Pinnacle Schools Reviews

Residents Share Their Success Stories and Reviews of The Pinnacle Schools

“I Evolved into an Improved Human Being”

Now, I have arrived at a desirable place in my life. I used to be miserable living a negative life. My bad decisions had an effect on others in my life. I thought sneaking out, skipping school and being a party animal would make me happy, but it did not work. However, I knew in my soul I was a screwed up kid. It was Elk River that made me realize the error of my ways. It was so upsetting to me that I almost cried. The program there could help anyone, as long as he/she wants to change. I had to do more than just want to change though, I had to discover who I really was. The program challenged me at Elk River in numerous ways, at times, it was difficult, but in the end, it made be an improved human being. Now, I am doing good things that bring me happiness thanks to the staff of Elk River.

TC

“I Miss Camp Paradise”

September 6th marked one year since I was sent to the program at Elk River by my parents. I have attained many of my goals, since I left there, but keep in contact with many of the people I made friends with there. You may not believe this, but I do miss Elk River and hope to visit one day. Is this strange? It was quite difficult my first week, but I soon loved it. I managed to graduate high school, since coming backs and I have Master S to thank for it. If he had not been there I most likely would not ever have gone back to high school.

Selecting a Wilderness Program

One out of every five teens has a mental health problem. Of those, about two thirds not receiving treatment of any kind for their condition. For many troubled teens, this leads to behavioral problems and other concerns. Fortunately, with the experience through a wilderness program combined with therapy, teens can receive the treatment they need.

Parents need to understand the importance of a wilderness program and should be cautious when enrolling their child. They need to make sure they are comfortable with putting their child in this type of school and need to verify its safety for troubled teens. This means taking the time to understand the structure of the program, the outcome possibilities and other areas the parent determines to be appropriate. Also critical is making certain the therapeutic approach is determined safe and they have the resources available and experience to treat your child’s condition.

This is best done when you can verify:

  • A program that has been defined.
  • Detailed policies and procedures easily available.
  • Staff and equipment on hand when your child needs them.
  • Trained, licensed and educated professionals handling the office and direct care for the troubled teens.
  • Are you being provided with an overview of what to expect and do you have the ability to track the progress of your child?
  • What is the record of the school like?

While putting troubled teens in a wilderness program can be very effective, you do need to be sure you aren’t just putting them into something so they are out of your hair. You want to maximize the results they get and to make certain they are getting the long term help they need.

Pinnacle Schools-Elk River Treatment Safety Issues

As you know, warm weather is approaching and presents us with different challenges than winter does. I address some of those issues below. I’ve also attached some pictures to this email. Please take just a second to look them over. They are of poison ivy, poison oak, poison sumac, stinging nettle, jimson weed (aka thorn apple or moon flower), and deer ticks.

Poison Ivy Oak SumacPoison ivy, oak, and sumac all contain the same oily chemical (urushiol) that causes reactions in most people. Reactions can vary from a mild rash to blistering and life-threatening swelling. Symptoms may take up to a week to appear, though more severe reactions tend to occur rapidly after exposure. A reaction to urushiol is not contagious, but remember that the oil is still present until exposed areas/clothing have been washed. Scratching exposed areas is an absolute no-no: further irritation of the skin can easily lead to more serious problems such as infection. Direct contact with the plant is not necessary, but direct contact with the oil is: oils from the plant can be transferred from clothing to the skin, from the hands to the face, or from the oil becoming airborne (burning the plant, mowing, trimming). This oil should be removed as early as possible by thorough washing with lots of soap and water.

The stinging nettle plant can be quite the pain. The leaves and stems are covered with both stinging and non-stinging “hairs.” These “hairs” act like hypodermic needles, breaking off into and injecting your skin with several chemicals: histamine, serotonin, and acetylcholine. This combination results in a painful stinging or alteration in sensation. Exposed areas should be gently cleaned with soap and water.

Jimson weed is a plant that contains poisons in all parts of the plant, especially in the leaves and seeds. Poisons include atropine, scopolamine, hyoscyamine, and tropane alkaloids. Exposure to the poisons typically occurs when someone ingests the juices from the plant, eats the seeds, or makes a tea from the plant parts. While not usually fatal, ingestion causes symptoms such as nausea/vomiting, dilated pupils, increased blood pressure, increase heart rate, hyperthermia, coma, convulsions, hallucinations, delirium, violent behavior, urine retention, and increased thirst. Symptoms can last between 1 and 3 days. Exposure warrants immediate medical treatment and usually requires a hospital stay.

