Author Archives: Joyce Kaye

Anaheim Central Library Indie Author Day – October 8, 2016

Anaheim Central Library Indie Author DayAnaheim Central Library Indie Author Day
Saturday, October 8, 2016
11:00 am – 2:00 pm
500 W. Broadway
Anaheim, CA 92805

On this day, libraries across the nation will be holding special events to commemorate independent authors in their area.

Karyn Rashoff will be signing and selling her books – “Parents in Highschooland: Helping Students Succeed in the Critical Years” and “Kids in Musicianland: 5 Reasons to Stick With It” – at this event, along with other small press and self-published Orange County authors.


Parent Workshop – Seal Beach – Los Alamitos – September 21, 2016

Parent Workshop
Seal Beach – Los Alamitos – Rossmoor Public Library
September 21, 2016

5:00 pm
12700 Montecito Road
Seal Beach, CA 90740

Get ready for the start of the school year! Parent workshop on guiding teens toward success in high school: Parents in Highschooland: Helping Students Succeed in the Critical Years. Karyn will be signing both of her books, “Kids in Musicianland” and “Parents in Highschooland: Helping Students Succeed in the Critical Years.”

Parenting Workshop – Katie Wheeler Library – Irvine, CA September 15, 2016

Katie Wheeler Library
Thursday, September 15, 2016
6:00 pm
13109 Old Myford Road
Irvine, CA 92602

Karyn Rashoff will facilitate a parenting workshop using her specially created Tip Sheets, a helpful PowerPoint presentation, and her book “Parents in Highschooland: Helping Students Succeed in the Critical Years.”  Karyn will be signing that book as well as her new book “Kids in Musicianland: 5 Reasons to Stick With It.”

California Association of School Counselors Conference 2015

California Association of School Counselors ConferenceThe 15th Annual California Association of School Counselors Conference is being held October 9 – 10, 2015, with a pre-conference on October 8, 2015.

The School Counselors: Leading Students to the Next Level conference will focus on five themes: Mental health in schools; LCAP/LCFF, Career & college readiness + common core; Alternative means of correction, and Data, Accountability and Technology.

Karyn Rashoff will be presenting during the October 9th session.

Friday, October 9, 2015
California Association of School Counselors Conference
Riverside Convention Center
Riverside, CA 92501
Click here for more information.

Bad Teacher: Here’s Your Road Map for Dealing with Difficult Teachers

Dealing with Difficult Teachers

Dealing with Difficult Teachers

Bad Teacher: Here’s Your Road Map for Dealing with Difficult Teachers

July 21 – 2015   2:25 PM
Contributing writer
OC Family

[Click here to read/print a PDF file version of this article.]

This is not a story about teachers who are sex offenders, or selling drugs or hitting children. This is a story about teachers who walk a complicated line. They may speak to their students in a harsh tone, or read grades aloud to shame the underachievers, or play favorites in a way that’s difficult to pin down. They are not breaking the law or even school rules, but they are making your child miserable.

Most teachers are good people. They are hard working, compassionate men and women who care deeply about learning and about the children they teach. But there are a few bad apples, and most parents will have to deal with a problematic teacher during their child’s school career. When your kid lands in the classroom of a bad teacher, how should you handle it?

What should a parent do if her child comes home complaining that a teacher doesn’t like him, or if she suddenly stops wanting to attend school? How can you unravel whether it’s the teacher, your kid or something else that’s the problem? And what should you do about the situation?

Stay Calm and Investigate

“Collect information,” advises Karyn Rashoff, a counselor at El Toro High School in Lake Forest for more than 20 years and now an author. “Most teachers have websites. Read them to learn classroom expectations and whether your child has missed any assignments.”

Speak with your child about his or her concerns, and try to get specific details.

If you’re worried that a teacher used degrading or inappropriate language, “Get the quote,” says Rashoff. “Ask, ‘Exactly, what did he say?’ ”

Keep questions somewhat casual, so your child doesn’t exaggerate or clam up. A kindergartner might say a teacher is “mean” because she makes him stay in his seat or do his work, so it might simply be a case of explaining to your child the normal expectations at school. If you do start to hear things that concern you, try to keep your emotions in check as you decide what to do next. That’s not always easy for parents.

