This is a  staff list for The Academy at Sisters in Bend, OR

(a.k.a. J Bar J Youth Services, J Bar J Boys Ranch,

(we are working to acquire the complete records for ALL years)

 

We advise current and/or former staff to report any abuses you may have witnessed while working at Academy at Sisters.  For information on your rights and how to take action, visit www.heal-online.org/blowthewhistle.htm.If you were fired or forced to resign because you opposed any illegal and/or unethical practices at Academy at Sisters, you have the right to take action.

 

If you were harmed (family or survivor) by Academy at Sisters, please contact info@heal-online.org if you remember the long-term employees and from which years.This will help!†  Also, if you recognize any of these staff as having worked at another program, please send in any information about their past or present employment at other facilities and/or cults.

 

Please donít place your loved one in Academy at Sisters and rescue them if they are there now.

 

Name

Unit/Position

Additional Information
Rick O'Dell Operations Manager J Bar J Learning Center/J Bar J Boys Ranch--Bend, OR  There is no additional information on J Bar J Youth Services or any of their programs' staff including the staff for Academy at Sisters.
Dr. Julie Schneider Psychologist
Additionally, Dr. Schneider has experience working in Corrections, with adult inmates with dual-diagnosis. Her work focused on Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), using Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) as a foundation to address both mental health and substance abuse difficulties...These services will include a variety of individual, group and family work, including: individual treatment as needed; SMART Recovery and other therapeutic groups as needed; Equine Assisted Psychotherapy Program; psychological testing and treatment implementation; and Special Education assistance.

(SMART Recovery may be similar to the SMART program used at confirmedly abusive Turning Winds program in Montana.)

Angelina Montoya Medical Mgmt  
Jenny Fischer Behaviorist  
Stephanie Alvstad Executive Dir.  
Rick Buening Academic Dir.  
Chesley Strowd Admissions  
Denise Kelly-Simpson Program Mgr.  
Sandy Vaughn Program Mgr.  
*(J Bar J Youth Services, like many other programs in this industry, keeps a "tight lid" on any specific information regarding their staff, qualifications, and practices.  Please contact us with the names of any staff of which you have firsthand knowledge or experience.  Thank you for your help.)
HEAL has received two family reports alleging abuse and violations at Academy at Sisters.  One in 2008 and another in May, 2010.
HEAL e-mailed Chesley at Academy at Sisters on October 15th, 2010 to request further information.  We have not received a response.

HEAL SPECIAL REPORT:

ACADEMY AT SISTERS (AKA J BAR J RANCH)

 ENROLLMENT PACKET REVIEW

HEAL has some concerns regarding the Academy at Sisters (aka J Bar J Ranch) enrollment agreement including apparent unethical and/or contradictory terms.  We will be alternating between "quoted text" from pages of Academy at Sisters (Sisters/Sisters') in their enrollment agreement (as was downloaded from academyatsisters.org on October 15th, 2010) and HEAL's questions/concerns.  HEAL will not repeatedly link to the enrollment agreement in full throughout this review, and, we advise readers to scroll back and/or open the enrollment agreement in a new window while reviewing our work for accuracy or if additional contextualization is preferred.  Documents included in this review are the Application, Release Forms, and Program Contract.  This is an independent review and if you are in need of legal assistance or advice, please consult with an attorney

Tuition and Board Contract (Page 1)

"Parent/Guardian must provide 30 days advance written notice of termination of enrollment or withdrawal of Student.  Prepaid tuition will not be prorated or refunded if Student voluntarily leaves, is expelled, or departs from The Academy at Sisters for any reason...Initial tuition is $5,400 per month, exclusive of medical, dental, vision, clothing, shipping, academic tutoring, and equestrian participation.  The Academy at Sisters may increase tuition upon 30 days advance written notice to Parent/Guardian."

"To assure payment of tuition, costs, expenses, and damages, Parent/Guardian shall, prior to Student's admission, pay a deposit of $6,000.00.  If during Student's enrollment any charge is made against the deposit, Parent/Guardian agrees to reimburse the deposit in an amount sufficient to maintain a $6,000.00 balance."

