NATSAP Annual Conference Keeps Attendees Abreast of Field Changes

Nestled at the base of Idaho’s Cabinet Mountains, Boulder Creek Academy is a year-round boarding school for students between the ages of 13 and 18 who have social and cognitive deficits. Fully licensed by the state, Boulder Creek Academy is a member of the National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs (NATSAP).

A voluntary membership organization, NATSAP provides important resources to professionals and programs that work with young individuals who have behavioral and emotional difficulties. The organization accomplishes this through various programs and events, the most notable of which is its Annual Conference. Held in January or February every year, the NATSAP Annual Conference features everything from keynote speakers and concurrent sessions to numerous networking and development opportunities. The event lasts for three days and is typically the first NATSAP event of each year.

The NATSAP Annual Conference is designed for allied and mental health professionals. Most attendees at the conference consists of program owners, directors, and administrators, along with therapists and other mental health personnel. Attendees of the conference will have the opportunity to learn about new changes in the field, along with various programs offered by NATSAP. The 2017 Annual Conference is scheduled for January 25 to 27, 2017 and will be held in Tucson, Arizona at the JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort and Spa.

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A Brief Overview of the Student and Exchange Visitor Program

A therapeutic boarding school in Idaho, Boulder Creek Academy has spent over two decades meeting the unique needs of students between the ages of 14 and 18 who are struggling with a range of social and cognitive deficits. Boulder Creek Academy is a year-round school that is fully accredited by the Northwest Accreditation Commission and affiliated with such programs as the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP).

A part of the National Security Investigations Division, the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) manages nonimmigrant students in the academic and vocational vice classification and the schools who teach such students. It was designed to ensure that all rules and regulations are followed by international students studying in the United States and to certify schools so that they may accept international students. Additionally, SEVP maintains several outreach programs to help students find a SEVP-certified school and maintain their student status. These outreach efforts also focus on such areas as student benefits, postgraduate procedures, and international student regulations.

SEVP oversees its certified schools and international students with the help of SEVIS, or the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System. This system tracks and monitors certified schools and exchange visitor programs, while also monitoring vocational and academic nonimmigrants while they participate in the United States education system. To accomplish its goal, SEVP works with the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, US Department of State, US Citizenship and Immigration Services, and several other government partners.

Five Benefits of a Boarding School Education

Boulder Creek Academy  pic

Boulder Creek Academy
Image: bouldercreekacademy.com

Boulder Creek Academy serves troubled teenagers from eighth through twelfth grade with behavioral, clinical, and academic challenges that make it difficult for them to succeed in a traditional school setting. Boarding schools like Boulder Creek Academy offer a number of additional benefits over standard school systems, a few of which are illustrated below:

1. Fosters independence and responsibility. Students attending boarding school learn to become independent and responsible due to the absence of a parental figure to perform everyday tasks for them. They must do their own laundry, learn to navigate the campus and surrounding community, and manage their own schedules for study and free time. Also, the lack of constant surveillance enables students to better understand the impact of their actions and the potential consequences of their choices.

2. More personalized attention. Boarding schools tend to offer much smaller class sizes than public schools, in addition to smaller student-to-teacher ratios. A smaller class size typically means that teachers can provide more individualized and one-on-one attention to students and enables the curriculum to integrate more activities that focus on student participation.

3. Improved facilities for athletics, art, and theater. Many boarding schools offer a wide range of programs and facilities for special interest activities such as art, theater, and sports. Special interest facilities in boarding schools may also outclass commercial ones with better equipment and more diverse programs.

4. Provides a sense of community. A community atmosphere often comes hand-in-hand with a boarding school experience as students maintain regular interaction with roommates, teaching faculty, and other school staff. Also, students can come from all walks of life and a variety of different cultures, which makes for a very diverse community.

5. Improved academic opportunities and college training. The boarding school model encourages communication between students and teachers and often offers a wide range of educational opportunities to help students succeed. It also prompts students to explore new things and prepare for college life due to its more rigorous academic expectations.

Boulder Creek Academy is a therapeutic boarding school for adolescents

Boulder Creek Academy pic

Boulder Creek Academy
Image: bouldercreekacademy.com

Boulder Creek Academy is a therapeutic boarding school for adolescent boys and girls in grades 8 through 12, and focuses on integrating therapeutic components into its academic curriculum. Its therapeutic elements include opportunities for personal development and growth through animal interactions and animal-assisted therapy approaches. Boulder Creek Academy recognizes the following benefits of using animal-assisted therapy:
1. Versatility. Animal-assisted therapy doesn’t rely on a single theory or approach and allows teachers and counselors to customize the lesson or interaction to suit the needs of students. Their versatility also means they can help people with a wide variety of issues, ranging from psychological conditions to social development deficits and self-esteem problems.
2. Fosters positive traits. Learning to care for and understand animal companions fosters personal growth and positive traits of compassion, empathy, and responsibility. In caring for another creature, they learn to show compassion and understand the merits of responsibility.
3. Social lessons. Understanding animal interactions can teach students about important social lessons regarding personal space and how to read body language. For instance, horses and dogs communicate extensively through body language and chickens are adamant about personal space with those they don’t trust yet. Observing these animals and learning about their body language can transfer over to lessons about reading human body language as well.
4. Nonjudgmental environment. Studies show that many people find the presence of animals comforting and soothing. Furthermore, animals are significantly more honest than humans: they express straightforward reactions to things they like or dislike and express unconditional love to those that gain their affection. This provides students with a comforting, nonjudgmental environment in which to learn and grow.

Emotional Growth and Therapeutic Boarding School

Boulder Creek Academy is a therapeutic boarding school that offers a full spectrum of therapeutic and academic approaches to teens who have failed to thrive within a traditional school system. Presenting an integrated mix of academic and outdoor activities, the school also provides individual, group, and family therapy. Boulder Creek Academy follows a “character growth” educational format. The character growth approach to education reflects the fact that many teen behavioral issues stem from lack of emotional maturity, coupled with lax consequences for misbehavior. Schools following this concept provide a tightly structured environment that emphasizes character education. Therapeutic boarding schools feature additional clinical elements and offer treatment for conditions such as depression, anxiety, and ADHD. This evidence-based approach to therapeutic learning goes beyond simply making sure that students understand the consequences of bad behavior.