Author Topic: MONTANA ACADEMY, MONTANA  (Read 8706 times)

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Offline Anonymous

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MONTANA ACADEMY, MONTANA
« Reply #15 on: June 22, 2005, 03:44:00 PM »
Here is an write up of the Monarch School from an independent observer.  Hmmm.  Doesn't sound so evil, in fact, I'm thinking of applying for a job there!

Visited on February 11, 2002
Loi Eberle, M.A.,
Educational Consultant & Editor
Woodbury Reports

My impressions of Monarch School can best described by how I felt about the students as I prepared to leave their beautiful campus. The words ?friendly? and ?good natured? come to mind. The day I visited, the students were being orchestrated into a new schedule. Rather than being disruptive while waiting for a direction, they patiently sat in the living room, talking quietly. When I said my goodbyes after my visit, they interrupted their conversations to wish me well. I had spoken to many of them and found them to be friendly and considerate, both in their discussions with me and in their interactions with staff. Even when they were discussing, for example, a complaint about a grade on a project, there was a feeling of good will. I sensed their excitement about helping to create their school.

Monarch School is a small residential school in rural Western Montana. I was particularly lucky to visit on a day when the blue sky provided a brilliant backdrop to the glistening white mountains that graced the horizon in all directions. It was one of those drives where it seemed almost a burden to keep one?s eye on the road, the view was so spectacular. Two tail-wagging dogs greeted me as I got out of my car, accompanying me to the main building. Ranel Hanson, Admissions Director, led me to the administrative offices, which she joked, were intentionally small.

I was introduced to Larry Moony, who shares the dual role of Business Director and music teacher. His background in both areas was impressive, though we mostly discussed the various instruments he played and the upcoming student performances. Then we went upstairs where some of the students were having their turn preparing lunch with a staff member. It seemed like they were having a good time, stirring the pots and engaging in friendly conversation. The room quickly filled and the entire school sat down to eat with the staff at three large tables. That particular day two students of their 15 students were missing because they had gone off-campus to interact with the school?s consulting psychologist, Dr. Doug Ratell. Even though they had the opportunity to eat at a restaurant off campus, one student expressed disappointment because he was not able to eat the lunch he had helped to prepare. Their new culinary arts teacher, Dave Rookey, will have a lot of student enthusiasm to channel, which is good, since they plan to have a four-course ?restaurant meal? on Saturday nights. Once we were all seated, we were asked to observe a minute of silence before the meal. I was told later that this was done in order to help the students to focus and slow down after the morning?s activities. After lunch the dishes magically disappeared as that day?s kitchen crew cleaned up.

Founder, Patrick McKenna and Ranel Hanson, then took me on a tour of the campus. Patrick explained that the school was based on the philosophy of ?do to get?. Kids are not punished for inappropriate behavior, but if they want to participate in the fun activities, they have to ?do to get.? This of course is a reflection of the type of student they have. They describe themselves as a ?softer? program, for boys and girls 14 through 18. However, since the program lasts between 18 and 22 months, they do not usually accept students past their seventeenth birthday. They realize some of their students may not exactly be there voluntarily, yet the students do acknowledge the benefit of being at the school and have committed to following the agreements they are asked to observe when they arrive.

As we walked through the crunchy snow that sparkled in the sunlight, I saw the large flat places where various ponds were hidden. Sometimes the students skate on these ponds and at this time of year they cross country ski during the physical activity portion of each day. Every five weeks they participate in an adventure activity such as the four-day ski tour and campout in a cabin in the Selkirk Mountains from which they just returned. The students train every day for the five weeks preceding an adventure activity. Sea kayaking off the Olympic Peninsula is one of the future activities planned for the upcoming warmer months.

