Teen & adult clients reflect about coaching:

Energetic, creative, happy, friendly, thoughtful, fun, compassionate, understanding, encouraging, chill, caring, goofy, positive, happy, cozy, smart, patient, hardworking, helpful.”

~ 9th-12th grade clients, when asked to describe Gretchen in 3 words.

The way I used to study for tests was boring and repetitive. Gretchen has taught me different techniques I can use to manipulate the information better…ways I’d never thought of before. Now studying takes about the same amount of time as it used to, but it feels easier, more effective, and more interesting.”

~ Elsa, high school junior

When we starting seeing each, I was scrambling to understand myself. It was hard to get an ADHD diagnosis when I was a junior. I’m definitely doing better. What is most helpful is when we made a calendar of every week and the assignments I would tackle every day. Even if I didn’t necessarily get to everything, it was a good visual to see everything that I had to do. It helped me really pay attention. Now I’m taking a moment each day to talk to myself: What do I have for today, what do I have for this week, is there anything in the future week that I’m required to start now. Now I try to be mindful of what I have to do. Even though I still procrastinate, I’m getting better. Having a calendar of your schedule really helps.”

~ Mary, a high school senior who has been seeing me for two years to learn how to cope with ADHD

It’s a lot better working with Gretchen than with my parents!”

~ Jake, high school sophomore, who sought me to help get him out of a pile of late work that was ruining his grades

Gretchen has been a guiding light through a dark tunnel of school trauma that started back in high school and resurfaced as soon as I entered grad school: overwhelming anxiety of not being good enough, fear of failure, compulsively comparing myself to others, and more. I was also shocked to realize that somehow I made it through college without ever learning how to study Not only did Gretchen help me feel confident in my ability to succeed as a graduate school student, she showed me how studying can actually be fun! I was surprised that her support impacted all parts of my life, including my romantic relationship, my daily habits, and my work life. Gretchen is clearly not just an academic coach, but a life coach as well. I am now in my second year of graduate school while also working a full-time job and soon to be starting an internship. I wouldn’t be able to manage my hectic schedule AND still be an “A” student if it weren’t for Gretchen!

~ Alison, graduate student

At first, I was embarrassed that I needed somebody to teach me how to get things done. But I found that I was learning techniques that I could apply to school and to life. I also found that coaching sessions relieved my stress because being aware of my commitments made me feel more in control.”

~ Niamh, high school “junior” who transferred out of a traditional academic setting as a result of her work with Gretchen.

I’ve been focusing really well in college, and I still use the binder system you showed me, which helps a lot!”

~ Daija, currently a college freshman, who worked with Gretchen her junior and senior year to up her academic game and get into her dream college (which she did!)

The thing that sets Gretchen apart from the other tutors that I had seen was that she never once told me ‘This is something you should be doing.’ She always worked with me to find solutions that I would find exciting and doable. She understands that not all students have the same schedules and study habits. Gretchen didn’t impose her organizational habits on me, she helped me to develop my own that I found enjoyable and useful.”

~ Mary, client from 11th grade through junior year in college

During my six years with Gretchen, she has taught me academic techniques like essay writing, test prep, and vocab memorizing. Not only is Gretchen good at academics, she is also a good friend. She is there in times of struggles and she is always there to support you in any way possible. At the beginning of my high school career, I never thought I could get into a university because of my learning differences. But with Gretchen’s help, I’m going to my dream four year university where I get taught great academics and also get to pursue my passion of becoming a head chef and owning my own restaurant.”

~ Connor, 12th grader with a complex set of learning differences who has been with Gretchen since middle school

Gretchen teaches you how to not be “I don’t wanna!!!” and instead to be “This might be fun!!”

~ Francesca, 6th grader

Gretchen, I wanted to thank you for being my academic coach these past few years! You have truly touched me and have changed the ways that I see homework and organizational skills and planning. Not only are you a great coach but also a great friend. I know that we will continue to stay in touch even when I am in college. You have definitely touched my life!”

~ Maya, college sophomore who has been with Gretchen for 4 years

I’ve been able to set realistic timelines and actually get things done! You give me good feedback as to whether I’m on the right track and good advice when I’m not sure what I’m doing.”

~ Stephanie, PhD Student

Gretchen helped me tease out my ideas, order them, and articulate them in ways that were clear and concise. Oh, and I finished my thesis!!!”

~Katherine,  M.A. in Art and Religion

 As a result of coaching, I’m more organized, and better at planning. When I put down what to do on a schedule, it’s usually not scary; it’s calming. Now I actually follow through with plans. The process of talking things out with a coach is really helpful. Also, what I learned from the Anti-Boring Approach was helpful, especially the study senses. Before I would just take notes and study off of those; now I draw a bunch of different pictures, and talk to myself, and teach myself the information.”

