Beyond BookSmart

Although students in Beyond BookSmart’s program work with the material they’re learning in school, they work with coaches, not tutors. That’s because Beyond BookSmart is not a tutoring service: instead, they offer executive functioning coaching.

Executive functioning skills are self-management skills like time management, planning or problem solving that help people work toward goals. By focusing on developing executive functioning skills rather than the material, students can build a foundation that will benefit them across all other areas of their lives, not just school.

“Tutors work with students on specific subject matter, but executive coaches work with them on the skills and strategies that apply to all their classes,” Rose Saluti of Beyond BookSmart said. “When students can strengthen their executive functioning skills, they take control over their own learning and become more confident and independent.”

Saluti also stressed how important it is for a student to have the right tools for them. Their database includes over 375 well-researched tools and strategies for executive functioning skills, but finding the right ones is a more complicated matter than going down the list and crossing off what doesn’t work.

“Our coaches are trained in an evidence-based model of behavior change that identifies a student’s mindset and applies tools that are specifically tailored to the student’s needs,” Saluti said.

Beyond BookSmart works with students of all ability levels, including those who have attention disorders or other learning differences. Most coaches are certified special education teachers, speech and language pathologists, school psychologists and administrators. All coaches have Master’s degrees or higher, and experience working one-on-one with students.

“When coaches and students first begin working together, students are given a lot of support. But as they progress through coaching, they build the skillset, accountability and confidence that allows them to achieve independence,” Saluti explained. “Executive coaches apply our four-step Transformative Model; Reach, Teach, Reflect and Release; to accomplish that independence.”

Coaches begin by reaching and connecting with students to gain an understanding of their strengths and challenges, and then teach them tools tailored to their strengths that address those challenges. Then, as students work with the tools and skills they develop, their coach encourages them to reflect on their results. Reflection encourages students to take ownership of their new habits, which promotes confidence and independence.

Coaches apply the four-step process to help students in elementary school through college, and even adults who need help developing executive function skills to be successful in the workplace. For more information about Beyond Booksmart, visit their website or check out their new book: “Your Kid’s Gonna Be Okay.”

 Your Kid's Gonna Be Okay: A Guide to Raising Confident and Competent Kids
Lori Sacalis