Spring Ridge Academy Adjusts Daily Schedule to Support Enrolling Students
MAYER, ARIZONA —After reviewing recent research, client feedback, and program data, the Spring Ridge Academy Leadership Team met with the residential staff leaders to develop a new daily schedule. The team adjusted the schedule to support the increased levels of distress among enrolling students, likely due to the pandemic.
They noted a steady increase in reported distress on the Youth Outcome Questionnaire 2.0 Self-Report (YOQ 2.0 SR) since the 2018-2019 school year. The current school year shows a 68% increase over the last school year not impacted by the pandemic. “If you look at the numbers alone, you would see a marked difference in the health and wellbeing of the students in our care over the last three years. But the numbers didn’t tell us what to change; it was the students, through their direct and indirect feedback,” said Dr. Erin Smith, Director of Operational Excellence.
One of the notable changes in the schedule is physical conditioning, which has moved from the morning to the afternoon. The students have the option of three different types of physical exercise each day, from outdoor running at the track to weight lifting in the gym. The gym is also open during lunchtime for students who would like an additional opportunity to work out. “We looked at Porges’s Polyvagal theory with our data and realized that we needed to get the students back down to their baseline after class and group, that they could be more grounded in the evening hours. Exercise helps with this, as does the nightly directed self-care activities that we introduced,” noted Suzie Courtney, Executive Director.
Moving physical conditioning from the morning also allows the students to ease into their days with more time for self-care, including hygiene, journaling, cleaning up their rooms, and taking care of their animals. “Because the current student body’s distress tolerance is lower than students of the past, we have to provide them with the tools and time to practice self-care throughout the day. This will allow them to stay calm and connected,” said Dr. Smith.
To evaluate if the new schedule is working, Spring Ridge has increased YOQ 2.0 SR monitoring from quarterly to monthly for all students and will conduct a semi-monthly review of the state of the student body as a whole.
“It’s important for everyone to look at their schedules and make sure that they are practicing self-care and staying connected to themselves and their loved ones,” said Courtney. “The pandemic has made it clear that this is an ongoing need for all.”
Spring Ridge Academy located 1.5 hours outside Phoenix, Arizona, serves biological females ages 13-17. Spring Ridge, founded in 1997 as a female and family-owned therapeutic boarding school, is licensed by the State of Arizona and accredited by the Joint Commission. In addition, Cognia accredits the academic program. Using evidence-based clinical modalities with a traditional rigorous college-prep curriculum, including fine and expressive arts and team sports, Spring Ridge has created a relationship-based setting that allows students’ emotional, relational, spiritual, intellectual, and physical growth.