~ Mel, high school junior who sought Gretchen out to help his stress level at a rigorous independent school

In a very short time you have become an important part of my survival and growth, giving me a safe place to open up, share my love and go with my creative side. Words can not thank you enough or describe you in a just way.

~ Al, InterPlay Class Participant

Just wanted you to know that our last Skype session was extremely productive. Yesterday I got a f@!* ton done. (The profanity linguists will note that f@!* ton is >> a sh*t load). Today while I don’t feel as excited to do homework, I am at least somewhat more motivated, and the incentive is there. Thanks for all the help!”

~ Jordan, a 24-year-old college senior with ADHD

I like the chart that Gretchen had me fill out for final exam studying. Normally, I would have just studied in the order that I had to take the exams. But planning Gretchen’s way, I could easily see that there are some topics that I need to study more than others, even though their final exams come later. This is really helpful!”

~ Ben, a high school sophomore learning how to plan for the first time

Thanks to coaching, I’ve gotten to be a better studier, and I’ve especially been a better organizer of stuff and my time.  Before I never studied because I had no idea what I was doing. Now I have specific things I can do, like interesting ways to use flashcards. If I were talking to a high school student considering coaching, I’d say, ‘It sounds lame but you definitely want to do it. If you just do the stuff Gretchen suggests, you’ll find out it gets easier, more natural, and you’ll do it without thinking about it. And your grades will go up.'”

~ Nathan, a high school sophomore excited to transfer to a new school with his new-found skills

Parents & family members reflect about coaching:

Wow! Gretchen, I have to tell you: I have been so impressed in the past month or so with the energy my son brings to his school assignments.  A year ago, to be honest, I was wondering if he could be ready for college.  Now I’m sure he will be. He is certainly not the world’s most organized scholar, but I’m convinced that you’ve made an important difference in his life that will be with him for all his days.  I am very grateful.”

~ Ann, mother of a high school senior who has seen Gretchen since he was a junior

My son and I are thrilled with his final grades. He is very proud of himself and rightly so, as he proactively took the right steps to ensure success this semester. Thank you for all of your support; he couldn’t have done it without you! You saved our family’s  sanity.   My son will never be a scholar, but now he knows what success feels like – a weight lifted.

~ Donna, mother of a sophomore in high school

Thanks for everything, Gretchen. My son is doing a lot better all around and your work has been a significant part of his improvement.

~ Deedee, mother of a high school sophomore who needed help balancing school work with his performance life

You really help to keep my daughter accountable.  She has definitely grown into a wonderful young woman.  She and I also have a warm and loving relationship which we would not have if I had tried to “help” her myself with all her issues. I know she would agree that it is nice having me as her Mother and not as her Drill Sergeant, so I thank you for that especially.  I know she still has the same problems but she recognizes them and tries to figure out ways to help herself, which is HUGE.”

~ Kathleen, mother of a college junior who has been seeing Gretchen since she was a junior in high school.

My daughter seems to be genuinely enjoying her work more, and she feels a sense of accomplishment with the positive results! I want to thank you for assisting her in making some very positive changes in such a short time.”

~ Chek, father of a 7th grader who has been working with Gretchen for two months

Thank you again for helping my son get back on track after a non-productive start in college. We came to you after he left his state university and enrolled in a community college. I wanted to update you that he has now completed 60 units, receiving A’s in all but one of his classes.  He will finish off college at an acclaimed UC school in their linguistics program.  He will also be leaving for Beijing, China in two weeks, where he has a 3 month internship teaching English.  He is very excited about this opportunity.   My wife and I are very proud of his accomplishments and hard work these past 18 months.

~ William, parent of a college student who failed out of his first semesters in college

Gretchen changed our lives. Before we met her our home life was spent working with my son every evening on his homework. He was frustrated and we were frustrated! She instantly connected with him academically and personally. He is extremely motivated but has a learning disability, which got in his way of comprehending the homework and classwork. With Gretchen’s coaching, he learned how to study differently, to use new tools and to be successful in learning, and once again to feel confident. Twice a week Gretchen provides academic coaching sessions for him, using charts to track his progress and grades, as well as any upcoming projects and assignments. Using Skype (which is great! No more schlepping!) to connect and communicate with, has been easy. Connor has all his textbooks and materials at his fingertips. I used many tutors and programs previously, Linda Mood Bell, Komen and Sylvan, none of them provided the connection and the success that Connor has experienced with Gretchen. We are so lucky and grateful to have found someone who has turned Connor’s life around and made him like school once again!”