"A late penalty in the amount of 5% of the monthly tuition shall be assessed for payments not received by the 15th of the month."

"Charges against the deposit shall include, but are not limited to the following:...up to 30 days prorated tuition for failure to provide a 30 days advance written notice of termination or withdrawal;"

HEAL's Questions/Concerns

HEAL is concerned that this program enrolls children in the local public school (free) and yet charges "tuition" of $5,400.  If a girl is in the program for at least one year (12-months), the total cost of the program at a minimum (excluding medical, dental, vision, clothing, shipping, academic tutoring, and equestrian participation) is $70,800.00 (including the $6,000 deposit).  This is more costly than a year of tuition at Harvard University including room and board.  This is especially so where there is no clear purpose of the Academy at Sisters program.  "Harvard University will increase tuition next school year by 3.8 percent, the school announced yesterday, bringing the annual cost of a Harvard education, including room and board, to $50,724." (Source: boston.com, March 19th, 2010)   Why are families paying more than a year's tuition at Harvard for their children to go to public school in Bend, OR?  This is a serious concern.

How often are children removed from the program without notice?  What reasons are given by parents for these removals?  What is the program not saying about their program?  Parents may wish to review our warning signs list at www.heal-online.org/warn.htm for warning signs and questions to ask any program in which you consider placing your child.

Tuition and Board Contract (Page 2)

"The parties acknowledge and agree that these circumstances warrant a charge for 30 days of tuition as reasonable compensation to The Academy at Sisters commencing on the date of actual withdrawal from residency if the student is discharged by parent without 30 days written advance notice."

"An optional linen service fee is available ofr a one time fee of $200."

"Parent/Guardian releases The Academy at Sisters, its parent organization, all officers, agents, employees and independent contractors of The Academy at Sisters from any and all liability, including without limitation, costs of location, holding and transportation of Student, and any injuries or damages resulting from or occurring during the course of Student's unauthorized departure."

"Parent/Guardian release The Academy at Sisters, its parent organization, all officers, agents, employees and independent contractors of The Academy at Sisters from any and all liability, relating to injuries or damages sustained in the course of or as a result of student to student physical aggression or self inflicted injuries."

"Parent/Guardian shall indemnify and defend The Academy at Sisters for health expenses incurred for the benefit of Student for which The Academy at Sisters may become liable."

HEAL's Questions/Concerns

A liquidated damages fee of one month's tuition is only reasonable if The Academy at Sisters is providing a legitimate service.  However, if a parent learns that they have been misled or deceived in some manner or another issue arises implying breach of a contractual duty on the part of The Academy at Sisters, such a liquidated damages clause is overly oppressive and would appear to be more a part of a "scam" than an appropriate measure to protect from early withdrawal losses assumed by the program.  Running an effective, legitimate business that does not use high pressure sales, emotional manipulation, or similar tactics to get families to enroll their children would reasonably expect fair notification prior to withdrawal from the program.  However, most programs require no more than 2 weeks notice without penalty and the one month notification seems excessive when families have changed their mind.  And, it seems overly oppressive given the expenses of the program and the use of local public schools and extra costs for tutoring associated with this program.  These are all legitimate concerns.

The optional linen fee seems excessive since the "tuition" is so high and most services included in the program are excluded from the base costs of the program. 

If the program violently retrieves a runaway child and causes injury, their actions should be reviewed for appropriateness and the program should be liable for any damages caused by their failure to properly supervise and/or the violent recovery efforts that may result in injury.  Therefore, the release of any and all liability for any harm that may befall a child in a retrieval procedure is excessive and not in line with public policy concerns.

It is reasonable for programs to ask parents accept liability for self-inflicted injuries and/or student-on-student injuries if the program did not initiate the violence.  Many programs, excluding this one at this time to our knowledge, have forced children to attack/fight other children in the program.  Other programs have also blamed children for injuries received during punishment/abuse because their actions that provoked the violence are considered the "cause" of the violence and therefore the punishment/abuse is considered "self-inflicted" by those programs.  It is a concern given the relationships between programs in this industry.

