Monday, December 31, 2012

Using Twitter in Cedar Ridge Academy Therapeutic Boarding School Classrooms

For an hour each week, certified teachers at Cedar Ridge Academy Therapeutic Boarding School conduct supplemental instructions in their content areas. These supplemental instructions are designed to enhance the rigorous curriculum already in placeThese hours are spent with boys and girls engaging in group activities, teacher-led lectures, and other learning opportunities that contribute to the students’ academic development and recovery. Often in Social Studies’ classes, students learn about the current events of the world around them. This week is no exception.

As a teacher, I try to bring in as many different perspectives of the current events in the world.  In class, students are presented with video clips and articles from various news organizations.  One of the favorites of the students is a magazine that we subscribed to entitled: The New York Times Upfront.  It is a publication geared for high school students. They focus on the big stories of the time period, and make sure that the article has the background information that students will need.  The students also appreciate the extra stuff that appeals to them, like political cartoons.  Recently, we have been doing a “best hits” of these magazines— going back and catching articles we haven’t had a chance to read yet.

This week, the students were met with a new challenge. They had to choose between two different articles.  One article discussed the law in New York City about preventing sodas that are at least 32 oz. from being sold.  The other article discussed the positive and negative nature of the political commercials that flood the airwaves whenever there is an election.  After reading the article, students were asked to respond to the article in the form of a tweet.  As a teacher, this encourages the students to have an opinion about what they are reading.  Also by putting it in the form of a short tweet (140 characters or less), students are limited on how much they can say.  They have to become creative in what they say and how they say it - getting straight to the point.

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Shawn reads "Sugar Wars" about the NYC soda ban
The other cool thing about this assignment was the fact that the students had an audience to write for…you!  When I gave the assignment, the students came up with the hashtags they would use so that all of their tweets would be connected. They were very excited to have their mark in the global conversation.

Later today, I will submit the student's written responses to Twitter. So, get on our Twitter feed and see what the students responded to. The soda article’s hashtag will be #nycwar and the campaign article’s hashtag will be #ads.  Our Twitter handle is @CRAcademy and students’ posts will go up today and on Wednesday through my account.  The posts will remain anonymous, but if you have a student here, ask them which one is theirs or guess and see if you were right!

--Written by Kimberly, Social Studies and English teacher

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Cedar Ridge Academy and Science Teacher Honored

Recently, Cedar Ridge Academy Therapeutic Boarding School and science teacher, Chad Hamblin, were honored by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) as "Outstanding Youth Partners."

"For the past seven years, Cedar Ridge Academy has partnered with the BLM on projects to provide exceptional opportunities for Uintah Basin youth and families to 'Get Outside.'  They have helped construct and maintain valuable trail systems in the Vernal urban interface, creating opportunities for thousands of recreation visits to public lands every year. One project in particular was marking and maintaining the Moonshine trail, a beautiful high desert six-mile trail starting from the Taylor Mountain Road and traversing slick rock with incredible vistas of desert reds, white sands, slick rock and views of Ashley Valley." (BLM News Release, Sept. 2012)

Science teacher accepts BLM award for Cedar Ridge Academy

Chad accepted the Youth Program Partnership Award from the Utah State BLM Director on behalf of Cedar Ridge Academy in a ceremony held at Snow College in Richfield, Utah.  Consisting of a plaque sporting a large gold-colored star, the award now hangs in Chad's science classroom as a reminder of the hours of service students have provided to the BLM and community under his guidance.

Earlier in 2012, Chad received additional recognition when he was presented with the Alumni Achievement award from Utah State University.

Cedar Ridge Academy teacher receives USU Alumni Achievement Award


"Science teacher, artist, and community activist Chad Hamblin was a biology major who graduated from USU's secondary education program in 2003. For the last eight years, Chad has taught science at Cedar Ridge Academy, a local residential school for at-risk youth. He started a Lifetime Hobbies Club at Cedar Ridge in order to introduce students to activities like cross country skiing, blacksmithing, and wilderness skills. Chad also provides service learning opportunities for his students throughout the Uintah Basin. Because of his efforts, previously hard-to-find non-motorized trails on federal lands such as the BLM's Red Mountain to Moonshine Arch Trail have become safe and well-marked routes in a time of shrinking recreational budgets. For encouraging adolescents to appreciate and enjoy our natural resources, Chad has been selected to receive the Alumni Achievement Award." (Utah State University, Commencement, 2012)

Monday, December 17, 2012

Transitioning Home from Cedar Ridge Academy Therapeutic Boarding School

Cedar Ridge Academy works to provide a journey for each student that allows them to achieve their potential as a person. Each student’s progression towards home is different.  However, as parents await their arrival with excited anticipation, the students go through a bittersweet experience.  This blog post was written by Katelyn about this very experience that she is going through:

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Katelyn poses under the shade
Preparing for home is an exciting process at Cedar Ridge Academy, except once you’ve been here for almost two years, it’s actually kind of hard to say goodbye. I’m writing this with the knowledge that I’m leaving in one week. It’s stunning to see how far I’ve come throughout my stay here. When I came in, I was a drug addict, always running away from home, and I had no relationship with my family. When I look back on my first few months here, it doesn’t even seem like I’m looking back on who I used to be. After 22 months and leaving on level 800, preparing for home in a positive mindset is so unreal, yet so fantastic.

