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New Perspectives - October, 2001 Issue #86 

Halifax, Virginia
Founders & Board of Regents:
Glenn F. Bender, Ph.D., Dean of Academics
Justin J. Merritt J. D., Dean of Faculty and
Johathan Gurney, M.S.W., L.C.S.W., Dean of Advising
Timothy B. Brace, M.A., Dean of Students
R. Grant Price, M.A., Dean of Admissions
Jason L. Merritt, M.D., Consulting Physician

Operating under the legal organization Education Management Services LLC, these individuals are opening a new school in southern Virginia for bright, underachieving adolescents between the ages of 15 and 18 who have been challenging conventions and questioning authority. They will be using a 16-month educational model “where academic excellence and character development are integrated.” They anticipate the typical student will achieve two years of academic work in their 16-month stay.

The new student will start with a month long wilderness adventure to prepare him or her for the time on the campus. The school “operates under the assumption that both negative and positive behaviors are a function of learned experience, reinforcement, modeling and imitation, and an individual’s value and expectations of success.”

A primary aspect of the school is the positive peer culture, which consists of small groups of approximately 12 students each, with each group having members of “varying degrees of seniority.” A very important element of their philosophy is Honor, defined as “the reconciliation of one’s conduct with his or her conscience.” The concept of Honor will be an “overarching concept that incorporates all of the values the School wishes to impress upon its students.” As a result, “the School will avoid reliance on ‘rules’ or ‘agreements’ to establish acceptable standards of student conduct and instead require that all students adhere to the School’s Honor Code.”

“The school, which will be run by an administrative Board of Regents, is currently interviewing additional candidates for faculty and support positions.”

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