Lone Star TickUnfortunately the winter in Alabama wasn’t cold enough to prevent ticks from appearing along with the warm weather. Ticks can carry and spread various diseases. While any tick can carry the bacteria that cause Lyme disease, deer ticks are the most likely to spread it and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. The Lone Star tick, known for a single white dot on its back (shown left), is the primary culprit in spreading Southern Tick Associated Rash Illness, or STARI. Transmission of these infections is not very common, however; more common symptoms of tick bites will include local redness and irritation. The likelihood of symptoms increases with the length of exposure to the tick’s saliva. That is why it is so important to make sure that the head of the tick does not become lodged in the skin during tick removal. Please instruct residents to report to the clinic if they suspect that they have been exposed to a tick. Also, they must use the provided bug spray (containing DEET and/or pyrethrin) and check for ticks daily.

While our nearest star bombards us with ultraviolet radiation continually, that exposure becomes more intense in the summer when the sun moves directly overhead. Please encourage the residents to use the provided sunscreen in the mornings, after showering, and after periods of sweating. Always remember to apply sunscreen to the ears as well.

Lastly, hydrate, hydrate, hydrate, then hydrate some more. It is very important for all of the residents and staff to drink enough water to keep their body working properly. How much is enough? While this will vary depending on a person’s size, condition, and medications, a general rule of thumb is at least 1 gallon per day.

Elk River Treament Program

elk river treament programElk River Treatment Program is a program that is provided by the Pinnacle Schools. It is a therapy program that helps to provide assistance and intervention for at-risk and troubled teens. Helpful aspects of the program include diagnosis, assessment, education as well as treatment that all takes place from a base area. Elk River offers a treatment team approach that is used in combination with a wilderness type therapy.

Wilderness programs frequently make use of the outdoors to help in teaching and modifying the behavior of troubled teenagers. They offer therapy to teens who are having problems in school, with mood problems or who are experiencing disciplinary problems or self confidence issues. Some are trekking while others are base camp methods. Elk River is a model of program that did not–prior to the inception of this school–exist at all. The Elk River program is a medical model and it uses academics and therapies as a means to help the troubled teen, ages 12-18 to recover from the behavioral, medical, or psychological problems by which they are affected.

Outdoor and wilderness based but operating in an indoor and outdoor environment, Elk River offers a gym, a cafeteria, shower houses, cabins, laundry facilities, storm shelters and a school house. The children are given regular schooling in order to help them to keep up academically while they are learning to cope with the other issues in their life.

The goals of the program for its students is to help them to learn to adapt to new situations, to gain confidence and to move past the current problems and into a better outlook and a better place in life. They are supported by ethical and highly trained as well as caring staff members who help them by way of academics, individual and group therapies and hands on learning as well as other projects and challenges.

When admitted to the school, each student is given all that he or she will require to complete the program. They are given items such as hiking boots, hats, sleeping bags, rain gear and even outdoor clothing. When they leave the program, the items that they were given are their own to keep and take with them.

The parents are also included in the program and in fact are an integral and essential component of the program that will help the child to achieve success. Working closely with the staff, the treatment team and the children, they learn to understand their child better as well as visit and interact with the staff regularly by getting treatment updates and progress reports.

If you believe that your child is in need of advanced help in working through problems such as depression, drug experimentation or poor school achievement, the Elk River Programs may be able to help you and your child.

Tips to Escape the Flu – Even at School!

Every parent wants their children to have lots of friends and fit in at school, but friends come with germs. Those germs are spread when one child coughs or sneezes around other children or when a small child wipes his runny nose on his shirt sleeve and then pats his best friend on the cheek during play. Something as simple as sharing blocks or allowing a friend to borrow a pencil is enough for a child to catch the flu.Parents know what happens when germs make their way home from school. Everyone in the household is soon sniffling, sneezing, or possibly throwing up. If anyone in the family has a weakened immune system for any reason, this can bring problems far worse than a stomachache or a few missed days of school.Fortunately, there are some things you can do to help your children leave those germs at school. Simple things like feeding your children the right foods and teaching them a few good habits can go a long way to battling flu for your entire family. If you work out in the public, then you probably need to follow these guidelines as well.

Eat for an Immunity Boost

Fresh foods in their natural state are loaded with vitamins and minerals that naturally boost the immune system. By focusing family meals on the following foods, you can help turn your children into germ-fighting machines.

1. Fresh Citrus Fruit

Buy the biggest bag of oranges you can find and throw them in a bowl at the center of your dining room table. Add a few grapefruits and maybe some tangerines. Encourage your children to eat these fruits daily because they are loaded with vitamin C, which is power for the immune system. You can also make fresh squeezed orange juice to serve with breakfast.

