Monday, June 13, 2016


Cedar Ridge Welcomes New Academic Director…

Hi! My name is Sara Richens and I am the new academic director for Cedar Ridge Academy. Cedar Ridge Academy offers a unique environment to work with students in a therapeutic and educational environment. I am excited to begin my journey as the academic director and enhance the learning environment for all students.
I was raised in a small town in Illinois and spent the first 25 years of my life there. During that time, I completed a bachelor’s degree in biology and secondary education at Eastern Illinois University and began teaching in my hometown school district. At some point in life I decided to follow a dream and head west to the mountains; which landed me in Utah. I taught 5 additional years in the secondary education setting while earning a master’s degree in educational administration from Western Governors University. My family recently relocated to Roosevelt, Utah and gave me the opportunity to work with the staff and students of Cedar Ridge Academy.  

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Cedar Ridge Welcomes New Admissions Director... MILLIE ANDERSON

                 Millie Anderson – Admissions Director

Millie started her career in adolescent treatment with an outdoor behavioral treatment program in 1995 and has found her true passion in helping families in need.  Her experience with adolescent treatment programs, has taken her from client relations and guiding families through the initial transition of becoming a ‘program parent’ to serving as an admissions counselor and admissions director with multiple wilderness programs, and providing transition care resources. 
In 2013 Millie was given the opportunity to make a full transition from working with outdoor behavioral healthcare to residential treatment programs and has spent the last few years working primarily with both co-ed and single gender residential treatment programs as an admissions counselor.  
“My personal goal is to touch the lives of families in need and provide a compassionate, helping hand during that challenging time of choosing the right program for their family member.  I also strive to shed a positive light on the challenges they face and provide support for continued success on a road to healing and recovery.”
Millie grew up in a small central Utah town and learned the value of hard work as well as the security found in healthy family relationships by working side by side with her seven siblings on the family farm.  Family is at the top of her list of “hobbies”.   You will likely find Millie with her husband trying to catch up to their daughter and two married sons, and two adorable grandsons. When she’s not chasing her kids, she loves spending time on the golf course, taking last minute road trips, and enjoying empty-nest life.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015


Norm was born in Provo and raised between the Navajo and Ute Reservations of Utah and Arizona. He graduated from Roosevelt's Union High School and then went on to attend Utah State University in Logan, Utah.  Upon graduating, he moved to PiƱon, Arizona where he and his family have lived and worked in Arizona schools for the last 10 years, teaching Spanish and English as well as serving as a student council advisor and coaching basketball.  He has joined Cedar Ridge Academy to teach English and Spanish, as well as, coach BASKETBALL!!

Norm and a student during basketball training

We are very happy to have Norm here at Cedar Ridge Academy!!!

Monday, August 24, 2015


Month End Recap

A lot has happened this month!

CRA Finished off the Co-Ed Softball season playing a double elimination game and coming in 4th place overall! WAY TO GO!!! All staff had a blast watching them succeed and enjoying the game!! 
Students have been focusing a lot on the Emotional Freedom Technique (E.F.T) Tapping points!

The Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) is the most popular form of energy psychology and was developed in the 1990s by Gary Craig, a Stanford engineering graduate specializing in healing and self-improvement. I routinely used EFT in my practice, and highly recommend it to optimize your emotional health.
The method involves tapping specific points on your head and chest with your fingertips while thinking about your specific problem—be it a traumatic event, an addiction, pain, etc.—and voicing positive affirmations. This can be done alone or under the supervision of a qualified therapist.
The combination of tapping the energy meridians and voicing positive affirmation works to clear the emotional block from your body's bio-energy system, thus restoring your mind and body's balance.
Clinical trials have shown that EFT is able to rapidly reduce the emotional impact of memories and incidents that trigger emotional distress. Once the distress is reduced or removed, your body can often rebalance itself, and accelerate healing.
While some still view energy psychology with suspicion, EFT has actually met the criteria for evidence-based treatments set by the American Psychological Association for a number of conditions, including post-traumatic distress syndrome (PTSD).

Two of our Staff hosted a camp out for some of the boys! As usual, they had lots of fun sitting around the campfire, hiking, eating fire roasted food and getting away to relax!

GOLF GOLF and more GOLF!!!!

In the interest of the really nice weather we have been having, some of the students have had the luxury of either trying out their golf swing or perfecting it.  The higher the level you are here at CRA, the more rewards you receive! Golfing is one of those rewards that students love. 

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

What Were You Thinking?

Most parents of a teenager have asked the question at one time or another, "What were you thinking?"  In a recent study conducted by psychological scientists Laurence Steinberg & Jason Chein of Temple University and Dustin Albert of Duke University, they argue the significant influence peers have over their adolescent friends risky behaviors.  This study shows an increase in risky behaviors by these teenagers when directly observed by their peers. They report greater activation of brain structures, such as the ventral striatum and orbitofrontal cortex, which are involved in evaluating rewards.

If we are to accept the relationship between peer influence and risky behaviors, we must also consider the influence these teens hold over each other based upon the amount of time these teens spend with each other.  By spending large amounts of time with their peers, these scientists claim the feedback may overtime tune the brain's reward system to be more sensitive to the reward value of risky behavior.  They go on to say, "This sensitivity leads teens to focus on the short-term benefits of risky choices over the long-term value of safe alternatives."

Knowing that teenagers will spend a great deal of time with each other, it becomes important to shape that reward system into something positive rather than seeking acceptance through risky behaviors. At Cedar Ridge Academy, we are huge advocates of utilizing the powerful influence of peers in helping our students to achieve a healthier lifestyle.  Our students participate in seven hours of group therapy each week in conjunction to their individual and family therapy sessions.  Group therapy includes specialized small groups to target specific issues appropriate for our current student body.

In a positive milieu environment, such as ours, students are encouraged, supported, and accountable to each other. We use a strong message of..."you have what it takes to be successful, you matter, and we care about you." This environment is ideal for creating a safe, structured, positive peer community where the students feel connected and accepted.  We teach our students about empathy to help them focus on building that positive peer culture while challenging the negative sub-culture that is prevalent in today's society. Utilizing these different tools enable Cedar Ridge students to dismiss typical peer stimuli and apply healthier internal motivators to determine their choice.  By focusing in on long-term benefits derived from choices, our graduates are training their brain's reward system to respond more sensitively to mature, healthy stimuli.

Association for Psychological Science April 2013

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

New Special Education Teacher

Denise working with student
Cedar Ridge Academy has found a great fit with the addition of Denise Mooney to our academic team.  Denise adds a number of wonderful credentials to our school beyond her endorsements in both English and History; she also completed her Master’s degree in Special Education at the University of Alaska.  With over thirteen years’ experience under her belt, Denise offers experience working with a wide range of students with varying degrees of learning disabilities. She utilizes her expertise in this field to design Individual Educational Plans (IEP) and 504 plans to aid teachers, staff, and parents working together for a rich learning environment. 

Denise Mooney
Denise is very excited to live on our beautiful campus where she can easily indulge in some of her hobbies which include reading, playing on the computer, and exploration in nature.  Being an avid animal lover; she also enjoys living on an animal friendly campus where students are encouraged to help care for others. 

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