Schools & Program Visits - August, 2002 Issue #96
LOGAN RIVER ACADEMY
Larry Carter Ex. Dir.
Visit on March 27, 2002
By Lon Woodbury, C.E.P.
Originally designed as a bed and breakfast at the edge of town, a project that was never completed, the unfinished
building was purchased by Logan River Academy. After extensive building and remodeling, the Academy created a new looking 23,000 square
feet three-story building that houses most of their activities, which is situated on six acres that are used for various outside activities.
From the parking lot, the tall structure is impressive, with a fountain in a pond in front of the entrance that serves as an added
A quick tour of the inside of the building presented a bustle of activity. With 65 children at the time and a high staff ratio, there
was a lot going on. The main floor contained the lunchroom, administrative offices and counseling offices. The second floor had the
majority of the dorms, and the top floor had what they call “status” dorms and “development” rooms. Since most the activities take
place on the upper floors, with secured doors on the main floor, it would be very difficult for a child to even get outside without
permission, let alone run away. So the Academy is quite “run proof.”
The root of the treatment program is a level system. There are eight levels, each with more privileges and responsibilities than the
previous ones, with progress gained primarily as a result of consistently earning points. The ultimate privilege is the “status” rooms,
on the third floor, which are reserved for those students who have achieved the highest levels and usually are getting ready for transitioning
to their next school. The students who gave me the tour became noticeably relaxed and made comments on how much they appreciated the
(relative) “freedom” they felt when they entered their “status” room.
There were several students in the “development rooms” on the third floor, at the time of my tour, and it looked very much like a
study hall. However, the room’s purpose was not academics but for emotional issues. Present in the room were students who were having
a hard time with their “issues,” and/or were receiving consequences for some past behavior or attitudes contrary to the rules and
agreements of the program. Several staff were either in the room or were available nearby, ready to work with any of the students
who might become overwhelmed with emotion. That happened a couple of times while I was watching, when tears came to a girl’s eyes
and a staff member immediately took her out of the room to talk and help her through process through her problems.
Although Logan River Academy is a Residential Treatment Center licensed by the State of Utah, Executive Director, Larry Carter, points
out that many people are not aware that its root philosophy is Behavior Modification. He explains the structure of their program is
based on a “boundary model.” That is, they feel that most of the behavior problems experienced by children originate because they
either lack the concept of boundaries, or their concept of boundaries is fuzzy or distorted. Thus, a major goal is to help the children
learn appropriate boundaries, something that is vital for a person to have healthy relationships and a healthy life.
Logan River Academy is fully accredited as a school and has a full junior and senior high curriculum. The classrooms were located
in temporary buildings behind the main building while I was there, but that will change once they complete the planned construction
of a new permanent building. In the classes I observed, the students all seemed to be paying attention, or working on their subject
matter. Many of the teachers are special education certified, so a wide range of learning problems and levels of ability can be addressed.
The average length of stay is a little under one year, and every effort is made to keep the family involved. Whole family involvement
in treatment is important, and consists of weekly phone therapy sessions with the student and his/her parents back home, with parents
encouraged to visit campus frequently. The student’s average length of a stay is from 10 to 12 months.