If you must go with orange juice instead of fresh fruit, make sure it is real orange juice instead of sugary orange drink. The vitamin C only comes from the actual fruit.

2. Fresh Vegetables and Seasonings

Incorporate leafy greens like kale and spinach into your family’s meals. Use fresh garlic, ginger and onion as flavor enhancers. Make steamed broccoli as a side dish and top a salad off with fresh bell pepper. These foods are high in vitamin C, and you can even incorporate them into smoothies along with fresh fruit for taste.

3. Greek Yogurt

Use plain Greek yogurt to make smoothies extra creamy or to infuse probiotics into any of your home-baked goods. Create delicious parfaits for dessert by layering Greet yogurt and fresh fruits in a cup or bowl. The probiotics in the yogurt will help fight off germs that do make it into your children’s bodies.

Five Flu-Fighting Behaviors

What can you teach your children that will save them from the flu? These five behaviors are at the top of the list:

1. Hand Washing

If warm water and soap is available, every member of your family should be washing their hands. You can also send hand sanitizer to school with your children. Don’t trust the teacher to give out hand sanitizer at the right moments. Your children need to know the importance of regular washing.

2. Eliminate Face Touching

The human face has three points of entry for the body: eyes, nose, mouth. Teach your children never to touch other children’s faces, and discourage them from touching their own faces. When your children do get sick, teach them to block their own germs by using their sleeves or arms to block their coughs and sneezes.

3. Disinfectant Spray Down

It is not overkill to greet your children at the door with a bottle of disinfectant when they come home from school. Give their clothing and book bags a good spray, and then send them off to wash their hands immediately.

4. Break the Sharing Rule

You have probably worked hard to teach your children to share their toys and be nice, but flu season is a reason to break this rule. Teach them to keep their personal belongings to themselves to avoid picking up germs from other children.

Healthy Families Avoid the Flu

Make sure every member of your household gets adequate amounts of rest, exercise and healthy foods. Make sure you are all well hydrated and not overly stressed. The healthier your family lifestyle, the more resistance your bodies will have against the flu.

Getting in Your Child’s Business for Their Own Good

If you listen to some parents today you will get an entire spiel on how being a parent means giving your children privacy at all costs and trusting them implicitly. This may work in some situations, but there are times when being a parent means you are going to have to dig into what your children are up to, whether they like it or not.

Children of all ages have access to many communication devices. Where once you had to sit in the living room on the one phone in the house there is now a cell phone for every member of the family, computers with private chat and a great big internet to hide activities and details on. One big problem is the anonymity, you can say you are any age and predators will use this to prey on unsuspecting children. Before they comprehend these facts, your child can be lured into giving out some very sensitive and personal information.

There are people online who actively prey on young children as well as teenagers who have an axe to grind, and both have used the internet to elicit information and/or photographs from kids. In some situations these photos are personal or even provocative, which is why knowing exactly what the kids are doing and sharing on line is a vital part of modern parenting.

You need to prepare yourself, because some of the decisions you will have to make will not be popular! At the top of this list is the checking the accounts your children are using. You have a couple of options for accomplishing this goal, either from the outside looking in or by actually going into the accounts. Social media is here to stay and you should be privy to what your child is sharing at all times.

How is your child going to respond to you looking around at their accounts? In most cases not well, they will see it as an invasion of privacy when you check the internet history and phone logs. Of course, you could use software to block the sending of certain things such as phone numbers and addresses. This will probably work for a little while, but as you know kids are quite proficient at finding ways to bend the rules. Actually looking at the computer and phone yourself is the best way to keep up with what is shared.

Go now and explain to your children that you will be regularly looking into online accounts and cell phones. It may seem paranoid or even overkill, but when you think about the dangers out there, no amount of prevention is too much. It is also important to stay on top of who their current friends are and how they are getting along. Take groups of your kids friends out so you can get to know them better.

5 Helpful Tips Parents Can Use When Dealing with Troubled Teens

parenting-okRaising a teenager already comes with unique challenges. However, dealing with troubled teens that have behavioral or emotional problems brings even more difficulty to this tough task. When teens become troubled, parents have to learn new ways to survive the troubled time while figuring out how to find solutions that will enable their child to begin healing. Support is important for the parents of troubled teens, as is expert advice. Troubled teens do improve, but as you are dealing with your teen and working towards healing, here are a few helpful tips you can use.

Tip #1 – Find Ways to Connect

One of the most important parents can follow when dealing with their troubled teen is to find ways to connect. Sometimes you may feel like staying away from your teen, especially as the problems become even more difficult or it feels like things are getting worse instead of getting better. However, you have a lot more influence on your teen than you may think. It’s important to work on building a connection with your troubled teenager. While communication may be difficult, focusing on finding ways to connect can help.

