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  1. 1. Sunriver Wilderness School Outdoor Behavior Health and Accredited High School Program
  2. 2. Mission Statement an outdoor behavioral health program that provides wilderness therapy for troubled teens with particular focus on working toward internal change, improved behavior, and harmonious relationships with parents, teachers and peers
  3. 3. Location and Structure • Base camp located next to Forest Service barracks in Choteau, Montana • Bob Marshall Wilderness, Sunriver Wilderness, and the Great Bear Wilderness act as classrooms for our students • Sunriver Wilderness School accommodates 60 students per summer with student groups of 12 accompanied by two therapists and three guides (highly qualified teachers trained to guide in the Wilderness and certified in Wilderness First Response) • Teacher to student ratio: 2.4 to one
  4. 4. Therapy • focuses on teens who have made at-risk choices • teaches teens to make healthy choices • empowers teens to take ownership of change • teaches teens to challenge old thought patterns and behaviors
  5. 5. Academics • program participants may earn up to three credits during the summer program • programs serves students ages 13-18 • experiential learning with the wilderness acting as the classroom • interdisciplinary classes that provide English, Art, Social Studies, Environmental Science, and Physical Education credits
  6. 6. Nature of Classes • interconnected • philosophies guided nature of academic by Barry subjects Commoner’s rules of ecology • the interconnected relationships existing • “Everything is in society and the connected to natural world everything else.” • “There is no such thing as a free lunch.”
  7. 7. Wilderness as Classroom • classes are conducted during two to three week long backpacking trips (program lasts nine weeks) • students return to base camp for therapy sessions with counselors and parents
  8. 8. Connectivity and Place • backpacking trips are planned to coincide with activities in all subject areas • watershed ecology and reading “A River Runs Through It” takes place on the Sun River
  9. 9. Assessment for classes is portfolio based. Students carry journals on the backpacking trips. Their journals feature different sections for English projects and reflections, Social Studies research papers and interviews, artwork, and Environmental Science labs.
  10. 10. Accessible to All • most outdoor behavioral therapy programs cost $500/day • SWS offers full ride scholarships and is accessible to students from all socio- economic backgrounds • SWS selects students based on greatest psychological and behavioral need
  11. 11. Philosophy • students learn to take responsibility for choices and behavior • students work in teams, build trust, and develop helpful and healthy relationships • students with learning disabilities benefit from the quiet classroom of the wilderness
  12. 12. Teamwork
  13. 13. • students are evaluated weekly by a therapist responsible for monitoring attitude, willingness to act a member of a team, and social and emotional awareness • students learn to trust their peers, teachers/guides, therapists, and parents and discover the empowering nature of working collaboratively
  14. 14. Spirituality
  15. 15. • our program is nondenominational • however, spirituality is part of the healing process • a student is more likely to promote internal change with an intense experience in nature and the presence of caring staff • SWS refers to the spirit that connects us to all life and to the Earth
  16. 16. Teachers/Guides • highly qualified in two content areas • experience with at-risk youth • certified in Wilderness First Response and trained to lead groups in the Bob Marshall Wilderness • tailor classes to meet individual needs
  17. 17. Methodologies • teens need to learn to communicate openly and honestly with parents, teachers, and peers before experiencing academic success • strong emphasis on cooperative and experiential learning
  18. 18. Standards and Accreditation
  19. 19. • curriculum aligned with Montana state standards • National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs (NATSAP) • North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement (NCA CASI) • The Commission on International and Trans- regional Accreditation (CITA)
  20. 20. For more information refer to our detailed program packet with application and scholarship form We are changing the lives of teens and parents.
  21. 21. Curriculum Development ED 620 J01 Ann Marie Stone December 11, 2008