C is for Cedar Ridge Academy Co-ed Therapeutic Boarding School....because I work there!! Yes it is a mouthful! Often shorthanded as Cedar Ridge Academy/Cedar Ridge/CRA. I thought that since I spend almost my entire day at this school, it made a perfect letter C. When people hear I work at this school I get very common questions...so here comes my FAQ for teaching at CRA.
What exactly is a therapeutic boarding school?
A therapeutic boarding school to a certain extent is exactly what it sounds like. It is a boarding school so the kids are there 24/7 and we focus on giving them help with through therapy.
What kind of students do you get/why do they get sent to your school?
So first of all, for the confidentiality reasons I can't really say why a student has been sent to us. But overall, they have had some bad cards dealt to them in their lives and they don't know how to deal with it. Most of the time they have chosen to deal with it by doing drugs and they aren't really going to school anymore because they avoid with the drugs or something else.
What do you teach exactly and what grades?
I currently teach English and Social Studies to all high school grades (9-12). Yes I have the "prep" nightmare that many teachers talk about--and I do both subjects alone, hence all my grading complaints. But I am grateful everyday that I have a low number of students so that I only have a few kids in each prep.
Why do you work there? It sure sounds hard!
There are many days--as I'm sure my regular readers know--that I wonder that same thing myself. As my husband often puts it--the one or two troublemakers in one teacher's class are now all in my classes. But I love working with the small class sizes that I do get. Tomorrow I have a class period of only 13 while when I was teaching in public school I had 35-40 in a class. I also help to shape lives of teenagers in a way that public school teachers can't...you really build a good relationship with students and get to know them.
So if the students are there 24/7, what kind of school schedule do you follow?
Thankfully we're not like other programs that do "moonlighting" teachers--we do school at the regular times from 8-3 everyday--all year long. That's right...no summer break, no winter break, no spring break, and no random days off really like other schools. We do take off holidays---like I had President's Day off so there's no school, but that's about it. We also don't have semesters because students can enroll at a time.
Wait no semesters, how does that work?!
Well it does get a bit tricky--but students work "independently" through their courses. Pretty much they are given the course online and they work through it at their own pace. I supplement with activities in class, answer questions, and fill in the holes when the information isn't making sense for the students. They are required to do a certain amount of work at a certain quality each week so to a certain extent it works out for everybody.
Well there we go...I think I thought of all the big ones! Feel free to ask in the comments section if you have one to add to the list :)