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A Message from the Program Director

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Justin Nielson headshot

Justin Nielson

White River Academy Program Director

Now that 2016 is here, the staff at White River Academy can look back on last year with sincere pride in all we have added to enhance our program, as well as look ahead to the initiatives we plan to implement to strengthen WRA treatment modalities.

Here at WRA we work earnestly for our students. When you list it out, I don’t think we realized all we have accomplished this last year.

Two new licenses for treatment

In 2015 we secured two major licenses for treatment, which will enable us to phase out treatment gradually and do business directly with insurance companies of our families. Now, the financial mantle won’t solely hang on insured parents. New day treatment and outpatient treatment options will allow a teen to step down incrementally from our residential care as he steps into wellness; better acclimating him to mainstream life. This consideration and customization is what sets us apart from treatment programs that end abruptly.

The two new licenses also facilitated the expansion of our student capacity by nearly 30 percent.

WRA currently has one international student and in 2016 we’re working with a contact in China to be an international teen crisis resource.

Refreshed website

Thanks to our digital newsroom, last year our website underwent a significant refreshing. We’re pleased to display the most user-friendly, timely photos, videos and content. It now clearly encapsulates who we are and how we rehabilitate to cultivate troubled teen boys into well-rounded, apt and active young men.

In 2015 a few WRA graduates enrolled in Universities: Dixie State, Arizona State and the University of Pittsburgh.

White River Academy brought on a career counselor, a social studies teacher and a science instructor who also spearheaded the first WRA choir. We also debuted a Spanish class in 2015.

Improving program elements in 2016

In 2016 our goals are multifaceted. We want to strengthen our aftercare program with students and families; deepen the scope of our equine program and enhance our group sessions.

White River Academy does a phenomenal job of treatment and we have a truly solid therapy team. Process addictions like gaming, pornography and sexting are spiraling in teens nationwide; in 2016 we aim to add a group specifically for process addictions. Other goals this new year include increasing the frequency of effective sessions such as dialectical behavior therapy and reactive attachment therapy.

In 2015 we captured data on our AdvancED accreditation testing; although we rate well, we’ve identified deficiencies and are ready to improve them.

Our intimate classroom size — a 9-to-2 ratio — provides WRA a unique opportunity to customize testing for students; especially those with Asperger’s syndrome or mild autism. In 2015 we began a skill-building group for the teens with such special needs, to provide vocational and social rehabilitation.

Last year we crafted an outcome tools assessment to gauge the emotional climate of a student periodically. This year we’ll extend this insightful feature to our aftercare program participants.

2016 presents a new window through which WRA can clearly see expansion of our scope of treatments, enhancement of our modalities and long-term connection with our graduated students. We have much to look forward to.

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We would like to thank all the wonderful staff at WRA for the great parent weekend. We enjoyed it and felt that we learned valuable insights on Positive Peer Culture and the values we must have and the importance of family commitment to each other...

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