Alpine Academy

(800) 244-1113
1280 Whispering Horse Drive
Erda, UT 84074

Admissions Director: Christian Egan
Admissions Phone: (435) 228-0100
Executive Director: Michele Boguslofski
Academic Director: Angie Alvey
Clinical Director: Aarika Maisak
Milieu Director: Jeff Boguslofski
Year Founded: 2001
Category: Residential Treatment Center
Optimum Size: 70 students
Annual Number Of Students: Approximately 120 students
Average Length of Stay: There are many factors that determine length of stay, such as if the student is coming from another program (ie, Wilderness Therapy) and the level of engagement from the student and her parents. The average length of stay is 12-14 months.

Admissions Policy:

Alpine Academy offers year-round, rolling admissions. All potential admissions are discussed in a weekly administrative team meeting. Typically, decisions are made within 3-5 business days, but adjustments can be made when necessary. There is an online application and admissions agreement on the website.

Appropriate Student/ Resident:

Typical students are young ladies with severe depression and anxiety. Alpine classifies their students and behaviorally softer, but clinically intense. Common diagnoses include anxiety, depression, PTSD, attachment issues, Axis II personality features, Bipolar, ADHD, variety of learning disabilities, and Autism Spectrum Disorder. Alpine students also typically have experience school avoidance and issues with internet and social media misuse, as well as self-harming behaviors. Alpine

Academy does not typically take students that have seriously attempted suicide in the past 6 months, are actively eloping from home or other programs, are physically aggressive towards peers, or have a primary diagnosis of substance addiction or eating disorders. Due to the cognitive nature of the model, the typical student has a full-scale IQ of at least 80.

Gender: 100% Female

Age Range: 12-18

Program Description:

At Alpine Academy strives to recreate a normalized life experience for students. This enables students to be better prepared for real-life situations when they leave. Students live in a home with up to 9 other students. Each home is set up like a traditional home. There is a married couple (Family Teachers) that lives there with the youth and are trained and certified in the Teaching-Family Model. They work with the students everyday on developing the skills they will need to be successful in life; from social and emotional to independent living skills. Students go to school, do chores, prepare and eat meals as a family, go on activities in the community, exercise, play sports, and many other things they would normally do at home. All of this takes place under the supervision of these Family Teachers who are trained to teach to the specific skills the students are working on.

Students progress through the program at Alpine by demonstrating proficiency in their target skills. The motivation system at Alpine is based on a frequency of teaching and reinforcement schedule. This allows the students to move from a place of being externally motivated to make positive and healthy choices to being internally motivated. When a student feels that she has completed one level of the program she arranges a meeting with her treatment team to advocate for her advancement. This “self-determination” allows the youth to be even more engaged in the treatment process.

Staff to Student Ratio:

Alpine Academy maintains a 1:4 staff to student ratio. Due to the unique, family-style model employed by Alpine Academy, there is no "night shift" where staff check students throughout the night. The staff members that live in the home with the students are there throughout the night and available as needed. An alarm and intercom system is used to make sure the students remain in their rooms but are able to talk to staff members if needed. This allows the girls to stay safe and sleep through the night without being interrupted by frequent checks. It also allows for more meaningful relationships with the staff members as it is the same people, day and night. In the event a student is struggling to stay safe, arrangements are made for the home staff members to stay up with the student. Alpine feels this most closely mirrors real-life situations and best prepares students to be successful in the long run.

Clinical Description:

Therapeutic services at Alpine Academy are broken down into two main categories, direct therapy and indirect therapy.

Direct therapeutic services are those that happen with the primary therapist each week. Alpine has a team of 10 Master’s level clinicians, which includes a Clinical Director and Assistant Clinical Director. The clinicians are all trained in a variety of treatment modalities that they can implement with student that enable them to individualize the treatment process. These modalities include DBT, CBT, Family-Systems, EMDR, and Equine-Assisted Therapy. These include 60 minutes of individual therapy, 60 minutes of family therapy (conducted via phone or HIPAA-compliant video conference), and 180-270 minutes of group therapy (2-3 groups of 90 min each).

