The Eton Approach: Learning for Life

The Eton Approach: Learning for Life

By M.H. Murray for Local Business News

Soon after Rowan Daugherty began public school, it was evident that it was not a good fit for her.

“Rowan, who is smart and verbal, was given several labels of dysfunction,” says her mom, Stephanie Daugherty, “and her confidence was shot. She was becoming a different kid.…When my second daughter, Daphne, who treasures books, started school, she was dealing with some challenges when it came to reading and executive neurological function.”

“We knew about Eton,” Daugherty continued, “but my husband and I were afraid of the cost – until we went to an Open House, where we learned we were not alone – and we made it happen. Eton Academy and The Eton Approach have done nothing short of changing our lives.”lbn-ad

Eton Academy, on Melton Rd. near W. 14 Mile Rd. in Birmingham, was founded in 1986 as a full-curriculum, independent, private school for students with learning differences and has over 200 students in grades 1-12.

Pete Pullen, Head of School, describes The Eton Approach as “the culmination of 30 years of teaching students who learn differently.”

“It takes the science, the research, and our successful experiences,” Pullen explains, “for a systemized approach to consistently delivering direct, explicit and multi-sensory instruction.”

“I’m a big cheerleader for Eton Academy and The Eton Approach,” says Daugherty. “Now, a couple of years later, Rowan (now ten) and Daphne (now seven) are thriving. In the past year, Daphne has improved from being able to read five words to 130 words: a 5.5th-grade reading level! And Rowan has blossomed. She is confident, meeting her goals and making new ones.”

“The teachers call, they communicate, they talk to outside therapists,” Daugherty continues. “The girls are really comfortable there, and so am I. Learning is no longer a battle. When I pick them up and ask about their day, they now say, ‘Awesome! Amazing!’ They are being taught how to learn and are given tools that will last their lifetimes.”Eton 1 - Copy

Daugherty describes Rowan’s first day at Eton Academy. “Rowan was upset upon arriving and did not want to stay. Mr. Pullen approached and offered to take her for a walk around the school. She took his hand and – though I don’t know what they talked about – when they returned, she was absolutely fine.”

Pullen smiles as he recalls that walk – and his own path to becoming Eton Academy’s Head of School.

“I know it sounds funny,” he says, “but I knew I wanted to be a school principal from the time I was six or seven years old.”
“I was inspired by Dr. Walker, our principal at Mary D. Mitchell School in Ann Arbor,” Pullen says. “He was the kindest, gentlest man I ever met, and he was always helping children.”

After attending Ann Arbor’s Greenhills School, Pullen returned there, while working on his degree at the University of Michigan, to tutor and coach basketball.

“Later,” Pullen says, “the opportunity was presented to teach middle school at Greenhills, so that’s where I began. And when I was there, I thought, ‘This is how schools should teach.’ It left an indelible mark on my philosophy.”

TroyAutoGlassAd“I then took a detour and coached college basketball for two years at Eastern Michigan University and realized that my true passion is teaching. Though,” he adds, grinning, “I love basketball!”

Pullen then taught and became Assistant Head of School at Detroit’s Friends School and was also Head of School at Herlong Cathedral School before coming to Eton, where he has been for fifteen years.

And Pullen, as well as Eton’s teachers (and the specialists who continually teach those teachers), support staff, and board of trustees, sustain a place where children with learning challenges, and their families, find hope.

It’s a place where each student who walks through their doors is seen as a unique, growing child with amazing abilities, unlimited potential and discoverable ways of acquiring skills, knowledge, self-awareness; where science, compassion and dedication create a community where all can thrive, where all can succeed.Eton 3

“We are a resource,” says Pullen, “for a student, a person, your child, who is struggling to learn. Everyone here is incredibly committed and passionate. A call to us may be helpful and, even though the school might not be your child’s ultimate home, we also extend tutoring, our learning center, our summer program. Our goal is to help as many students and families as we can, moving them from frustration to flourishing.”

Information:
etonacademy.org
1755 Melton Rd.
Birmingham, MI 48009
248-642- 1150

Fox and Hounds Pastry Den in Troy Repeats History, Deliciously!

Fox and Hounds Pastry Den in Troy Repeats History, Deliciously!

