Debra S.

West Chester, PA


Writing, College Prep, Differences, & Career Success

20+ Hours
5.0 average from 7 ratings
— Graham, Downingtown, PA on 7/8/15


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Penn State University


Penn State University (Journalism)

About Debra

School success depends upon a number of factors...your child's age/grade, his/her individual needs, evaluating existing supports, effective educational plans and strategies, and if college is the goal, understanding the planning and preparation process and the steps involved for students and their parents. My key areas of focus include:

Writing -- one of the most important school and life skills, yet many students struggle with the process. Whether a research paper or a college application essay, being able to express thoughts and ideas clearly, creatively, and logically will be our focus. Showing a teen that writing can be fun as well as having a function often kick-starts a reluctant writer to strengthen their abilities.

College preparation and transition -- admissions, financial aid, college search and selection (finding the right "fit"), college applications and portfolios, and the ever-important college essay...we'll focus on the areas of the process needing support and guidance. The planning process also requires parents to handle a number of things before, during, and after college begins and we'll address these as well. And if college accommodations, self-advocacy, and securing additional supports may be areas of need, we'll also cover these aspects of the transition process.

Organizational skills -- often referred to as "executive function" skills -- are often a huge stumbling block to school success. Lost papers, homework and reports never submitted, assignments and projects completed hours before they're due -- sound familiar? From organizing subjects to learning how to plan for long-term assignments, there are strategies and tools to help with organizing and planning, two key areas where many students struggle.

Special needs -- many bright and capable students learn differently. If your child or teen has been diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorders (including Asperger's Syndrome), ADHD, learning differences, or mental health issues and has been struggling in school, understanding the basis for their needs and developing new ways to support them in school and at home can help capitalize on their strengths. For parents whose children/teens fall into this area, reviewing key educational documents and partnering with you to evaluate gaps and develop school strategies is an essential aspect of the broad coaching process.

Adults -- as a former HR Director and coach to executives and business leaders, together we can work on resume and cover letter preparation, interview skills, speaking strategies, executive function skills, advocacy strategies for hidden disabilities in the workplace, and work/life coaching.

If you're a parent, my role is to partner with you and your child to develop a fluid coaching relationship so that your child/teen can build skills and increase their confidence and competence. School is their job and we know what happens when you're unable to deliver the expected results. We can change that.

If you're a young adult in college or an adult in the workforce, my role is to assess your strengths and strengthen your areas of need while focusing on your future goals and plans.
School success depends upon a number of factors...your child's age/grade, his/her individual needs, evaluating existing supports, effective educational plans and strategies, and if college is the goal, understanding the planning and preparation process and the steps involved for students and their parents. My key areas of focus include:
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24 hours notice required
Travel Radius
Travels within 25 miles of West Chester, PA 19382


- Graham, Downingtown, PA on 7/8/15

"Great tutor worked very well with the student"

- Jay, Exton, PA on 1/19/12
ACT Reading, English, Grammar, Public Speaking,
SAT Writing, Vocabulary, Writing
Test Preparation:
ACT Reading, Career Development,
College Counseling,
SAT Writing
Elementary Education:
Grammar, Study Skills,

Approved subjects are in bold.

Approved subjects

In most cases, tutors gain approval in a subject by passing a proficiency exam. For some subject areas, like music and art, tutors submit written requests to demonstrate their proficiency to potential students. If a tutor is interested but not yet approved in a subject, the subject will appear in non-bold font. Tutors need to be approved in a subject prior to beginning lessons.


My work with children, teens, and college students with ADD/ADHD includes ensuring school accommodations are in place and being implemented, and working on organizational and study strategies which are key areas for school success. These executive function skills are critical for work completion, meeting deadlines, planning, breaking assignments into manageable sections, and time management.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Along with broad and deep expertise in Autism Spectrum Disorders, my specialization is in Asperger's Syndrome, having supported students as a coach and their parents as an advisor and advocate for 20+ years. This includes collaborating with educators, clinicians, and therapists as well as developing educational plans to meet the unique learning needs of these students. Advanced training in diverse learning styles, IEPs/504s, evaluations, behavior, social skills, and executive functioning.

Career Development

From working with high school and college students to coaching professionals in the workplace, my work includes conducting interest inventories, assessing areas of strength and need, evaluating job "fit," and developing the skills needed for employment success including resume preparation, interviewing skills, performance reviews, and team effectiveness.

For high school students, this includes assisting with the college preparation process and working with college students as an adjunct to their career services department so that post-secondary education choices meet each student's anticipated career goals.

College Counseling

Working with high school students on preparing for the transition to college is the main focus and includes college selection, evaluation, applications, and writing essays. My work includes providing 1:1 support to college students who may need assistance with study skills and navigating the college environment.

I co-developed and facilitated a "Life After High School" program for 9th-12th grade students that focused on college transition as well as resume preparation and interviewing skills, and developed and conducted a two-week college prep course held in the summer of 2016 at a major university.

Additionally, I work with students and their parents as they make decisions and choices regarding the college process including if the student has received special education services in school.


Prior to my transition into education, my professional work focused on marketing communications. This included developing strategic marketing plans, creating marketing programs including collaborating with advertising agencies, handling marketing outreach including public relations, and spearheading the external marketing efforts for businesses ranging from Fortune 50 companies to small businesses.

My familiarity with social media and related current marketing approaches and strategies is strong as are my writing and overall business skills.

Public Speaking

My experience in public speaking and training is diverse and includes addressing small groups and large conferences in the business and education arenas. I have developed curricula and programs and can teach/coach on the strategies for successful public presentations no matter their size or purpose.

Special Needs

For the past 10+ years, my private practice has focused exclusively on working with parents and students with special learning needs. This includes autism spectrum disorders, ADD/ADHD, learning disabilities, and behavioral/emotional issues. I have advanced training in these areas as well as areas including IEPs, 504s, behavioral interventions, inclusion, and transition planning.

Study Skills

My work has included developing strategies and tools to help students from elementary school through college with study skills. Whether using a computer program such as "Inspiration" to help with brainstorming, creating visual models to assist with the writing process, or helping students purchase and utilize organizational tools that help them tackle studying, understanding what part/s of the studying process (e.g. memorization) is creating the greatest difficulty is essential to building competence in this/these areas.


Few skills are as important as writing. Whether a high school research paper or a college admissions essay, being able to convey information, ideas, opinions, and thoughts using solid grammar, strong vocabulary, and sentences and paragraphs that flow from beginning to end are core elements of the writing process.

Developing writing skills takes practice and making writing less of a chore and more enjoyable is possible. While texting and Facebook may be today's norm, students need to truly know how to write in order to be successful in school, college, and employment. Together we'll work on writing, whether creative or otherwise, to strengthen skills in this area.

Whether in a journal or blog, start to write. You'll be amazed by what you have to say.

Penn State University


Penn State University (Journalism)


Debra has demonstrated invaluable knowledge of the IEP process and suggestions about how we ought to proceed which we wouldn't have known otherwise.

— Graham, Downingtown, PA on 7/8/15

Hourly rate

Standard Hourly Rate: $85.00

Cancellation: 24 hours notice required

Travel policy

Debra will travel within 25 miles of West Chester, PA 19382.