Common Questions

You Have Questions, We Have Answers

Below you will find a list of the most common questions we are asked about Alpine Academy.

How is Alpine different from other treatment centers?

In addition to providing comprehensive clinical services and top-notch academics, one of the most notable differences you will find at Alpine is the family-style approach in our Residential Model. In our milieu setting students live in a home with 9 other students and a live-in married couple who are highly trained in the Teaching-Family Model, one of the most widely researched and effective models in use today.

Can Alpine Academy change my child?

Alpine Academy provides a nurturing and therapeutic setting that is designed to facilitate growth and development in our students. Although each student will have her own individual experience, we find that the individual attention provided by our program helps students be the very best they can be, and prepares them for future success beyond residential treatment.

How will my relationship with my child change?

Problems within family relationships are one of the most common presenting problems when students come to Alpine. We’ve found that through our skills-based teaching and modeling that many parents will see changes in the dynamics of the relationship with their child. Most commonly however we observe that our students are able to communicate clearly and more pleasantly, follow instructions, accept difficult decisions and feedback, and express their needs more appropriately.

By learning how to cope with stressors and manage anxiety in a healthy way our students rebuild relationships with family members and are reinforced by relationships where they weren’t before.

What kind of therapy does Alpine Academy do?

The primary approach of therapy services is through Systems Theory. By using a variety of therapeutic modalities including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, DBT, Solution-Focused Therapy, EMDR, and many others our clinicians are able to address problems in a way that best meets the needs of the student. These clinical services are delivered through individual, family, and group therapy.

How much therapy does my child receive each day and week?

Each student received a minimum of one family and one individual therapy session.

In addition to individual work, each student completes they also participate in a minimum of two groups for a total of 3 hours of group therapy. Specialty groups are focused upon specific clinical issues like adoption and attachment, drug and alcohol abuse, or sexual trauma.

Students are assigned to specialty groups by their therapist and according to their individual needs. However, most students are assigned to at least one specialty group.

Equine therapy is also used by therapists according to the needs of the student.

What does group therapy look like?

There are two main group therapy sessions, which each student participates in. In the Folder for Life group the student attends a group with their primary therapist and the other students on their caseload. In this group they cover the clinical curriculum which includes assignments developed by Alpine Academy to help elicit accountability, develop a sense of self, challenge maladaptive thoughts, and explore each students patterns of survival. We celebrate their survival and have created this curriculum to help them do more than survive, we want them to live.

The second group is the Healthy Relationship group. Each student participates in this group along with the other students with whom she lives. In this group, they learn how to navigate relationships with others in a healthy way and give and accept feedback.

What is the daily schedule like?

The daily schedule is very much like it would be at home. Each student gets up in the morning, completes chores, and gets ready for the school day. The school schedule is broken into 5 periods a day with a lunch break, much like they would experience in a traditional academic setting. After school is filled with group therapy, study time, and evening activities like mealtime, chores, and quiet time. The weekends are reserved for fun activities and typical family errands like grocery shopping or going to the movies.

What are Teen LIFE Coaches?

Teen LIFE Coaches are a behavioral specialists that that undergo rigorous training in the Teaching-Family Model and are experts in parenting youth with social and emotional problems. In addition to providing for the day-to-day care and nurturing of each student, they are also the primary treatment provider and provided round-the-clock skills development. Their expertise creates continuity in care and constant therapeutic influence, which enhances the overall effectiveness in treatment. They are the backbone of Alpine Academy.

How much and in what way is the family involved?

Families are involved in all aspects of treatment. They participate in weekly family therapy, weekly phone calls with their child, visit weekends and workshop weekends. We strongly believe that Alpine is just a temporary stopping point for our students and that parental involvement at every step in treatment is critical to a student’s long-term success.

Where do Alpine students come from?

Alpine students come from all over the United States and occasionally some foreign countries. A large percentage of students are from the state of California, however, all areas of the country are represented in our student body.

What are the first few days of Alpine Academy like?

The first few days at Alpine are understandably filled with emotion and a great deal of change. We recognize the critical nature of this time and take care to ensure that both parents and student feel supported.

During this time the student will be learning about her new environment, meeting new friends, and getting to know her treatment team. Parents will be involved in daily communication with treatment staff for the first week, getting frequent updates on their daughter’s adjustment.

Even with all this support, this will be a difficult time. We make every effort to ensure that the transition happens as smoothly as possible.

How often do the students get off campus and into the community?

We plan weekly activities into the community where students will be able to participate in recreation and entertainment opportunities. They also get off campus to go shopping, complete volunteer work, attend community events, and participate in academic field trips. These opportunities take them off campus several times each week.

Is my child the most difficult student you have had?

Each student comes with individual differences and needs. In our experience, we’ve found that it is more important to focus on the needs of each student and not how they compare to others. For each family, the decision to place their daughter in residential treatment is likely one of the most difficult situations that they’ve ever had to face. We treat each student with deference to this fact and rely upon our extensive experience with all manner of presenting problems to help us achieve the family’s goals.

How soon can our child return home to visit?

Each student progresses on their own treatment timeline. When considering the appropriate time for a home visit we consider their progress in treatment and the family’s readiness to have them home. A great deal of thought a preparation goes into the first home visit. Typically most students and families are ready for the first home visit by the fourth or fifth month in treatment.

How is it determined when a student is ready to leave?