I was shown the wood structure where the small theatre and pottery studio will soon be completed. Patrick pointed out a house that was being remodeled so that a faculty member could move on campus. At the current time they have at least one high level counselor at the school at night along with an awake night staff. Currently, Program Director, Tim Earle and his family live in a house in the woods on the campus. As the school slowly expands, Patrick?s goal is to hire faculty who wish to make a long-term commitment to the vision of this school and desire to make it their home. Emphasis belongs on the word, ?slowly? when discussing the expansion of the school. Patrick McKenna and Tim Earle want to make sure that they are meeting their current student?s needs before they expand to an eventual enrollment of 30 students.

We continued on our walk, passing another pond and admiring the large open space in the building that is soon to become the art studio. When we arrived at the beautiful log house that is being remodeled to become the new student lodge, I could understand everyone?s excitement! The building was beautiful, with a circular arrangement of windows capped by a tower that looked out on yet another pond. A new deck created an additional attractive vantage point for pond watching. It also had provided the opportunity for a girl who hadn?t been willing to even pick up a hammer when she arrived, to be able to proudly display her ?carpenter?s belt? that had been earned during the deck construction process. I saw this same sense of pride when a female student showed me her bunk bed that she helped build out of large logs.

I was able to continue appreciating the vibrant blue sky by watching it through one of the large windows once we had returned from our walk and were back in the classroom. I observed that the students were working independently, either reading at the table or working through their coursework on one of the eight computers networked to Nova Net. When needed, they would receive help from the two teachers who circulated they would receive help from the two teachers who circulated among the students. This enabled some students, for example, to do pre-algebra, while others were working on pre-Calculus. With the addition of more teachers, plans are to include discussions, demonstrations and class projects to accompany the more individualized work. This will allow students to benefit from the large group interaction while still being able to work at their academic level.

The program is structured so that the student alternate between academic classes and a variety of classes in the creative arts such as drawing and painting, sculpture, ceramics, or drama. Students also develop skill on the musical instrument of their choice, participating in music lessons on an ongoing basis throughout their stay at the school.

Academic Director, Ron Mendenhall, explained, ?creative arts are the backbone of the program.? This emphasis has resulted from Patrick McKenna and Tim Earle?s experience of the therapeutic value of the expressive arts. They understand the important role the creative process plays in building and living one?s dream, lessons Patrick feels he learned on the road to becoming the first Rocky Mountain Academy graduate. During this early education Patrick progressed from behaviors that would preclude his enrollment at Monarch School, to learning the discipline, accountability and communication skills that enabled him to inspire the creation of Monarch School.

This school has evolved from the Patrick McKenna and Tim Earle?s experiences of working and being raised according to principles of emotional growth education, combined with what they have learned from their own children?s experience with Waldorf Education, training in the performing arts and Suzuki Music Education. Monarch School, as far as I can see, is a vision in the making. Its students are not only getting to experience the excitement of building a dream, they are truly learning what it takes to persist through all the steps of the process.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »

Offline tommyfromhyde1

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« Reply #16 on: June 22, 2005, 04:00:00 PM »
Before you belive Lon Woodberry check this out
(it's in the fourth row of ads).
http://www.strugglingteens.com/boarding.php
That's right, Monarch is one of his paid
advertisers.
Wait, when I follow the link
it moves somewhere else but is still there

To make certain that crime does not pay, the government should take it
over and try to run it

--G. Norman Collie

[ This Message was edited by: tommyfromhyde1 on 2005-06-22 13:03 ]
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Offline Anonymous

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« Reply #17 on: June 22, 2005, 04:21:00 PM »
Aha, therefore it MUST be a conspiracy!

My mom has Alzheimer's and I had to put her into Assisted Living.  The first Alzheimer's place I went to was pretty grim, and so I resisted putting her into one of "those" places until I "had" to.  I had her at a regular assisted living facility, which was not designed for memory loss/dementia/Alzheimer's, and there was much they offered that my mom couldn't really do.  When they finally told me that my mom needed a higher level of care, I spent more time and finally found a wonderful place for Alzheimer's assisted living.  Moral of the story?  Just because there are bad apples, places with poor records, abuses, and the like, does NOT mean ALL similar facilities or programs are bad.  

