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The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

Binding students to success; How City College is helping students develop study skills and learning habits


The Organized Binder helps students develop goal setting as well as time and task management. Phoenix Kanada | Photo Editor | [email protected]

Binding students to success; How City College is helping students develop study skills and learning habits

Each fall thousands of new and returning students must adjust to their classes, professors and schedules while also balancing coursework with everyday life responsibilities and time with friends and family. And then there are the costs: books, tuition, food, supplies and even time away from work. With all of these factors, the first few weeks of school can weigh heavily on students.

But where some saw challenges, others found opportunity.

“A big part of being a successful student is being an organized student,” said Guy Stimer, a City College English professor.

Stimer is just one of several teachers at City College who have implemented a tool aimed to support student success funded through the Student Equity and Success Center: binders.

These free, pre-filled binders are given to students by participating professors. They contain sections and handouts for the class to be used throughout the semester. In addition, the binders are meant to aid students in developing routines and ease any transition periods in learning, according to Mitch Weathers,  the CEO and founder of the education-focused company, Organized Binders.

Weathers said the idea originated in his own classroom as a teacher who was looking for a way to help his students develop better study skills and “learning rituals.”  Weathers currently teaches sciences to high school students in Redwood City.

“This idea evolved out of my own teaching practice about 10 years ago,” Weathers said in a phone interview.

After he started using them with success in his own classrooms, the idea spread and his company grew. Weathers now helps schools of all levels develop and produce custom learning materials.  

According to Weathers, students develop habits and learn through exposure to the materials on a daily basis, developing what he refers to as “executive function” by practicing goal setting along with both time and task management.

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Weathers also said that binders help instructors by not getting in the way of their daily routine.

“The beauty of it is that it has a small time-footprint in the classroom,” Weathers said. He explained that many teachers have had a positive response to the use of the binders because they don’t take too much time away from instruction.

Weathers said the program landed at City College through the Puente program as an equity tool for first-generation college students and those who speak English as a Second Language.

“I’ve actually had one teacher tell me that his student cried when she received her (free) binder,” Weathers said. “She had already maxed her budget for books for the semester, so to be able to have this necessary item that she didn’t have to pay for made her so relieved.”

Stimer said that the binders have had a positive impact among his students, as well.

“I’ve had excellent feedback from students,” Stimer said. He added that he believes the system helps them learn to be better students.

“I will reference material from back when I was in school,” said Stimer. He said this allows students to create their own reference resources for future applications of material they are learning.

“And if anything else, they can use the same binder for another class.” Stimer said jokingly.


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