Indirect therapeutic services are those that happen during the normal functioning of the program due to the model Alpine Academy employs, the Teaching-Family Model. This model focuses on brain-based learning and Social Learning Theory; and is evidence-based and trauma-informed. At Alpine Academy behavioral treatment is provided continuously throughout the day by the residential staff under the supervision of psycho-educational experts. The residential staff members are highly-trained and nationally certified behavioral specialists; their interventions are closely monitored by the home supervisor. The motivation system is a critical component of the Teaching-Family Model treatment approach; the use of a level system and a token economy during the initial stages of treatment assist the staff in teaching to the student’s behaviors and providing rationales for positive or negative consequences. Teaching interactions, role-plays, and positive correction activities help the student replace inappropriate behavior with socially appropriate behavior.

The residential staff works closely with each student’s therapist to ensure that treatment goals and target skills are addressed each day in the milieu setting. The residential staff is responsible for skills development activities that assist the students in learning social and life skills. Some of the skills that are actively taught and reinforced are: following instructions and rules, accepting decisions of authority, accepting feedback from others, appropriately disagreeing with someone, healthy peer relations and boundaries, expressing feelings, recognizing and reducing thinking errors, rational problem solving, accepting responsibility for behavior, positive and effective communication, demonstrating empathy for others, meal planning and preparation, care of physical and dental health, positive attention seeking, and so on.

Board-certified physicians from the University of Utah Neuropsychiatric Institute provide psychiatric services at Alpine Academy. Each student is assigned a primary psychiatrist that meets with the student at least once per month to handle medication management and assessment.

Psychotropic Medications Allowed?: Yes

Policy: As with everything else at Alpine Academy, the medication procedure is as "family-style" as possible. Each student at Alpine is assigned a primary psychiatrist that meets with her at least once a month for medication management. There is a full-time Medical Coordinator that acts as liaison between psychiatrists, parents, therapist, and residential staff. The Medical Coordinator controls and tracks all medication. Each week the residential staff are given the medication for their youth for that week. This medication is kept in the home, double-locked. The home staff are trained to administer medication directly to the youth as prescribed. In the event of a medication error, parents, therapist, psychiatrist, and supervisor are notified and an incident report is completed.

Academic Description:

Academics at Alpine Academy have a very innovative approach while maintaining a traditional feel. Students attend school on campus from 8:00am to 2:40pm Monday through Friday. Alpine runs an A-B block schedule with 5 classes in each block for a total of 10 classes each quarter. Classes are taught in a direct-instruction style with the teacher in the classroom and 8-10 students per class. All students in a given class are working on the same curriculum. Teachers are certified for their subject and most also have a Special Education endorsement. The school schedule is year round, beginning in August and ending mid-July. There is a one week break in between each quarter and a two week break in July, as well as standard holiday breaks. This schedule enables students to start catching up on missed credit at any point they enroll during the year, without having to wait for a “summer term.”

In addition to 12 teachers, Alpine Academy has a full-time Special Education Director that works on IEP case management and a full-time guidance counselor to help students make sure they are on track and preparing for the next step in their academic career. One of the English teachers is also an adjunct professor for Utah State University and is able to teach an English 1010 class and have students earn college credit while enrolled.

Recognizing that physical health is essential for mental health, all students take PE whether or not they need the credit. Students also participate in intramural sports each quarter, learning fundamentals of a given sport and then competing against other homes on campus. Other electives include Art, Dance, ASL, Psychology, EMS, Drama, and more.

Each student also has the opportunity to participate in Academic Clubs several times per quarter. These clubs are experiential learning activities led by teachers or other staff members and serve the purpose of having the students explore potential hobbies and learn the interests of the staff members they work with. Some examples are hiking, snowshoeing, swimming, horsemanship, music, self-defense, photography, journalism, yearbook, student government, vocational/technical skills, ASL, yoga, zumba, and many more.

Facilities Description:

Alpine Academy is located 30 minutes west of the Salt Lake City airport in a rural community called Erda. Alpine’s campus is just under 40 acres and comprises 7 homes, a school building, a clinical building, a fitness and arts center, a soccer field, a couple of horse barns and arenas, and plenty of pasture.

The homes are spread out around the perimeter of the campus on individual 5 acre lots. Each home houses 10 students along with the married couple that lives in the home and runs it. The 6 primary homes are all set up in more or less the same manner; 5 bedrooms with 2 students per room and 3-4 bathrooms for the students to share, family rooms, recreation rooms, kitchen, laundry room, homework area, and other main living areas. The 7th home is the ASPIRE program, designed to look more like a college dorm. This program is designed to prepare our older students for independent living. This home is set aside for students that are 17-18 years old and seniors in high school. The home has 3 bedrooms, 2 of which house 4 students each and one for 2 students. This home also has a cafe-style kitchen, living room, laundry room with coin-operated machines, and a central bathroom with individual shower stalls and water closets.

