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SEC Blog

What is the BEST winter holiday present? Buy your child a book!

Kim Duckworth - Monday, December 04, 2017

Books for Gifts

All ages appreciate a good book. 


Check out some of this year's best book gifts at: Barnes and Noble


  • Nobel Prize in Literature 2017 - Kazuo Ishiguro - 8 Books;  Most recent - The Buried Giant (2015)

  • ManBooker Prize 2017 - Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

  • Hugo Award - Best Novel 2017 - The Obelisk Gate by N.K. Jemish

  • Pulitzer Prize 2017 - The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

  • Caldecott Medal for Illustration:  Radiant Child by Javaka Steptoe

  • Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear by Sophie Blackall and Lindsay Mattick

  • For students interested in the Legal Field -  The Rogue Lawyer by John Grisham

10 adult books that appeal to teens:

  • All Involved by Ryan Gattis

  • Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

  • Bones & All by Camille DeAngelis

  • Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits by David Wong

  • Girl at War by Sara Nović

  • Half the World by Joe Abercrombie

  • Humans of New York: Stories by Brandon Stanton

  • Sacred Heart by Liz Suburbia

  • Undocumented: A Dominican Boy's Odyssey from a Homeless Shelter to the Ivy League by Dan-el Padilla Peralta

  • The Unraveling of Mercy Louis by Keija Parssinen

Not sure what you are good at?  Hoping to find your Superpower?  Try Reading:

Strengthsfinders 2.0 by Tom Rath  

The Pulitzer Books:



The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

Sweat by Lynn Nottage
Evicted by Mathew Desmond
Blood in the Water by Heather Ann Thompson
The Return by Hisham Matar
Olio by Tychimba Jess

Some favorites from SEC tutors for middle and high schoolers include:

  • Wonder by R.J. Palacia

  • Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand (high school)

  • Night by Elie Wiesel (high school)

  • Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck....("If you don't cry at the end of this may not be human.")

  • Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand (high school)

  • Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes (middle school/ high school)

  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (high school)

  • The Life of Pi by Yann Martel

  •  Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown ( a MUST read)

  • Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee

  •  I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou


Also don't forget the possibility of a magazine subscription. for an area of interest:  National Geographic,  Astronomy, Psychology Today, Business Week, Chemistry World, Poetry Magazine, etc. 

If your child has a "hero" you can also think about a biography or autobiography on that individual.  There are some fabulous ones out now about several of the country's founding fathers.

What Are The  Eligibility  Requirements for College Athletic  Associations?

Kim Duckworth - Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Always talk with your coach about specific requirements for your sport, but following are broad brush eligibility guidelines for the NCAA, NAIA and NJCAA.  If you go to the NCAA site you can also get detailed information about what courses at a specific high school are accepted under their guidelines.  Also do not forget to copy the NCAA on your final transcript and SAT or ACT test score after you graduate to ensure Div. 1 & Div. 2 eligibility. 

NCAA (over 1,000 member colleges) - Division I and Division II colleges can offer athletic scholarships; Division III colleges (mostly smaller, private colleges) cannot. Division III athletes do not need to meet NCAA academic requirements. Athletes going to Division I and II colleges must have a minimum GPA in a specified number of core courses. They must also have the required ACT or SAT score. ACT/SAT requirements for Division I eligibility are based on a sliding scale. The higher a student's core GPA, the lower the test score required. Athletes should plan to take the ACT and/or SAT in or before the Spring of their junior year. To initiate the eligibility process, athletes need to register with the NCAA Eligibility Center. This should be done at the beginning of an athlete's junior year. For additional information, go to: 

NAIA (over 300 member colleges) - NAIA colleges can award full or partial scholarships. To play a sport or receive an athletic scholarship, an athlete must meet two of the following three NAIA requirements: 1) have the required ACT or SAT score; 2) have an overall GPA of 2.0 on a 4.0 scale; 3) graduate in the top half of his/ her class. For more information, go to:

NJCAA (over 500 member colleges) - Division I and Division II junior colleges can offer scholarships; Division III colleges cannot. There are no academic eligibility requirements for athletes entering junior colleges. For additional information, go   

Congratulations Ashley Hohaus and Josh Pantier

Kim Duckworth - Thursday, March 24, 2016

Congratulations Ashley Hohaus (Pantier)! Charros Fellowship Winner!

SEC hopes you will join us in congratulating Ashley Hohaus who was one of only two teachers chosen for the Charros 2016 Fellowship Award. The award will help Ashley work towards her Masters degree and even further elevate her teaching prowess. Ashley is available for tutoring on Thursdays from 4 to 6 pm. For more details of this prestigious award please click here.  


Also wish to congratulate Ashley on her recent marriage to another Scottsdale Education Center rock star teacher/tutor, Josh Pantier.  We congratulate them both on their recent nuptials.

New Competitor to the Common Application

Kim Duckworth - Thursday, March 24, 2016

Unveiling in April 2016:

  • University of Washington, University of Florida and University of Maryland College Park will use exclusively for 2017 applicants for admissions

  • New online admissions/application tool will compete with the space now occupied by the Common Application

  • 91 member colleges will use in total. Most will also accept the Common Application 

  • The Locker, the most controversial of the Coalition’s college planning tools is a place for students to store documents for college applications. Examples of what a student might store in “The Locker” would be a resume, a graded assignment, a research paper, a scientific abstract, a video or a recording.

