Schools for Troubled Teens: Using a ‘Real World’ Setting for Real Change

In schools for struggling teens, a student is usually removed from the “real” world and put into a program that takes away most aspects of that world–such as the traditional classroom and interactions between genders. For some, this is effective, but for others it makes it harder to transition back into that “real” world after graduation from the program.

This is why we use a “real world” setting at Elevations.

How our ‘real world’ setting benefits students

In order to provide an experience that is both deeply therapeutic and close to the real world, Elevations strive to give a all gender experience that mimics the interactions between genders in a traditional middle school and high school.

Elevations, Layton, Utah, September 9, 2016.

Our students regularly interact in all gender activities on- and off-campus. On-campus, it’s during the school day, at etiquette dinners, and in all gender therapy groups if a student is at the appropriate level. Off-campus, it’s during recreational activities like hiking running, snowboarding, or bicycling.

The teens that come to Elevations often have a difficult time with opposite-sex relationships, as if it wasn’t complicated and confusing enough without mental health and/or behavioral issues.

In order to help our students navigate and manage these relationships in healthy ways, we’ve included all gender components throughout our experience here at Elevations. In the real world, the opposite-sex is a reality, which is why we think it’s so essential to help our students learn to form positive and meaningful relationships with the opposite-sex.

It also makes the transition from our treatment environment back to a traditional school and home environment run a lot more smoothly.

When it comes to schools for struggling teens, it’s fairly unusual to come across a program that’s all gender, but we’ve made it a cornerstone of our RTC.

Therapeutic and academic programming intertwined

Completely separating the therapeutic and academic parts of our program would be a loss of opportunity. Instead, we integrate the two with each other. Our teachers are trained to recognize intricate behaviors and emotions from students in the classroom. They also work closely with our families in order to develop thorough and effective academic plans for each student.

Jennifer Capellen, Dean of Students at Elevations RTC, explains her feelings on the integration of the two:

“I absolutely love the fact that I can attend therapeutic groups with students, go on off campus activities with them, or even train for and participate in a triathlon alongside of them.

The relationship that is created in the moments outside of my history classroom ultimately help develop a positive and productive relationship that heeds positive results, both in the academic arena as well as the student’s overall well-being. If I can help a student understand how their learning is impacted by their emotional issues, then I have succeeded in giving them a better picture of their academic future and a healthier one overall.”

Elevations is here for your family

Elevations RTC is a residential treatment center and one of the top schools for struggling teens, ages 13 to 18. Our students often grapple with anxiety, defiance, trauma, depression, ADHD, and other emotional or behavioral issues.

At Elevations, we use a combination of a focused therapeutic lens, real-world environment, secure setting, and caring staff to foster growth and success in our students. Finding the right program can be difficult for a family, which is why Elevations is here to help guide you through it.

For more information about how we help at Elevations RTC, please call .

Elevations Quick Facts

Leading RTC Accreditations


Ages 13 – 18

Comprehensive Medical / Psych

Community-based Approach

Fun, Experiential

Accredited Academics

Real-World Setting

Recent Posts