Executive Function Strategies Blog

Jackie Hebert

Jackie Hebert is the Director of Marketing and Communications for Beyond BookSmart. Whether it's managing our website, posting on our social media, authoring and editing blog articles, or creating presentations, Jackie oversees all internal and external communications at Beyond BookSmart. Before joining Beyond BookSmart in 2010, Jackie was a Speech-Language Pathologist at Needham High School. She earned her Master's degree in Speech-Language Pathology from Boston University, and her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from University of Massachusetts, Amherst. In addition to her work as Director of Communications, Jackie is an Executive Function Coach for Beyond BookSmart and leads presentations for parent groups throughout Massachusetts. Additionally, Jackie manages the company blog content through editing submissions, writing articles, and collaborating with professionals from outside Beyond BookSmart. She also creates video content and is our webmaster. 

Recent Posts by Jackie Hebert:

The Anxious Middle Schooler: An Executive Function Connection

Middle school. For some of us, those three syllables can elicit chills of recalling social slights, embarrassing faux pas, and other growing pains of adolescence. Decades later, things haven’t changed much. In fact, it’s still about lunchtime and who you manage to sit near. As if that whole scene isn’t stressful enough, add in Executive Function challenges for a 6th, 7th, or 8th grader and you can see why kids this age can be a ball of anxiety. Heck, elementary school was a piece of cake compared to this new setting. Now they’ve got all these different teachers who talk so fast and seem to expect you to just know how to do stuff like take notes and reach out for extra help. Let’s follow a student who is having a tough time in middle school and see how some Executive Function tools might help calm the stormy seas a bit.



Scattered & Late? The (very real) Cost of Ineffective Habits in Adults

Almost everyone has a picture in their head of how their lives should run. It typically goes something like this: Your living space is orderly and tidy, with carefully chosen containers and efficient ways to house your belongings. Last minute guests? No biggie. Your place always looks ready to entertain friends and family. Your finances are in good order and you live within your means, making wise choices about how you spend your hard-earned money. You monitor your bills and make sure every charge is legitimate and every payment is on time. You are on top of your schedule and never need to rush out the door.  And - hey look! - there are your keys/wallet/purse/phone in a dedicated space where they are always waiting for you to you grab on your way out.

OK, so this is just a fantasy, right?



Why Smart Kids Can Struggle in School

The first part of the school year is almost in the record books, and already you see the writing on the wall. Your bright, funny, curious child brought home a backpack crammed with crumpled worksheets, last week’s hummus snack, and teacher comments that were less than stellar. You know she can do better. Her teachers know she can do better. Your child wants to do well - but is at a loss as to how. She thinks, “I guess I’m not so smart, after all.” But succeeding at school is not all about pure intellect, or IQ. Rather, skills of self-management, or Executive Function skills, are the key to consistent academic achievement. Smart kids can struggle in school when they don’t have tools and strategies to manage their academic demands. 



The Anxious Elementary Student: An Executive Function Connection

Students in elementary school often have good reason to feel anxious. Whether it’s taking tests in class, handling unexpected changes in a schedule, or remembering to take their materials home or to school, young students have a number of daily demands that require using their Executive Function skills. And because those very skills are still developing in their brains, elementary-aged kids won’t always be able to cope with their daily challenges without a little guidance from the adults in their lives. Here are a couple of scenarios that illustrate the connection between a student’s anxiety and gaps in their Executive Function development - and ways that parents can help bridge those gaps to build skills in their children.