Learning Support

Photos by Kamala Kirk

Integrated Learning Solutions (ILS) is dedicated to helping kids and young adults achieve success in school and in the real world. Marguery Lyvers is the Clinical Director and owner, and was originally a psychologist for ILS, where she worked for the founding partners who started the business in the early 2000s. The founding partners—a former educational administrator and a clinical psychologist—were Lyvers’ mentors, and groomed her to take over the business a few years later, of which she has been the owner for the past three-and-a-half years.

“We’re basically a one-stop shop for all things learning,” said Lyvers. “We offer kindergarten screenings, neuropsych evaluations, in-house educational therapy, ADHD and executive functioning coaching, and college counseling for students who might have different needs than your typical learner. I even have some graduate school students who come in to determine how to direct their efforts so that they’re learning more strategically. We take students from the very start of the educational trajectory all the way through.”

Marguery Lyvers

When Lyvers became the Clinical Director at ILS, she helped expand the educational therapy and neuropsychological evaluation programs, and initiated the executive functioning and ADHD coaching program. Currently, she also serves as the school psychologist for The Gooden School in Sierra Madre, and advises local schools on best practices and implementing different strategies.

“Our vision has remained constant,” Lyvers said. “We are working within our lane, and it’s nice to have some clear parameters around our mission. The ways in which we do that will continue to morph as our educational system evolves, but the heart of what we do has been constant since the company was cofounded.”

Lyvers employs a staff of executive functioning coaches and educational therapists, and she has former kindergarten teachers and admissions directors coming in to perform screening activities. ILS serves as a hub for students who don’t feel that their needs are being met adequately in school, and a majority are referred by other families via word of mouth.

“We’ll help determine what we think the appropriate trajectory should be so that the families can come up with a plan,” explained Lyvers. “A lot of the time, students will come in the door and be referred for an evaluation, which is an in-depth process, and with the culmination of the feedback from that evaluation, we decide whether we can serve these students in-house through our educational therapy, executive functioning program, college counseling program, or whether they would be best served elsewhere.”

Lyvers grew up in Pasadena, and like many of the students that she now sees, her educational trajectory was different than what is typical. After completing two years of high school, Lyvers attended Cal State Los Angeles through its early entrance program. She eventually earned her PhD and attended the California School of Professional Psychology, which is the oldest standalone professional psychology school in the country.

“My experience helps when I’m talking to my students about how we don’t have to do things in a cookie cutter manner, and that there are different alternatives and paths to achieving your goals,” Lyvers pointed out. “We’re very authentic at ILS. All the pieces of you are going to be accepted here. We offer a lot of family guidance and support strategies, not just for the kid and their learning process, but for the whole child and whole family. We give them the tools and equip them with the knowledge they need, we do any sort of initial consultation and advocacy for them so their needs are met, and ultimately our goal is that they move on and outgrow us. There’s a sense of trust that we’ve been able to foster with our families, and that’s why people don’t want to leave even when they graduate.”

ILS works with students from all over—while many come from the San Gabriel Valley and east side of Los Angeles, some travel from as far as Orange Country, Ventura and Riverside counties to receive evaluations. Lyvers works with students from public schools, independent schools, parochial and Christian schools, and everything is done on-site at the ILS offices in San Marino.

One of the most popular services offered is the kindergarten screening program, which is seasonal and runs during the wintertime.  ILS partners with a dozen schools that are members of the Pasadena Area Independent Schools Consortium to assist them with screening kindergarten applicants. During the screening, each child is asked to participate in a number of developmental tasks where their language and reasoning skills, motor skills, and visual and auditory processing skills are observed.

“We’ve developed a tool in-house that’s been highly validated, is extremely reliable, and an excellent predictor of success,” said Lyvers. “The kids come here, screen once, and following their screening, we do the analysis of their skills and send the results off to each of the schools that they’re applying to. We screen over 500 kids every application season.”

Another service ILS offers is school placement consultation, where it help families identify the schools that fit with their values and goals for their children, and that will match the diverse learning needs of the student. It also provides college counseling services to help students identify, highlight and communicate who they are for the institutions that best align with their unique interests, talents and abilities.

“We work with students to clarify their goals, to determine what their specific needs are, and to make sure that they’re applying to programs that have the capacity to meet their needs,” explained Lyvers. “Having worked in higher education, I know that the way one school accommodates x, y or z is not the same as another school, so we do a lot of guidance around that. For our executive functioning and ADHD program, we teach kids strategies for managing their world. We help them figure out how to plan, see into the future, and find motivation.”

In addition to numerous offices where students meet with educational therapists and executive functioning coaches, ILS’s headquarters also has spaces like the “family room,” which serves as a study hall or chill-out space, and the “romper room,” where younger children enjoy more hands-on activities. Lyvers pointed out that a lot of what they do with the younger students is play-based and interactive, and activities are designed to capture their interests in order to facilitate their willingness to take more risks in their learning environments.

“Through the evaluation process, I’m exploring how a child experiences their world, which is a lot of fun,” said Lyvers. “It’s a pretty deep dive into their thinking processes, which feeds my natural curiosity, inquisitiveness and analytical nature. I love to problem solve, put the pieces of puzzles together, and come up with a cohesive map for how a kid thinks and operates, and then explain that to the families and the kids. Watching a kid’s educational world open up while their sense of self blossoms through this process—whether it’s through coaching, therapy or evaluation—is exciting. Partnering with the kids and families is the biggest motivator for me and the rest of my staff.”

Integrated Learning Solutions is located at 2233 Huntington Dr. It is open by appointment only. For more information, call (626) 568-8558 or visit integratedlearningsolutions.org

Integrated Learning Solutions Business Spotlight appeared in the print edition of the South Pasadena Review on 11.30.18. Support Local Business.