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Valley View School

Therapeutic Boarding School

Valley View School Program Information

Gender: Males Only
Ages: 10 - 15 (at admission)
Grades: 6 to 12
Estimated Enrollment: 56
Length of Stay:
Program was founded in: 1970
Accreditations: Affiliations:

Valley View School Contact Information

Address:
P.O. Box 338
91 Oakham Road
North Brookfield, MA 01535
Phone: (508) 867-6505
Fax: (508) 867-3300
Email: valview@aol.com
Website: www.valleyviewschool.org
School Contact: Rick Bulger, M.S.W.
Alternative Contact: Dr. Philip Spiva, Ph.D.
Therapy Provided?: Yes

Program Description:

Valley View School is a highly structured therapeutic milieu that offers a professional interdisciplinary approach. Stress is placed on success-oriented experiences ranging from drama and organized sports to overseas travel.



Valley View School is a small, private, residential treatment center providing a year-round therapeutic environment for boys between the ages of eleven and sixteen who are having difficulty coping with their family, the world around them, and themselves. While these boys are generally bright, healthy youngsters from a wide variety of family and geographic backgrounds, they all share a common experience -- performing below their academic and social potential and behaving in a self-defeating manner.

Located a mile and a half from the rural, central Massachusetts town of North Brookfield, Valley View School provides an ideal setting for experiencing a wide variety of wholesome and stimulating activities. The property encompasses 215 acres of timberland and fields bordering the town reservoir. The main building, a completely remodeled farm structure dating back to the 1830s, contains comfortable single, double, and triple dormitory rooms, a large dining room, and several lounges and recreational areas. Other facilities of the school include two academic buildings, educational resource/computer center, and creative arts studio. Athletic facilities include a full court gymnasium and a multi-purpose athletic field. Most importantly, however, the school maintains a staff, equal in number to that of the students, to offer a comprehensive program integrating the range of services -- educational, psychotherapeutic, medical, and recreational -- necessary to achieve each youngster's greatest individual potential

We are living in a time when the nature and quality of specialized therapeutic services can be terribly confusing to families who are looking for the most effective level of help for their child. It is all the more necessary for a treatment facility to summarize, as clearly as possible, what it does. These are some of the things that set Valley View School apart.

Valley View has a proven track record spanning forty years. This history has been built around a nucleus staff representing over 130 years of professional therapeutic experience.

We are not experimental. Our traditional approach has earned us the respect of referral resources, including educational consultants, psychiatrists, and psychologists throughout the United States and other parts of the world.

Students are carefully screened and represent a more gentle and treatable group of youngsters than exists at many other treatment facilities.

We do not accept youngsters that are alienated, delinquent, conduct disordered or those that have a primary history of substance abuse. All Valley View students, though at risk, show good promise. Many have a history of ADD, with or without hyperactivity, and may be oppositional or disruptive in a traditional school setting.

Valley View is and will remain a small setting.

We have deliberately chosen to keep Valley View a reasonably small standalone facility limited to 56 boys. We do this in contrast to identifying ourselves as part of what is referred to as a "growing industry" of service to youngsters. Doing so maximizes the ability to know all of the boys and their families and to provide an optimal level of communication and service.

We have a definite system of structure and consequences that encourages students to progress academically and to behave in a more socially appropriate manner.

Consequences which are understandable may be positive or negative, ranging from honor roll, athletic letter jackets, and earning privileges, to academic probation and restriction. Our goal is to give boys the "tools" they need for a more productive future.

Boys benefit from constant daily "on the spot" counseling, feedback, and praise for a job well done.

Boys counseling is provided by a full time clinical team made up of a psychologist, a MSW social worker and an individual with a Masters degree in psychological counseling. Throughout the day students are guided by teachers. Evenings and weekends an experienced counseling staff provides supervision. Where appropriate, individual psychotherapy by Ph.D. psychologists is made available.

Through a well-designed and closely monitored system, boys learn to work and are able to pay for many of the things they do.

In many ways the program is rooted in a conservative New England work ethic value, i.e. which implies that one must learn and contribute to receive rewards for ultimate success. This system is based on the earning of points for doing campus jobs, such as raking leaves, shoveling snow, waitering meals, etc. Points may be lost for negative behavior. Earning of such points becomes translated into spending money, where the goal is to provide motivation for responsibility.

The basic therapeutic approach is that of a therapeutic milieu that is "adult driven" and based on an expectation of reasonable functioning.

Because we are not working with boys who are alienated (tough, hardened), almost by definition we want to work with youngsters who want to please adults, although they do not always succeed. This leads to a program where the emphasis is on the adult as role model, mentor, and limit setter, rather than extensive use of peer group confrontation to facilitate change.

For a specialized facility, the athletic program is outstanding. We compete against other private schools.

For many boys we believe that participation in athletics is a potential conduit for helping them become more successful. Sports include varsity and junior varsity soccer, three basketball teams, tennis, golf, cross-country running, softball, and ultimate Frisbee.

The School's travel program to exotic locations during the Spring Break exposes students to the complexity and stimulation of other cultures.

We have traveled to numerous interesting places in the world, including China, Russia (including Siberia), India, Israel, South Africa, Ecuador, Peru and Vietnam.

An activity program provides boys with a wide variety of experiences designed to promote a feeling of success. A good deal of this is weighted towards the outdoors.

Regularly scheduled activities include canoeing, camping, bicycling, skiing, fishing, swimming, and hiking.

We are committed to boys having the opportunity to explore self-expression through a full range of artistic endeavors.

The art studio, directed by a full-time instructor, offers the ability to explore a range of mediums. We have a very strong drama program that has encouraged boys with little or no acting experience to learn the skills of theatrical programs that involve full-length productions occurring twice a year. Music lessons are also available with a current focus on guitar.

Our supportive school provides a traditional curriculum offering academic credits accepted throughout the country. Most boys eventually go to college.

Courses include: U.S. and World History, numerous English and Science courses, and Math courses including Geometry and Algebra I and II. Extensive use is made of computers.

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