Non-Cognitive Skills: “Looking Beyond Grades and Testing”

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I’ve been asked if investing time, energy and resources into a search for a Preschool is necessary, when High School is usually considered “the high stakes experience” for future choices in life. I invite you to consider this.

The basics:

  • We know that language development (e.g vocabulary) is most critical ages 0-5 and impactful in many ways over a lifetime.
  • We know that a quality Preschool experience is a long-term indicator for college and career success, whether college or vocation-bound after high school.
  • We know that cognitive, academically-focused skills and performance in High School are an essential consideration for college entrance and for some vocational schools.

However, is the connection between cognitive skills (the processes of thinking) and non-cognitive skills (processes of doing) taught or encouraged in a quality preschool then reinforced throughout K-12 schooling to “set up” a student for post-high school options, thus opening doors and opportunities for life?

Lisa Bleich, author of “The Quiet Revolution: Looking Beyond Grades and Testing”, wrote of a former admissions officer’s thoughts on non-cognitive skills that are used by college admissions to see a student for who they are as a person and to predict long-term success, beyond short-term academic performance. As a business owner, I see these to be the same or similar skills an employer would also appreciate, whether it’s for a job requiring a college education or vocational proficiency. (Could this list also be used to create meaningful job interview questions?)

  • Grit (do what it takes to get the job done)
  • Self-control (contribute in a positive manner)
  • A growth mind-set (belief they can get smarter or better)
  • Positive self-image (feel empowered to take advantage of opportunities)
  • Realistic self-appraisal (recognize strengths and areas for growth)
  • Ability to lead, cooperate, collaborate (work well with others to achieve an outcome)
  • Community involvement (in-house or not)
  • Openness/Tolerance (to those different than themselves)
  • Ability to Handle System/the “isms” (how to live with and handle the system they’re in)
  • Availability of Strong Support Person/Network (to ask for help and have support, for long-term success)


Whether searching for a preschool, elementary, middle or a high school, consider asking the school how they would help a student develop these non-cognitive skills that may be of help to them on a college essay someday and, most importantly, could assist them in life as a person, whatever their path and journey.

All Schools Considered, in AZ and OR, provides Preschool – Grade 12 education consulting services and school search advisors committed to working with families living in, or relocating to Arizona or Oregon, to find the school that will best maximize their child’s education & school experience.  Call us at (602) 686-4480 or email us at

On Donald Trump, Community and Transitioning with Developmental Disabilities into the Workforce

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hands togetherimages copy

Thank you, Guest Blogger and Parent, Sara Prince, for sharing your family’s story of the challenges faced by those with disabilities when transitioning from school-age to work in any given community. And, that we all have choices on how to be involved in providing support. Read more

Join Elie Gaines in Bend, Oregon for “How to Choose a School”

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All Schools Considered - About Us

All Schools Considered is expanding into Oregon and we’re making our debut in Bend, Oregon this month! Join us for a FREE event to learn “How to Choose a School” for students entering Preschool- Grade 12.

Bring a friend – Arrive early, chat and snack – Listen and share your thoughts on
School Search Services coming to Central Oregon. Learn “tips” on how to choose the best school “fit” for your child and family.

Wednesday, January 27th 6:00-7:00pm at Dudley’s Bookshop Cafe – Upstairs, 137 NW Minnesota Ave, Bend, OR


Thursday, January 28th 11:00am – 12:00pm at Greg’s Grill, 395 SW Powerhouse Dr, Bend, OR

Questions? or call 602-686-4480

How is your child gifted? What is gifted education in K-12 schools?

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By Elie Gaines

All Schools Considered

Gifted Learners are Multifaceted


Recent calls or conversations, in the last few weeks especially, have intrigued me to write a blog addressing questions posed. I write here from my perspective, and from both my experience as a gifted cluster teacher and now as a consultant, or school advisor, having visited hundreds of Arizona schools in the last three years. Read more

Back to School

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Back to School Issue, North Scottsdale Lifestyle Magazine

Back to School Issue, North Scottsdale Lifestyle Magazine

All Schools Considered in the News


Just a sneak peek at the August 2014 issue of North Scottsdale Lifestyle Magazine pages where ASC was recognized! I couldn’t wait to share. The online issue will be available August 1st, I believe. Be sure to check it out as there are great back to school tips for families. See Read more

How to Find a School in a City or Community in Arizona

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How to Find the Right School in a City, Town or Community in Arizona

If you are searching to learn how to find the right school in a city, town or community in Arizona then there are a few things to think about for finding the best school fit: Read more

All Schools Considered Provides Relocation Assistance to Arizona

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When a life transition initiates a family move to a new city or community in Arizona, you can rely on All Schools Considered to develop a tailored relocation assistance program to seamlessly coordinate the school search for children in preschool through high school. We personalize the school search to create a match with students, families and schools. Read more

ASC Anniversary and Free Informational Event

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Join Us Wed., April 9th, 2014 from 4:00 – 6:00pm

4:00 – 5:00pm Celebrate our Anniversary! Drop in, make new friends, eat cake!

5:00 – 6:00pm Presenting, “Where will your child thrive?: How to Choose a School”

Ira Levine Jewish Community Campus, Room 104
12701 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale, AZ 85254

Babysitting available, $10/2 hours – RSVP by Tues., April 8th to Elie via our Contact Us form, here.

We would love to see you there!

All Schools Considered Interviewed for School Choice Week

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Very excited and grateful to have been contacted for an interview with the education news agency serving the Arizona School Boards Association for School Choice Week, January 26 to February 1, 2014. See the article, “School Choice Week Highlights Arizonans Options”, at the link below for

Choosing a School is Like Walking a Tightrope – Finding Balance is Everything!

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(This blog post is a reprint article written for the January 2014 First Things First newsletter. See for additional information on early childhood education.)

You may ask, “How is it possible to find the best school “fit”? Is it possible to find the right balance for my child and family? ” The simple answer: “Yes.” The challenging question: “How?”

You are the “coach” for your child’s schooling. You’re his best advocate. You know your child and your hopes for him. How will you guide him to door-opening experiences? Whether vocational or college-bound, what learning along the way will be necessary? Building a strong foundation of knowledge and experience in Preschool through Grade 12 matters. Read more

Guest Blog by Breon Michel: Everyday Mindfulness for Families

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Guest Blog by Breon Michel:

Have you ever caught yourself not paying attention in the middle of a conversation with a loved one? You were physically there, but your mind was somewhere else – already thinking about what’s for dinner or what time your son needs picked up from soccer practice. The mind’s ability to plan is essential to family well-being, but so is the ability to stay in the present moment. Read more

School Safety

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In response to the recent school shootings, school safety comes into question, as it should. Certainly, with such tragedy but as it should be on a regular basis, schools have revisited crisis plans and steps taken daily to best ensure campus safety for their students and staff.

To provide schools with realistic assistance for students with mental health issues would be advantageous – meaning what they really need versus what they have. Read more

How to Find the Right School: Part 1

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All Schools Considered - School Advice: How to Find a School in December, Winter School Search

December is the time of year when families may think seriously about school options – perhaps for a transition in January or for a change in the fall. Many private and public charter schools have busied themselves through the November open house and late-Fall application season. Read more

The Right Fit

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All Schools Considered - The Right Fit
As a teacher and principal I was often asked by parents how they would know whether the current school choice was the right “fit” for their child. Or, they would share with me that they knew the current school was not the right fit and, because I knew their child and their family so well, they would ask for my thoughts on the new school they were considering. Read more


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