Institute on Executive Functioning Back to School Newsletter Fall 2021

Institute on Executive Functioning Back to School Newsletter Fall 2021

We appreciate you and want you to be among the first to receive our Back – to – School Newsletter.  As August approached, we were all just getting accustomed to the return of face – to – face instruction and not having to wear masks if vaccinated.  Once again, however, we are now in a time of wondering what the 2021-2022 academic year will bring. While there is a lot we have no control over, we want you to know that we have continued working to further our mission of giving all students help in their executive function growth.  We know that stress impedes executive function growth, and our students and children have experienced a lot of uncertainty since Spring 2020. Learning loss has occurred, and we are dedicated to developing and providing strategies and other resources to aid students in their learning recovery.  Administrators, faculty, and staff members have worked diligently under less than satisfactory conditions making it even more difficult to reach all students’ needs. It is more imperative than ever that we work together with families to make certain students are ready to learn. 

We are redesigning our website to address all members of the learning community, administrators, faculty and staff, students, and parents so that we all recognize the role of executive functioning in whatever situation we find ourselves in this academic year.  We will have sections for each group and hopefully make it more streamlined for finding the resources you need.

Are your students ready to learn?  If not, please, allow them time to improve their executive function skills through their use of explicitly taught executive function strategies.  Does this sound like it would take precious time from academic skills?  It will take some time, but the research shows that the time is well spent.  Teachers often use a lot of instructional time reminding students to pay attention, wait to be recognized before speaking, repeating instructions, etc.  Students with improved executive function skills spend more time on task and achieve at a higher level.  In our train the trainer model, teachers can provide methods to follow to their teammates.

We want to share with you our professional development plans for the coming academic year. 

We plan to conduct interactive in person training around the country as well as virtual workshops.  Please, contact us if your school system, school, or program would like to attend or have us provide onsite training in your area. If you are designing your own workshops, you may be interested in our 4 executive functioning videos addressing executive functions in general, in working memory, in attending, initiating, and focusing and in prioritizing, sequencing, time management, organization and planning.  Because of the American Rescue Plan (ARP) IDEA funding targeted to help students with disabilities and ESSA funding for all students is being made available.  At least 20% will be used to address learning loss.  In addition to students with disabilities, students targeted are those living in poverty, are homeless or living with foster parents, students for whom English is a second language, boosting students’ mental health, and improving learning of students from ethnic and racial minorities. Most schools and classrooms will benefit from the expenditure from these funds;  make certain your students’ needs are being met by expressing their needs.  If you feel our workshops or resources would be valuable to reduce learning loss or address issues noted above, let the decision-makers know what you need and how it will address these issues. 

In terms of resources, we also have our new My Planner coming out this Fall.  We have used it in paper form over the years, but we were able to redo it with Google Sheets to be used online.  This planner will be helpful for students in upper elementary, middle school, high school, and post – secondary school.  It combines assignment completion with planning, time management, self-monitoring, metacognitive strategies, etc. in an easy – to – use online tool.

We are here to help, so please, let us know what we can do.  If you are looking for a resource to improve executive function growth not currently on our website, email us and we will respond with what we find. 

Before we go, please join us in congratulating one of our co-directors, Val Sharpe, on the prestigious award she received this summer.  See a photo on our website and a brief write-up below.

The Institute on Executive Functioning (IEF) congratulates Co-Director Val Sharpe for a special honor.  Val is recipient of the 2021 distinguished Alumni Award from Hood College in Frederick, MD.  Val received her award June 11 during her virtual class reunion.  We are so proud of you, Val! So many students’ teachers’ and parents’ lives are better because of you.  Val is pictured with her daughter Kristy, also a Hood alumna (2009), who, along with her family and Val’s husband were with her in person for the award.  Val was also joined virtually by her daughter, Kelly and her family of Fort Lauderdale, FL and many additional family, colleagues, former students, and friends. See Val’s biography in the About Us section of

Whether you are starting back to school in August or September, we will be thinking of you. 


Roberta Strosnider and Val Sharpe, Co – Directors, Institute on Executive Functioning