But I'm sure that won't stop the true believers on this forum from painting all with the same brush, even though the ONE person who should have a right to an opinion, whose daughter is there, thinks highly of the place.  Of course, first hand experience, good results, having been there and met the staff all count for nothing.  In fact, it seems to make her an "idiot" in the minds of people who have already made up their minds about the subject.  

No reason to smear a program unless you've had personal experience with THAT particular program.  But that's just my opinion.  I'm sure there will be plenty in complete opposition, based on the previous posts!  Ha.
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Offline Anonymous

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« Reply #18 on: June 22, 2005, 04:31:00 PM »
Quote
I'm sure there will be plenty in complete opposition, based on the previous posts! Ha.


We don't want to dissapoint.

:wstupid:
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Offline Anonymous

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« Reply #19 on: June 22, 2005, 04:32:00 PM »
Ha  :razz:
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Offline OverLordd

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« Reply #20 on: June 22, 2005, 04:35:00 PM »
See the issue is alot of these programs are the same under diffrent names, they are all dirivatives of each other. We can smear the programs that use the same tactics with the same brush.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
our walking down a hallway, you turn left, you turn right. BRICK WALL!

GAH!!!!

Yeah, hes a survivor.

Offline Anonymous

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« Reply #21 on: June 22, 2005, 04:43:00 PM »
Any facility that cuts off contact between parents and child as a policy, even just at the beginning, is a bad facility.

There are good facilities.  None of them cut off contact between parents and child with *one* exception: a licensed psychiatrist may, *briefly*, put a hold on a specific patient's mail--but only in a *real* mental hospital--if the patient's mental health is immediately at risk---like if the patient is suicidal or homicidal and the parent is really obnoxious and likely to push the patient over the edge into violence.

The programs' one-size-fits-all stopping of contact is never, ever a justifiable policy for a facility to follow.

*Any* facility that does that is a bad facility.

Timoclea
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Offline Anonymous

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« Reply #22 on: June 22, 2005, 06:04:00 PM »
Now this is a reasonable post!  I would tend to agree, based on mostly just instinct - however, I don't know that this particular program does that.  They seem to encourage parent involvement and communication...  But this is a very good thing to check out before going with a program!

I worked at a residential science school (not one for troubled kids - a fun science camp) and there was discussion about not sending letters home the first day.  Also, we didn't let kids call home at all.  

But there were very good reasons for this - the students' teachers were here and if there was a problem, they could talk to them, and the teachers could call home if needed.  The issue with our students was homesickness.  They were only there for 5 days, and the same kids who were crying the first night because they were homesick were crying on Friday because they had such a great time they didn't want it to be over yet.  In over 40 years of experience, we learned that when the kids called home, it not only didn't help, it made their homesickness worse, and basically ruined the experience that would be the highlight of their school years otherwise.  We would explain this to students every week and they got it - I would ask the students, if someone was homesick, and they called home, do you think that would make it better or worse?  They would always answer "worse."  Even the 12 year old kids knew this.  

The letter thing was because if a kid was horribly homesick, they might write all kinds of horrible stuff and the parent might freak out and come pick them up - except by the time they arrived, the kid would no longer want to leave, creating problems.  I always mailed the letters the first day  anyway, because chances of that happening were so small - most kids just had a wonderful time and learned a lot.  In the seven years I worked there, we never had a problem with that.

My point (and I do have one, somewhere... now where was that point?  Oh yes...) is that there might be legitimate reasons to temporarily at the beginning avoid contact (notice I didn't say cut off, since that is more severe in my mind - but avoid, with the agreement of parties involved).  

Of course, residential programs for troubled teens are a lot different than elementary school science camp!  

But I guess I am taking the approach of really examining each program on its individual merits because from being in a similar field, I know the kind of people that get into this are those who really want to make a difference, who do it because they believe in it and want to help.  Of course, the road to hell is paved with good intentions, according to traditional wisdom, so looking at all the details, and checking a program out thoroughly is all the more important.  

