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New Perspectives - Feb, 2000 Issue #66 

 Mace-Kingsley Ranch School
Sherry Faust, Ranch Director

The Mace-Kingsley Ranch School strives to provide a “safe environment, away from the influences that led the teens astray in the first place.” This privately funded co-ed boarding school, designed for adolescents 12 years and older, is located on 18,000 acres in the Gila Wilderness of southwestern New Mexico. They accept most adolescents, including those on parole, unless they demonstrate mental instability to the point of requiring institutionalization. After admission each student is observed to determine suitability for the program. Their primary goal “is to apply our successful program based on the workable technologies of Dianetics and Scientology” so that the student “learns who they really are and can survive in an ethical manner.”

This school, recognized by the New Mexico State Board of Education, is “highly recommended” by The State of New Mexico’s Juvenile Justice Division for their success in creating changes in adolescent behavior, and their “very professional and clinically adept” staff. The Sheriff’s department from nearby Reserve, New Mexico (population 400) wrote: “their students are well supervised and well behaved when they visit town and we never get called out to the school for any kind of mistreatment…the program teaches these kids consequences and how to work.”

Their high school credit system is based on six hours of individualized instruction per day, five days a week, ten weeks per quarter. In addition, three to five hours per day the students are instructed in life-skills, vocational interests and elective subjects. Students are able make up credits from failed classes or to accelerate progress toward an early high school graduation.

Generally they have between 20 to 40 students whose length of stay depends on the “condition of the child when he or she arrives…if openly manifesting destructive intentions, running away, being cruel to other children, adults or animals, being picked up by authorities, or into promiscuous sex or drugs, then that child will likely be here for at least a year. The child manifesting less serious symptoms should have a shorter program, with average program time being 10 months.”

The parents are actively involved in the program, via phone contact and reading assignments. Program staff attempts to surface and resolve all relevant family issues with the student before graduation. They also help the parents recognize the ways in which their child has changed since first admitted to the program. According to their annual survey of parents, 89% of the graduates are doing well, since graduation.

The ranch is located in a remote part of southwest New Mexico with the nearest village of 400 people located 12 miles away. At the ranch school, students ride and care for the horses and the 400 head of cattle, pigs, chickens and a goat.

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