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New Perspectives - Aug, 1997 Issue #47

Sprague River, Oregon
David A. Giem, M.D., Headmaster

“The intentional paradox of Crater Lake School is that it offers both the latest in medical knowledge and the old- fashioned, soul-building nourishment of honest talk, hard work in the classroom, and physical exercise on its ranch and in the wilderness.” They describe themselves as “Integrating new- generation pharmacology professionally prescribed, a therapeutic milieu with a psycho-educational curriculum, wilderness experiences, and an individualized academic program...”

Opening in August, 1997, this is a year-round, coed boarding school located on a southern Oregon ranch, serving adolescents ages 14-18. Some of the disorders they plan to serve include “attention-deficit disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, learning disabilities, depression, anxiety disorder, oppositional/defiant disorder, bulimia, communications disorders, Tourette’s Disorder, sexual acting out, and substance abuse.” They will screen out students diagnosed as “anorexic, psychotic, mentally retarded, autistic, and pyromaniac, or who are actively suicidal.”

Crater Lake School is on a 460-acre ranch which “comprises a Pacific Migratory Flyway nature preserve which includes an 80- acre lake.” The 6000-square-foot house has decks overlooking the lake, and contains dorms, classrooms, etc. to accommodate 25 students. Plans are underway to expand the size eventually to 70 students. It is surrounded on three sides by a National Forest. It is 40 miles northeast of Klamath Falls, an hour and half east of Medford, 60 miles from Ashland which is well known for its summertime Shakespeare festival, and a five hours drive south from Portland, Oregon. 

They conceive themselves as a “total education program.” “In workshops and theme groups the milieu curriculum recreates stages of growth and development as identified by Eric Erikson and others. By serving as rites of passage, these workshops and groups allow the student to explore such critical issues as grief and loss, trust and distrust, family dynamics, and individuation.”

“There are six thematic, sequential workshops designed to help students answer life’s big questions: Who am I? Where am I going? How am I going to get there?” As an important part of the program, there are also a series of Family Seminars, Parent Education Workshops, Parent/Child Workshops, and Sibling Workshops. 

The tuition is all-inclusive with no application, registration, or assessment fees. A limited number of scholarships are available through the Crater Lake Foundation. 

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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