In The Classroom:

How to get an A with tips, trick

Class uses teacher’s own experiences in high school to show students the right way to work.

July 27, 2009|By Michael J. Arvizu

Instructor Curtis Adney places a transparent copy of his high school report card on the overhead projector.

Not a pretty picture.

Three Ds and two Fs.

Then Adney places another transparent copy of another report card, this time from College of the Sequoias.

Straight A’s.

“Everyone has the brain power to get all A’s,” Adney says. “Everyone in this class has the natural brain capacity to get all A’s in school.”


For students, the ability to turn grades around is as simple as making key lifestyle and academic changes, with a few tips and tricks along the way. Such is the cornerstone of Adney’s class, Natural A’s, at Toll Middle School Monday afternoons, presented by the Glendale Community College Services Education Program.

The program offers individuals non-credit, fee-based classes and activities to further educational goals. Monday’s class was tailored to students ages 10 to 17. Students from Burbank to Eagle Rock attended the three-hour class.

After the kids were settled and materials handed out, Adney asked for those who did not like going to school to raise their hands. A few hands went up.

Adney responds sympathetically. He didn’t like going to school either, as evidenced, he said, by the numerous Ds and Fs on his report card. School, he said, is not always easy.

“Nobody likes doing anything they’re not really good at,” Adney said.

Adney, who holds a law degree from Bringham Young University, has been teaching classes like Natural A’s for more than 10 years.

Adney’s efforts to turn around his academic standing came shortly after graduating — and almost flunking — high school while working for his grandfather.

He found it difficult to arrive to work on time, not doze off in the middle of the day and complete his assigned tasks on time. His poor job performance eventually got him fired.

It wasn’t until later after Adney had successfully “begged and groveled,” he says, to get his job back, that he realized he had to make a life change — and fast. The job itself wasn’t difficult, he says, it was disciplining himself to make the changes necessary to keep his job that he found most difficult.

When Adney entered college, he knew he had to achieve and maintain good grades if he wanted to realize his goal of becoming a lawyer.

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