Ep. 68: Getting Through the Mid-School Year Slump with Michelle Porjes

Feb 15, 2022 | 0 comments

The middle part of the school year between January and March is an important chunk of time that is focused on mastering academics of the school year. Learning expectations increase during this time and after the last couple of years of school year disruptions, the pacing of curriculum is increasing. Unfortunately, this is also the time for the mid-school year slump.

The mid-year slump impacts both children and adults but can be felt even more strongly by those who learn and think differently. Today’s guest, who just recently wrote a blog post on this important topic, joins the conversation today to help parents and educators understand what this is and how to get kids through it. Michelle Porjes is a licensed educational psychologist who specializes in executive functioning coaching and helping experienced educators establish tutoring and support services. In this episode, Michelle gives us so many useful tools and strategies and you can find even more from her in the Pocket Guide of Tools to help support the development of executive functioning skills.


Show Notes:

[2:51] – The mid-year slump is an interesting time following the excitement of the holidays. Michelle explains how this time affects us as adults and children.

[4:36] – Motivation is highly impacted during this time of year.

[5:54] – Give this problem a name and normalize it. Share a story with children to normalize and validate their feelings about the mid-year slump.

[6:39] – The second thing Michelle recommends is to make a plan and do some different things to change things up a bit.

[7:15] – Search for activities that are great for the winter months.

[8:30] – The learning expectation and pace during this time increase which makes the mid-year slump even more challenging.

[10:20] – Michelle shares how she would plan for the rhythm of the year when she was an administrator.

[11:59] – Keeping a calendar is not only great for executive functioning, but it is particularly helpful during the mid-year slump in making things feel more doable

[14:01] – Constructing a calendar at home with your child is making them an active participant in experiencing how time passes.

[15:50] – Michelle shares her inspiration for creating the Pocket Guide of Tools.

[17:15] – The Pocket Guide of Tools is accessible by children, parents, and educators and provides executive functioning tools and strategies for students.

[19:51] – Michelle models using the Pocket Guide of Tools with students and reminds them to look back for strategies.

[22:36] – You can’t do great if you are in a terrible mood. Self regulation is crucial.

[25:17] – Collaboration between educators and parents is very important.

[27:49] – The pace of curriculum in schools is much faster than it was just a few years ago.

[30:00] – Because of the disruptions in school, the mid-year slump can feel even worse. Communicate with your child and educators on providing support.


About Our Guest:

Michelle Porjes is a native Los Angelino. She grew up in Ladera Heights and was educated in a variety of learning settings including public, private independent and parochial schools. She attended UCLA where she majored in Psychology. After college, Michelle moved to Denver, Colorado where she earned a Master’s Degree in Educational Psychology at the University of Denver. Michelle finished her formal education at the University of South Florida in Tampa, Florida where she earned a Master's and Specialist degree in School Psychology. While there, she gained valuable experience in working with students on assessing learning, emotional and behavioral difficulties, as well as facilitating social skills and anger management groups. 

Michelle is a licensed educational psychologist and a credentialed school psychologist in the state of California. She also is a member of the Association of Educational Therapists. She has worked in the private school world for over 23 years where she specialized in consulting, case management, supervision, leadership, and program development.

Currently, Michelle has her own practice where she specializes in executive functioning coaching and helping experienced educators establish tutoring and educational support services that thrive. She routinely works with individuals of all ages and presents workshops and trainings on executive functioning coaching.  


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The Diverse Thinking Different Learning podcast is intended for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical or legal advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Additionally, the views and opinions expressed by the host and guests are not considered treatment and do not necessarily reflect those of ChildNEXUS, Inc or the host, Dr. Karen Wilson.