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Boarding Schools For Troubled Youth

What are Boarding Schools?

Many people have asked us, what are boarding schools? In this article we will discuss specifically what boarding schools for troubled youth are. There are several different types of boarding schools, but almost all boarding schools have the students reside on campus and provide academics to those individuals. Keep reading to learn more about boarding school options for troubled youth, military boarding schools, all-girls or all-boys boarding schools, and more.

What are the different types of Boarding Schools?

College-Preparatory Boarding Schools – these schools specialize in preparing students for college or more likely university. A college-preparatory boarding school is good for students whose goal is to achieve academic superiority. Classes tend to be typically smaller than public schools. College-preparatory boarding schools are not appropriate for students who struggle with drugs or alcohol or have emotional or behavioral problems and thus would not be a good option for troubled youth. College-prep boarding schools typically have a traditional academic school year. Some college-prep boarding schools specialize in different areas such as:

  • All-boys or all-girls boarding schools – more boarding schools are moving away from the single sex boarding schools, but there are still several out there. These schools are good for students who do not want the opposite sex distraction.
  • Military boarding schools – these boarding schools add the military structure while preparing students for college. See Military Schools.
  • Creative Arts Boarding Schools – these boarding schools teach and prepare students for specialized careers such as musicians, actors, creative writers, and dancers. These schools are good for students who are artistically inclined and who plan to attend a specialized college, university, or music conservatory.
  • Christian Boarding Schools – these boarding schools include a religious component to their schooling. These schools are good for students who want to make sure that religion is part of their life while at school.

Junior Boarding Schools – these boarding schools are for student who are in 8th grade or lower. Some junior boarding schools do provide living acommodations while others, especially for younger elementary school aged children, may be strictly a day school that doesn not keep kids over night. A junior boarding school may take troubled youth or youth that need some specific direction. With focused curriculum and 24 hour a day supervision, these schools are designed to help boys and girls learn and grown not only academically but also socially and emotionally. At a junior boarding school children will learn responsibility and learn how to make good choices.

Therapeutic Boarding Schools – also known as Residential Treatment Centers – these boarding schools add a therapy component. Therapeutic boarding schools are designed specifically to provide structure, discipline, and supervision for toubled youth dealing with substance abuse issues, learning difficulties, or behavioral problems that keep them from leading a normal, productive life. As with any boarding school, potential candidates and their families will want to research the school and staff in-depth to find out if the school is accreditated and if the teacher and staff are certified to other the kind of care and/or treatment that will be required by the troubled youth.

Specialty Boarding Schools – also known as Behavior Modification Schools – These schools specialize in students who are having emotional and behavioral problems and having a difficult time in a traditional school setting, but do not necessarily require therapy. These schools are typically long term and have a major emphasis on character building for troubled teens. Specialty boarding schools are usually year-round schools. Speciality boarding schools can also be any boarding school that has a major area of focus religion, arts, military, or any other special interest.

How much do Boarding Schools cost?

Boarding schools costs range from under $2,000 to over $6,000 a month. Because most boarding schools include academics, they qualify for educational loans like those offered from PrepGATE or SalleMae. Some boarding schools may offer financial aid, scholarships, or other tuition assistance programs. Boarding school costs are going to vary a great deal depending on the type of program they offer.

Youth Program Life

Academics at the featured youth programs:
All students can earn high school credit while at these youth programs. Most of these youth programs are accredited by the Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges. Students are evaluated upon entrance to the youth program and then placed in an ambitious course of study. In order for the student to earn credit for a class and move to the next course at the youth program, each class must be passed at a level of 80% or better. Credits will transfer to any college, university, and local high school. Students can also earn a diploma directly from the youth program.

Activities-
On and off grounds activities provide a proper balance of recreation, exercise, learning, personal development, and social opportunities. Initially all activities are on grounds. Over a period of time, students earn the privilege of participating in off grounds activities near the youth program. All of the youth programs are located where there are a variety of activities.

Behavior Modification-
High standards exist at all these youth programs. Inappropriate behavior at the youth program is confronted, given consequences, and redirected, while appropriate behavior is reinforced and rewarded. The Programs offer tight supervision around the clock. Each student follows a vigorous daily schedule and a firm set of rules at the youth program. A merit system is used at each youth program requiring each student to earn their status and privileges. As students advance, each level offers additional privileges motivating the student to work harder. The youth program becomes the testing ground to ascertain each student’s level of commitment toward changing past behavior.

Personal/Emotional Development-
At the youth program students participate daily in tightly-integrated Emotional Growth and Personal Development Courses. These courses effectively utilize resources such as: professional audio and video tapes, selective reading material, and daily progress review sessions. During these sessions, students begin to learn what is and what isn’t working in their lives and how to make necessary changes.

Student Seminars-
Students participate in a series of seminars specifically designed for each of these youth programs. While the student is completing their seminars, the parents are invited to parent seminars. Then students and parents are invited to attend effective Parent/Child Workshops. These are designed to assist each family in rebuilding the family unit and become the foundation for the After-Care Program.

Misconceptions of these youth programs-
These youth programs often get confused with “tough love” options such as teen boot camps, juvenile boot camps, military schools, and wilderness programs. These specialty boarding schools and treatment centers are effective in helping troubled teens with behavior and conduct disorders. We do not promote youth boot camps, juvenile boot camps, military schools, or wilderness programs as they have not been proven to be as effective as these treatment centers and boarding schools.