~ Erin, mother of a high school junior, who has been seeing Gretchen twice a week for 4 years

Thank you so much for your participation in our panel, “Stress-Free Finals: Test Anxiety and Study Skills for your Teen.” You were a star! Your presentation was lively, engaging and highly informative. We really appreciated your organized approach and interactive style. It really made the day a highly informative and practical session. Thanks again for all your effort on behalf of our Orinda Academy students!”

~Rachel, PTA speaker coordinator and mother of a college sophomore who Gretchen has been seeing for 3 years

Gretchen is easy to work with and the kids love her. My daughter used her “college 101” class, as did several of her friends. It was great and addressed things I never thought of and gave Maggie a definite edge as a freshman.

~ Jennifer, mother of a college freshman

Your work with my son was really helpful! I know he really looked forward to talking to you, which I find amusing since he knew basically you were doing the same thing I do – bug him about his homework!”

~ Lisa, mother of a high school sophomore who struggled to motivate himself to do homework

My husband came back from his session with you feeling much more balanced and steady and hopeful about the challenges he faces in this class. He even showed me an email he has written to his teacher, describing himself as a visual and kinesthetic learner. This is such a step forward from him thinking of himself as a failure because his learning style did not mesh with how the teacher was teaching.”

~ Alison, a personal friend who purchased a session as a gift for her husband, who was going back to school in his fifties

I am almost in tears about my daughter. She has been at UC Davis 5 years and it makes my heart ache to realize she has not known how to approach her school work, research, make an outline, write a paper etc. I knew she was struggling, but she needed your kind of help a LONG time ago. I am SO happy she is using her planner, annotating, scheduling, and learning to communicate professionally. I am overwhelmed by your efforts to help her and I thank you.”

~ Kathleen, mother of a 5th year college senior who Gretchen saw for her final 3 quarters

Gretchen is Wonder Woman in disguise ….. a one woman wonder…….A parent’s new best friend……Better than pills to lower your blood pressure OR better than pills to numb the frustration…. OR throw out those addictive, mind-altering pills and sign your kid up with Gretchen!”

~Marcia, mother of an 8th grader with ADHD

Our son’s backpack is much more organized, he has learned what methods are most helpful for him to study for tests, and I’ve appreciated the google documents as a way for me to support and reinforce what he does with you.”

~ Carol, mother of a 9th grader

Our daughter’s stress level has lessened considerably and she has not had any bad meltdowns since she started working with the strategies Gretchen devised.  Now she knows that success is not “magic”, that successful people have strategies.  An unforeseen benefit is the relationship that Gretchen and my daughter have developed; my daughter truly enjoys being with Gretchen and trusts her “take” on everything.”

~ Judy, mother of a 10th grader

The semester has gone more smoothly for my step-son, and definitely for myself, since I could step back and not be such a task master. As an ex-distracted 14 year old boy myself, I know there is always more work to do, and I appreciate all that you have done for him.”

~ Mike, step-father to a high school freshman

It is very clear that over the past two years you have had a profoundly positive influence on my son’s educational experience. When he started 9th grade, he had poor study habits and miserable grades. You have been one of the few people in my son’s life who gives him the respect, proper nudging, and insightful direction that has turned these troubles around. Your candor and skill have transformed him into a kid focused on learning, self respect, with straight As and Bs. Incredible!!!”

~ David, father of an 11th grader

My daughter improved her grades, confidence, ability to organize, and her belief that organization ultimately gives her the results she wants.  I considered other providers, but felt strongly that your open, out-of -the box, fun personality would jive with my daughter’s.  Your sliding scale and being able to do this via skype were also big plusses. I got to work with the coach I wanted despite the distance.”

~ Kim, mother of a 7th grader

Gretchen! You have been a gem. My #1 ally in my son’s year. He has benefited tremendously from your imaginative, encouraging, loving, intelligent help.”

~ Mary, mother of a 9th grader

Now that my daughter is on winter break, we want to thank you for helping her get prepared for her finals. The time that she spent with you was so valuable! The plan leading up to finals and the plan to study for the actual finals put her mind at ease and enabled her to keep her stress level to a minimum (no small task).

~Laura, mother of a freshman in high school

Gretchen’s colleagues and mentors reflect:

As an academic coach and learning strategies teacher I have found Gretchen’s creative ideas and approach brilliant.  My students appreciate knowing more about the brain and how it pertains to their learning.  I have found that my students are then more open to strategies, in particular understanding why it is important that we tap into all four senses when trying to truly learn, understand and remember new information.

~ Carrie, Lakefield College School

I first met Gretchen at a conference for Mindfulness in Education, and soon after she became one of the driving forces behind establishing a charter school with a focus on building community and student empowerment.  I can honestly say that Gretchen is one of the most innovative and effective curriculum designers and coaches I have ever worked with.  She understands the ins and outs of educational systems and the emotional and behavioral struggles that can keep young people from succeeding.  If you are looking for someone who will get to know your student, let your student know her, and tailor her services to fit your student’s needs, Gretchen Wegner is for you.”

