September Newsletter: Imposter Syndrome, Academy After Hours, and Scheduling Night

Dear Central Academy families and students,

One of our goals at Central Academy this year is to leverage and amplify all students’ capacity for their own autonomous learning.  We want to help students increase their ability to accurately estimate their performance, describe their progress, and learn how to work collaboratively with other students to help each other move their work to the next level.

One important component of this work is to recognize when students are showing signs of being overwhelmed which often manifests as either procrastination and/or feeling like a fraud. In mid-September and early October, many Central Academy students start to feel a bit overwhelmed.  Our most successful older students generally respond by developing a time management plan and working within peer networks to establish study groups.  But younger students and those new to the Academy may not yet have those skills. They may put off getting started on a major project until the night before and stay up late or skip meals to get work done. This isn’t healthy.

Parents can play an important role in helping students make the transition to accelerated and compacted curricula at Academy.  Below are three articles that describe ‘imposter syndrome’, a common cause of procrastination or other unhealthy behaviors.   Students who are suffering Imposter Syndrome worry that at any moment someone will discover that there has been a terrible mistake and they shouldn’t be at the Academy.  It feeds the procrastination behavior.  Sometimes students will complete work and never turn it in for fear they will be ‘found out’ because they believe it is just not good enough.  It may surprise them how many students at Academy feel that way from time to time. So if you, as a parent, notice procrastination behavior in your child, staying up late to finish work, skipping meals, not turning in completed work, etc., talk to them about how they are feeling. If they are suffering Imposter Syndrome, the third article offers some things to say to help them change their thinking.

The Curious Case of Imposter Syndrome:

Imposter Syndrome: Feeling Like a Fraud:

We Only Get Stronger when it’s Difficult:

Secondly, students may need help developing time management skills. Starting next week (9/26) we will be hosting Academy After Hours every Tuesday from 2:30 – 4:30.  Attending these sessions help students work a little at a time on their assignments and begin to develop the time management skills they need.  During After Hours students can use school computers to work on assignments, join student groups, form study groups, consult with teachers, and develop working relationships with teachers and students at Academy.  We provide free popcorn to those who choose to stay.  There is a late bus that will shuttle students back to any DMPS middle or high school– they just have to sign up for the bus when they get their popcorn. Students are welcome to stay for Afters Hours as it fits their schedule.  Students are not required to stay the entire time, for example.  Sometimes parents pick up students on their way home from work at 4:00 or 4:15. Unfortunately, for those students who only attend Academy in the morning, their are no buses available after school to pick students up from home schools and return them to Academy for After Hours.

Finally, if you were not able to attend the Parent Academy meeting last week, our two presenters allowed us to video tape their presentations.

Bringing Awareness to Mental Health of Gifted Adolescents:

DMACC Associates’ Degrees for High School Students:


NEW!  October 3: Scheduling Night

​Des Moines Public Schools is working hard to provide High School Schedules that better reflect student interests and choices.  So, we have moved up the time when students begin thinking about the courses they would like to take next year.  Our counselor has begun meeting with currently enrolled students on their course requests for 2018-2019 school year.

On October 3rd from 6 – 7 PM, our counselor, Kris Hilton, will have a Parents’ Scheduling Night.  She will explain the scheduling process and describe course offerings at Academy. She will also take questions. We will record the event if October 3rd does not fit into your schedule.   It will be held in the Main Lobby at Academy.

October 12 & 17: Parent Teacher Conferences Discuss your child’s progress in Academy classes with teachers between 3:30 – 7:30 each night.

November 14: Unity through Diversity Student Political Forum.

A student-conceived and student-led civil discussion of important political topics from the entire spectrum of views. Student panelists, representing a range of conservative to liberal views, will discuss important topics of our day with the support of their student research teams and moderated by a student moderator.

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