If negligence or tortious conduct on the part of The Academy at Sisters results in your child needing medical care, the program should be held liable and should accept responsibility for any injuries that arise out of their own negligence or other misconduct.  It is a concern that The Academy at Sisters expects parents to indemnify them against any injuries to the child.

Tuition and Board Contract (Page 3)

"If The Academy at Sisters and Parent/Guardian agree, Parent/Guardian may establish a non-insurance health fund for student by the deposit of not less than $1000 with The Academy at Sisters...Parent/Guardian shall pay and hold harmless and indemnify The Academy at Sisters for all health expenses of student beyond the deposit requirement."

"Parent/Guardian agree that therapeutic and academic records related to Student are the property of the Academy at Sisters.  Parent/Guardian agree that The Academy at Sisters may, in its sole discretion, retain therapeutic and academic records of Students until all outstanding obligations to The Academy at Sisters have been satisfied."

HEAL's Questions/Concerns

If families are not covered by health insurance, the $6000.00 balance required at time of enrollment does not cover emergency medical expenses and the program requires an additional $1000 deposit for those emergencies.  Again, it is a concern that the program does not cover expenses incurred due to their own failures. 

In addition, it is a concern that a child's public school records can be held by a private program and not released at the discretion of the program.  This can hamper a child's enrollment in other schools, set a child back in school, and overall prevent successful completion of grades upon release.  This is a concern.

Tuition and Board Contract (Page 4)

"In the event an action is filed to enforce rights created by this agreement, the parties consent and agree that venue shall be exclusively established in the Circuit Court of Deschutes County, Oregon.  If any action is filed in any other venue or jurisdiction, the parties agree that such action will be dismissed on the motion of The Academy at Sisters."

"This agreement incorporates the entire agreement between the parties and may be supplemented only by written agreement signed by Parent/Guardian and The Academy at Sisters."

"Parent/Guardian warrants that s/he (they) are the lawful custodian of Student and are legally authorized to enter into this agreement."

HEAL's Questions/Concerns

This program engages in interstate commerce and should be subject to varying jurisdictions.  If The Academy at Sisters does not wish to engage in legal battles outside of Deschutes County, it should not accept enrollment from any other County or region.  This appears to be overly oppressive and a safeguard against legitimate complaints/actions by injured consumers.  This is a concern.

Parents should really investigate whether or not they have the actual legal authority to place their child in a program such as The Academy at Sisters.  See www.heal-online.org/legalarguments.htm and www.heal-online.org/teenrights.htm for more information.

Release and Indemnification Agreement (Page 1)

"This consent and authorization includes without limitation authority for The Academy to consent on behalf of parent/guardian and Student to medical procedures, x-rays, anesthesia, inoculation, vaccination, medical, dental, psychological, or psychiatric diagnosis or treatment, surgery, medication, and/or hospital care."

"Disclosure may include conditions, observations, records, and any other information The Academy believes is relevant to Student's physical, mental, or emotional conditions or circumstances.  Counseling, treatment, and medical information and records may be provided to treatment or evaluation providers, or any other person or entity that The Academy determines would benefit from the provision of said information for the treatment and/or counseling of Student."

"The Academy may disclose Student's records to the Bend-La Pine School District, or to any other educational institution or school district the Academy, in its sole discretion, deems appropriate."

"The Academy is authorized to make referrals and placements of Student in a short term wilderness program or other interim placement.  Such placement shall be at the sole discretion of The Academy."

HEAL's Questions/Concerns

It is a concern that Academy at Sisters requires unlimited authority to seek a variety of treatments, prescriptions, and surgery for your child.  It would be more appropriate to limit authority to emergency situations and services approved in advance (exercising informed consent) by parents/guardians.  This is a bit of a concern.  Other programs, excluding Academy at Sisters to our knowledge, have charged for medical and other services not provided and this is an additional concern given the extraordinary authority Academy at Sisters requires over making those decisions best left to family.

