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Posted: Jun 22, 2013 22:50

ALPINE ACADEMY

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Erda, UT
Christian Egan
Admissions Director
cegan@alpineacademy.com
www.alpineacademy.com

Visit by: Ron & Kristie Campbell, March 12, 2013

Approximately half an hour up from Salt Lake City, UT in the small community of Erda, lays the campus of Alpine Academy. When you first drive up to the campus, it appears that you are arriving at a farm with really nice barn like structures. Although you know this is the right location, the feeling is that you are not in the right place at all.

The sign indicated that we had arrived so we parked, walked up to the door under the sign, and went inside.

We were immediately transported into a large, modern day preparatory boarding school with high vaulted ceilings, and a long bright open hallway. To the right was the receptionist, who greeted us warmly. A moment later, Jason Stout, Residential Supervisor and Christian Egan, Admissions Director were in the hall to meet with us.

We followed them into the conference room where we also met with Janet Farnsworth, Director of Strategic Development, Corrie Norman, Program Director and Angie Alvey, Academic Director. As we sat there discussing the program, I described a girl I knew; her situation, her behavior, her attitude. Each of the staff sitting in the room would ask questions about this girl and describe her a bit, then nod in amazement that I could define their student so well. I informed them that the girl I was describing was me as I realized this is the type of program that I would have attended back in my youth had they been around.

We went around the room and everyone had a chance to discuss their role in the program. When we got to Angie, and as she described the Academic portion, she began to glow with excitement at all the options available for the girls. Alpine Academy offers core curriculum in a fully accredited private school, with age appropriate classes for each young lady. Each class is taught by an experienced teacher. Since the emphasis of schooling is directed toward students who are not motivated academically, each girl receives tailored classes, individualized to meet her needs. Some of the programming includes vocational experiences as well. We left the conference room and began our tour of the facility, continuing to talk as we walked.

Alpine Academy has standard classrooms, typical of any high school, though on a much smaller scale with 8-12 students per class. Each classroom we visited looked different. Some were set up in a horseshoe format; some were more standard with rows, while others still were arranged in pods. One room had yoga ball chairs setup allowing for movement during study. The school also has a space in the center where girls can go study if they are having an emotionally difficult time staying in class. This room also hosts the only area girls can access the Internet, with permission, while they are working on research projects under supervision. At the far end of the schoolhouse are a kitchen and the dining hall, where girls bring sack lunches from home and eat family-style.

We left the academic building and walked over to the clinical building. All the art on the walls is amazing, but one impressive aspect of this building in particular, is that each of the therapy rooms has been named after a girl whose family contributed to the non-profit building fund at Alpine Academy. In addition to therapy rooms, this building also hosts a large kitchen/ classroom for the girls to learn what we called home-economics back in the day. They learn to cook, sew, budget, plan, and crafts, etc. At the other end of this building is a larger conference room where staff holds weekly meetings about each girl and parent conference calls.

After we left the Clinical Building, we headed over to one of the homes. The girls live in one of six single family homes. Each home houses a family room near the entrance, full kitchen, laundry, living room, den, and bedrooms. Two girls share a room, although in some houses, the rooms are separated by closets so it feels like they have more of a single room. They do their own laundry and chores on a rotation and each is responsible for her own space.

As we entered each house, girls would come up to us, look us in the eye and offer a hand to shake, welcoming us into their home. Although I'd gather it was a recommendation that they come to us to say hello, it was pleasant and did not feel forced. Girls interacted with the staff in a respectful manner, and were openly honest with things that were going on with them. Some were excited about upcoming activities, some were struggling with personal challenges, but they were all well-mannered and respectful.

One thing that stood out to me about Alpine Academy is that there are video cameras throughout the campus, motion sensors between the beds and alarms on the doors and windows. Each girl has a callbox as well in the event that she needs to get up in the middle of the night. When I asked about this, it was explained that the cameras were placed as a safeguard for both the girls and the staff and the alarms allowed the girls to depend on staff in the middle of the night if they needed to get out of bed. This allows the girls the ability to sleep through the night without a "night watchman" shining a flashlight in their faces every 15 minutes to make sure they are still in bed.

Later in the program, a small group of the girls lives in one of the transitional dorm-type rooms to allow a feeling of transitioning into a college setting. This "dorm" had a much different feeling than the family-style houses, more of the transitional setting the staff hoped to accomplish.

After touring through a couple of the houses and meeting with several girls, we headed over to the large Gymnasium. The gym has a full-sized basketball court, locker rooms, a production stage, a large open dance studio, a room of treadmills and workout equipment and a kitchen for the transition students to use. It also contained a full art studio complete with a wall of windows pointing toward the mountains for inspiration. This building had a great feel.

From the single sex, to the academics, to the horse program, to the whole family feel, Alpine Academy is a well-balanced program for adolescent girls struggling to find themselves. At the same time, they are licensed as a residential treatment center, although the campus feels nothing like a treatment center. I could go on about our visit with additional details as there is much to see and experience, and the 30-acre campus was clean, welcoming and peaceful. However, my recommendation is that if this program sounds like an appropriate fit for your client or daughter, call the staff and schedule a visit to see for yourself how it feels to you.

Alpine Academy is designed to provide treatment for girls, ages 12-17, experiencing behavioral problems or psychological problems including, but not limited to: adoption & attachment issues, PTSD, abuse issues, out of control behaviors at home, in school, or in the community, oppositional defiance towards authority figures, General or acute anxiety, truancy, minor delinquencies (non-adjudicated), experimentation/misuse of drugs or alcohol, lack of motivation or interest in family life, school, or activities, eating disorders not requiring hospitalization, lack of self-esteem, ADHD/ADD, non-psychotic teenage depression, medically controlled schizophrenia, adjustment disorders, bipolar disorder, and/or personality disorders. Alpine Academy is not appropriate for young women who are: adjudicated or court-referred, extremely aggressive, actively suicidal or homicidal, have addictions requiring hospitalization and/or detoxification, eating disorders requiring hospitalization and/or on-going nursing care, physical conditions/diseases requiring on-going nursing care, and or a full scale IQ of less than 80.





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