How I Turned 3rd-Grade Challenges into a Purposeful Parenting Platform

Everyone has a story, and mine is one that I certainly never saw coming. As cliche as it may sound, if you had told 8-year-old me that I’d be doing this, I wouldn’t have believed you.

Navigating Insecurities in Third Grade

I started third grade at a new school where it felt like my entire world had flipped upside down. I wanted to do well and I set high expectations for myself, but the work was hard for me. I had challenges with memory and I processed information slower than other kids, so I needed extra time to complete assignments and tests. I worked extra hard at home, staying up until 9pm to finish homework. I met with my teachers for tutoring sessions before school and often went to  tutoring sessions at learning centers after school. I spent all of third grade feeling insecure and playing catch up and at eight years old, I had my first (of many) encounters with stress, pressure, and anxiety.

It took most of my elementary and middle school years, but my parents did eventually find the right resources and the right people to help me and it made a significant difference not only in my education, but in my life. I still have insecurities and I still struggle with pressure, but having the right support fundamentally changed how I viewed myself and how I showed up in the world. It helped me realize my true potential and without that, I’m not sure that this platform would have ever existed.

From Early Career to Grad School and School Psychology

Fast forward through high school and college to getting my very first “big girl” job. From dreaming of a pediatrician’s coat to finding my true calling in psychology, I got a bachelor’s degree in psychology and embarked on my career in education. I later left this job to go to grad school and, eventually, become a school psychologist.

Within my first year working as a school psychologist, I saw gaps in the education system that desperately needed to be filled, and the ones that I was most drawn to were gaps that could not be addressed within the limitations of the system. They were problems that school psychologists have the expertise to fix, but that I couldn’t address in my day-to-day work.

If I’m being honest, I felt too “green” to start addressing those issues so soon. But I eventually mustered up the courage to coach school leaders in an effort to combat the crazy leadership turnover rate that has such high costs (literally and figuratively) for students. I helped leaders, interviewed on podcasts, spoke at conferences, and made thousands of dollars. I was doing good work, but it wasn’t as enjoyable as I thought it would be. So I pressed pause on coaching and spent almost two years getting back to the essence of what made me want to pursue school psychology in the first place.

The single common thread in my decision to take that first job in education, in my answers to questions during grad school and school psych job interviews, and in any presentation or speaking opportunity I’ve had is the mention of the desire to change the trajectories of children’s lives. I now do this only by working directly with children and their families because this is my zone of genius.

The 87% Factor

I know this may be controversial to say, but this is just my truth: I do not believe that school is everything.

By age 18, kids will have spent 105,120 (that’s about 13%) of their waking hours in school. This means that the other 87% is spent outside of school, mainly at home. The education system is not designed to teach parents anything, and the parenting resources that are available outside of school can be expensive, exclusive, and lacking in terms of supporting parents from an educational perspective. So much learning happens outside of school buildings and this is why supporting parents from a holistic perspective is so important to me.

In the work that I do, I see myself in the kids who lack confidence and struggle in the same way that kept me from being able to maximize my potential at one point. I see my parents in the ones who are worried and stressed about finding the right solution for their child, feeling unsure of the next move or even incompetent.

When I made the decision to do “my part” in a different way, I didn’t (and still don’t) have lofty expectations. I know that I am only one person. But I also know firsthand that some of the smallest things can make a huge difference.

This is why this platform exists.

Whole School Psych: A Platform with Purpose

Whole School Psych is the culmination of my journey and my contribution to our future—a blog and consultancy designed to support parents, connect learning and behavior with trusted guidance, and infuse cultural inclusivity in an accessible way. This is where my journey meets yours.

I would appreciate it if you took a quick moment to support the platform simply by subscribing. Thank you so much for taking the time to read my story. I hope it inspires you to fearlessly embrace the chapters of your own.

Education and Certification:

  • Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Psychology
  • Master of Science (MS) in School Psychology
  • Specialist in School Psychology (SSP)
  • Nationally Certified School Psychologist (NCSP)

Let’s keep in touch!

You can find me @WholeSchoolPsych on all platforms.

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