A Specialized Program for Teens Requiring a Higher Level of Support
Serving a Dual Purpose
The Ridge was created to address the needs of those students requiring more focus on therapy, increased structure, a higher level of supervision, and fewer distractions prior to transitioning to the Academy. Once a potential student has stabilized, and upon evaluation is considered prepared for Academy life, they can begin to transition to Academy life. In addition to providing a higher level of support to potential Academy students, the Ridge serves a dual purpose by offering an intervention for current Academy students facing headwinds that would benefit from a change in environment for a period of time. The Ridge is intended to wrap around those students and provide them with an opportunity to work through these difficulties, reflect, and reset before potentially returning to the Academy.
Ridge Student Profile
The Ridge student is, in most aspects, similar to the profile of an Academy student, but with an important point of difference, that through the admissions review process, it is determined that the student would benefit from a transitional period of time with increased support, structure, and therapy in preparation to transition to the Academy. Additionally, the potential Academy student’s history, including prior treatment and their motivation to change, would also impact this decision.
The Ridge Facility
The Ridge occupies one of our three campus dorms. There are 3 students per bedroom, with 2 bedrooms sharing a common bathroom featuring 2 stalls and 3 showers. Additionally, there is a dedicated dining space, and a multipurpose room used for psychiatry, therapy, and nursing, along with a secured space for medication storage. Academics are facilitated in a spacious classroom and multipurpose room in a separate building.
Programming at The Ridge
Programming at The Ridge is intended to stabilize, assess, and prepare potential students to successfully transition to the Academy should they and their family choose that route. Readiness for transition to the Academy is based on the results of formal assessments and the teen’s internalized understanding and demonstrated externalized behaviors in relation to the Academy’s ABC Evaluative Framework as follows:
B. Adherence to school expectations regarding boundaries, freedoms, and community contribution
C. Commitment to clinical and medical goals as outlined in their Positive Development Treatment Plan (PDTP)
Programming at The Ridge strongly promotes a healthy lifestyle including but not limited to physical activity, exposure to nature, a balanced diet, community contributions, and accountability. Outdoor experiential activities are a focal point, as well as structured instructor-led sessions in yoga, music, art, and other experiential modalities. With the intention of providing more structure and less “free time”, there will be more outdoor programming utilizing the Shortridge trail network for hiking, biking, snowshoeing, as well as the “Base Camp” location featuring other engaging experiential initiatives.
Student Mentoring and Academy Exposure
Current Academy students serve as student mentors to students at The Ridge, helping with orientation and providing welcoming transitional support. Potential Academy students in the Ridge program will incrementally be provided with opportunities to experience life at the Academy through intentional exposure that includes:
- Helping with the transport of meals between the Main House and The Ridge dorm
- Use of the Main House’s exercise room
- Structured use of the Art classroom
- Participation in carefully selected Academy activities
The Ridge program staff supervision ratio is 1 staff member for every 4 students, morning through evening, and 1 awake staff member for every 12 students overnight.
The Ridge features a designated space for use by the medical team. Medications and other supplies are stored and secured on the premises. An attending psychiatrist performs an initial intake assessment within 24 hours of enrollment at The Ridge, then provides weekly check-ins thereafter. Vitals are taken daily by the RN while nurse check-ins occur 3x per week. An RN is also on call 24×7. The nursing team contributes to daily process groups on relevant topics such as self-care, hygiene, sleeping habits, diet, exercise, sexual education, etc.
Therapy at The Ridge is intensive and includes three individual therapy sessions and one family therapy session per week. Three hours of evidence-based process group work occurs daily. The Ridge therapist and clinical director determine readiness for the Academy utilizing research instruments and the ABC Evaluative Framework referenced above.
Introduction to Academics
While The Ridge focuses on therapeutic stabilization and assessment, an introduction to academics is considered critical to supporting a positive transition to the Academy. Our learning center director performs academic assessments with each potential student and develops an Individualized Learning Plan (ILP) including follow-up coaching sessions. An academic coordinator and assistant teachers facilitate the delivery of curriculum. Engagement and lesson completion informs the team’s assessment of readiness to transition to the Academy.
Access to Technology
Ridge students have minimal access to technology while they adjust to a new environment and program expectations. While developing a healthy relationship with technology is considered critical to their development, The Ridge focuses primarily on therapeutic support of students, while assessing how best to help them progress towards their goals. Therefore, Ridge students initially have access only to technology that is not connected to the internet. Gradually increased exposure to technology is provided as students progress so that any presenting technology-related issues can be identified and addressed prior to transitioning to the Academy.