. This results in beneficial changes in their brain and confers abilities they previously lacked.

The Objectives of a Peak Time Experience for High school students

High school students enrolled in Peak Time experience programs work one-on-one and in small groups with a team of collaborative mentors, coaches and guides to:

  • Help them acquire six transformational skills and with them all the benefits described above

  • Discover their passion and turn it to meaningful purpose

  • Strengthen their areas of greatest interest and enjoyment

  • Remediate their areas of historic vulnerability

  • Explore at least one new area of potential interest

success stories

Names and other incidental facts (e.g. age, gender, length of study, specific subjects studied, etc.) in the following case histories have been altered to ensure the privacy of Peak Year students.

Story 1

E, a rising senior at a supportive Brooklyn private school, had a long history of struggling in a number of academic subjects (including science, writing, math, and history) despite ongoing help at her school’s learning center in addition to private tutoring. She was reluctant to get help from her teachers and had a number of strategies for avoiding responsibility. When pressed, she said she would be able to ramp up her work when she got to college. E’s parents were at a loss for where to go next, feeling that she was “lazy” and not working to her potential. They were also concerned that E had difficulty making and keeping close friendships outside of her greater family.

E began her relationship with Peak Year in a five-week Peak Time Experience intensive in the summer prior to her senior year of high school. At this time, she was feeling discouraged and unmotivated. She had the goal of “just hanging in” when she got to college, though she wanted to attend a large, nationally recognized university program. She was already in the process of applying to college, had an independent advisor, and had been engaged in SAT and ACT prep through her school for a year previously.

It very soon became evident that E had global executive function problems. To work on this issue, her intensive summer experience included integrated executive function mentoring in subjects she already was passionate about: pop music lyric writing and French culture (though by report she had been unsuccessful at French language studies, especially memorizing correct pronouns.) Her program also supplemented this work with executive function infused activities she was willing to try, including drumming, figurative sculpture, Tai Chi and origami.

With less reluctance on her part, E’s work with Peak Year continued part-time after school in the fall of her senior year. Executive functions were integrated into subjects she had not traditionally enjoyed, including mathematics and science, while she continued to explore music, mindfulness and Tai Chi. She showed improvement in her attitude about herself and slowly developed a more realistic view of how difficult the university she hoped to attend would be. E was accepted into several colleges that matched her preferences and she continues working on executive function skills as well as mindfulness and resilience. She is now showing signs of real ability and promise in her pop lyric writing.

Story 2

H’s senior year was upended when his family learned that following a minor transgression in his school’s zero tolerance disciplinary policy, he would not be invited back. Suddenly, a sterling academic history and straight-shot road to college was thrown into disarray. H’s family reached out to Peak Year in the hope of rescuing his final two months of high school, allowing him to graduate while simultaneously developing the skills necessary for success in college.

H’s Peak Time Experience mentors collaborated with his family and school, providing him with the structure, support, and community necessary to complete his remaining academic course requirements. At the same time, H worked with them to develop Executive Function, Emotional Intelligence, Grit/Resilience, and Mindfulness, with Peak Time Experience mentors embedding these skills into high-level study focused on his areas of interest and passion. For H, that meant professional-level study in video design, cinematography, and art.

Within several weeks, H had not only completed his academic requirements, but also bolstered his badly damaged self-esteem through the completion of a multipart, college-level cinematography project. He finished his Peak Time Experience by hosting a screening of his project, showcasing not only his talent but his commitment to hard-work, discipline, stamina, focus, organization, and time-management. He and his family are currently researching colleges for future matriculation.