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Katelyn at Halloween with the scarecrows
When I leave on the twentieth of December, I will have two weeks of winter break at home and then I will start college in January. That alone was a journey I had to figure out. I had to look at how much school was left to finish here and the time limit I had, then I needed to pick out my college classes and register for them. I also had to look at my home contract and all of my plans for staying stable at home to make sure I’m successful. Other than that, I really wanted to spend my last three weeks helping the girls out in my home and acting as a mentor. That is part of what makes it so hard to say goodbye. On top of that I have to say goodbye to staff, students I’ve made friendships with and karate - it’ll even be hard to part with the llamas - as funny as that seems. I think the main thing is that the relationships I’ve built here are like nothing else I’ve experienced before. They’re vulnerable, honest, and caring. Everyone I’ve come to know here I’ve come to love. They know the true me: all my fears, all my joys in life, what I want do with myself. Nothing can replace what I’ve felt in my stay here.
  
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Katelyn poses with a friend in the school
Like I said before, it’s hard, but still exciting to be leaving for home. I know it’s time for me to take my next step in life and move into the unknown. I will keep a place in my heart just for Cedar Ridge and the people in it, and know that they gave me the strength and courage to create who I am today.

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Katelyn is now a brown belt in Karate

Friday, December 14, 2012

Third Parties at Cedar Ridge Academy Therapeutic Boarding School

Cedar Ridge Academy, a therapeutic boarding school for teens, believes in the safety of its students. This is also the number one concern that parents have when considering our program.  One of the ways that we ensure the safety of our students is with a third party. A third party is when you have two people, but there always needs to be another or third person there. With this rule, there is a bystander or witness in any situation. As a student here, I feel perfectly safe about the third parties we use at Cedar Ridge Academy.

When I first got here, the idea of it helped me feel more comfortable in the home and with the staff. I used to have no trust with the staff, mainly because I did not want to open up to them, but having a peer with me when I was doing work project or in therapy helped me feel a lot safer. As I have gone through the program, I have come to better understand my staff and build relationships with them filled with trust. I did not have this trust before and I honestly do not even feel the need to have a third party anymore.  Even though I feel this way, Cedar Ridge Academy still continues to follow the policy, and I must have a third party in therapy - and anywhere else I go.  

A teacher works with a student while another student works nearby.
I also feel pretty safe when I’m around any staff. Honestly, I think that’s one of the best aspects of Cedar Ridge Academy. In my previous lock down facility, the staff did not care to build relationships; it was all about consequences and getting their paycheck. Here it is a lot different. The staff members are willing to help you out and build a strong trusting relationship with you. They don’t jump to the worst possible interpretation when it comes to a situation that has happened. They are willing to hear you out and use empathy because of the honesty you have built in the relationship.

Overall, I do feel that our third party rule is valid and appropriate. The staff members are people that  I feel physically and emotionally comfortable with.

--Written by K.V.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Passing of a Dear Friend at Cedar Ridge Academy Co-ed Therapeutic Boarding School

Today at Cedar Ridge Academy Co-ed Therapeutic Boarding School, we have experienced a great loss.  This past October a member of our staff, Kim Kimbel was diagnosed with leukemia.  Kim fought very hard to keep her strength up and stay healthy enough for the chemotherapy.  Both the boys and girls gave her a huge outpouring of love and support.  This afternoon, we lost our dear friend Kim.  She will be missed by all, staff and students.

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In her element, Kim was always keeping tabs on the world
Kim started at Cedar Ridge Academy about ten and a half years ago as a staff in the residential homes.  Less than a year after she started she transitioned to work in the kitchen where she found her calling.  The students loved the food that she made and the energy that she brought to the kitchen.  She was always willing to help out.  Almost all of the cakes that have been baked on-campus to celebrate birthdays and graduations have been artistically created by her.

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One of the many cakes that she made
Since her diagnosis, the students have been writing cards to her to help keep her spirits up.  Kim had adopted a motto of “Forever Rely On God” or FROG.  Her hospital room in Salt Lake City was full of frogs and she was giving away little rubber frogs to anyone that was a part of her support team.  In her memory, the students all received a frog today.  In addition, this year’s charity Christmas tree for the annual Festival of Trees was dedicated in Kim’s honor.  The Festival of Trees will be held this weekend and will be a bittersweet tribute to a life well lived.

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Cedar Ridge Academy's entry in the Festival of Trees
Kim is survived by her husband, five children, two step-children, and two grandchildren as well as numerous friends here at the school. In her free time she enjoyed spending time with her family and providing a happy home for them.   She was known to say, “Work is where I am happy.”  She truly loved being here and helping the students to grow and mature.  Her supervisor Barbie has often said, “We could never ask for a better employee.”  She truly tried to live life the right way and had amazing integrity. Kim brightened the lives of many that passed through our doors and we will miss her so much. We love you Kim!

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Kim Kimbel
1963-2012

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Day at Cedar Ridge Academy Co-ed Therapeutic Boarding School


Today, Cedar Ridge Academy Co-ed Therapeutic Boarding School students celebrated Election Day by having a mock vote in the 2012 Presidential Election. The purpose of the mock election was to reinforce the academics that the boys and girls have been learning about the last few weeks. With their certified Social Studies teacher, Kimberly Hawks, the students in Social Studies classes have been learning about the Electoral College and how the system of voting for the president works.   

Each unit that is covered in a supplemental instruction has a skill that the students practice as a class.  During this unit, students have been exercising their “Conversational Moves.”  Opinions about politics can often be heated, as a result, the students practiced their abilities to have productive class discussions.  We had conversations about the effectiveness of the Electoral College.  Students discussed whether or not the Electoral College still has the same purpose that it had when the Founding Fathers created the Constitution, possible alternatives to the Electoral College, and whether the current system was fair to all.  Students brought their knowledge of the 2000 Election into the discussion, and the importance of swing states to this election.  With the way that this discussion has gone, Kimberly felt that it would be important to have our own mock election here on campus.