  • Partnered with Naviance in the second year

  • Future for The Coalition application may or may not allow for common essay that can be viewed by all colleges. Some member colleges may individualize their application without a common essay available. 

The Coalition for Access, Affordability, and Success.

SEC Leadership Scholarship Award

Kim Duckworth - Thursday, March 24, 2016

Scottsdale Education Center is excited to announce their first Leadership Achievement Scholarship of $500 to Marcy Ross.

Marcy RossMarcy is graduating from Paradise Valley High School and will be attending ASU in the Fall 2015 where she will be majoring in Nursing. Marcy is a 4 year varsity swimmer, swim instructor and lifeguard, a gifted musician (violinist) and has worked an average of 20 hours a week since she was 16 years old. She volunteers on a regular basis with Teens in Nursing, Paradise Valley Hospital, the PVHS Nurses Office, and Hospice of the Valley. She is also actively involved with HOSA ( the Future Health Professionals Organization) and received a HOSA scholarship She has passed her Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA) certification test and has done all of this while maintaining a 3.9 GPA. She has been actively involved in pursuing a career in nursing for the past three years. Congratulations Marcy Ross.

Good Colleges for Students with Learning Disabilities

Kim Duckworth - Monday, February 22, 2016

Good Colleges for students with Learning Disabilities and ADD/ADHD  

Some colleges to consider if your student/child has need for additional academic support in college due to a Learning Disability or ADHD.  This list is from college academic and is listed as schools where students with a learning disability have the highest chances of succeeding. Huffington Post was also instrumental in developing the list:  (alphabetically listed)

  • American University
  • Augsburg College
  • Beacon College
  • Curry College
  • DePaul University 
  • Drexel University
  • Hofstra College
  • Landmark College
  • Landmark College
  • Lynchburg University
  • Lynn University
  • Marist College
  • McDaniel College
  • Mitchell College
  • Muskingum University
  • Northeastern University
  • University of Arizona - SALT program- *Very highly ranked nationally*
  • University of Colorado, Colorado Springs
  • University of Connecticut
  • University of Denver
  • University of Iowa
  • University of Vermont
  • West Virginia Wesleyan College
  • Wingate College

SEC Attended the 2016 Camp Fair AZ

Dave Duckworth - Monday, February 01, 2016
SEC attended the 2016 Camp Fair AZ sponsored by Raising Arizona Kids! Summer camps are now accepting registration. 


SEC Students Score Well on PSAT

Dave Duckworth - Friday, January 01, 2016

Scottsdale Education Center is proud to announce that PSAT scores are in... 
7 students who were prepped at SEC received 99 Percentile 
(almost perfect scores)

Congratulations to: Laura, Maia, Surrein, VJ, Alyssa, Tingting and Eric

What does it take to get into Stanford University/Ivy League schools?

Kim Duckworth - Monday, December 07, 2015
What does it take to get into Stanford University/Ivy League schools?

There is no pure magic valedictorian stripe, GPA, SAT/ACT score, or number of AP tests that guarantee you a spot at the most elite schools in the world. It is a special combination of things that earns one that admission letter. Stanford University in the last 5 years has rejected 69% of students that applied with perfect 2400 SAT scores. Having worked with numerous students that have gotten into Stanford and Ivy League schools I will say that although it is difficult to define in a few words.....perhaps like trying to explain quantum physics in three words or is possible to identify it when you see it. Here are a few of the consistent qualities of students that I have seen admitted to the most elite schools in the nation:

  1. Demonstrated passion - An almost obsessive ...megalomaniac....driving interest that takes up many hours a week outside of studies......the first thing that they think of in the morning and the last thing they think of at night.....and something that wakes them up in between. Students that I have helped get admitted to elite universities have been Olympic Trials qualifiers with 4.8 GPAs and SAT tests over 2000, another had multiple audiences with the Dali Lhama while espousing a love for salsa dancing, another played softball but had a passion for chemistry, another had perfect ACT scores and SAT Subject test scores while spending hours behind a telescope in their back yard, another was a valedictorian at a large public school who had an amazing sense of humor and was a Science Olympiad fanatic, another was by all accounts a tap dancing/math nerd who was getting her Equity card while reading Astro-physics magazines backstage, another was an international chess champion who also fenced, another had published an article in a national magazine but was struggling a bit with her Calc class, another had participated in an internship at T-Gen and had become one of the authors of a paper being published in a medical review, you can see.....passion motivated by a love for something not "required or recommended by school" but because they LOVED it. 

  2. Know who they are - Without reservation students with Ivy League aspirations have direction......they may not know exactly what they are going to major in but they have shown that they know their own strengths and weaknesses and have not followed the pack, but rather their hearts. Not only do they know who they are.....they are not afraid or can not be intimidated away from being that core individual. It may not be cool in some places to be a Highlands Scottish dancer, especially if you are a boy......the kilt and all.....but if they love it and have become accomplished at it,...... they proclaim it.....they may teach it.....they become virtuosos at it. They may have a celtic knot bumper sticker on their car. They don't care what others think because they are set on being one of the best in the world at it.

Other key factors include:

  • Academic Vitality- #Curiosity-

  • Rigor of Study

  • Commitment to Excellence

  • GRIT

  • Essay Voice

  • Leadership

  • Genuine Pursuit

  • Uniqueness

  • Sports and Legacy factor

The Economist Says Farewell to the OLD SAT Vocab...

Kim Duckworth - Thursday, December 03, 2015
See the article.  Very interesting