If you do think there is a problem, let your child know that you want to work with the teacher to make sure school is a positive experience.

“If the parent is not happy with what he or she perceives is going on with the school, I would always encourage parents to say something,” says Leslie Coghlan, director of Pupil Services for the Anaheim City School District.

“We know that children who are happy to be going to school have higher success rates,” adds Yesenia Navarro, Curriculum Specialist for parent involvement for the Anaheim City School District.

Go to the Teacher

“One thing you never want to do is blindside a teacher,” says Maureen Christensen, president of the Fourth District Parent Teacher Association, which represents all of the PTA councils in Orange County.

Until you talk with the teacher, you do not have the full picture of what is happening in the classroom, just your child’s perception of it. So don’t request a meeting with the school principal or school board without talking to the teacher first. If you feel an issue needs to be raised, make an appointment with the teacher.

Try to be diplomatic, and use non-blaming language. Say something like, “I’m wondering if you could help me understand what’s going on with Steve,” rather than, “Steve says you are mean.” Go into the meeting assuming the best of the teacher and your child, but be prepared to hear your child may have done something to annoy the teacher. Contrary to many parents’ assumptions, our little angels aren’t always perfect.

“Maybe it’s a case where your child hasn’t turned in four assignments. If you     don’t do your work, you’re not going to be as respected as a kid who does his or her work,” Rashoff says. Ideally, the teacher will shed light on the situation and become your ally to make sure your child is in the best learning environment. If that’s not the case — or if the teacher becomes defensive — try to keep your calm and reiterate that you are just trying to learn as much as you can about the situation. 

One practical tip from school experts: To schedule a meeting with a teacher, email is better than the phone, and it is reasonable to expect an answer within about 24 hours.

One more reminder: “It is best to establish connections with your children’s teachers before any problems arise”, says Marisol Cordova, a community liaison at Edison Elementary in Anaheim, who works daily as a link between parents and school officials. Many schools — especially ones with large populations of English-language learners — have community liaisons like Cordova, and they can be a valuable ally to help parents best advocate for their children.

“Make yourself present. Even if you work, email the teacher at the beginning of the year to introduce yourself and offer support. Stop by back-to-school night so they know who you are,” Cordova says. Christensen adds: “If you are in constant communication, then there shouldn’t be any surprises.”

Now, Reassess

Maybe your meeting with the teacher cleared up a little misunderstanding. Maybe you learned that your child’s teacher is a little grumpy or serious, which means you can help your child understand that just because someone doesn’t smile all the time, it doesn’t mean he or she doesn’t like him.

“It’s important for kids to learn how to deal with different personality types because they have to deal with them in the real world,” says Rashoff. But if you have raised concerns with the teacher on more than one occasion, and don’t feel you have gotten a good resolution, it’s time for a decision. Do you help your child make the best of the current situation — or go over the teacher’s head to complain to the principal?

Christensen says her son had a dour kindergarten teacher that he didn’t really like during his school career. She dealt with the problem by volunteering to help more in the classroom and reinforcing to her son that he was still learning in school even though his teacher didn’t seem like the warmest person.

“While principals want students to be in an environment where they can succeed, there is no ‘constitutional right’ to have the teacher you choose,” Rashoff says.     “In middle and high schools in particular, sometimes a particular teacher is the only one who teaches a certain subject, so students have to adjust to different teaching styles.”

In that case, it is important to work with your teenager to make sure they don’t sabotage themselves. Rashoff recalls that her son didn’t like his AP European History teacher, so he stopped doing the work and his grade suffered for it.

“He was really punishing himself,” Rashoff says.

In the rare case a principal cannot resolve the issue, only then should parents consider contacting the district office to complain. The takeaway for parents is that they should really consider themselves a partner with their child’s teacher. That’s all the more true now that the new Local Control Funding Formula for schools specifically names parental involvement as one of eight priorities for districts, says Coughlan of the Anaheim City School District.