Today, students entered the “polling place” (Kimberly’s classroom), and signed in on the master roll, just as they would have if entering a real polling place.  To separate the students into different states, each homeroom became their own state.  To help with the counting, the ballot that each student received was a different color depending on their “state residency.”

Cedar Ridge Academy Therapeutic Boarding School Election Sign-in
A student signs in on the master roll
When the student received the ballot, he/she would head to the polling stations that were created on a desk in the classroom.  Each student would fill in the bubble next to the candidate to mark the selection and then fold up the ballot to put it in the box.

Cedar Ridge Academy Therapeutic Boarding School Voting
A student fills out his ballot
The students came into the polling place throughout the day.  All students and some of the staff exercised their right to choose whether to vote.  Of the 37 members of the school, 20 members voted which gave us a 56% turnout.  So who did Cedar Ridge Academy vote for?

Cedar Ridge Academy Therapeutic Boarding School Election Ballot Submission
A student casts his ballot into the box
By Electoral College and popular vote: President Barack Obama won!

The Electoral College vote breakdown was two votes for Obama and one vote for Romney.  The popular vote breakdown was nine votes for Obama, eight votes for Romney, one vote for Anderson, one vote for Goode, and one vote for Johnson.

Students gained a lot from the experience and enjoyed participating in their own election, even though they are not old enough to vote.  If you haven't already, take an opportunity to go vote just as the students did today!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Festive Autumn Parent Workshop at Cedar Ridge Academy Therapeutic Boarding School

In late Autumn, the Cedar Ridge Academy Therapeutic Boarding School campus is transformed by students into a decorative seasonal delight designed for their parent's enjoyment during the annual October parent workshop.  While maintaining their academics, both boys and girls hone their crafting skills as they create Halloween decorations they hope will amuse, and even astonish, their parents! (This was evidenced by a staff member overhearing the comment "My mom is just going to die when she sees that huge spider!")  During the week prior to workshop, anticipation builds as students prepare for their parent's arrival. The greatest excitement stems from the upcoming opportunity to greet family, but there's also the fun of pointing out which decorations they created. Once such initial greetings are taken care of, students settle in with their parents to attend two full days of seminars designed to assist both the troubled teens and their parents. Subjects such as communication, effective parenting and lasting behavioral changes are addressed.

Spider Halloween decoration at Cedar Ridge Academy Therapeutic Boarding School


Workshops are usually scheduled to occur on a Thursday and Friday, allowing extra time for high trust-level students to leave campus in company of their parents for most of the weekend. The October workshop was planned accordingly, but this year, it was ushered in by a larger surprise than the witches, spiders and stuffed straw men awaiting parents on campus...

girls students with Halloween straw men at Cedar Ridge Academy Therapeutic Boarding

Snow! Not unusual during late Autumn for the campus tucked into the foothills of the scenic Uintah Mountains of Utah, but nonetheless quite unexpected - mainly due to warm weather enjoyed just the day previous!

First snowfall at Cedar Ridge Academy Therapeutic Boarding School


Changing Utah weather is no surprise for parents who travel from across the nation to both visit their children and participate in seminars taught by the licensed therapists who daily provide students with group and/or one-on-one therapy sessions. Coats, boots and gloves are shed as parents accompany their teens to seminars designed specifically for each student's level of advancement within the school's therapeutic program. Following seminars, parent-teacher interviews are conducted by licensed teachers who help keep each parent abreast of their student's academic progress.


Parents at Cedar Ridge Academy Autumn Workshop


The four annual workshops at Cedar Ridge Academy consist of three "tracks" to accommodate group instruction: the Introductory track for students and parents who have recently joined the program, the Intermediate track for those midway through, and the Advanced track for students and parents who have made significant progress over time. Parents are required to attend three workshops during their student's stay at Cedar Ridge Academy. It is the goal of program administrators to help each student work through the program in approximately nine months (a variable time frame dependent upon the student's level of engagement), so it is easy for parents to ensure that they receive the valuable education provided within each track offered.

Snow falls during Autumn parent workshop at Cedar Ridge Academy

Though the snow was a surprise, it didn't dampen the enthusiasm of staff, parents or students as they cheerfully engaged in workshop activities! The next workshop at Cedar Ridge Academy is planned for early March...hmmm...springtime in the mountains...  Stay posted - there could well be another "snow story" on the way!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Rigorous Curriculum for Troubled Teens at Cedar Ridge Academy Therapeutic Boarding School


Cedar Ridge Academy is a therapeutic boarding school with a rigorous curriculum for troubled teens. We have a staff of certified teachers that help the boys and girls with credit recovery, academic recovery, and academic development. As students work through the program, you can see that they gradually excel in school too.  Cedar Ridge offers a good school system with online classes and teachers available to help in all subjects.

Rigorous academics at Cedar Ridge Academy Therapeutic Boarding School


Monday through Thursday, we have school from 8:00am to 3:00pm. We have karate in the morning as a good way to wake up our body and brain, and then we spend the rest of the day in the school. Our classes are mostly online. We can do as little as one class at a time and as many as six if the student feels they are ready for it. The best part for me is that we can work at our own pace. If we thrive in a class, then we can work ahead and finish it early. If we need a little more help from the teachers, then we can slow down and spend time working until we fully understand the material. I like this better than normal high school because I get the chance to set my own pace, and learn to be self-motivated. Only if I’m struggling with maintaining a high score do teachers step in to help me out. It’s an effective system that I recommend over public high school any day.

