Spotlight on High School

“The days are long, but the years are short.”  So states Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project, and we certainly agree!

Our spotlight this month is on high school.  Perhaps your student is there already, or perhaps you’re ready to delete this newsletter as not applying to you, and move on.  But if you have a younger student, you’ll blink and they will be in high school……sooner than you think.

So just for fun, check out the vocabulary that high school students learn in preparation for the SAT.  If we ask students to describe high school using a SAT vocabulary list, what might they say?

Let’s hope it’s some of these words – Cohesive. Egalitarian. Enhancing. Equitable. Essential. Intricate. Provocative. Resonant. Rigorous. Robust.

And we hope the words describing their high school experiences aren’t in this next group – Banal. Callous. Convoluted. Cryptic. Esoteric. Facetious. Hodgepodge. Indecipherable. Labyrinth. Mundane. Tedium.

Confidence in their emerging skills can mean the difference in your student’s choice of words to describe their school experiences.

At A Step Ahead, our experienced private tutors work with you to enable your student to grow.  From remedial work to pre-teaching new material, our talented educators take the time to understand exactly where your student is and how they learn best.  That’s private tutoring with a personal touch.

Meet, or re-meet, the exceptional faculty who invest their energy and talent in nurturing and guiding your students.  And take a look at the online resources they recommend.  We’re so glad these educators have chosen to share their time and talents with us!

The website is a great resource for students needing some practice with questions targeting reading comprehension and sharpening of analytical skills. It covers reading topics across the curriculum.

Wolfram Alpha,, is a science and math site. It’s a great resource for checking work on more advanced math problems.  The site has built-in widgets to calculate most types of math problems, including polynomial division widgets, derivative and integration widgets, etc.

Codecademy,, has a variety of step-by-step, interactive tutorials on programming and webscripting. It’s a great place for the uninitiated to get their feet wet.

Angela Anderson (all core subjects in all high school grades)

Angela graduated from UCF with a degree in computer science.   She also has a certification from the International Tutor Training Program.  She loves learning and sharing that love with others.  When not at A Step Ahead, you can find her in the garden with her flowers and vegetables, outside checking on her honeybees, or in the kitchen baking.

But where would she really like you to find her?  Actually, nowhere near the here and now.  If given the chance, she would go back to 1803 and join the Lewis and Clark expedition.  She would love to trek across America as it was then – miles of forests and untamed wilderness.



Kelly Sassin (all core subjects in all high school grades)

Kelly hails from Austin, Texas, and studied physics at William & Mary (undergraduate) and the University of Rochester (PhD).  When she’s not tutoring at A Step Ahead, she teaches at Forsyth Tech.  She and her husband Paul are avid “Trekkies” as you can tell from her picture!

One of Kelly’s favorite quotes is this gem from Albert Einstein:  “It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.”  A great reminder to our students!







Martha Mendenhall (writing, reading comprehension and literature in all high school grades)

Martha is an exceptional writer and screenwriter, but that wasn’t her first childhood dream.  Martha imagined herself as a grown-up, riding race horses as a jockey!  Her students can attest that she will be glued to the news this spring on Saturday, May 6, for the running of the Kentucky Derby!

As an educator, Martha’s passion is helping each student identify their own strengths and weaknesses, appreciating their strengths and developing stronger approaches for any weaker areas.  She delights in helping students who struggle with reading comprehension and with writing clear and well-formed essays, paragraphs and short answers.



Frank James (math through Pre-Algebra and Math I)

Frank is a Chartered Financial Analyst who worked as a financial portfolio manager for 15 years.  Frank left the world of finance and obtained his teaching license for math, and now has a decade’s experience working with students.   He loves reading as well as math, and you can check out his full bio on our January newsletter and blog post.



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