It is reasonable to disclose information required to provide appropriate care and treatment to an individual given the information was gathered and/or created by a licensed professional and the information is accurate. 

Bend-La Pine School District is a public school district in which The Academy at Sisters enrolls its "students".  Again, why are parents paying more than Harvard tuition to send their children to public school in Oregon?  It is a strange set of circumstances and should be investigated.

Please see www.heal-online.org/sisterschesley.pdf to read the e-mail we sent to the Academy at Sisters on October 15th, 2010 requesting additional information and listing questions and concerns HEAL has regarding the Academy at Sisters materials.  These concerns include the fact that this program refers to and enrolls children in the program in other programs and such decisions are made at The Academy at Sisters sole discretion.  This is a concern. 

Release and Indemnification Agreement (Page 2)

"The Academy is authorized to employ private location services and/or private secure holding and transportation services to locate, pick up and provide secure transportation and temporary secure holding of Student pending disposition of her status as a Student following an unexcused or unexplained absence."

"Student is authorized to participate in athletic activities, vocational training, and/or farm programs.  These activities may take place on or off The Academy's campus."

"For so long as Student is enrolled at The Academy, Parent/guardian delegates to The Academy authority to act in place of the Parent/guardian."

"With respect to High School placement, enrollment, and attendance, The Academy shall through its Program Manager and her delegates, act as Parent/guardian's agent.  This authority includes, without limitation execution of documents necessary or convenient for Student's attendance, participation and/or enrollment in Bend-La Pine School District High School classes, activities and/or programs."

"This Release and Indemnification Agreement may be provided to the Bend-La Pine School District."

"Parent/Guardian releases The Academy from any and all causes of action, claims, demands, damages, costs, loss of services, expenses and compensation, and any and all known or unknown injuries or consequential damages, related in any way to the consents, authorizations and appointments granted herein to The Academy."

HEAL's Questions/Concerns

It is a concern that these "private security" firms for retrieval and imprisonment of children are not disclosed in this agreement.  Parents should inquire as the firms used by the program for such services and a full report of all incidents of injury or harm reported in regards to those firms' practices.

It is a concern that children work in "farm programs" without compensation for their labor as it is conveniently labeled "therapeutic work" by programs in the industry.  Parents should ask for specifics regarding any and all labor a child is expected to perform and who the beneficiaries are of this labor. 

Again, The Academy admits that the children are placed in public schools and that academic tutoring costs extra.  This is a serious concern.  What are parents paying for and how does this program constitute an "academy" or anything remotely academic. 

It is a concern that parents are required to release and indemnify The Academy at Sisters against any known and unknown injuries caused by The Academy or those with whom The Academy contracts on their clients' supposed behalf.  This is a concern.

Release and Indemnification Agreement (Page 3)

"The undersigned agrees to defend (with counsel acceptable to The Academy), indemnify, and hold harmless The Academy for any expense, damage, loss, or injury sustained by The Academy or claimed or sustained by Student and/or the undersigned or any person claiming expense, damage, loss, or injury related to Student or the undersigned.  This indemnification includes, without limitation, payment for all costs and expenses associated with: locating and providing secure transport and holding of runaway Students; placement of Student in alternative programs; participation in athletic, recreational, and vocational programs and activities; and provision of medical services not otherwise paid by Student's insurance."

"Parent/guardian represent and warrant that s/he is authorized to sign this agreement on behalf of Student and on behalf of both himself/herself and others who may claim loss, injury or damages as a consequence of injury to Student."

"For purposes of this instrument, "The Academy" includes, without limitation, The Academy at Sisters, its parent organization (J Bar J Youth Services, Inc.), and all agents, employees, contractors, and representatives of The Academy and J Bar J Youth Services, Inc...A court or arbitrator construing this instrument shall deem it negotiated and drafted equally by the parties."

