Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Diamond Ranch Academy

Diamond Ranch Academy is a residental treatment program located in Hurrican Utah. It has the feel of a boarding school, with a focus on therapeutic intervention for boys and girls. The program does focus on both academic remediation and improving behavioral areas for students with challenges socially and in learning.

We have sent students to the school which included transporting these students to the program, working directly with the staff and associate clinical Director Kade Matthews.

Diamond Ranch offers a very diverse program for boys and girls. The campus is divided into several areas, which includes: Lava Falls for older boys and several different age appropriate areas for boys and girls which allows staff to move students around depending on the needs of the student.

The program has a level system using a court based system to move students to sucess. This method is very effective in helping students understand consequences to their behavior. The program also rewards student by increasing their level so they have a clear understanding of what they need to do to move forward toward discharge.

Our first contact with the school included: discussing the entire program with the Director Maurie Simmons including our visit to campus more recently to check on one of my students and meet with the clinical director and associate director and admissions director in St. George.

Maurie as well as all staff are very comitted to helping with the placement of students at DRA. We generally works the staff in the inital conference call addressing the financial piece, along with reviewing my assessment and recommendations.

This is usually followed by having an Exhibit A which is the cost needs of the family. This plays a significant part with a family, determining the need for enrolling the student and the cost for the program. Ms. Simons is also very good at addressing my needs for the family. Diamond Ranch is a perfect match for a student needing a 10-12 month program. DRA also provides an additional month free after graduation.

The inital cost would be both enrollment and for any prepaid fees for medical and equipment fees for students participating in athletics. Diamond Ranch has a very dedicated staff, who continues to keep us informed in the entire placement. We believe, a student in the progra and committed to working with consultant would be a good fit. Diamond Ranch is clearly the right location for a family who might have a child between 14-17 years of age and these might include girls or boys.

The clinical staff is terrific. Kade Matthews has spent a significant amount of time working with me and families in the early placement along wtih Bo Iverson, who is the Education Director. The amount of continued work with our students in areas of goal achievement, orientations and goal setting and discharge planning, including: providing psychological reports, testing and weekly updated and contacts with the family has been invaluable.

The school offers a free months tuition for families after completing the entire program. The cost of the program is about $6,000 (six thousand dollars per month), with all cost not includig the enrollment fees. The fees include clothing, books, sporting equipment for baseball and football. DRA also has a music program and creative arts which is part of the program including community service. Courses at DRA range from English, Math, Science and Social Studies, all broken down into specific areas as the student advances in the subject areas. These include: algebra, geometry, pre calculus, biology, chemistry, earth science, US and World History.

The program is divided by age groups and each area of the campus is designed to allow students of various ages and gender to be incorporated in the program. Diamond Ranch is the perfect fit for a adolescent who has issue with oppositional behavior or conduct disorder. The program was founded in 1999 and is relatively new.

It has had years to look at other programs and identify sucess and implementing a program that matches a boarding schools. Students are required to wear casual uniforms. Enrollment is year around and the program is accrediated by the Northwest Accreditation of Schools, licenced by the State of Utah with credits transfering to public and private schools.

Our student, was able to move forward in his education by completing a year which he was behind. The courses, varied from math, economics, english, and science. The focus is on charcter education, where students are taught to value themselves. DRA has a personalized System of Instruction which is individualized allow students to work at their own pace and ask for help in the curriculum. Credit is granted on completing of mastery of content, not just spending time in class. Each class is designed to move the student to a much broader understanding of themselves and to take responsibilty.

Parenting workshops are held and all students and families are engaged in this process. We found the parening workshops to be very valuable for our family in understanding their role in the placement. While our student still presented challenges, there was no doubt, everything possible was provided at DRA with the admission to the discharge planning.

We believe DRA has the right fit as a co-educational residential progrm with at least a 10 month stay and graduation at least during this time. We like the rolling enrollment during the year. Parents can benfit by working with us in deciding whether this program is indeed the best fit. Please contact us for more information and placement at Diamond Ranch Academy.