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New Perspectives - Jun, 1997 Issue #46

Lost Horizon Ranch
Marion, Montana
Rosemary McKinnon, LCSW, Dir. Of Admissions

“Montana Academy is a year-round residential treatment school which will begin to enroll students in late June 1997. The Academy admits regular students at any time. But this first year the school offers an 8-week Summer Program intended for young men and women (ages 13-17) whose school or home problems call for a therapeutic mix of innovative teaching, ranch experience, emotional work and wilderness adventure.... The full 8-week program may earn a semester credit each in English and in science.” 

“Montana Academy, a residential therapeutic school, emphasizes both treatment and education and is unique in the quality of training and experience of its leadership. The school, built on a remote Montana ranch, combines an emotional growth curriculum, designed for youths with psychological problems, with a dual academic curriculum—grounded in practical tasks, and so suited to students disenchanted and disengaged from conventional classrooms. Experienced clinicians, trained teachers, and seasoned outdoorsmen integrate treatment and learning in the classroom, in the kitchen, on the ranch, on the river and around mountain campfires. 

“Experienced, trained clinicians—not laymen—preside over individual assessments of students and guide a comprehensive treatment, conducted by licensed clinical staff, that fosters a resumed momentum along the normative sequenced of adolescent development.... 

“Once engaged in their own self scrutiny, students enroll in Psych 101, a weekly course taught by the Medical Director and Headmaster. The course describes social, biological and psychological development, tempting students to learn about childhood and adolescence. Students are challenged to reflect upon their own histories, their own stage of life, and to make sense of parents and families.... 

“Montana Academy shapes its teaching style and methods to suit students whose emotional problems have disrupted learning in both academic content areas and in learning process. Many troubled students have not yet learned how to learn, and so flounder in conventional crowded classrooms where the prevailing assumption must be that these skills have been mastered. Informed by the acclaimed Project CRISES, the work of one of the founders of Montana Academy (Carol Santa, Ph.D.), the school teaches learning skills needed to extract, transform, and learn information....

Montana Academy encourages a physical fitness ethic, but its approach, in contrast to conventional competitive team athletics, emphasizes the potential result of individual effort and self discipline—cross country running, trekking and skiing, hiking, cycling and rock climbing. The wilderness program provides an integral part of both the fitness and the emotional growth curricula. Masters level clinicians, seasoned outdoor men and women, conduct adventures that exploit Montana’s awesome beauty, challenging terrain and dramatic climate to inspire curiosity about the universe, to instill respect for the planet’s air and water, flora and fauna, and to encourage students to be strong and competent....” 

Copyright © 1997, Woodbury Reports, Inc. (This article may be reproduced without prior approval if the copyright notice and proper publication and author attribution accompanies the copy.)

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