By Honey Murray
Local Business News

Monica Nacianceno never had a Twinkie in her school lunch for dessert – or a Ding Dong, or a Ho-Ho.

She never had a Whoopie Pie or a Keebler cookie.

But every one of her classmates would have traded Monica their lunches for the treats she did have, and some of them begged to do so.

IMG_20171230_092357725“There were nine of us,” says Monica, “and I’d awaken every morning to the smells of my mother’s baking. She was ahead of her time and made everything from scratch. She wouldn’t buy prepackaged foods because of all the additives.”

“Once,” Monica says, “my mother made the Twinkies I’d begged her for. They were the best ever!”

More than the other children, Monica loved to be in the kitchen. She made her first cake when she was ten.

“And I still haven’t stopped,” she beams.lbn-ad

Now owner of the Fox and Hounds Pastry Den in Troy’s Emerald Lakes Plaza on John R. at Square Lake Road, Monica was already making cakes for friends’ and family events by fifth and sixth grade.

“When I was seventeen,” she laughs, “I took four sheet cakes I’d made to our family reunion. What teenager does that?”

Monica grew up with relatives who were in the restaurant business.

“I would spend summers with them,” she says, “just to be able to work at the restaurant!”

“My very first real job was at Wendy’s. At age fifteen, they made me a shift leader and gave me a key.”

Later, Monica was also a manager at I Can’t Believe It’s Yogurt in Bloomfield Hills and Birmingham.

IMG_20171230_092251097 (1)After graduation, Monica would practice her driving skills on Woodward Avenue.

“I was not an eager driver,” she says. “I’d head north on Woodward to Long Lake and would turn around by the fascinating, castle-like building on the corner:  the Fox and Hounds restaurant. I’ve always loved historical buildings.”

Years later, Monica – looking for a part-time job – began working there.

“As a guest for the restaurant’s very last dinner before they closed permanently,” Monica recalls, “I had an idea: the restaurant can be gone, and the building can be gone, but their desserts can still be here.”

TroyAutoGlassAdAnd when she saw a “For Lease” sign in Troy’s Emerald Lakes Plaza – where she’d been coming for 30 years – she says, “a lightbulb just went on, and I knew ‘it’s time, now!’”

Monica, who’d been busy with her own dessert delivery business, was able to acquire the Fox and Hounds Pastry Den name, as well as the recipes for their beloved vanilla, chocolate and marble Celebration Cakes; their tortes and miniature pastries; and their signature buttercream.

And she has created — with a black-and-gold tin ceiling; the original “Fox and Hounds Pastry Den” wooden sign and their original, now-antique brass cash register; a meticulously painted, over-the-fireplace mural of a fox hunt; and a few sturdy, wooden tables and chairs – a true, comfy lair (with Wi-Fi) where customers can sit and enjoy coffee, tea, or hot chocolate and slices of buttercream cake or freshly baked scones, cookies, muffins, gluten-free Chocolate Decadent Brownies, croissants and quiches.

“We have the best buttercream ever! It’s not overly sweet. With a million buttercreams out there, not one is like ours,” Monica says. “It has a lot of butter, whipped a long time, and a high cream content.”

Monica’s daughter (also named Monica) works with her mom and recalls that, when they first opened, they would give samples of the buttercream to customers who were eager to compare it to the original Fox and Hounds’.350 x 250 - Eton Academy Ad

“They’d get on their phones,” says ‘Lil’Monica,’ and call their friends to say, ’Yes! It tastes the same: delicious!’”

She adds, “It’s all about tradition and carrying on the type of quality that many young people have never experienced. One of our customers brought in a photo of his Fox and Hounds wedding cake from 25 years ago. We were able to re-create it as a surprise for his wife’s 50th birthday.”

Owner Monica Nacianceno and her daughter, Lil' Monica

Owner Monica Nacianceno and her daughter, Lil’ Monica

“And now,” Monica says, “their younger generation orders special cakes from us for their own families.”

“Our clientele is so great,” Lil’ Monica says. “They come from all over to get their favorite dessert, and they appreciate our personal service.”

“We want to brighten peoples’ days,” says Monica, “and make them at home while we carry on some local history, right here in Troy — in our own, cozy, little castle.”

Company information:

foxandhoundspastryden.com

5193 John R Rd.
Troy, MI  48084
248-642-0882