Shari Vandervelde’s husband realized, as a school psychologist, that children diagnosed with ADHD were not receiving the proper help they needed. After receiving an ADHD diagnosis, many children were given medications, but nobody offered to teach them the skills necessary to become successful students. Shari, being an educator, knew she had to come up with a solution to this problem.

In 2013, Shari pulled together a team of amazing teachers, and along with Anna Breckenridge and Allice Dunnic, she opened the doors to Essentials in Learning (EIL); a business created specifically to offer the opportunity for students to attain those necessary skills.

EIL is now owned by retired teacher Anna Goetz (a long-time partner in EIL), elementary teacher and a D51 teacher leader Dionne Guddat, and D51 Instructional Coach and prior teacher Josh Guddat.

Unlike the typical math or literacy tutor, EIL specializes in coaching students on a one-on-one basis to tailor to their specific needs and provide them with the executive functioning skills in which they are lacking. While a tutoring session may include math and writing skills, children will also learn things like how to keep their bodies calm at school, how to re-focus their minds or how to break assignments down so they aren’t so intimidating.

EIL supports students that have been diagnosed with Autism, ADHD, and other learning disabilities, as well as students from 6th grade to adults who are experiencing new or increased challenges.

All coaches at EIL spend significant time getting to know each student personally and academically. They then set goals specific to the student’s needs and come up with fun and creative ways to help the students reach those goals. Coaches are carefully chosen, truly care about the student’s success, and ensure parents are involved every step of the way.

Jennifer, the mother of a current student said, “Essentials in Learning and all their dedicated coaches have been such a gift to the community, and to the all the children they have helped.”

Want to connect with Essentials in Learning?


Facebook & IG: @EssentialsInLearning

About the Incubator Program

The Business Incubator Center offers an intensive, five-year business support program that accelerates the successful development of start-ups and fledgling companies by providing entrepreneurs with an array of industry-specific resources and services. Businesses accepted into the Incubator Program are housed on campus with direct access to business consultants and workshops, regular financial and business reviews, and networking opportunities.

Client companies extend to all types of industries, including manufacturing, service, and office space spread throughout the 35,000 square-foot mixed-use space on 46 acres right outside of downtown Grand Junction, Colorado.

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