How's My Kid Doing?

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How's My Kid Doing?

Practical Answers to Questions About Your Child's Education

Get the answers to today’s most anxiety-provoking questions about children’s elementary school experience in this helpful resource.

  • What is ADD and how is it different from ADHD?
  • Do video games interfere with my kid’s ability to learn?
  • How can you tell if a school is a good school?
  • Does "No Child Left Behind" make classrooms better?
  • Is it okay to bribe my son to motivate him to do his homework?
  • Is homework helpful?

Award-winning author, Keith W. Frome shares answers to these and many other important questions about children's personal and scholastic development in this thoughtful, reassuring guide.

Reviews and endorsements

"In this helpful resource experienced teacher and headmaster Keith Frome 'calmly answers parents’ most distressing and vexing questions.' ”
Vanity Fair


"Parents’ most pressing and worrisome questions about their children’s elementary school experiences are addressed in this helpful resource. The explosion of education option and the emphasis on parental involvement often confuses or intimidates parents, prompting such questions as: How can I know what’s going on in school if my child won’t tell me? Do video games interfere with my kid’s ability to learn? What is school choice? Does 'No Child Left Behind' make classrooms better? Is it okay to bribe my son to motivate him to do his homework?

Explained in a simple and reassuring manner, apprehensive and concerned parents are advised to go easy on interrogation and to ask pointed questions about particular: What was the worst thing about school today?, which may be a better conversation starter than, How was school today? Topics range from curriculum and classroom concerns and homework and discipline questions, to social and moral issues. Insight is offered into what motivates teachers, and suggestions for forging effective parent-teacher partnerships are included. This compilation of practical advice is grounded in years of classroom and administrative experience and extensive research."
Columbus Parent Magazine


Now a “NewsHour” Essay.

This month, many high school seniors have either just learned, or are anxiously waiting to hear, what colleges they might have gotten into.

Education advocate Keith Frome has worked with students across the country, and believes the key to getting more kids to apply to college is peer pressure.

KEITH FROME, Author, “How’s My Kid Doing?”: One summer weekend, I taught a small group of students from a low-income community how to write their personal statements for their college applications.

Each student would be the first in their family to apply to college, and their ability to tell their stories was going to be critical to their success.

During the three-day retreat, we used a variety of writing techniques to produce memorable, compelling and utterly authentic essays that I knew would stick in the minds of college admission officers.

Returning home, I felt quite satisfied, perhaps a little smugly so, with a job well done, and I proudly shared the compositions with my friends and family.

One of the students, though, who wrote about his attempts to extricate himself from a neighborhood gang, didn’t share my sense of completion. Though he had completed his college applications, his work was just beginning. He was on a mission.

When he returned to school, he asked his principal to gather the entire senior class in the auditorium. He proceeded to read his personal statement to them and said that, if he could write this well, everyone else could do the same.

He then led every senior, step by step, through the composition of their personal statements using the techniques he had learned in our weekend together.

They started with a free-write. They read these aloud. They listened to each other, noting moments of beauty and probing for more details and explanations.

The principal called me later that week, astonished at what he had witnessed. My colleagues and I began to hear similar stories from other schools around the country. We began to understand that the most influential person to a 17-year-old is another 17-year-old.

And it struck us that this might be a key to solving a big problem. Every year, there are 1.1 million low-income eighth graders in America’s schools; 95 percent say they want to go to college, but only 9 percent of them will graduate by the time they are 24. In 1970, that figure was 6 percent. We have clearly not made much progress.

Many think that the solution is to bring complex and expensive interventions into schools. I say the students themselves, with some training and coaching, can be organized into teams to work on behalf of the rest of their classmates.

STUDENT: The only thing about your personal essay is, like, it’s really good. So, I would say type it up just as it is, right?

KEITH FROME: There are hundreds of urban or rural high schools around the country where I am privileged to watch students leading their classmates to college.

I have seen students lock their fellow seniors in a gym until they have completed their college applications. When college representatives refused to come to a high school, I saw a group of students themselves represent the colleges for the rest of the school in the cafeteria.

In rural Florida, I watched a team of juniors and seniors lead an assembly for 1,500 students like it was a revival meeting, exhorting the entire school to commit to going to college. Peer leadership is a powerful force to behold, and it gets measurable results.

In high schools, where peer leader teams are deployed, we have seen students get more than 70 percent of their classmates to apply to college, resulting in increases of 20 percent or more in actual college enrollment rates.

We are entering an era in education reform that is calling for more collaboration among schools, unions and businesses, so that all students succeed. That sounds good, but we will only witness more lackluster results unless we understand that students are partners, too, who can help their peers achieve.

I’m reminded of a high school senior named Cornelius Williams, who had no intention of going to college. He had no adult role models who ever attended college and he didn’t see the value in it. One day, he met Ashley Daniels who had just been trained to be a peer leader. She nurtured and nagged Cornelius through the entire application process.

Not only did he get into college. After he graduated, he volunteered with College Summit, paying Ashley’s coaching forward to a new generation of students.

PBS News Hour

“When it comes to education, Keith Frome is your revered principal, your favorite mentor, and your trusted confidant, all rolled into one. In How’s My Kid Doing?, Frome combines two decades of concrete experience with a warmth and wisdom that help you understand your kid, your school, and yourself more clearly than ever. Explaining everything from the true source of self-esteem to what really gets discussed in the teachers’ lounge, Frome brings us all closer to doing better by our kids. If you have a child in school, or were one, read this book.”
Kinney Zalesne, co-author, Microtrends: The Small Forces Behind Tomorrow’s Big Changes


“Dr. Frome demystifies the ‘business of school’, allowing parents to forge genuine partnerships between themselves and their children’s teachers. His book unlocks the secrets to the successful relationships between family and school which we all know are at the heart of improving student achievement.”
William N. Moseley, headmaster, The Ensworth School, Nashville, Tennessee


"The book provided me a roadmap to successfully maneuver through each aspect of my daughters' education. I used to wish for a parenting manual, I now have a ‘how-to’ manual for education."
Brigid Doherty, executive director, The Women's Fund


“I applaud Dr. Frome's new book. Once again, Dr. Frome delivers a unique perspective for parents to guide them on their most challenging journey—raising their children. He has combined his love of learning and his belief in the infinite possibilities of every child with his wealth of knowledge and personal experience to create a must-read book for everyone concerned about our collective future. As he states, ‘Children are our last idealists.’ The book is thoughtful, inspirational, educational, honest, and authentic.”
Trudy Mollenberg, winner of the New York State National Association of the Education of Young Children, Champion of Children Award


“Keith Frome is an educator with an uncommon combination of intellectual acuity, humanity, and incisiveness. Keith tackles the hard questions with clarity and confidence, and his fresh approach is marked by his trademark optimism and practicality. Keith Frome walks the talk, and the students he encounters are the lucky beneficiaries of his earnest passion.”
Lee Coffin, dean of undergraduate admissions, Tufts University

Paperback / 208 pages
Dimensions: 6 x 9