Girl students working together with online classes at Cedar Ridge Academy


Something else I like about school at Cedar Ridge Academy is being able to watch my peers become more successful. I have been here nineteen months and as I have moved through the program, school has become a bigger priority, and I now take more pride in how I am doing. I watch some of the kids who have been here for less than two months and see that they do not even want to try. Then I look at them four months later, and see them starting to put in an effort and taking pride in it. For some kids, depending on how fast they work through the program, I get to see them graduate from high school. They love getting an A, and they love planning for a future in college or finishing out high school at home. I know it is hard for parents to send their kids away, and not physically be there while their kid is struggling in school; I had that same issue with my parents. I also know it was probably the best thing that happened to me. I am now ahead in school, have the best relationships with my parents I have ever had, and have a successful future planned for myself that I never would have even thought about before coming here. 

Boys studying online curriculum at Cedar Ridge Academy Therapeutic Boarding School

Written by K.V.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Cedar Ridge Academy Therapeutic Boarding School Plays Volleyball

Cedar Ridge Academy focuses on more than academics, the students' therapy, and credit recovery. Once you get to a high enough level you get to participate in other fun activities, such as sports. The boys have their own basketball team, and the girls have their own volleyball team. We get to go off campus and play in the Roosevelt league or even the Ute tribe league. Either way though, we get a full season to play in town and see how many games we can win.

The girls’ volleyball team this year consists of the five high level girls and two girls who play with us from Roosevelt. Every week we go to the Ute tribe reservation and play at the gym there. It’s an adult league, and there are about seven teams. Most of them are from the reservation and they’re all a challenge for us to play, but we always have a lot of fun.


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Our Cedar Ridge Academy students wait for the serve from the other team

As one of the girls on the team, I know firsthand that it’s pretty intimidating walking into the gym where everybody knows each other, and we’re basically the odd team out. It was hard for us at first, because we were too tense while playing. The other team would be laughing and having a lot of fun while we would be stuck worrying about what we did. As the games progressed we slowly got into it more. Once we were used to the environment and got to know some of the people there, it was a lot easier. We started getting our serves over, letting fewer balls hit the floor, and we just had a better time. I also liked when they let us mix up the teams a few times to scrimmage and I got to play with girls from the other teams. That was good for me and the other girls too because we had the interactions with new people, and they even taught us some of their techniques. That was probably the coolest part for me, I had been expecting a cold shoulder from the teams, but instead I was met with friendship.



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One of our students hits the ball back over the net.

Our volleyball season has consisted of four wins so far, with another possible win next week at our last game. It has been a fun activity throughout the season, as I know the other girls would agree with. We all learn new things every time, and we have met new people. Unfortunately next week is our last chance to play, but I know we’ll finish strong and have some good memories to take home with us.

--Written by K.V.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Cedar Ridge Academy Therapeutic Boarding School trip to "the Alum Mine"

A few miles west of Cedar Ridge, namesake of Cedar Ridge Academy Therapeutic Boarding School, there is another ridge. This other ridge is known to local residents as "the Blue Hill", and some of them know that part way up the ridge, a hole was dug into the side of the slope for the purpose of mining alum. Cedar Ridge Academy's science teacher, Chad, first visited "the Alum Mine" as a young Boy Scout, and has visited the site many times since then - with family, as a scoutmaster with his own troop of  Boy Scouts, and with students. Recently he took a group of co-ed students from Cedar Ridge Academy Therapeutic Boarding school to "the Alum Mine" where they not only explored, but got a chance to practice their Karate moves! (Shotokan Karate is taught to all students at Cedar Ridge Academy.)

Co-ed students from Cedar Ridge Academy Therapeutic Boarding school hiking

The trip starts on relatively level terrain, in a mix of Utah Junipers (known locally as "cedars"), sagebrush, and other high desert plants. The students and staff hiked into a draw where the trail quickly got steeper. They scrambled up over the rocks, and then hiked up a bare slope made of clay. From the top of this slope, the group could see an opening into the hillside. They hurried over to peer into the hole. As they looked into the dark passageway, one of the boys yelled "boo" - and got the desired response from his startled peers.

Armed with a little LED light, Chad and his students made their way into the mine. They had to crouch to get through the opening, but once inside, most of the  group could stand upright.

Co-ed students from Cedar Ridge Academy Therapeutic Boarding School visit small mine

The mine isn't very deep - just enough to give the group an adventurous feeling. Toward the back of the mine there's a shelf in the rock with numerous little juniper twigs and other material piled on it to form a nest. This indicates that a pack rat is in residence (the official name of the species is Desert Wood Rat). Chad once saw one in the mine when he was there with boy scouts. The idea of seeing a Norway rat (the kind that roams back alleys in cities) strikes fear in Chad's heart, but seeing a wood rat has the opposite effect - since these rats are actually cute. They have big eyes, rounded ears and are colored similarly to a gerbil.

While the group looked at white streaks in the mine, Chad explained that they are veins of alum - a white powdery material that has historically been used in making pickles (it helps keep the cucumbers crisp). The powder has a sour taste.

Cedar Ridge Academy Therapeutic Boarding School co-ed students hiking in Utah


After leaving the mine, the group hiked up the slope, then traveled along below some cliffs. While hiking below the cliffs they found several snake skins - five in all. They also saw a snake (Chad didn't see it, but from the description it sounded like a Racer).

At the top of a knoll the students paused to perform a Karate kata in the outdoor air.  They then hiked back down to the vehicle and headed for the campus, tired, but refreshed by their outdoor adventure!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Female Students Harvest Bountiful Garden at Cedar Ridge Academy Therapeutic Boarding School

All summer long, the female students at Cedar Ridge Academy co-ed Therapeutic Boarding School have been caring for a large garden. Now, at harvest time, the daily watering, weekly weeding sessions and tender loving care has paid off with a bounteous crop!