Tip #2 – Try a New Perspective

It’s easy to see your teenager’s situation only from your perspective. This often makes it difficult to figure out what is triggering the behavior of your teen. However, working to find a new perspective can help. Try to view your teen’s problems in a different way. When you see the problems in a different light, you’ll begin responding to them differently, which may help change your teen’s behavior as well.

Tip #3 – Know When to Get Professional Help

Sometimes your teen’s problems are too much for you to deal with. Parents of troubled teens must know when it’s time to go get some professional help. Instead of waiting until the situation is untenable, getting help when problems first show up can be a huge help. While many parents fear that getting help is a sign that they aren’t a good parent, getting your teen the help needed shows what a loving, wonderful parent you really are.

Tip #4 – Learn How to Deal with a Crisis

Many parents fear that they won’t recognize the signs of a serious crisis. Take the time to learn how to deal with a crisis situation should it occur with your teen. Learning how to recognize these situations and how to deal with them will give you the information you need to deal with a crisis should it occur.

Tip #5 – Don’t Forget About Your Needs

While you are probably focusing most of your energy on your troubled teen, you cannot forget about your own needs. Sure, you want to do everything possible to help your teen. However, you have to take time to take care of your own needs or you won’t be able to help your teen. Take time to re-energize, relax and make sure you’re at your best. This way you can offer the best help to your teenager.

The Pinnacle Schools Talks Abuse

Elk River Treatment Programs of The Pinnacle Schools Talks Abuse

Cory Monteith, co-star in the TV series ‘Glee”, recently died due to toxicity from heroin and alcohol.  Family, friends and fans were shocked and saddened. Because Monteith was in the public-eye, his unfortunate death may give the public pause to consider the seriousness of heroin use among the younger generation.

Parents of teens should be especially wary of the possibility heroin addiction could happen to their son or daughter. Although practitioners aren’t observing a trend toward heroin use, they are mindful it can happen.

For example, the Alabama School of Alcohol and Drug Studies hold an annual conference for drug addiction counselors to brainstorm about recent developments. According to Martez Rogers, Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor,  a high point was about pressures to reclassify medications, such as Hydrocodone, Lortab and Percocet to controlled Schedule 1 substances, due to their abuse potential. However, reclassification would cause the meds to be less accessible, causing users to seek street opiates.

The conference participants were concerned that should the schedule change take place, the risk of overdose among users will become greater, since heroin is commonly cut with dangerous chemicals to boost potency.

Most parents have probably heard horror stories about teens living on the street, doing illicit drugs. Heightened awareness of this possibility, plus the tragic death of Cory Monteith could serve as a wake-up call to parents of troubled teens.

Parents’ biggest hurdle is where to turn for help. The Pinnacle Schools are seeing success with their drug and alcohol abuse programs for teens suffering from addictions. Addiction professionals use teen-friendly models to provide emotional support and multi-layered therapies.

Sometimes just knowing that other kids have faced similar problems is a breakthrough catalyst for troubled teens. For example, a college student named Ashley shared her story, from the time she was jerked out of the classroom in handcuffs to the present where she is working toward a degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.

A powerful motivator, Ashley has discovered her life’s calling to help others “find their personal power and live purposeful lives”. She urged the students to, “Stop saying it is impossible and believe that they are possible”

The Pinnacle Schools-A Parents Review

I, as a parent, chose to turn to The Pinnacle Schools for assistance. I read some information about the many programs offered at The Pinnacle Schools and decided they were the best choice for my child, who has Asperger syndrome. There are individual academic programs designed specifically for the needs of each student within the residential treatment plans connected with The Pinnacle Schools; the Elk River Treatment Program (see Linkedin page for more info) is a residential program under the Pinnacle Schools umbrella. I was excited about out the teachers, counselors and rest of the staff work in harmony together to help my child and me, for the purpose of setting goals that fit his specific needs. They even addressed all my concerns one by one. I also did independent research with the Alabama Department of Education and didn’t fidn any reported complaints of abuse from The Pinnacle Schools or the Elk River Treatment Program.

My child has had to deal with many challenges during his school years. He was home schooled, along with his brother until he went into the second grade. I notice during homeschooling that there were some definitely difference between the boys. My youngest child’s characteristics made me concerned. He did not have the same level of social skill compared to the oldest. My youngest had a more difficult time communicating with other people than the oldest did. He had fixed interests and participated in activities with a repetitive approach. He was also obsessed with the character Godzilla. Continue reading