"The provisions of this instrument shall be broadly interpreted to provide The Academy:...broad discretion in determining whether referrals to other programs are appropriate...release from liability incurred as a result of participation in activities during Student's enrollment period and related injury, aggravation of injury, or damages thereafter; and release from liability incurred as a result of transporting Student, whether in the course of providing ordinary services, or when transporting a runaway student from the location where they are found to The Academy or some other location."

HEAL's Questions/Concerns

Again, there is ample evidence throughout the HEAL website showing that programs in this industry, similar to Academy at Sisters, have caused serious harm and even death to children in their care.  It is a serious concern when a program wants families to protect them from their own wrongdoing and culpability in the event of a negligently or intentionally inflicted harm to the child.  These liability waivers are a serious concern as they are overly broad and do not suggest a business that is willing to take responsibility for any harms they may cause.  Such a refusal to take responsibility or be held responsible for wrongful acts is not a leadership characteristic and does not provide an example for developing youth to follow to achieve responsible adulthood. 

Parents can sign away their own rights, but, not the rights of their minor children.  Parents should really consider whether they actually have the authority they are trying to exercise before they find themselves at the wrong end of the law.  Please see www.heal-online.org/legalarguments.htm for more information.  (This is not legal advice and only an independent review.  For legal help, consult an attorney.)

This is a boiler-plate contract/enrollment agreement.  It is posted on the Academy at Sisters website and is the same for every individual who signs it.  This shows that it is not an equally negotiated instrument and since people unfamiliar with the law or legal concepts may not understand the implication of this provision, it is a concern.

It is a serious concern that this program under its sole discretion will place children in alternative programs and requires that families, not informed of the list of alternatives, are at the risk of being subcontracted out to abusive programs. 

Parent Coaching Release (Page 1 of 1)

"I hereby authorize The Academy at Sisters, or its agents, to release general information to Next Step for Success concerning student and parent/guardian for the purpose of Next Step for Success Parent Coaches obtaining information and documentation related to student/parent/guardian as necessary."

HEAL's Questions/Concerns

It is a serious concern that this program is associated with Next Step for Success.  Next Step for Success was founded by former CEDU directors.  CEDU went bankrupt following numerous lawsuits for fraud and abuse.  And, CEDU was based on the Synanon cult.  All of these are serious concerns and suggest an unhealthy environment at The Academy at Sisters.

Academic/Testing Release (Page 1 of 1)

"In order to design the most appropriate curriculum for the student, transcripts of all previous Junior High School and Senior High School work are required.  Please complete the information requested below:...Permission granted to release school records to the Academy at Sisters."

"This student is applying for enrollment in The Academy at Sisters.  Permission is hereby granted for the release of the following school records to: Registrar, The Academy at Sisters..."

HEAL's Questions/Concerns

The Academy at Sisters is not a school and enrolls children in the local public school.  The format of this release seems to be intended to trick the legitimate school professionals into believing The Academy at Sisters is a school.  The Academy only needs this information to enroll the child in the local public schools.   However, this information is not disclosed in the release and seems to suggest some deception in the practices in place at The Academy. 

The use of the word "registrar" is misleading.

Public Use of Images Consent and Release (Page 1 of 1)

"The Academy at Sisters is authorized to use images and or sounds of student, captured electronically or physically, by means of audio, video, photographic, or by written documents, for use in publicity, marketing of The Academy at Sisters, or for use in educational activities or programs, or school related newspapers, catalogues, yearbooks, or productions."

HEAL's Questions/Concerns

It is unethical to include the release for photos for yearbooks or school newspapers with a release to use the child's likeness, voice, etc. for the benefit of the program.  Families should not be asked to provide consent to participate in advertising using their child's likeness in obvious violation of the child's privacy rights.  This is a serious concern and suggests an exploitative program.

Application (Page 2)

"What are the current clinical/emotional/behavioral issues:...Depression...Anxiety...Low self-esteem... Trauma/Abuse... Alcohol use...Drug use...Sexually active..."