The garden project began in early spring when the girls and their staff pored over garden catalogs, deciding what they would plant this year. When temperatures were just right in late spring, the girls went to work in earnest, armed with a tiller, shovels, rakes and hoes. The soil was worked, leveled, then marked into planting sections. Existing grow boxes were revitalized, ready to receive seeds or purchased seedlings.

Female students planting garden at Cedar Ridge Academy co-ed therapeutic boarding school

Once conditions were perfect, the girls set to work, planting then watering not only vegetable seeds and seedlings, but young flowering plants designed to ward of predatory insects while adding beauty and charm.

As the garden grew, the girls took turns performing all the necessary chores. Due to dry weather conditions, watering became an almost daily activity. On the weekends, group weeding stints helped provide prime growing conditions for the young plants.

Female students weeding garden at Cedar Ridge Academy co-ed therapeutic boarding school

As the season progressed, fresh produce was picked, then brought into the home for the girls to snack on. When the garden produced much more than the girls could eat, produce was harvested, then taken to the campus cafeteria where it was cooked and served for daily meals.


Girl students harvest garden at Cedar Ridge Academy Therapeutic Boarding School

One favorite snack from the garden was fresh peas. Tomatoes proved to be a popular treat as did cucumbers and carrots. Perhaps one of the most exciting rewards for the girls was watching the pumpkins and squmpkins (a hybrid crop resulting from crossing pumpkins with squash) grow ever larger - day after day.  It was exciting to speculate how large they would actually get!

Although mini-harvests had taken place as produce ripened throughout the summer, the long awaited pumpkin - squmpkin harvest finally occurred after the first frost. Pulling on their gloves, the girls headed for the patch to glean the results of all their hard work and consistent nurturing!

Pumpkin and Squmpkin harvest at Cedar Ridge Academy co-ed therapeutic boarding school

And what a harvest it was! Every counter top in the home was covered with varying sizes of pumpkins and squmpkins. Many of them were destined for honor as part of campus-wide Halloween decorations. For instance, some pumpkins were given facial features, then used as heads for stuffed straw people placed in sitting positions on benches around campus.

Student admiring Squmpkin harvested at Cedar Ridge Academy co-ed therapeutic boarding school


Overall, the garden was a huge success - not just because of the vegetables produced, but also because of the personal growth attained by each participant. New horticulture skills were acquired. The principles of responsibility and sticking to a project were reinforced as the girls cared for the garden from planning through harvest. It's a learning experience that will be repeated again next year!


Sunday, October 7, 2012

Cedar Ridge Academy Focuses on Student Karate Therapy in their Therapeutic Boarding School

Here at Cedar Ridge Academy Therapeutic Boarding School, the students all participate in Karate Shiais. Shiais are rigorous workouts that can last anywhere from two hours to three days. These days really help us gain more practice and experience in martial arts through karate therapyBoys and girls start off working as hard as they can, and even during the last hour when they’re as tired as you can imagine, they finish working just as hard. This is something we like to call Zanshin, or “strong finish.”
Cedar Ridge Academy Therapeutic Boarding School Martial Arts Karate Therapy
Sensi Rob Nielsen instructs the students on appropriate karate technique.
Generally, Shiais start at eight in the morning, right after breakfast. We officially enter the Dojo by lining up on the black line from highest rank to lowest rank and bowing in. One of our main goals in karate is to let go of our troubles, even for just a short period of time and just center ourselves. This is what bowing in is for. Close your eyes and breathe. As you inhale, breathe in soothing and focusing energies; as you exhale let out all the stress you carry. Ideally, this continues for one minute and then we bow and pay our respects to the sensei and Dojo. After this we spend time warming up and loosening our muscles. As soon as we’re finished, a strenuous workout follows.
Cedar Ridge Academy Therapeutic Boarding School Karate Therapy in Martial Arts
These students are focusing on their breathing as they bow in to start the class
We start with side stance punches, front stance reverse punches, front snap kicks, and a variation of small combinations. By this time we’re generally all red faced and sweaty, with tired cores and legs. Even so, we keep going with rhythm tapes, katas, partner work, group work, and even more other cardio training. At least for me, by the end of the day my hair should be drenched, and my t-shirt soaked through. It may sound a little overwhelming reading all this and hearing that it goes on for eight hours, but that isn’t how the kids take it. Yes, we’re practically dead on our feet, but we feel awesome. We just spent the whole day working as hard as we can, we all learned at least one new thing, and got better at our individual karate skills. On top of that our body released all those good mood chemicals in our brain from working out, so naturally we’re a little more upbeat than usual.
Martial Arts at Cedar Ridge Academy Therapeutic Boarding School with Karate Therapy
Students practice their side stance punches

The week after the Shiai, everybody gets a red stripe put on their belt. The red stripe is for our participation, showing that we took part in the rigorous work out and maximized our effort. If we get three of these stripes we go up a level in our belts. This is the most rewarding part of the whole thing other than the actual training, because we know that it means we accomplished and achieved something through all of our hard work. Like me, most of the kids would say they’d do it again. It has its moments where you’re really not sure if you can go on, but in the end it’s worth it. You feel proud, and you know that you did your best to finish with Zanshin.

