Auldern Academy opened on September 11, 2001. That was a difficult day for many people, including for our family. At the time our daughter lived at the St. George Hotel in Brooklyn, just over the Brooklyn Bridge. She was attending Pace University’s Manhattan campus, which is situated just blocks from the World Trade Center, Wall Street, and the Financial District. Her usual subway stop was just below the WTC, where she disembarked every morning to get coffee before going to class. That morning, she had decided to sleep half an hour later, as she had been up late the night before studying. That half hour saved her life. Some of her classmates were less fortunate.
Of course, Auldern’s founders could not imagine that their opening day would coincide with one of the most devastating events in our nation’s recent history. Auldern opened on a day that, metaphorically speaking in the broadest sense, reflects the anguish parents and guardians may feel when facing a beloved child’s challenging or concerning behaviors. How did this happen? How did we get here? Where did things go wrong? They may face situations in which to save a child’s life they have to make difficult decisions. Do we wait, do we act, and, if we act, what form should our action(s) take? Is this the right thing to do? From September 5th through December 31st 2001, Auldern enrolled and served 10 girls and their families. Since then, we have served more than 600 girls and their families. Some of those young ladies graduated high school here and went on to college. Some remained to attend a PG year. Some graduated the program to move on to other settings, including their local high school or boarding school.
One of the hallmarks of Auldern Academy has always been our commitment to serving capable young ladies who plan to pursue college or other professional vocations. We value educational opportunities while working to insure that it does not interfere with therapeutic or social-emotional progress. Our college preparatory academics, provided in small classrooms with dedicated and talented teaching staff members, are supported within the milieu through directed Study Halls and, as appropriate, peer tutoring. We have a dedicated Special Education teacher who provides additional skills training with students on IEPs or 504 Accommodation Plans. SAT and ACT prep is available, and we take our students on college visits. We offer Spanish, music, and art classes. Our Art teacher can help students develop their portfolios. Some of our young ladies take part on local sports teams through our affiliation with the Chatham County Home School League. Some of our young ladies pursue dance or other special interests. We may be small, but we are active!
Our therapeutic services reflect the ongoing research into evidence-based practices as well as ongoing societal trends. We see increasingly complex needs. We offer neurofeedback, DBT and CBT, art therapy, family systems work, and motivational interviewing. Our therapists meet routinely with our teachers and student life staff to insure that the work completed in private sessions is translated into the milieu of everyday living. Family therapy, visits, social calls, letters, and Parent Education weekends round out the holistic work our young ladies need. Some students working on sobriety attend off-campus meetings in addition to on-campus work with a sobriety coach. EMDR will be offered in the near future to address the increase in cases of trauma.
Our young ladies want to become something more than a girl who once attended a therapeutic boarding school. When you talk to them, they speak in terms of real life, not in terms of clinical diagnostics and outcomes. Through Student Life, our young ladies take part in the real world and become actively engaged in the community. Our young ladies have taken part in runs for local fundraisers, have helped build homes with Habitat for Humanity, and most recently have responded to victims of Hurricane Harvey. Our young ladies contribute to the campus, learning to pick up after themselves, do their laundry, and take out their trash. As they progress through the Phase system, our young ladies can get jobs on campus, all of which provide valuable information for their work résumés, and some of which offer a small stipend that helps them save for the future.
We have worked with many Educational Consultants over the years. Auldern has an open door policy with ECs. We invite ECs to visit our campus and see for themselves what we can offer their clients. When they visit, we encourage them to check in on their clients. Auldern appreciates other professionals as integral members of our Treatment Team. They add valuable insight as we chart a student’s progress. Some also support our Academic Team as the young lady prepares to finish High School and apply to college. Our college success rate is high, with 100% acceptance to a number of colleges and universities across the country including:
Skidmore College Curry College U of Montana, Honors
Tulane University Goucher College Marist College
Penn State U Ithaca College U of Arizona
Eckerd College Westminster College Kenyon College
U of Delaware Denver U Carson-Newman U
Sweet 16 is something to be proud of, but we cannot stop to rest on our laurels. We work diligently with our parent company, Sequel Youth Services, to examine trends in mental health care and education in order to provide the best and most up-to-date services possible. Members of our leadership team travel to evaluate what is out there, and glean wheat from chaff, delineating services that are “trendy” from those that are appropriate. Our staff keeps up their professional knowledge through new skills training opportunities. We keep expanding our services and offerings while maintaining the integrity of our mission and our program. We cannot be all things to all people, but we can be many things to the right person.
See if Auldern is the “right fit” for your family.