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Schools & Program Visits - Feb, 2002 Issue #90 

Carlbrook School
R. Grant Price, Dean of Admissions
Halifax Virginia
T: 434-476-2406

Visit on February 8, 2002
By Steve Bozak C.E.P.

 
Carlbrook School is a therapeutic boarding school in a traditional setting with dorms, classrooms and lunch room. At the time of my visit, they had just been opened for seven days and already had seven students, with room for about 30 coeds. A new building is scheduled for completion over the summer, which will double the amount of space currently provided by their well-kept buildings.

The airports nearest to the school are Raleigh or Durham, North Carolina, or Lynchburg, Virginia. All the kids entering Carlbook have completed a wilderness program before their arrival. Carlbrook staff feels a good wilderness program helps get the child started in the healing process, and is a requirement before being admitted to Carlbrook. Their program of choice is SUWS of the Carolinas. It is only four hours away and Carlbrook staff will pick up the child from SUWS and bring them to the school.

The academics are challenging to the students at Carlbrook. A full spectrum of classes is taught and the child can graduate from Carlbrook being ready to attend college. Academic credits can be accelerated by about 33% in this 12 month a year program to help get the students get caught up. The school seeks students who can do the work but perhaps havenít been working up to potential. Their very structured daily schedule can be helpful for kids with moderate emotional needs.

They provide daily therapy at the school and three times a week a counselor leads a therapy group. Once a week students have individual counseling meetings with their advisor. All advisors and counselors are master level staff at the school. Positive peer culture is a part of everyday life, helping to create a supportive atmosphere. The kids work through three phases of growth during their flexible stay of 16~20 months.

I visited with a few students in math class. They looked great! They were well dressed, with shirt and tie, and shined shoes. The staff also were all dressed very nicely. The kids told me that I was visiting an algebra class. The room was well decorated, as was the whole building. The teacher was busy writing equations on the white board and explaining them to the 5 students in the class. The boys each introduced themselves to me and told me where they were from. The kids were from coast to coast.

Later during the visit I interviewed two other, perfectly polite boy and girl students. Both explained they had been through a wilderness program just before entering Carlbrook. Both kids had a sparkle in their voices and explained that a month earlier they would not have been so pleasant. They both felt that Carlbrookís structure will be what they need to stay on tract. One student said, ďI donít feel I am missing anything being here. I donít have the all the choices I had before.Ē

Carlbrook is run by a group of fine folks who have pooled their resources, not one charismatic person, rather, a real professional team of sophisticated people. I foresee this new school will do what it says it will do for at-risk teens, and will be around for the long-term. Oppositional and at risk kids, this is your kind of school. You will like it after you get there but itís likely you wonít want to go at first.

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