HEAL's Questions/Concerns

Why is this section answered by the parent and not a diagnostician?  This is a concern.  An additional concern is that behavior modification programs (including CEDU) are ineffective and harmful.  Often, these programs re-traumatize children and/or cause additional trauma resulting is life-long depression and anxiety issues.  How is The Academy at Sisters qualified to help children with the above issues and what methods do they use?  If a teen is of age to consent to sexual activity, institutionalization is not the answer.  And, parents should really consider the implications of institutionalizing their children for exercising their lawful rights. 

Alcohol and Drug abuse are serious problems.  It is very rare that a child or teen has an addiction to any narcotic.  The percentage of addicts from child to adult do not change and therefore show that addiction effects a specific and limited number in the population.  Dr. Peter Breggin is a staunch advocate of personal choice and responsibility and repeatedly states that people (including children and teens) cannot be helped until they want the help.  Forcing someone into treatment against their will and when not legitimately warranted is a horrible violation of trust that may never be restored after a child has been institutionalized.  This is a serious concern. 

Application (Page 7)

"Describe any violence, bizarre activity, gang affiliations, or cult activity"

"Does the court have legal/temporary custody of your daughter?  Yes No"

"Is she court-ordered into treatment?  Yes No"

HEAL's Questions/Concerns

Parents should be asking the first question to The Academy at Sisters.  CEDU was a series of programs that developed out of the Synanon cult.  This shows a relationship between cults and Academy at Sisters through their affiliation with Next Step for Success mentioned above.  A former CEDU staffer is now on death row for serial rape and murder of children.  Some programs in this industry have been in trouble for violating RICO statutes.  And, RICO laws are purposed to stop organized crime/gang activity.  If your child does not have a history of such activities, they might after being involved with this program.

If this program accepts court-ordered placements, they accept public funds.  This is a concern as their practices to this point suggest they are not insuring the civil rights of the children in their care, which is required of private institutions that receive public funds.

Application (Pages 8 & 9)

"Is your daughter sexually active?"

"Does she have a boyfriend?"

"Is your daughter generally respectful to authority?"

"Describe any trauma your daughter has experienced (physical or sexual abuse, rape, violence, loss, etc.)"

"Have the proper authorities been notified?"

"If Yes, what agency was notified"

"Has your daughter ever been or is she currently on an IEP?"

HEAL's Questions/Concerns

If your daughter is of age to consent to sexual activity, then that is a private matter for her and is not an appropriate topic to be discussed without her participation.

It is very important to question authority for an effective democracy.  This question is vague and too subjective given the intensity of the situation that brought the family to the point of seeking such severe measures as institutionalization. 

Trauma, sexual abuse, and sexual activity are all very personal subjects that should be discussed only with the child included.  Detailed accounts of abuse may be used to further traumatize the girls at this program by repeating or questioning them about the abuse.  This is a serious concern.

If the proper authorities were not notified regarding the abuse, this may be a relief to the program.  This is the only contract HEAL has reviewed to date that has asked whether or not the proper authorities were notified and for the outcome of the case.  This appears to be overly invasive as well as a "tell" or sign that this program is looking for families who are unlikely to take legal action or demand justice in the event of wrongdoing.  This is a concern.

Again, if a girl has an Individual Education Plan (IEP), then their school district is paying for the placement.  It is absurd that a school district would pay for an IEP for a child to attend a public school in Oregon.  This is a concern.

Application (Page 13)

"What life goals do you desire for your daughter?"

"What do you perceive as your daughters life goals and ambitions?"

"What is your expectation for your daughter upon discharge from The Academy at Sisters?"

HEAL's Questions/Concerns

It is inappropriate for parents to set life goals for their children.  It is appropriate for parents to assist children in making healthy choices and working towards legal and legitimate goals.  However, this question suggests that the program is looking to break the will of the child and implant through coercive thought reform methods the parent's desired personality where the real person currently lives and experiences life in the form of the child.  This is a concern.

If there is a significant breakdown in family communications it is unlikely that a parent could accurately answer the question regarding their child's current life goals.  The young lady should be asked this question by those who respect her and who are willing to listen.