Martial Arts Karate Therapy at Cedar Ridge Academy Therapeutic Boarding School
A student receives his new belt  and certificate of achievement  after completing the requirements for one of the higher belts in the Dojo


--Written by K.V.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Summer Olympics Comparison at Cedar Ridge Academy Therapeutic Boarding School

Once a week, Cedar Ridge Academy students  that are enrolled in a Social Studies class attend a supplemental instruction given by their certified Social Studies teacher, Kimberly Hawks.  Kimberly focuses on social studies skills that are applicable to all students to help strengthen their academics necessary to attend this trip.  These instructions are designed to supplement the rigorous curriculum that the students are working on independently.  In addition, these activities help with their academic development, credit recovery, academic recovery, and college preparation.  At a therapeutic boarding school, these classes also create peer-to-peer interactions which help troubled teens build academic relationships with the other boys and girls in their class.

Kimberly also tries to bring current events into the classroom.  She believes that the students need to know what is going on in the world to better apply to what they are learning in the classroom and to be productive citizens of the country when they leave her classroom.  This summer, the London 2012 Olympics provided a great opportunity to bring current events into the classroom. 

One particular day, Kimberly provided the students a list of the medal counts from the 2004, 2008, and 2012 summer games.  She explained how the medal counts work and how the International Olympic Committee decides the rankings.  The students were surprised that it was based on the number of gold medals not the total number of medals won, which meant that a country could be ranked first (because they had the most golds) but the second place country could have more total medals.  This was the case with China and the United Stats in 2008.  After discussing the medal count protocol, Kimberly then passed out blank graph paper to the students and divided them into groups.  She gave them a charge to work together with their group to create four graphs that showed a comparison between countries or Olympic years so that some of the data they had in front of them would made more sense with a visual representation.  She explained that historians often use bar graphs, line graphs, and circle graphs to show comparisons and changes in data.  The students were hesitant to get started, but once they figured out that there were endless possibilities of what they could show, they got to work and came up with an overall question as a group to show in their four graphs.

Cedar Ridge Academy Therapeutic Boarding School Academics Learns Social Studies
Three students work together to figure out what question they will ask on their graphs

One group decided to focus just on the 2012 Olympics top 10 gold medal countries.  They had three graphs comparing the amount of gold medals, silver medals, and bronze medals won by these countries, and their final graph showed the total medals won by each country.  Another group compared China and the United States from all three Olympic Games.  Another group zeroed in on the "little guys", the countries that don't usually win a lot of medals, to see if there was an increase or decrease from year to year.  The students came up with so many different ideas!

Cedar Ridge Academy Therapeutic Boarding School Academics Learns Social Studies
Two students working on their graphs after dividing up the work
Once the groups were done with their graphs, each group was required to present their findings to the class.  Kimberly encouraged the groups to explain what their graphs showed and what they learned by creating their graphs.  After class, she picked graphs to display on her bulletin board for parent seminar--so stop by and take a look when you are in town.

Cedar Ridge Academy Therapeutic Boarding School Academics Learns Social Studies
One of the graphs that the students made

Friday, October 5, 2012

Cedar Ridge Academy Therapeutic Boarding School Students Learn How to Work in Groups

Between August 2nd and August 9th, some
Cedar Ridge Academy students attended a trip to the Utah Shakespeare Festival in Cedar City, Utah.  These students had completed the class academics necessary to attend this trip.  For about the last decade, the certified English teachers have been teaching a rigorous curriculum to help students to understand William Shakespeare's words that also aims to help students with credit recovery, academic recovery, and prepare for college.  The class culminates in a great experience for these troubled teens: the trip.  To help with their academic development, one of their assignments is to write a reflection about the class or the trip to post on the blog.  This post was written by Reneta.

As a class, we were split up into different groups called companies.  My company was Kathlene, Mike, and J.T.  The class on campus with them was hilarious and productive.  We started off with an assigned project.  Luckily for us, our time kept getting pushed back, so we had more than enough time to get things done.  My favorite part of the project was the dating game.  The whole class was engaged and apart of it and that made me feel like the trip would be the same.  We had a scare right before the trip where my group didn't have our research paper finished and our "trip life" was threatened.  The staff being nice and trusting allowed us to finish our paper on the trip.  It was one of the best decisions they ever made (wink).

When we got to the cabin, the feeling of closeness isn't even the right word.  The girls went to the basement and got settled in and got ready for the play that night.  The first play we watched was Mary Stuart.  One of my favorite actors, Jacqueline, played Mary Stuart in the play and did a really nice job.  It was like that for 4-5 days out of the trip.  The next three days were the ones that made it hard to come back and let go.

The last night we were there, we had a fire-pit family and everyone showed emotion and opened up to each other.  I told everyone that I loved them and appreciated them and the only people I can actually honestly say that to are my two best friends that I've known forever.  I really do love the kids that I'm with.   They've allowed me to realize that it's ok for people to genuinely care about you without needing anything back.  This is one of the only times that I've felt safe and vulnerable at the same time. 

The Shakespeare trip was educational and fun.  At the same time, it was caring and emotional.  I loved it and am excited for the next group of kids that get to go and be with each other.

Cedar Ridge Academy Therapeutic Boarding School Academics Shakespeare Trip 2012
Reneta's company for the Shakespeare class on the Utah Shakespeare Festival grounds



Thursday, October 4, 2012

A Sunset Hike on the Cedar Ridge Academy Therapeutic Boarding School Shakespeare Trip

Between August 2nd and August 9th, some
Cedar Ridge Academy students attended a trip to the Utah Shakespeare Festival in Cedar City, Utah.  These students had completed the class academics necessary to attend this trip.  For about the last decade, the certified English teachers have been teaching a rigorous curriculum to help students to understand William Shakespeare's words that also aims to help students with credit recovery, academic recovery, and prepare for college.  The class culminates in a great experience for these troubled teens: the trip.  To help with their academic development, one of their assignments is to write a reflection about the class or the trip to post on the blog.  This post was written by Conrad.