~ Gary, Educator for over 20 years and currently an Educational Specialist for MD Department of Education

I had the pleasure of shadowing Gretchen when she worked as an Academic Coach with Student Organizational Services. Her coaching skills are amazing. She brings her own fun, quirky personality into every session with students in addition to all her knowledge of study skills and executive functioning. I’ve seen how much progress she can make with students and can say with confidence that she does this job well.

~ Jasmine Evans, Freelance Education and Parenting Writer

Gretchen is one of the most creative people I have ever met. She is so inspiring that I choose to spend my evenings  working with her over doing anything else. She encourages me to be playful, helps me find solutions to my puzzles, and is simply one of my favorite people to work with. The sooner you work with her, the better your life will be.”

~ Lisette Sutherland, who lives in the Netherlands and collaborates with Gretchen via Skype

Coaching Gretchen has been incredibly gratifying.  Not only does she exemplify the principles she teaches,  she is quick to seek out and implement new ideas, systems and structures. She is constantly testing, adapting and improving her methods and strategies.  I have found her fun to work with, funny and insightful, and I came away from each session learning valuable new things myself.  Had I any children I would entrust them to her without hesitation.”

~ Scott Bowman, who was Gretchen’s first business coach

Something that makes you stand out: your continual use of movement, sound, and play when doing anything. That has been incredibly useful in my teaching, as well as my creative endeavors (and when I’m sitting at a desk). Those of us who are scared to move, dance, and sing  are more likely to do it because of your playfulness.”

~ Sarah Weidman, Elementary School Teacher and InterPlay Class Participant who frequently consulted with Gretchen about how to apply embodied learning techniques in her classroom

You are a great communicator and idea incubator who is thoughtful, articulate, curious, and personable. You empower people to help themselves and use affirmation effectively to boost self confidence. I benefit from your curiosity and public musings.”

~ Elizabeth Mendana Shaw, Collaborator and Co-Teacher at Tuesday Night InterPlay

Gretchen is precise, thoughtful and caring. She is a wild, artsy, creative spirit with a conscious ability to direct, shape, guide, and focus.”

~ Marcus Leifert, InterPlay collaborator

Gretchen has great strength! I see her turn to community for input and advice all the time. I think we mistakenly think great people stand alone, but I believe we’re all strong in community — and Gretchen makes the most of her extended and extensive community. It’s wonderful!”

~ Allysson, InterPlay colleague and (a few years after she wrote this testimonial) the mother of a college student who worked with Gretchen

Gretchen is curious about everything and everyone. She is a creative thinker and organizer who exudes warmth!”

~ Cynthia Winton-Henry, co-founder of InterPlay, mentor, and collaborator

Gretchen approaches young people with a great deal of enthusiasm, respect, and compassion. She is skilled at ‘thinking on her feet’; in fact, she enjoys the challenge of necessary change and flexibility. Gretchen blends creativity, imagination, and provocative reflection into her approaches to students, and to teaching and learning. She is responsible, caring, and a positive and dynamic model to the learners she serves. Additionally, Gretchen’s thesis for the degree of Master of Education was an extraordinary examination and exploration of critical inquiry, spirit-centered inquiry, and body-based inquiries. Her writing is exceptional, and the thesis is of publishable quality. Even more importantly, she brought together, in a coherent whole, material from a variety of disciplines, and used these to foster new directions for learning.”

~ Connie Krosney, Professor, Graduate Studies

Gretchen’s energy was amazing and the presentation was excellent. The 13 groups that she facilitated on stage went off like clock work, and her energy and M.C. skills kept everyone’s attention. I really liked her demeanor on stage, too. In charge but not bossy. You really improved on what was already a great summit.”

~ Mike Dunn, coordinator of a Prejudice Awareness Summit in Austin, Texas

Gretchen’s classes were highly praised by both students and teachers alike. I often got feedback from teachers and administrators that the quality of the West Metro program was at its highest when Gretchen was there. Gretchen throws herself into new projects with an energy that infects everyone around her. She has a way of bringing out the best in people. Her innovative style and desire to constantly learn better ways of teaching produced a very high quality of work that her co-workers emulated.”

~ Annie Cady, supervisor at CLIMB Theatre in St. Paul, MN, where Gretchen taught students with a variety of learning, and other, disabilities

Gretchen has a deep passion for teaching and learning. I am consistently inspired by her enthusiasm for learning and pushing the envelope in terms of methodology and form.”

~ Alycia Erickson, Education Coordinator for Caritas of Austin, which hired Gretchen to teach drama-based learning activities