Again, parental expectations and gearing the program to seem like a solution by using the program to change a child's mind and behavior is disrespectful to the child as an individual and can result in lifelong dissociative identity issues.  This is a serious concern.

Application (Page 14)

"Treatment Needs Questionnaire"

"Parent(s) or Guardian(s)--Please mark any symptoms your daughter has displayed in the past year or any that may worry you.  Some symptoms are listed twice.  Please mark it twice as the symptoms are grouped according to diagnosis and are significant in the treatment process."

HEAL's Questions/Concerns

This is horribly unprofessional.  Parents are not diagnosticians and do not understand the difference between a normal behavior and an extreme or noteworthy behavior in determining the appropriateness of marking up the diagnostic lists.  A qualified and licensed mental health professional who has been treating the child for weeks or months and knows the meaning of the diagnostic terms and what is in and outside of a "normal range" is appropriate.  The diagnostic questionnaire given to parents for the program to use as a diagnostic tool is outrageous and suggests the lowest of professional standards.

Application (Page 18)

"Therefore, I authorize the Academy at Sisters, or its agents, to contact the following sources for information concerning student for the purpose of obtaining information and documentation related to student."

"Physicians and Medical Institutions"

"Educational Institutions and Programs"

"Drug or Alcohol Treatment Programs"

"Juvenile Authorities"

"Vocational Training and Placement Programs"

"Attorneys"

"Psychological Counselors and Clinics"

"Insurance Companies"

"Law Enforcement Agencies"

HEAL's Questions/Concerns

The primary concern HEAL has with the above list are the "vocational training and placement programs".  This could imply child labor and parents should investigate what types of programs The Academy at Sisters subject their children too under the guise of treatment.

Application (Page 19)

"How were you referred to The Academy At Sisters?"

"Knowing what sets us apart from other programs is important to The Academy at Sister's staff.  This section is designed to help us understand, from your perspective, what you like about our program.  Any information you provide in this section is greatly appreciated."

"What other program(s) did you consider for your daughter's placement, if any?"

"Why did you choose The Academy at Sisters over other programs?  Please √ all boxes that apply."

"Non-Profit Organization"

HEAL's Questions/Concerns

HEAL has included the above section of the application to expose the importance The Academy places on finding out how to improve their marketing strategies.  Good businesses do not need to continually improve their marketing strategies because they become beloved additions to the world of services and goods.  It seems inappropriate for a program to be worried about how they got your attention over how they can make you a satisfied consumer of their services during and after your business together.  Also, it is more appropriate to survey clients to learn how to improve a service rather than to ask what "selling point" sold a parent on the service.  This is a concern. 

There should be a serious investigation into the "Non-Profit" status of The Academy at Sisters.  They charge more than Harvard Tuition (mentioned above) and enroll the children in public school, use them as labor in supposed "vocational/farm projects", and charge extra for qualified counseling and/or tutoring.  How on earth can anyone consider this the behavior of a legitimate not-for-profit corporation? 

Items to Bring Upon Admission (Page 1)

"Dress Code is Conservative"

"Clothes must be proper size and modest (no overly baggy or tight)"

"No clothing that makes reference to drugs, alcohol, tobacco or bands"

"Makeup: blush, mascara, lipstick, nail polish-Natural colors only"

"If admission is between March - September, please include the following items*...Backpack (multi-day)..Hiking Boots...Sleeping Bag..."

HEAL's Questions/Concerns

This program openly limits self-expression.  This also suggests it is a behavior modification program.  See www.heal-online.org/ebook.pdf for important information regarding the goals of behavior modification.

All of the colors of the rainbow are "natural colors".  The program should be more specific.

It appears this program necessarily includes a wilderness program element.  This is a serious concern and parents should investigate what, if any, wilderness programs partner with this program.

Based on the review and the relationship to CEDU, we recommend parents avoid this program and retrieve any children currently enrolled in it.

 

 Last Updated: November 14th, 2011

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