When I was at home, I never went hiking.  Then I got sent away to wilderness I hated hiking.  By the end of my stay at wilderness I grew to love it.  I have been away from the mountains for a while, but luckily I got to go on the Shakespeare trip and be back in them. 

Each year that Christine has gone on the Shakespeare trip, members of the group have gone hiking.  Our cabin was on the ski slopes in Brian Head Resort.  We went to a ridge above the cabin to see a beautiful view. Christine took us up during the day first so that we could see the hike and the amazing view. It felt like I was on top of the world.  Then she takes anyone that went on the first hike on a second hike right before sunset.  The goal is to make it to the top of the ridge to watch the sunset.  The reason that she does first hike is so that we know the hike when we go back down in the dark.  Katelyn, Sean, Christine, and I made the sunset trek back up the ridge.  It was a hard hike, but the view was well worth the wait.  It rained on and off most of the time we were there, so we didn’t see the sunset because of all the clouds that were in the way. However, we did see really cool lightening storm instead. It was such an amazing experience to hike up the ridge even with the clouds. I will never forget hiking on the Shakespeare trip. 

Cedar Ridge Academy Therapeutic Boarding School Shakespeare Trip 2012
Conrad on the sunset hike with the amazing view in the background

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Weather Affects the Cedar Ridge Academy Therapeutic Boarding School's Shakespeare Trip

Between August 2nd and August 9th, some
Cedar Ridge Academy students attended a trip to the Utah Shakespeare Festival in Cedar City, Utah.  These students had completed the class academics necessary to attend this trip.  For about the last decade, the certified English teachers have been teaching a rigorous curriculum to help students to understand William Shakespeare's words that also aims to help students with credit recovery, academic recovery, and prepare for college.  The class culminates in a great experience for these troubled teens: the trip.  To help with their academic development, one of their assignments is to write a reflection about the class or the trip to post on the blog.  This post was written by Mike.

A group of fifteen boys and girls with staff went to see Mary Stuart at the Utah Shakespeare Festival. Overall, I thought that it was a decent performance.  Specifically, the actress that played Mary Stuart put on an excellent performance. This particular play was in the Adams Shakespearean Theatre, which is an outdoor theatre. The night that we saw the play, the weather was threatening rain. I thought that it was interesting how she improvised with the weather as she ad-libed a line about the clouds in the distance. Then when it started raining, it was interesting to see how long they kept going until they acknowledged the rain and called a delay.  The stage hands were very quick as they hurried to cover the stage from the rain.  The stage manager informed us that we would wait a bit to see if the storm would subside and if it did not, we would go over to the rain stage--an indoor auditorium.  It was scary when one of the stage hands was running to cover the stage, and then he tripped and fell.  The whole crowd gasped.  We later found out that he sprained his wrist.  We were sitting in the covered section so we didn't get wet, which was nice, and the cool breeze with the storm felt nice.  After a while, the rain went to a drizzle. Once it completely stopped, they wiped the stage down with rages to soak up the water so the surface was not slick.  They continued the performance after just a short twenty minute delay so it was not too bad. 

Cedar Ridge Academy Therapeutic Boarding School Shakespeare Trip 2012
At the cabin, Mike rarely did not have his guitar with him

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Cedar Ridge Academy Therapeutic Boarding School Student Shares how Shakespeare Class is an Experience

Between August 2nd and August 9th, some
Cedar Ridge Academy students attended a trip to the Utah Shakespeare Festival in Cedar City, Utah.  These students had completed the class academics necessary to attend this trip.  For about the last decade, the certified English teachers have been teaching a rigorous curriculum to help students to understand William Shakespeare's words that also aims to help students with credit recovery, academic recovery, and prepare for college.  The class culminates in a great experience for these troubled teens: the trip.  To help with their academic development, one of their assignments is to write a reflection about the class or the trip to post on the blog.  This post was written by Lara.

Shakespeare class was one of the best experiences I have ever had.  The experience taught me so many lessons all around, both educationally and emotionally.  I expanded my emotional horizons and I was able to be completely open and real with everyone.  I think that this experience was something that not many people get.  Before Shakespeare, I thought I was the closest I could be to someone.  That was before I spent twenty minutes crying in Christine's lap.

I did not just grow emotionally and with my relationships, but I also grew educationally.  I learned to actually UNDERSTAND what Shakespeare wrote rather than scanning over the pages with no idea what I was reading.  My writing improved as well as my presenting ability.  These skills of reading, writing, and presenting will help me as I get ready to attend college.

I know that I am going to miss Shakespeare class a lot, but I also know that being in the class is one of the best decisions I have ever made and something that I will never be able to forget.  I learned to trust more than I ever have and now I know what it is like to truly care about people and have them give that care back in return.  I believe that I have benefited so much from this and that I can take what I have learned and bring it with me wherever I go. 

Cedar Ridge Academy Therapeutic Boarding School Shakespeare Trip 2012
Lara with Christine, her English teacher, at our "goodbye" fire that is used to end the Shakespeare trip


Monday, October 1, 2012

Cedar Ridge Academy Therapeutic Boarding School Student Reviews Mary Stuart

Between August 2nd and August 9th, some
Cedar Ridge Academy students attended a trip to the Utah Shakespeare Festival in Cedar City, Utah.  These students had completed the class academics necessary to attend this trip.  For about the last decade, the certified English teachers have been teaching a rigorous curriculum to help students to understand William Shakespeare's words that also aims to help students with credit recovery, academic recovery, and prepare for college.  The class culminates in a great experience for these troubled teens: the trip.  To help with their academic development, one of their assignments is to write a reflection about the class or the trip to post on the blog.  This post was written by Jake.

