Hear How a 10th Grader and Her Mom “Nailed Ninth” with the Help of SOS4Students

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The following is a Q & A with Jean and her daughter Anna about their experiences with Nailing Ninth workshop.

transition questions

Q & A with Anna and Jean

Beth Samuelson (Director SOS): Anna, what were you most anxious about going into 9th grade?

Anna (student): I was nervous about starting at a new school. I'm not really sure how nervous I was about schoolwork, but I wasn't sure the new school was going to work out for me. I was especially anxious about math class and how it would go.

Beth: In what ways did Nailing Ninth help with your transition to high school?

​AnnaThe workshop added on to the basics I'd already learned in middle school and before, and even if I already knew some things, it was helpful to have it gone over again to reinforce my thinking. Just going to Nailing Ninth can add to your confidence. It did mine.

Beth: What strategies did you use this year from the Nailing Ninth ?

Anna: What was really useful for me were the informational guides and tools handed out as part of the class, plus having strategies for planning and prioritizing, systems for pulling a project together, creating a schedule, and taking notes thoroughly explained to me. Having people teaching us who do this all the time—professionals—was really helpful because they know tips and tricks we students don't know.

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Beth: Jean, as a parent, what were your concerns with the high school transition?

Jean (Mom): We had heard there would be a step-up in intensity of homework. That was a big concern. The second was we knew Anna's organizational skills and time management wouldn't allow her to be as time efficient as she could be. She was doing a lot of extracurricular activities she loved. We knew she'd have to give some of them up going into high school, but she wanted to keep doing as many as possible, so that meant she'd need to get much more efficient.

Beth: Which skills did you feel Anna needed most to ensure a successful move to 9th grade?

Jean: Anna’s a smart kid, but she has troubles organizing projects and thoughts into a form that allows her to step through to completion. In particular, the projects that are many weeks long with multiple sub-parts had me concerned. Nailing Ninth took the kids through some tools to help them pace themselves and organize projects, and that really got her started on this process. The second thing was reinforcing that it's OK to go to the teacher if you have questions about an assignment . . . and to do it early!

"They (SOS4Students) know tips and tricks we students don’t know.”

Beth: How do you feel she benefitted from the program?

Jean: I think the handouts and the instructors were excellent. Having tools and methods written down and laid out in an extensive handout, and then working through examples really worked well so that she felt ready to use what she learned at school.

Beth: Was there anything you took away from Nailing Ninth that helped you know better what to expect for the transition?  Did you feel better able to support Anna with the information you learned? Was there anything that stands out as particularly helpful?

Jean: There were a couple of times that Anna had multi-step assignments or projects that required both materials and content, and she just wasn't starting. I could tell. So I'd go to the Nailing Ninth binder (of materials) and say, "Hey, isn't there a tool in here to help? Maybe this one?" Directing her to something she knew better than I did, that was really hers, helped. She'd jump in and say, "No, Mom, that's not the one. This one would be better." That would jumpstart her on the project.

"Just going to Nailing Ninth can add to your confidence.”

Beth:  Anna, Jean, do you have any advice/tips to offer incoming 9th graders or their parents?

Jean: Tools to promote time efficiency and time management are really, really helpful, and organizational skills can make all the difference. Taking part in Nailing Ninth pre-loaded this into the school year for us, which really worked. All of the skills Anna learned are life skills she'll use in college and beyond. Frankly, I wish schools taught more about how to approach learning.

Anna: Have fun at Nailing Ninth!

Prepare Your Student for Ninth Grade

If you’re concerned about your student’s ability to balance classwork, homework, and outside activities as he or she transitions to ninth grade, sign up today for Nailing Ninth or one of our other workshops designed to provide the tools and strategies students need to be successful in school. Don’t delay. Most workshops are near capacity, and our first workshops begin at the end of this month.

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Got questions? Call us at 510-531-4767 or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Registration Now Open: Parenting U November 2, 2019!

parentingu logoSOS4Students and Julia Morgan School for Girls will proudly host the 3rd annual Parenting U event. It will be held November 2, 2019 at the Julia Morgan School in Oakland.

Come for the exciting breakout sessions covering a range of hot topics for parents of tweens and young teens. Our keynote speaker this year is renowned writer Peggy Orenstein, author of “Cinderella Ate My Daughter,” “Girls and Sex, Boys and Sex,” and now “Don’t Call Me Princess,” a book of essays on girls, women, sex, and life.

This is a can’t miss event. Spread the word to your friends and colleagues with kids ages 10 to 14. We’ll be sending out registration info later this summer, so stay tuned!  Register Now


summer workshop menu

  • Signing up for an SOS4Students Workshop or Summer Coaching is easy and can be done online. Our workshops tend to fill fast and start dates will be here sooner than you think, so act now.
  • All workshops are held at Lafayette Library (Oak Room) Lafayette, CA.
  • Summer coaching is available at our Walnut Creek and Montclair District offices, or online.

Middle School Workshops

6thgrade bluebulletMastering Middle School empowers students entering sixth grade. Students learn invaluable skills to tackle the demands of multiple teachers and more complex assignments.

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6th - 8th GradesWrite On esnures your child is prepared for the essay-writing challenges ahead by covering essay fundamentals for middle school students.

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7th & 8th GradeMiddle School Blitz gives your students the strategies they need to have control over their time and workload. Prepare your student to balance classwork, homework and outside activities.

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High School Workshops

9th GradeNailing Ninth Grade prepares your student for a successful transition to high school. Students come away with an invaluable toolbox of study strategies they will use every day.

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9th-11th GradeWriting RX teaches students an easily replicable system for expository essay writing. Students leave confident and prepared to tackle the complex writing assignments that high school demands.

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9th-12th GradeSecrets of Successful Note Taking demystifies the note taking process. Students learn techniques to take effective notes and use their notes to prepare for tests and papers.

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