The Academic Center is located in the center of the campus and has several classrooms and also serves as the administrative building. The Clinical building is just west of the Academic Center and, in addition to housing therapy offices, has a training room and sand-tray room for sand-play therapy. The Fitness and Arts center is on the North end of campus and has a full-size basketball court, racquetball court, dance room, weight room, and stage with lighting and sound. The art classroom and PE/EMS classroom are also located in this building.

Family Involvement:
Alpine Academy understands that the family dynamic is influenced by more than any one individual. For this purpose, a strong emphasis is placed on parent and family involvement in the treatment process. The family goals become part of the treatment goals and parents are considered a critical part of the treatment team. Parents are asked to actively participate in weekly family therapy sessions and other calls with their daughter as well as the family teachers in the home. Parent visit weekends are designated for each month, though parents are not required (or even encouraged) to visit each month. These are set up so that if a parent wants to visit in a given month, they know what weekend is available to plan in advance. Adjustments can be made to visit at a time other than parent visit weekends through the therapist and family teachers. Alpine Academy hosts quarterly Parent Workshop Weekends. These weekends have formal agendas for training, parent-teacher conferences, in-person family therapy sessions, and experiential group activities. Attendance at these functions is strongly encouraged as this is the best way for parents to learn successful strategies for making a smooth transition home for their daughter. These events also provide an opportunity for parents to connect with each other and learn from each other. Alpine Academy also hosts an annual Alumni Event for all former students and families. This takes place in conjunction with one of the quarterly workshop weekends. In addition to reconnecting, this event allows current students and parents to learn from former students and parents about what works and what doesn’t.
Follow Up Programming:
Each student and family that comes through the doors at Alpine Academy becomes a part of our Alpine Family. As such, we feel a strong desire to help them be as successful as possible, even after they leave. Alpine has a full-time Aftercare Coordinator whose job is to support families post-Alpine. She begins the process a couple months prior to departure from Alpine by connecting with the student and family to start working on a transition plan and setting individualized goals and next-steps. If applicable, the educational consultant is also involved in this process. Once the student graduates and leaves Alpine, the coordinator will set a check-in schedule with the family based on their needs to follow up on implementation of the plan. She is also available 24/7 for consultation and support. The coordinator is trained in the Teaching-Family model that Alpine uses and has many years of experience working in homes with families. This services is provided indefinitely to families at no additional cost.
Outcome Studies: Alpine Academy participates in the NATSAP long-term outcomes study.

Spiritual Development:
While Alpine Academy is not affiliated with any religious organization, we recognize the benefits that can come from believing in something greater than oneself as well as practicing or adhering to a certain set of morals. Students that come to Alpine Academy are given the opportunity to practice their religion as they are able; whether that be going to a place of worship (accompanied by a staff member) or having dedicated meditation and reading time at a quiet spot in the home or other area of the campus. At any given time there are students of Jewish, Catholic, or other Christian faiths on campus that are able to attend services. A local Rabbi comes to campus on a monthly basis to meet with those girls of Jewish faith. Individual accommodations, within reason, can be made for those of other faiths as well. Indoctrination into other religions is not permitted while students are with us, however we do use this opportunity to educate students on the customs of other religions to improve societal tolerance for future generations. Dietary accommodations can also be made, for example, Jewish students that are Kosher.
Summer/ Adjunct Program: N/A

Professional Affiliations:
  • NATSAP (National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs)
  • NAPSEC (National Association of Private Special Education Centers)Teaching-Family Association
  • IAPSEC (Illinois Association of Private Special Education Centers)
Accreditation, Licensure, Approved:
  • Utah State Office of Licensing
  • Teaching-Family Association
  • SEVIS (international students)
  • AdvancEd (Northwest Accreditation Commission)
Payment Category:
  • 60% private pay
  • 40% 3rd party (ie, school districts, county adoption assistance, international government, etc)
  • Alpine Academy cannot bill insurance directly. We do provide any required documentation for insurance reimbursement.
  • Alpine Academy has a scholarship fund which is funded by Alumni families; use is based on application and availability.

For more information about Alpine Academy, visit





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