“Parent input is always valued and appreciated, and teachers want to know when they feel their child is being challenged too much, or not enough,” says Coughlan. “They know their child best.”

Canyon Hills Branch Library, Anaheim Seminars – Fall 2015

Trying to Figure Out Your Highschooler?

Attend these two helpful seminars at Canyon Hills Branch Library, Anaheim for parents of teens and pre-teens, but also beneficial to educators and teens alike! Presented by Karyn Rashoff, author of the award-winning book “Parents in Highschooland: Helping Students Succeed in the Critical Years.”

Karyn Rashoff, author, high school guidance counselor, and an educator with 33 years of experience, will identify specific behaviors for school success. Ms. Rashoff will share tips, tricks, anecdotes and true stories of examples to help your child succeed in school.

Part 1: Help Your Highschooler Succeed
Wednesday, September 30, 2015
6:30 – 7:45 pm

Part 2: More Help: Share Your Successes
Wednesday, October 14, 2015
6:30 – 7:45 pm

Canyon Hills Branch Library, AnaheimCanyon Hills Branch Library
400 Scout Trail
Anaheim, CA 92807

Click here to read/print a flyer of the seminars.

Ms. Rashoff’s book will be available for sale after the program.

“This book should not only be required reading for parents with kids in high school, it should be required reading for every parent before their kids start school.” – San Francisco Book Review

Any person with a disability who requires an accommodation to participate in a program should direct such request to the Library, either in person or by telephone at 714.765.6444 at least 72 hours before the scheduled event.

Dr. Phil and Parents in Highschooland

Karyn Rashoff’s book “Parents in Highschooland” has been likened to Dr. Phil’s books.

Dr. PhilDr. Phil and parents McGraw, perhaps the most well-known mental health professional in the world, uses the power of television to tell compelling stories about real people with a wide range of emotional and behavioral problems, stripping away the shame and embarrassment that often keep people from seeking help.

Many viewers, for the first time in their lives, develop an understanding of problems experienced by their families and themselves and, in the comfort of their homes, experience the hope and possibility of change. His unique dedication to families and children is legend to the millions of people around the world who watch his show and read his books.

Dr. Phil and Parents:
If you like Parents in Highschooland, you might like some of Dr. Phil’s books –

  • Family First: Your Step-by-Step Plan for Creating a Phenomenal Family
  • Life Strategies: Doing What Works, Doing What Matters
  • Life Code: The New Rules for Winning in the Real World

Visit Dr. Phil’s website to learn more.

Article in OC Family Magazine by Kelly St. John Regier

Retired counselor and author has sage advice for parents of teens

By Kelly St. John Regier, OC Family Magazine, February 2015

[Click to read the digitized version, then go to February 2015 issue, page 56 OR read the full article below.]

OC Family Magazine

Feb. 2015 issue, pages 56 – 58.

Karyn Rashoff figures that she has held nearly 20,000 counseling sessions with high school students, parents, teachers and administrators during her 33 years as a guidance counselor.

After she retired in 2012 from her last post – 20 years as a counselor at El Toro High School – the Irvine resident decided to share what she has learned about navigating the homework wars, college admissions process and other power struggles that often flare up between teenagers and their parents.

The result is a book titled, Parents in Highschooland: Helping Students Succeed in the Critical Years (available as an e-book on Amazon for $4.95 and in paperback) which is filled with “real life” stories and concrete advice Rashoff collected from dozens of school officials, teachers, parents and teenagers.

It’s almost like having a group of experienced friends gathered in a living room to tell the reader what they wish they had known when they were navigating the tumultuous high school years.

“I think of it almost like a recipe box,” says Rashoff. “I tried to write is as a nuts and bolts approach, so parents can pick and choose what to use.”

The desire to write Parents in Highschooland came to Rashoff in part as a response to common themes she encountered during her decades in education.

“High school students are not just learning subject matter, but also life skills. I felt that some parents were at a loss about how to help their teen get ready for life after high school,” she says, noting that learning to be on time for class and turning in work on time will help them succeed in school and the ventures that follow.