Okay, that's all I'm going to say in this forum - I just wandered in off the web looking for a little information and I found it!

Best of luck to everyone.
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Offline Anonymous

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« Reply #23 on: March 29, 2006, 01:01:00 PM »
i am a graduate from the monarch school. for all of you people out there who keep on bashing it let me ask you this one question. HAVE YOU EVER BEEN THERE? i assume that most of you have not. i lived there for two years of my life. yes i LIVED you did not. you have no idea what you are talking about. i put my heart and soul and blood and tears into that school. i watched it grow from the very beginning. i was there. none of you were.

i experienced everything first hand you did not. without monarch school i would not be who i am. they have given me so many tools to live by. do i belive all of them? no. i have taken the tools that i have found most useful and applied them to my life. am i saying that monarch school is the be all and end all? no but without it many of my best friends in the whole world would be dead and i don't think i would be able to deal with that if they ever did. do i agree with all the methods that they use. no. but i know that without monarch school i would not have done half the most amazing things i have done in my life.

the staff there for the most part are incredibly loving, giving and honest. i would trust them with my life. i didn't know i could ever be happy or trust people without the help that i learned there. i am in no way brainwashed.

before you continue to fabricate false allegations  i would ask all of you to go up there and visit for yourself. spend time there and get to know the people before you make up lies.

joyce- you are not an idiot. i hope your daughter is doing well. i graduted in 2003 so i don't think i ever got a chance to meet her. i hope to see her at the next reunion if i am available to go. i hope she is doing well. and if she needs anything she can contact me via the website.

sincerely,
a loving woman
Lucy
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Offline Anonymous

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« Reply #24 on: March 29, 2006, 03:19:00 PM »
"Now this is a reasonable post!" - and that one isn't. The amount of pure bullshit emanating from that is staggering. How much do you get paid to post that shit? You know damn well there's a difference, and your weasel words "avoid contact" mean that you deserve to die.

"i am in no way brainwashed." No, you're another fucking idiot programmie trolling Fornits. Kill yourself, and fuck the body.
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Offline Troll Control

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« Reply #25 on: March 29, 2006, 03:30:00 PM »
Quote
sincerely,
a loving woman
Lucy


This has "LGAT Seminar" written all over it.
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Offline Anonymous

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« Reply #26 on: March 29, 2006, 04:34:00 PM »
luke,
        maybe your parents should have left you there more than 2 days- you might learn how to express yourself in a manner that doesn't use profanity to get your point across

That teacher was just voicing his/her opinion, not speaking out against fornits

no harm done
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Offline Oscar

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« Reply #27 on: March 15, 2018, 03:20:59 PM »
From an article about a family who lost their son. He stayed at Montana Academy after forced participation in a wilderness program.

The article states:

Quote from: Novant Health - Loving someone with addiction: Part 1 -A mother's personal struggles with her son's drug addiction
Link to article
He went straight from wilderness to Montana Academy, a therapeutic boarding school located in rural northwest Montana. He lived and went to school there from mid-January 2012 until August 2013. Even in this highly structured environment, he was able to continue his drug-seeking behaviors and intermittently found ways to use drugs. He shared that for about a month, he and several other boys in the boys dorm would swap their prescription medications during the weekends because the weekend staff were easier to trick. He and others would snort Vyvanse and Adderall that belonged to boys who had attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and, in return, Jackson would share his Seroquel, his medication for bipolar disorder. Because he didn't have any access to marijuana or anything to smoke, the only way he could get high was by snorting pills. Although he never did this, he shared that others tried to get alcohol from hand sanitizers on campus. During a trip home, he shoplifted cough syrup from a store in the airport and drank it mixed in his soda.

This is the reality in many programs. The substance abuse continues and it can end up with a tragedy once the program is over.