At the time of placement, a student’s treatment team will prepare a comprehensive treatment plan that outlines specific therapeutic goals. The treatment team meets monthly to review these goals as assess the student’s progress. Input from everyone involved with the student is carefully weighed and goal achievement is tracked. Once a student has completed all of their treatment goals they are ready to transition home.

Why not a co-ed experience?

Research has shown that a same-gendered experience removes distractions and allows students to focus on school and overall health. Students in single-gender classrooms and group therapy are more likely to take appropriate risks. The same-gendered peer environment allows Alpine students to experience less stress and progress more quickly.

If my child cries or melts down, who will be there for them?

The entire team at Alpine Academy is trained and sensitive to the fact that many students at one point or another will feel overwhelming emotions. Whether they are at school, therapy, or in the home there will always be someone there for them to provide support and teach them how to manage overwhelming bouts of emotion.

Who will be our connection to Alpine Academy so that we can stay informed?

The primary sources of information and most frequent contacts will be your child’s Family Teachers. You will also speak to their therapist consistently each week. In addition to these primary contacts, you have access to representatives in all departments to help you feel connected while your child is away.

Does Alpine Academy give a High School Diploma?

Yes, Alpine is accredited through the Northwest Accreditation Commission and is authorized to award high school diplomas.


What is the school schedule like?

The school schedule is very much like a schedule that you would see in a traditional school setting. Each student is enrolled in 10 classes pre-quarter, one of which is reserved for therapy. The remaining 9 academic courses allow enough flexibility to cover the core curriculum and fun electives. The daily schedule rotates on an A and B day schedule, alternating between two-five period blocks. Fridays are a C schedule that includes tutoring and club activities.

What kind of classes does Alpine offer?

Alpine curriculum follows the common core and offers all of the courses necessary to fulfill credits in core subject areas. In addition to core classes Alpine offers a number of electives like dance, foods, psychology, and art.

Will Alpine help my child catch up if they are behind in school?

Yes, because we are year-round and have a 10-period class schedule there are plenty of opportunities for students to catch up on classes that they missed. Alpine also assesses placement needs for students and ensures that skill gaps are filled through additional tutoring or remedial courses where appropriate.

What are class sizes like?

Class sizes are small and no more than 12 students are enrolled in each class. Elective classes are typically smaller and can have as few as 8 students.

What sports and clubs are available at Alpine Academy?

Alpine offers a number of extracurricular activities to engage students’ interests. Athletic opportunities include competitive soccer and basketball, instructional clinics for volleyball, tennis, soccer, and basketball, and many less formal athletic opportunities.

Clubs at Alpine are designed to expose students to unique interests and hobbies outside of the typical curriculum. Clubs are based upon current student interests and available options. Examples of clubs include horsemanship, service, photography, music, and creative writing.

What are the qualifications of the teachers?

All teachers are dually endorsed in their area of study and in special education.

When do the students have time to do homework?

The daily schedule has study time built into each day. In addition to this time, there is also a two-hour block of time in the Friday school schedule for additional homework and tutoring time. For students who have the need, an extra homework period can be built into their school schedule.

What kind of help can I expect for my child if they struggle in school?

Our teachers are all endorsed in special education and have unique insight into academic struggles. Additionally, we have a full-time Special Education Coordinator and Guidance Counselor who help ensure that student’s accommodations and unique educational needs are being met. Where additional services and support are necessary additional services can be built into their educational plan.

How do you work with students that have learning differences and challenges?

Each student is assessed individually and given an academic plan that is designed to meet their needs and provide appropriate challenges. Assigning students accommodations like preferential seating, extended time on assignments, use of notes on tests, and other student aids can address learning differences. Alpine closely adheres to student IEP plans and will generate our own ILP (Individual Learning Plan) in instances where students need additional help, but don’t have an IEP in place.

What kind of instruction do Alpine teachers use?

All classes are taught through direct instruction with a teacher endorsed in the subject matter. Class periods include time for lecture, interactive learning, and assignment completion.

How can parents get information about their child’s school performance?

Alpine provides parents with login information to access their student’s academic profiles online. Through this secure system, parents can look at their daughter’s schedule, assignments, and current standing in each class. This information is updated weekly and available anywhere there is Internet access. The system is closed briefly at the end of grading periods while grades are accumulated for transcripts and report cards.

Will my child be able to get into a good university after leaving Alpine?

Alpine graduates have been able to go on to a variety of higher educations settings including major universities like Berkley, UC San Diego, Chapman, and Seattle University. Depending on their abilities and interests we’ve found that our students have been successful in pursuing their academic goals.

How much exercise do the students get and what kind?

Physical activity is a big piece of overall health, and we believe in incorporating healthy living habits in all of our students. Our facilities provide opportunities for a great deal of formal exercise through PE classes and sports clinics. In addition to those, there are also informal opportunities to exercise through play in our Fitness Center.

Where do parents stay when they come to visit?

Parents have chosen to stay in any number of conveniently located hotels in the area. There are selections of hotels within 5 minutes of campus. Some of which have special rates for Alpine parents. In addition to these hotels, there are extensive options located close to the Salt Lake International Airport and in downtown Salt Lake. All of these options are within 30 minutes of campus.

What is the food like at Alpine Academy?

In line with our family-style living model all of the meals are prepared and served accordingly. Students participate in planning the weekly menu, which is then reviewed and approved by a nutritionist. We emphasize healthy relationships with food by focusing upon whole grains, vegetables, and lean meats. Family Teachers are responsible for food preparation and including the students in all aspects of food preparation, including planning, shopping, and cooking.

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