Parent Education Series

Welcome! The Nora School Parent Education Series features experts in their fields talking about topics of particular interest to parents of high school students. Lectures appeal to parents, school and private professionals, and the wider community. Please feel free to forward this information on to your colleagues, school list serves and other parent resources. Free and open to the public, we hope to see you here. (And for additional events, helpful links, books and articles, feel free to peruse our Resources page. Click further below for Previous Speakers and Topics.)

2017-18 PARENT EDUCATION SERIES: See further below for descriptions

~ Mondays, October 2-23, 7:30 pm: Mindfulness for Parents
~ Wed., October 4, 7 pm: Executive Function: What it means, and Study Strategies to accommodate it.
With Catherine McCarthy, M.D., Kathy Essig, M.Ed., Debbie Rosen
~ Wed., December 6, 7 pm: College Planning for Bright Students who Think Differently.
With Lori Vise and Joan Wittan, The College Consulting Collaborative
~ Wed., January 31, 7 pm: Understanding Testing, Why it matters, and How to Utilize it for Study Strategies.
With Carey Heller, Psy.D., The Heller Psychology Group
~ Wed., February 28, 7 pm: Unleashing Potential: The Science and Sense of Giving Your Teens More Control Over Their Lives.
With William Stixrud, Ph.D. and Ned Johnson
~ Wed., March 7, 7 pm: Understanding Anxiety and Helping Support Your Teen.
With Jonathan Dalton, Ph.D.
~ Wed., April 25, 7 pm: The ADHD Freshman: Preparing Your Student for a Strong College Start NEWLY ADDED!
With Denise Bike, Ph.D., Sheryl Frank, Ph.D., and Daniel Kim, M.D.

RSVPs are strongly suggested, especially for weather-related decisions. To RSVP or for more information, email Marcia Miller at or call (301) 495-6672. Parking is free after 7 pm in the large public parking garage next door. (You may want to bring a quarter in order to park a few minutes ahead, as we begin promptly at 7:00 pm.)


Mindfulness for Parents
Managing Ourselves While Raising Our Kids

Autumn Session: October 2 – October 23, 2017
Mondays, 7:30 pm
David Mullen, M.Ed.
These Monday evening workshops for parents offer a variety of mindfulness techniques similar to what Nora students learn as part of our Mindfulness Curriculum. Free and open to the public, parents and guardians from Nora – and from the community – are invited to gain insights into “managing ourselves while raising kids.”
See our Mindfulness page for more information.

Executive Function: What it means, and Study Strategies to accommodate it.
With Catherine McCarthy, M.D., Kathy Essig, M.Ed., Debbie Rosen
~ Wed., October 4, 7 pm: Also known as Managing the “Management” of School, understanding why a student is disorganized with paperwork, or has difficulties managing time and deadlines, organizing their thoughts or simply can’t seem to “start” an essay, are all essential to understanding Executive Function, and how to better support your student at home and at school. Today, we understand that these bright students aren’t lacking motivation, but simply may be lacking internal skills. Neuroscience now corroborates that teen and young adult learners develop executive skills at vastly different times in their academic careers. Some students come by these skills early, and don’t need to ‘externalize’ the process. Others need support with developing strategies for success until the process becomes natural for them. (it will!) The continuum for brain maturation is natural and appropriate, but not forgiving to the student who has not internalized necessary skills to meet the demands of their school curriculum, especially as workload demands “amp up”. At this lecture, gain insights into how the brain works in its executive functioning, and ideas for supporting study strategies for your student.
Kathy Essig, M.Ed. and Debbie Rosen, Founding Partners, The StudyPro. Kathy and Debbie came together to fill a gap in the world of student learning. Seeing that many students were smart, but struggling to manage the “process” of school, they wanted to build a place where students gained mastery of the skills that were expected, but not fully taught in school. While tutoring support was readily available for kids who struggled with “content”, nowhere existed that focused exclusively on building competency in “Executive Function” skills such as time management, organization and/or how to prepare for tests. Kathy and Debbie have built The StudyPro to help students build “learned independence”, which means that students become self-directed learners, and, as a result, transfers the responsibility of success from parents, teachers and tutors to the student themselves. When students are smart, but aren’t feeling success, it is not uncommon for their lives overall to feel stressed. Kathy and Debbie’s shared passion is to help students take control of their learning and to become more effective by teaching them skills that apply well beyond the current challenges they face. The StudyPro also offers free monthly “Lunch and Learns” to educate parents on how to best support students who learn differently. For more information, please visit
Dr. Catherine McCarthy, Child, Adolescent and Adult Psychiatry. Catherine McCarthy, M.D. has been named as a “Top Doctor” by every Washingtonian Magazine “Top Doctors” issue since 2008. Based out of McLean, VA, Dr. McCarthy specializes in the treatment of ADHD, depression, and anxiety disorders, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Social Anxiety Disorder, and Panic Disorder in children and adolescents. She also has expertise in the treatment of learning and developmental disorders. In addition to her private practice, Dr. McCarthy has shared her expertise on live television, contributed articles to prominent magazines, and lectures regularly at schools throughout the Washington DC area to parents and students. She also provides lectures to the residents and fellows at Georgetown University and presents frequently at Children’s National Medical Center and National CHADD meetings.