“One trend I’ve seen is parents who are turning over the responsibility for raising their child over to the school,” she says. She described one conference for a freshman who wasn’t doing well in school. The parents’ response was akin to “He’s in high school now so he needs to handle it on his own.” That, she says, is a big mistake.

“Don’t back off,” she advises parents. Instead, monitor your kids, whether getting to know their friends or keeping an eye on their grades online. Also, try to stay tender and attentive, even when they try your patience.

“Tell your kids you love them all the time. Then when you correct them, it comes from a platform of love, not power,” she says.

As for talking with your teens about school, she suggests parents try to keep it business-like as a way to keep a teen’s often heated emotions in check.

Ask your child, “What is it you need me to do to help you with school?” she advises. Then, listen to the answer.

But that doesn’t mean to make excuses for them when they miss assignments or shirk responsibilities. “When you make excuses for your kid, you are turning your kid into a victim,” she says.

Rashoff, mother to a 25-year-old son who graduated from Woodbridge High School and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, does not hold back from sharing some of her own parenting regrets either.

“Here’s a tip I had to learn the hard way with my own son,” she writes in Highschooland. “When you’re in conflict with your child over school, take one deep breath and give yourself time to remember that we humans tend to do the opposite of what we’re told if it’s repeated enough times to annoy us.”

“I regret nagging him,” Rashoff says. A better approach to getting teens to handle challenges is to help them make a plan and support them as they work out their concerns or problems, she says.

Rashoff also urges parents to think twice about taking away an activity a child loves as a punishment for grades.

“Don’t put restrictions on something your child wants that benefits his education, such as his wanting to buy books, join clubs or participate in sports. This kind of interest is a signal to you that your child is excited about something, and every instance of excitement of this sort is a learning opportunity for both of you,” she writes.

After all, Rashoff says, the research shows that the more extracurricular school related activities teens do, the better their grades are. She thinks that is because they feel more invested in their school and education.

Rashoff hold firm beliefs about setting your child up for success with homework.

“One of my big pieces of advice is to take your kids’ cell phone while they’re doing homework,” she says. “Tell them, ‘I’ll protect you from yourself.’ They have so many more distractions than we did in our day.”

She suggests that instead of doing homework behind a closed bedroom door, have your teens do their homework in an open place like the dining room table. (But don’t hover over them, she insists.) If they struggle with time management, use a timer to break work down into manageable 20-minute chunk of time, with breaks in between.

When it comes to planning for college, Rashoff has other tips for parents. First is to help your child research and learn about colleges.

“Early on, even if your kids are younger, take them to a college campus so they can decide ‘This is cool. I want to be here.’” She says. The summer between freshman and sophomore years is often a good time to visit colleges, which offer free tours to families, she says.

If your student in interested in a particular school, you can fins the college freshman profile for that school, which give the make-up of the class, including average SAT scores and GPAs.

“Then your teen knows, ‘That’s what I have to shoot for,’” she says.

Students should take advantage of the free college-planning resources offered by their high school guidance counseling office before they consider pricey private counseling, Rashoff says.

That said, for families who can afford it, an SAT prep course is usually a good investment, she notes.

So what did Rashoff learn from the families who seemed to have mastered the parent-teen dynamic?

“The families who had it together had parents who held their children responsible and accountable, not in a mean way, but a businesslike way,” she says. “There’s so much parents can do to support their kids.”

Karyn Rashoff leads parenting workshops based on Highschooland, including one that will be held in March at Irvine Valley College. For more information, go online to

Presenter Colorado School Counselor Association Annual Conference

Wednesday, November 5 – Friday, November 7, 2014
Presenter at
Colorado School Counselor Association Annual Conference
Loveland, CO

Colorado School Counselor

Karyn Rashoff will be presenting at the 2014 Colorado School Counselor Association Annual Conference. The CSCA Conference is an exciting annual event that brings together hundreds of school counselors for two and a half days of education, networking and fun! The conference offers the opportunity to reach out to school professionals from across Colorado.

To learn more, visit the organization’s website