The Third Quarter Grind: How to find success in the toughest part of the school year

Q3 is make or break time!

The third quarter is when best laid plans either triumph or fall apart.

In fact, research shows that students who procrastinated during the first semester may have done well during the fall but they will likely perform worse in the spring, since all the build up of last minute panics, incomplete work and overall stress that had accumulated turns into a heavier and more stressful load in the spring. 

On the other hand, students who worked consistently throughout the fall term will reap the benefits of that investment in less pressure, fewer challenges, and higher overall performance.

It's funny, though, because the same thing applies to teachers and schools.

Year after year as a high school teacher, I saw how all the beginning of the year administrative, department and individual teacher planning was out the window by the Third Quarter, and it was panic and push time in order to meet the year end goals -- or just drop them altogether.

This observation led to the A+ Club itself. Knowing that there'd be a Q3 breakdown, I built into my own planning a reset moment for my students who had struggled during the first term. 

I arranged in advance for an after-school academic probation for my low-performers, requiring them to meet me after school to reflect and plan on their academic standing and its improvement.  The program worked so well that about half of these students kept coming after school even after the required week was up.

They came to call our gatherings, "the A+ Club," because as these sessions raised their academic awareness, so, too, raised their academic ownership and performance.

I urge parents to engage their children in a similar Q3 reset.

It's a great moment to stop, think, organize and plan:

  • Where do I stand? 
  • How did I get here?
  • What were my biggest challenges?
  • What were my successes? 
  • How can I replicate success in my other classes?
  • What are my goals going forward?
  • What help do I need to get there?

And most importantly,

  • How can I engage in this process of reflection, goal-setting and problem solving on  a regular basis?

We call it "check-in" moments, and at the A+ Club we engage our students in these reflection conversations at least once a week. It raises awareness, develops self-advocacy and builds confidence and academic ownership.

Good luck putting together your Q3 plans and helping your student execute a successful spring semester!

- Michael

Client testimonial on the benefits of the A+ Club academic coaching program

Learn more about how to help your child overcome procrastination and low grades

At the A+ Club we work with students to overcome barriers and meet their academic potential. Very often this means overcoming procrastination.

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