College Planning for Bright Students who Think (and Learn) Differently.
With Lori Vise and Joan Wittan, The College Consulting Collaborative
~ Wed., December 6, 7 pm: Insights into how to identify colleges that “get your kid”, along with helpful tips on preparing your student’s “life skill readiness” for college will be shared. The presentation will include six essential skills for college success, what colleges are looking for, the types of accommodations and services that are available, your role in the college years, and finding the “right fit”.
The College Consulting Collaborative is a partnership of independent educational consultants who work with students with a wide variety of learning differences. They love the challenge of finding and building on the student’s strengths and maximizing their potential. They have expertise in language-based learning differences, GTLD students, ADHD, autism spectrum disorders, NLD, special education policies and procedures, accommodations and adaptations, promoting college readiness, assistive technology and adoption. Contact Joan Wittan, Sue Cook Christakos, Kyle Kane, and Lori Vise by visiting their website at

Getting the Most out of Testing, and Developing Related Study Strategies.
With Carey Heller, Psy.D.
~ Wed., January 31, 7 pm: Understanding why neuropsychological testing is recommended, how it works, and how it can truly help your student learn more effectively by utilizing their strengths will help you also work with your student and their school to develop strategies and accommodations for areas that need more supports.
Carey A. Heller, Psy.D. is a clinical psychologist and partner at The Heller Psychology Group LLC in Bethesda, Maryland. He provides psychotherapy and assessment services for children, adolescents, and young adults. Dr. Heller specializes in the evaluation of ADHD, learning disabilities, and comorbid mood/behavioral disorders. His psychotherapy specializations include: ADHD/executive functioning and Autism Spectrum Disorder. Dr. Heller also blends his assessment knowledge and expertise in treatment to provide an “Executive Functioning Boot Camp”, which is a two hour one-on-one session where he assists individuals in developing effective time management, organizational, and study skills. Follow up sessions to ensure follow through are also used. Furthermore, Dr. Heller has published several books, including one last fall related to his executive functioning boot camp: A Do-It-Yourselfer’s Guide to Time Management and Organizational Skills for Students of All Ages: A brief guide for children and teens with easy to implement strategies for success. Finally, he completed his doctorate in clinical psychology at The George Washington University.

Unleashing Potential: The Science and Sense of Giving Your Teens More Control Over Their Lives..
With William Stixrud, Ph.D. and Ned Johnson
~ Wed., February 28, 7 pm: We want our children to succeed, to be their best, and to do their best, but what if they are not on board? Are they feeling too much pressure? A few years ago, Ned Johnson and Bill Stixrud started noticing the same problem from different angles: Even high-performing kids were coming to them acutely stressed and lacking any real motivation. Many complained that they had no control over their lives. Some hit college and unraveled. Since a healthy motivation hinges on having a strong sense of control, how do you give your kids more control without giving up all authority as a parent? Both speakers have devoted their lives to coaching kids and together they’ve recently published a book on counterintuitive solutions to help kids unlock their full potential. They’ll be covering many of the points in this lecture, offering a combination of brain science, the latest discoveries in behavioral therapy, and concrete advice.
Ned Johnson runs PrepMatters, a tutoring service that teaches teens how to perform better on standardized tests. William Stixrud is a clinical neuropsychologist who helps patients suffering from ADHD, anxiety, and depression. Speaking on Motivation for several years together, their new book hits the shelves in February: The Self-Driven Child: The Science and Sense of Giving Your Kids More Control Over Their Lives.

