With items such as the common core standards starting in school, academic expectations are higher for students today. There’s a new business in town aims to provide students with a comprehensive learning center.
Earlier this year, a Montville mother with two sons in the Montville schools, started the Academic Excellence Center at 2 Changebridge Road to not only address students’ academic needs, but also their social and emotional needs.
Sunday Brooks opened the AEC to offer a range services including private, group and independent study tutorials, college test prep classes, counseling services, remedial and enrichment classes in all subjects for grades K-12 and the list continues to grow based on demand.
“We’re an organic organization. We want to adapt to the needs of the community as they are currently,” said Brooks. “A lot of this growth is because of what we heard from our clients and parents. We’re able to respond to that need and it benefits not only the child in the family but the community as a whole.”
All staff members are certified teachers from the area who know the strengths and weaknesses of the local schools and student population.
“We started with the name and as we grew and developed it’s turned into more than just academics. We want people to know that we have a counseling division and with that you’re able to treat the whole child and the family,” said Brooks. “We know that a lot of people are looking for jobs … We offer counseling services at a feasible rate for the parents.”
They have a Child Study Team composed of:
- doctoral level School Psychologist
- School Counselor
- Licensed Clinical Social Worker
- Learning Specialist
Their psychologists and social worker are available to provide counseling and parent coaching.
This fall they launched new workshops which they “started with melding some of them into place over the summer.”
- Gifted and Talented “A.S.K. Group”
- SAT / ACT classes and college prep
- Social Skills “Wings Group”
- “Metamorphosis Group”
- Parent Coaching Series
- Chess Classes
She added that for all her workshops, there are counseling professionals overseeing each one so “their children are getting good direction from those professionals.”
“(The chess classes) may seem odd, but you can see that that chess is specifically linked, (according to) scientific journals, to the development of minds for mathematics. Also, it is a social group and you’re interacting and engaging. All these things interrelate,” said Brooks, adding that she has noticed a change with children with ADHD or who are very active.
“I have seen children who were apparently ADHS but the chess is an avenue for them. They have a laser focus and it speaks to them and it just clicks.”
Brooks said that as teachers and professionals are working with the student, they’re able to assess the student’s need and recommend other services if needed, such as counseling or speech therapy.
“A fair number of parents come in with just the academic component in mind. We’re independent and not affiliated with the school system so I ask for non-confidential feedback. Teachers will tell me, ‘I think there is something else here’ and then I am able to open that dialogue with the parent. I have not had a parent that is resistant to that.”
She added that many parents and students come to the AEC because “there is a great need for privacy.”“These parents are more willing to accept services from us because there is a stigma in people’s minds attached with getting services through the schools and parents come to us for the privacy.”
The counseling group provides student diagnosis, therapy and/or assessments and their list of professionals include: Doctoral-level Psychologist, School Psychologists, Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), Licensed Associate Counselor (LAC) and a Learning Disabilities Teacher Consultant (LDTC).
Student counseling is available for a variety of issues from depression and divorce issues to eating disorders and anxiety
The AEC also specializes in ADHD, autism and other learning disabilities and issues. There is also an after school program, private shuttle and pet therapy from “Gunner,” their certified therapy dog
Check out their website for more information. Their website is continually being updated as the organization grows. Brooks said that a new item not on the website yet is “a K-5 social skills group specifically for children on the autistic spectrum. We will be opening this on Tuesdays 6-7 p.m."