Boarding School Basics

Boarding schools for troubled teens have a dual mission: to educate teens while assisting them with whatever’s troubling them through counseling, therapy, and other means. This article explains more about therapeutic boarding schools.

Basics of Boarding Schools for Troubled Teens

Boarding schools for troubled teens may go by several names: emotional growth boarding schools, therapeutic boarding schools, or personal development boarding schools, for example. Teens who attend these schools receive treatment integrated with education, so the treatment program, education program, healthcare staff, and educators should all be licensed and/or accredited by state, regional, or national and reputable organizations. In some cases, the boarding school may be authorized to grant a high school diploma.

Boarding schools for troubled teens may be coeducational, all-boys, or all-girls. Some coeducational boarding schools have separate campuses for boys and girls. All such boarding schools have very specific designations for the ages they treat. Some treat preadolescents, as well as adolescents; some treat only a specific subsection of teenagers (e.g., 14 to 18); some have a separate young adult program that accepts young people into their twenties; and some require a specific age upon admission/enrollment.

Teens enrolled in one of these facilities may be treated to a wide variety of problems. These include poor school performance, learning disabilities, issues with social relationships, family problems, physical disabilities, and emotional and behavioral issues. Various boarding schools for troubled teens practice different treatment protocols based on different philosophies. Treatment at a boarding school for troubled teens may last from one to two years.

Because different program philosophies and approaches may be better suited to different individuals and because the treatment is often of such long duration, it is essential to the outcome that a good match be made between the teen and the boarding school. The programs make headway provide different guidelines for living (12-Step, Christian, secular community responsibility) and involve teens in widely different activities while striving to meet their goals. Some have an extensive array of sports and intramural opportunities, while some claim to have elite-level academic programs.

For example, New Leaf Academy of Oregon, a girls-only program for girls who must be 10 through 14 when they enroll, involves a 4-H connection and engages each of the girls in caring for a bunny and showing it at the local county fair. The In Balance Ranch Academy, on the other hand, offers 12-Step based therapy to boys 13 to 17.5 years in a ranch setting where a college preparatory curriculum is combined with equine-assisted therapy, a wilderness program, experiential working, and job training. Wellspring Academy, a specialty coeducational boarding academy for teens aged 13 to 18 who struggle with weight issues, uses diet and activity management and cognitive and to help students with weight loss while also providing an accelerated academic program. Clearly these programs are not interchangeable and their suitability for a particular child must be considered.

Sources

natsap.org/program_definitions.asp
natsap.org/program_details.asp?id=125
natsap.org/program_details.asp?id=60
natsap.org/program_details.asp?id=229

Military Schools

What are Military Schools?

Military schools are very structured schools. Typically they have a regular school year with summer vacation. Students or Cadets can be boarded or some military schools offer a Day Student discount for those that just attend the school during the day. There are many single sex military schools for boys and there are just a few military schools for girls.

Who are appropriate candidates for Military Schools?

Military schools are good for those students who do not have any major behavioral issues, but just require more structure in their lives. Military schools usually have entrance exams where students must pass with an average to above average academic background.

Who are not appropriate candidates for Military Schools?

Military schools typically have a low tolerance for students with behavioral issues such as: disrespect for people in authority, low school attendance, poor grades, etc. They do not work for students who have emotional or behavioral problems including, ADD/ADHD, clinical depression, and ODD.

Why aren’t Military Schools appropriate for behavior modification?

Military schools do not provide an in-school treatment program as a general rule. These services might be contracted through a private practice while your teen is at a military school, but the schools aren’t equipped for teens with emotional or behavior problems. Military schools don’t have a solid follow-up program and support system needed for troubled teens and their parents. Programs of a confrontational nature have been proven to create more problems for troubled teens.

How much does it cost to attend a Military School?

Most military school cost about $3,000 to $5,000 per month for a nine-month period. Most require the entire nine-month tuition up-front. Some will break the full tuition up into 2-4 payments. Uniforms and other costs are an additional cost of about $1,000 to $4,000 that is required to be paid up-front with the tuition.

Private Schools

What are Private Schools?

Private Schools (Independent Schools) are schools that are not run by or funded by federal, state, or local governments. Most private schools are “day” school (see Boarding Schools for residential private schools). They are typically divided into to “types” of schools such as – religious or sectarian, military, performing arts, trade or vocational and more. Private schools are K-12 but some offer higher education classes.

Which teens are appropriate for Private Schools?

Teens who desire to study a particular field or faith that is not offered in a public school setting would be appropriate for a private school. Teens who work better in a smaller classroom with more one-on-one attention tend to work better in a private school setting.

Which teens are NOT appropriate for Private Schools?

Private schools do not tolerate disrespectful, out of control teens. Teens that have emotional and/or behavioral problems or a past of emotional and/or behavioral problems do not get accepted into most private schools or if the behavior becomes evident after a teen is enrolled, the teen is usually expelled.

Why are Private Schools not appropriate for Behavior Modification?

Private schools do not offer therapy or treatment for troubled teen behavior. A troubled teen exhibiting emotional and/or behavioral problems needs to receive treatment. Private schools are not equipped to handle teens who have addiction issues, emotional and/or behavioral problems, and disrespectful attitudes. And in some cases, private schools can help to promote the undesired behavior by being in a more influential setting.

How much does a Private School cost?

Private School tuition ranges from $20,000 to $40,000 for the 9 month school year. Some private schools offer scholarships or work programs that will reduce or completely pay the tuition.