Parenting the Anxious Teen: Counter-Intuitive Strategies for Easing Teen Anxiety.
With Jonathan Dalton Ph.D., The Center for Anxiety and Behavioral Change
~ Wed., March 7, 7 pm: For parents of high schoolers with anxiety, the need for practical, yet sometimes counter-intuitive evidence-based skills and techniques is essential to help their teens experience less anxiety and develop greater tolerance for emotional distress. Specific topics include why anxiety and avoidance are teammates, how to teach specific coping skills to your children, which types of positive reinforcement should be used to decrease anxiety, and when active ignoring of anxious behavior is the best method to decrease the child’s experience of anxiety.
Dr. Dalton Ph.D., founded the Center for Anxiety and Behavioral Change (CABC) in Rockville, MD. Dr. Dalton served as director of the school refusal, social phobia, and group treatment programs at the Behavior Therapy Center of Greater Washington. He received his doctorate in clinical psychology from Fordham University with a specialization in child and family psychology. He completed two years of pre-doctoral training at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine – Kennedy Krieger Institute, and advanced postdoctoral training at the Maryland Center for Anxiety Disorders at the University of Maryland. He specializes in the treatment of pediatric anxiety disorders, including anxiety-based school refusal. He is also a published author and frequently lectures on the treatment of anxiety disorders and school refusal.

The ADHD Freshman: Preparing Your Student for a Strong College Start
With Denise Bike, Ph.D., Sheryl Frank, Ph.D., and Daniel Kim, M.D.
~ Wed., April 25, 7 pm: Join this panel for tips in avoiding the common traps that can derail a student with ADHD in their first year in college. For parents, finding the balance between hovering and hands-off, deciding when and how to graduate psychiatric care from the pediatrician to a psychiatrist specializing in adult ADHD, and managing the shift to a parent-young adult relationship will be covered. Preparing and supporting the student will be covered as well, such as life skills in managing time, keeping life organized, building strong relationships (with peers and professors), coordinating support services on campus, and taking over self-care (from doing laundry to medication management). Join us for practical information, specific tips, and time for Q&A with the panelists.
Sheryl Frank, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist in private practice, specializing in ADHD, learning problems, and processing disorders. She provides services to children, teens, and adults—including parent consultations. Her collaborative approach focuses on enhancing strengths to make positive and lasting change. Dr. Frank has coordinated the lecture series for the CHADD group of Montgomery County and has provided lectures to parents of children with ADHD and social workers in the child welfare system. Dr. Frank is a member of the American Psychological Association, Maryland Psychological Association, and CHADD (Children and Adolescents with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder).
Daniel Kim, M.D., has been a psychiatrist treating people with ADHD and co-occurring conditions since 2006 and board certified in adult psychiatry since 2008. He began his practice in Baltimore, Maryland, and recently joined The Woodmont Psychiatric Group in Bethesda. Since completion of his residency training, Dr. Kim has worked in a variety of treatment settings including inpatient, outpatient, and partial hospital programs. Prior to joining the Woodmont Psychiatric Group, he worked at New York Presbyterian Hospital, the Sheppard Pratt Health System, and provided private outpatient practices.
Denise Bike, Ph.D., is a counseling psychologist in private practice specializing in ADHD. As a college professor teaching undergraduates earlier in her career, she observed firsthand the difficulties twice exceptional students often experience transitioning to college and designed her annual summer College Prep Bootcamp class to meet those needs. Dr. Bike is on the Board of the Maryland Psychological Association and is a member of the American Professional Society of ADHD and Related Disorders (APSARD), and CHADD (Children and Adolescents with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder).

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Additional Speakers and Topics

Academics: Executive Functioning, Study Strategies, College Planning

Relationships: Teens, Motivation, Boundaries, ADHD, Anxiety

Technology, Teens and Families

Sparking Teen Motivation

Practical lessons from Affective Neuroscience, with Rebecca Resnik, Psy.D.

Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction for Parents of Teens
David Mullen, M.Ed.
(Fall 2014, Monday evenings, September 29-November 3)

Understanding Anxiety, ADHD and the Teenage Brain
Erin D. Berman Ph.D., National Institute of Mental Health
(Wednesday, November 12, 2014)

College Planning and Preparation for Students Who Learn Differently
The College Consulting Collaborative
(Wednesday, December 3, 2014)

Teen Stress, Self-Propelled Motivation and the Human Brain
William Stixrud and Ned Johnson, A Sense of Control
See Front Page of Website for link to video.
(Wednesday, February 11, 2014)

Helping the Anxious Teen: Counter-Intuitive Strategies
Jonathan Dalton Ph.D., The Center for Anxiety and Behavioral Change
(Wednesday, March 18, 2014)

Talking Points with Your Teen: ADHD, Communicating and Setting Family Boundaries
Janette Patterson, MSW, LCMFT
(Wednesday, January 21, 2014 (rescheduled to April 2014)

All talks are:
~ Free and open to the public, RSVPs are strongly encouraged;
~ Held in the Main Hall of The Nora School;
~ Free parking is available in the Fenton Street Garage next to the school;
~ Directions can be found on our website.
Reservations Strongly Suggested:
Email Marcia Miller at or call (301) 495-6672. By RSVP-ing, you will be notified by email if there are any last-minute changes or weather cancellations.

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