What if College is not part of my Child’s future?

Just an opinion piece-by Natalie Giasullo

In working with some elementary students, parents have commented on their concern for their child’s future. At the risk of sounding counter productive to my company, I say college is not for everyone, and IT’S OK. I have 2 adult children and I can remember how anxiety ridden the whole “going to college” process was. The high school offered several parent work shops throughout the year on what was expected in the college application process. They walked us through the kinds of grades and scores our children needed to get in.

Now I think to myself, “Hey, where were the workshops for parents whose children did not fit that profile?” What about students who can’t see themselves putting in the time to get a degree AND paying back student loans? What about students that need to bypass ” being a kid” because life happened and they have to step up to care for someone with a critical illness or job loss? Why isn’t there more of a presentation on trade schools. College is not the only avenue to independence and stability. If we were to start “googling” famous people that did not go to college, I’m pretty sure we’d find more than just a handful. Truly, my hairdresser is one of the people I most admire. She’s so talented and a great role model to her children. She’s not a millionaire, but she does well for herself. She chose a non college path. She had that “bypass” mentioned earlier.

In fact, why don’t we have more of a curriculum that centers around everyday living: budgeting, credit, interest, etc. to give our kids the tools they need to face how to read a lease agreement, tax responsibilty EVERYDAY LIVING? I have a theory, be warned, it’s a little negative. When I taught in the elementary we had school improvement plans in the beginning of each year. Much of it was based on how students increased their performance on standardized tests. Depending on scores, schools would receive a Grade Rating and get money for the school. It carries on to high school with the percentage of students that go on to college ( which of course links to standardized testing). Because schools generate money with this system, and in return colleges generate money with this system, any other path outlined for students just wouldn’t benefit the schools and colleges monetarily.

I am in no way disparaging college education, but I am concerned with the amount of pressure put on our students to go to college. We hear about kids graduating college and living in their parents’ basements WITH student loans needing repayment. We hear it’s because they can’t find a job, but is it also that they chose to major in something they can’t make a living on , rather than zeroing in on what they really wanted to do? They gave into the college pressure. Or worse, we hear about kids putting in 2 semesters in college, then dropping out- still owing money, still lost.

I think we need to pay attention to these students and have a support system in place. I also think we need to have more trade school training in the twelfth grade so student who choose, for whatever reason, not to take the college route, can find their purpose and make their contributions to our communities.

We need to value and pay our teachers more. Oh and those Art Schools- we definitely need more of those!!


I set up my tutoring company to help students who need extra help.

– If your child has a college plan, we would be honored to provide SAT/ACT college prep help.

-If your child is struggling in school, again, we would be honored to sit with your child and help.

-If it looks like your child has no interest in college and needs help with high school classes, we want to help. I think we can all agree, the high school diploma is a necessary step to whatever path may be chosen.

– If you yourself need help with the GED we are happy to sit and work with you. Feel free to browse the website and “Meet the Teachers.”


How Can I Help My Child Take Ownership of their Reading? by Natalie Giasullo

In working with first and second grade students, I see students having to complete reading assignments at a frustrational level. This means that as the child reads, they are spending so much effort sounding the words out, they lose meaning. Most of the time they are not willing to go back and re read.

What I have come up with is giving the student control over how much to read. For example, I have a student who brings home a reading packet to be completed by the end of the week. The reading is lengthy and she is a struggling reader due to dyslexia. I dedicate part of the tutoring session to helping her get her packet done. Before we begin, I have her mark the passage to what she is willing to read, and what she would like read to her. I tell her, “It has to be fair.” So she will count 8-10 lines, run her pencil through it and put her initials beside what she will read. When she finishes reading each piece I offer to reread to make sure she has understanding. Because I have her take control of what will be read, she buys into the reading assignment and feels empowered.

I have also given her some strategies for approaching a challenging word. When I first sat down with her, I asked her, “What do you do when you run into a word you think you can’t read?” She answered, ” I ask my teacher or put a word in I think it might be.” I praised her for advocating for herself by asking the teacher, but then I asked her if she liked asking the teacher all the time. She didn’t and wanted to do it on her own. I also asked her if her reading made sense. Of course it had not.

From there, I taught her to look for smaller words in larger words, and to use vowels to guide in breaking the words into smaller pieces. ( I use letter tiles for this.) I’m very proud of the progress she has made because, as with a lot of children with dyslexia , she was in a habit of plugging in any word that she thought would “fit into the reading.” That was her survival habit. Now, rather than “guess a word up” or ask her teacher, she takes her time to actively read. She shows me how she separates a word, then takes it on. Just as important, when she answers comprehension questions, she has an idea of where to locate the answer in the passage.

It doesn’t happen over night, but consistency, open communication with the teacher and proper support will result in seeing progress in your child’s developmental reading skills. For more information on helping your child succeed in reading visit thecollaborationplace.com .

The Journey Begins

Thanks for joining me! The Collaboration Place is a place for discussion on relating content to students, opening communication between parents and teachers, and discovering the power of a descriptive piece of writing.

For students k-6, I offer a well rounded service to help your child get closer to achieving the standards they are expected to achieve on their grade level. I start with informal assessments to gather information needed to create a program with learning targets. I also bring manipulatives to align with lessons in phonemic awareness and in mathematics. For the younger student having trouble with reading, materials used are Orton- Gillingham technique based with an established routine in each lesson. This encourages the student as they get comfortable with the format and in turn gain confidence. About each month, I offer my observations that can serve as input in meeting with teachers.

For older students to adult, we offer a variety of ELA programs including SAT/ ACT prep and memoir writing. Everyone has their own unique story to tell, but not everyone knows how to tell it. We can help you create a beautiful piece of writing that you can take pride in.

Our elementary and SAT/ACT prep services are held to the Jupiter, Palm Beach Gardens and Tequesta areas in Florida. For those living out of state and interested in memoir writing, we can help help you online.

No matter where you live, you can purchase the gift of literacy by purchasing our TERE TOTES encouraging kids to read. It comes with a tote for carrying books that reads ” If you can’t find anyone to read to, read to your dog! ,”a plush dog, adoption certificate pledging that your dog will be read to, pencils, bookmarks and a notebook and a children’s book. For more information on our services and totes visit http://www.thecollaborationplace.com/.