Assets School’s Transforming Lives Center Helps Students & Families

Third grade teacher Edel Yamane's students find hands-on and multi-sensory learning activities fun and engaging.

by Linda Dela Cruz

If you notice your child is having some difficulty with school, you may want to have them assessed to see if there is anything you can do to improve their journey in school and in life.

The Transforming Lives Center is the first private school-based full resource center on Oahu to provide comprehensive assessments of students who may be struggling in a traditional school setting or facing academic challenges. Students from kindergarten through 12th grade can be evaluated whether they are from a public, private or charter school. “At TLC, we determine the appropriate testing based on the child’s presenting problems, as described by their parents and teachers, along with what the clinician observes during the evaluation,” explained Elsa Lee, Clinical Director at Assets School’s Transforming Lives Center.

Some of the early signs of learning differences include having a tough time remembering the alphabet or trouble with reading. Can your child rhyme? Perhaps they struggle with telling the time on analog clocks. Maybe your child finds math extremely difficult.

young child holding sign that says "Great Minds Don't Think Alike"
Great minds don’t think or learn alike; they challenge each other to think differently.

“Sometimes when a child is a struggling learner, it can manifest as adverse behaviors or emotional responses,” said Sandi Tadaki, Assets School’s Assistant Head of School and Admissions Director. “Keep your radar up and be on the lookout. Being able to recognize the signs in children, especially when they are really young, is so important because the earlier you can intervene, the earlier you can address it. The student can develop the appropriate skills they need to succeed. For those who are struggling readers, if that goes unnoticed, can take a toll on both the student and parents. When kids hurt, parents hurt.”

The Izuka family had their son assessed at the Transforming Lives Center. “It answers a lot of questions for us,” said father Kent Izuka. “We feel fortunate to have him evaluated to better understand his strengths and challenges appropriately.”

student attending counseling session
Dr. Elsa Lee, clinical director of the Transforming Lives Center, counsels a motivated and ambitious Assets School student.

After the test results are analyzed and explained to the parents, we can begin discussing options available to improve the child’s learning experience. “Another important goal of testing is to provide treatment recommendations and academic accommodations for the child who may need these elements to thrive,” said Lee. There are varying options that can help the student depending on the results of the assessment. Some of these solutions include tutoring, psychologists, medication, and finding the right school.

Assets School may be able to assist if your child has learning differences such as dyslexia – trouble with reading – or dyscalculia – trouble with math.

Assets School celebrates where the student is at in their educational journey and nurtures them where they need help by creating an individualized learning plan. With a typical 8-to-1 student-to-teacher ratio, students receive the help they need to succeed in school. Assets is the only private Kindergarten through 12th-grade school in Hawaii specializing in educating children with dyslexia, language-based learning differences, and those who are gifted.

Throughout Assets’ campuses, hands-on and multi-sensory teaching is emphasized and welcomed by students, teachers and parents. One popular example is at our K-8 campus, where students can learn math in a way that they will remember! Teachers take students to one of our full kitchen classrooms and use a pie pan or measuring cup to show fractions, in order to visually explain the use of numbers in the real-world. There are several similar classes in robotics, sports, still life drawings, sketchbook designs, cooking/baking, piano, and even a robotics class where students use Legos!

A unique initiative at the Assets High School level is the Mentorship Program, which lets students explore career options, build their resume, and learn business etiquette. Our 9th-grade students remain on campus during their Mentorship Wednesday. This year, they can choose between rocketry, robotics, blacksmithing, visual arts, East Asian art and crafts, journalism, or photography. Our 10th through 12th graders are either on or off-campus at places such as Mercedes-Benz, where students learn how to repair cars and get a peek at what it takes to run a service center at a high-end car dealership. Assets High School partners with over 400 off-campus Mentorship sites, with 70 active sites this year.

On average, 95% of our students are college-bound after graduation while about 5% are career bound. Assets School students go on to work as architects, attorneys, chefs, first responders, entertainers, health care workers, business owners, and many other successful and fulfilling careers.

The Transforming Lives Center opened in June 2022 at One Ohana Nui Way on the Assets School K-8 campus. Learn more about this incredible program. For more information about Assets School, come to an Open House!

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