As the 2012 Shakespeare group we went and saw Mary Stuart, Titus Andronicus, Merry Wives of Windsor, Scapin, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Les Miserables  Mary Stuart was a historical play during Shakespeare's times.   During that time, Queen Elizabeth put Mary Stuart in exile and later beheaded her.  If Shakespeare would have written this play, he would have also been beheaded.  The person who wrote Mary Stuart was Schiller.  Schiller did it because he wouldn't have been killed for it because he was in Germany not England.  We saw this play at the Shakespeare festival on our first night there.  In my eyes the play was boring, besides Mortimer.  Mortimer was a crazy man who was in love with Mary Stuart and he ended up killing himself.  I thought that this was the only exciting part.

I also thought that the way Mary Stuart was beheaded was pretty lame.  Elizabeth gave a messenger her execution sentence and indirectly told him to hold onto it and not deliver it.  The messenger then walked by a man who took the order and turned it in.  Therefore, Mary was executed.  Queen Elizabeth, then, was upset over the accident of Mary's death. 

I thought this play was awful mainly because of the little action. I was disappointed at how they staged Mortimer's suicide.  When he stabbed himself, he was supposed to slit his throat.  It is because of these reasons that I do not recommend Mary Stuart to anyone, unless you are a "history geek."

Cedar Ridge Academy Therapeutic Boarding School Shakespeare Trip 2012
While making lunch, Jake makes a silly pose


Sunday, September 30, 2012

Cedar Ridge Academy Prepares Students from a Therapeutic Boarding School for Future Academics

Between August 2nd and August 9th, some
Cedar Ridge Academy students attended a trip to the Utah Shakespeare Festival in Cedar City, Utah.  These students had completed the class academics necessary to attend this trip.  For about the last decade, the certified English teachers have been teaching a rigorous curriculum to help students to understand William Shakespeare's words that also aims to help students with credit recovery, academic recovery, and prepare for college.  The class culminates in a great experience for these troubled teens: the trip.  To help with their academic development, one of their assignments is to write a reflection about the class or the trip to post on the blog.  This post was written by Deborah.

Well this class has been one of the best experiences of my life.  When I first started this class I thought that it was going to be the easiest class ever to get credit on.  Once we started the paper and reading, I felt that it wasn't easy.  People that helped me have a better experience in that area were my teacher and my group.  My group helped me out so much with everything that we were doing. When we got assigned our topic for the research paper, I thought that it was going to be easier.  It really didn't end up being easier, but with my group's help I know that it was better than doing it alone. We managed to get it done, and I feel like I know how to write a research paper better now.  The other big project we had to do as a group was the final project.  Our final project was a news broadcast, which involved filming.  I got really pumped for it because I like acting and I felt that I could do well with this.  I think that doing this class showed me that I want to be an actor of some sort when I get into college. Doing this Shakespeare class has prepared me and helped me to get ready for college.

In addition to the projects, I really enjoyed the plays.  One of the plays that I liked the most out of all of them was Scapin. I like that one the most because it wasn’t all serious.   They were making jokes about a lot of things that I could understand.  I also think that it cleared my mind.  Overall, everyone should go see it.

Cedar Ridge Academy Therapeutic Boarding School Shakespeare Trip 2012
Deborah pauses for a picture in the trees near the cabin on the Shakespeare Trip.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Cedar Ridge Academy's Therapeutic Boarding School Students Attend a Performance of Les Miserables

Between August 2nd and August 9th, some
Cedar Ridge Academy students attended a trip to the Utah Shakespeare Festival in Cedar City, Utah.  These students had completed the class academics necessary to attend this trip.  For about the last decade, the certified English teachers have been teaching a rigorous curriculum to help students to understand William Shakespeare's words that also aims to help students with credit recovery, academic recovery, and prepare for college.  The class culminates in a great experience for these troubled teens: the trip.  To help with their academic development, one of their assignments is to write a reflection about the class or the trip to post on the blog.  This post was written by Kathlene.

My favorite performance at the Shakespeare Festival was the show Les Miserables. Les Miserables is a musical based on the Revolutionary times of France.  The whole show is sung and there are various characters who tell their story through the music.  The main character Jean Valjean is a convict on the run.  He is trying to start a fresh life with a new identity, but there is this pesky inspector named Javert and he is trailing him the whole time.  As the play continues, all kinds of dramas arise like angry prostitutes who aren't paid enough, greedy, grimy innkeepers who spit in people's drinks, and two young people who fall in love.  The lovers are Cozette and Marius.  Marius is one of the rebels going against the Revolution while Cozette is an innocent naive girl who is protected by her father's iron grip.  The interesting thing to me was that Cozette’s dad was Jean Valjean, but he really wasn’t her dad.  At the beginning of the musical, Cozette’s mother, Fantine, dies under Jean Valjean’s care so Cozette is “adopted” by Valjean.  I think this background makes him be more protective toward her.

I had a closed minded attitude toward the idea of a musical so when I heard we were going to see it; I couldn't have been less excited.  So, I was pleasantly surprised during the whole thing.  I couldn't get enough of the energy the play was giving off and I'm so happy to have had the opportunity to go on the Shakespeare trip.

Cedar Ridge Academy Therapeutic Boarding School Shakespeare Trip 2012
Kathlene enjoyed the woods around the cabin and the great scenery that it provided on the Shakespeare Trip

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