Who We Help


Tim’s school bent as much as they could, but he was simply a poor fit for their academic and social model. Teachers and administrators alike described him as difficult, sarcastic and averse to following rules. Even other students had begun to avoid him and, as a result, he began retreating further and further into a safe haven built of computer games and comics. His grades fell precipitously as he seemed simply not to care. Faced with a lack of school options, his family began researching strategies to address his classroom behavior, get him reinvigorated about learning, and help him become more self-confident.  They understood that there were boarding schools that could address these issues, but Tim didn’t want to leave home, nor did they want him to go. In addition, he had finally developed a trusting relationship with a psychotherapist and everybody felt that work should continue.

In seeking out alternative schooling options, his family consulted both an educational consultant and the headmaster of a Manhattan-based independent school they were interested in having Tim attend. The headmaster suggested that Tim spend a year at Individual U. where he could work one-on-one in his areas of academic difficulty as well as build important social relationships with a group of mentors. Beyond this, the headmaster, who was well familiar with Individual U., was willing to grant credit through his school for the year of homeschooling facilitated by Individual U.

After his Eye to IU intake, Individual U. created a program that allowed Tim to complete a homeschooled year following the 8th grade curriculum for the school where he was provisionally accepted for 9th grade. In addition to covering the school’s 8th grade subject material, the program included embedded explorations of select pieces of literature (to gain a broad sense of social awareness), executive function skills (to increase his understanding of his learning process), Tai Chi Chuan (to increase his self-confidence) and Argentine tango (to help raise his comfort level in social situations). A feedback system was also created to give him a clear sense regarding how he was behaving during his mentoring sessions.

Tim’s full time yearlong program began in September and he soon found himself working successfully through his intended school’s 8th grade curriculum.  What’s more, inspired by the creative and interesting explorations that formed the heart of his mentoring program, he developed an even stronger interest in creative writing and science. He also developed grade appropriate skills in expository writing, which had previously been one of his more difficult subjects. In addition, he benefited a great deal from his work in Tai Chi, a discipline that helped him remain calm and work through the many social situations that had previously caused him a great deal of stress. But above all, his progress with tango was perhaps the greatest surprise of the year. He showed an astute ability to pick up on the nuances of the dance form and was fascinated by its musicality and rhythm.

At the end of the year, he was given extensive final exams and accorded himself extremely well. Dr. Rudin in turn informed the school’s headmaster that he felt Tim was fully prepared for the coming 9th grade and would not require any additional Individual U. mentoring during the summer. Tim attended a summer activities camp where he was reportedly successful in all of his endeavors. He followed this by having a very successful 9th grade in his new school where be became known for his outwardly friendly social manner and willingness to befriend new students. As a result, he was named a school ambassador and tour guide.