The program at Summit Preparatory School is designed to prepare students for all facets of life, equally emphasizing both scholastic excellence and personal integrity. Students here can expect to be challenged academically, emotionally, and socially as they progress through the program. However, the nature of this challenge continues to evolve as their needs change.
After identification and acceptance of their key issues, the challenge for our students is to create, implement, and refine ways of resolving them. As their abilities in dealing with these issues improve, it is essential they be provided with additional responsibility and freedom in order to maintain the challenge crucial to generating steady personal growth. The expectations placed upon them continue to increase as they move through the stages of therapeutic focus until the responsibility and freedom they are managing closely resembles what will be expected of them upon completion of the program. This allows them to work on the skills and proficiencies they will need in the outside world within an environment where they feel safe and successful, thereby preserving the momentum they have built throughout their progression through the program.become comfortable with the environment and schedule (i.e. student is able to emotionally handle the structure)and to begin establishing meaningful relationships with students and staff while also identifying their own personal issues. At this point, privileges are primarily focused on group activities designed to reinforce the development of healthy relationships with staff and peers. Privileges related to personal autonomy are gradually earned later throughout the program. This is not because they need to prove that they “deserve” these more autonomous privileges, but rather that they can successfully manage them while grappling with their emotional and/or academic difficulties.
The program is designed to promote a sense of community or “therapeutic milieu”. In the community, every aspect is considered a therapeutic instrument. The community includes students and staff and is designed, as much as possible, to resemble the normal school and social environment of adolescents, with the understanding that mature adaptation to the community can contribute to the adaptation of the student to their normal surroundings upon leaving the program. Students are assigned to a team that is composed of students from all stages of the program. As a team, students participate together in chores, group therapy, team activities, and team challenge trips during block breaks. They also room together in the dorms. The teams are designed to resemble a family with “siblings” of all ages and abilities, guided and supervised by trained staff that we refer to as Residential Counselors, and under the clinical guidance of the Team Therapist.