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.


“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.

How to Take the Stress Out of Homework

homework-schoolHomework is one of those unavoidable tasks that come with having school-age kids. When homework isn’t handled well, it can be a source of stress for kids and parents alike. If homework has turned into a daily struggle in your household, take a look at some of these tips. With a little thought and planning, you can turn that stressful task into something you and your kids look forward to.

Organize and Strategize

Disorganization is one of the prime causes of stress. When you are juggling multiple homework assignments, studying in a cluttered, noisy space, and working without the supplies and resources you need, everything suddenly seems overwhelming.

Take a little time to map out your child’s homework goals on a calendar. Provide a clutter-free space where your child can work, and make sure that paper, pencils and other supplies are readily available. The more organized you are, the less stressful homework time will be.

Defy Distractions

It takes time to focus. Every time your child’s focus is broken, it takes longer to get back “in the zone”. Set up a quiet study space in your home. This could be in a home office, in your child’s room, or even in a quiet corner of the house. Eliminate TV, texting, toys, and other distractions until assigned tasks are complete.

Set a Schedule

Stress comes from looming, vague tasks that need to be tackled “at some point”. Nothing busts that stress like a little old-fashioned consistency. Pick a set homework time, and stick to your schedule. Talk to your kid about what time is best. Some kids like to get it out-of-the-way right away, while others might prefer a little break after school.

Loosen Up

Careful scheduling and organization doesn’t have to equal rigidity. You don’t have to be a taskmaster. Remember that your kids will dread homework if they know it means hours of work without a break. Some clever parents have suggested setting an alarm for regular, scheduled breaks throughout homework time. These short breaks give your child time to wiggle, stretch and unwind before finishing.

Be Available

Your child will feel more stressed if they feel alone in tackling the tasks. While you shouldn’t offer too much help, and you shouldn’t take over for your child, it’s a good idea to be available. Plan to tackle some of your own to-dos while your child works. This is a great time to pay bills, write emails or send cards, or to plan menus or functions.

With a little planning, you can help your child to stress less, study more, and succeed daily.

How do You Handle Bad Grades?

bad-grades-report-cardSo your kid just came home with a test marked with a big, red “F”. Before you bug out, take a moment to breathe, regroup, and focus. There are right and wrong ways to handle bad grades and how you react is going to make all the difference in how your kid deals with the problem.

Reality Check

Remember that nearly every kid gets a bad grade now and then. There are myriad reasons for these occasional dips. Maybe they left their history paper till the last minute and got a (well-deserved) D. Maybe they’re simply struggling with a new concept that they don’t fully grasp yet. Whatever the case, don’t overreact to an occasional C, D, or even F. These things happen, and it’s all part of the learning process.

Talk to Your Kid

Have a frank chat with your child and try to get some perspective on the situation. As your child gets older, they might not realize just how challenging certain subjects are getting. Maybe your son has always been good at math; however, he might start to struggle as math concepts become more abstract and complex. Discuss the subject that your child has done poorly in, and see if they might need a bit more support as they tackle new challenges.

It’s also quite possible that there are external factors influencing the grades. Maybe your son has a tough teacher. Maybe your daughter needs glasses. You’ll never know without talking things out and digging for more information.

Talk to Teachers

Don’t assume that bad grades are all your child’s fault. If there isn’t an explanation attached to the grade, don’t be afraid to have a chat with your child’s teacher. Discussing the problem with a teacher can help you to determine the source of the problem. Maybe your child is struggling with new concepts. Maybe he’s been lazy about turning in homework. You’ll only know if you take the time to talk with your child’s teacher.

When you discuss a poor grade with a teacher, you can also ask about ways that you might be of assistance. Maybe you simply need to help a struggling child along. Perhaps a little extra tutoring could get him over the hump of a particularly tough math concept. Maybe a little dinner-time quiz could help him to remember some tricky spelling words.

Maintain a Healthy Perspective

Finally, take a step back and see if that unfortunate report card might actually be showing you something great about your child. While a C in math might be discouraging, that A in Language Arts might be an indication of an exceptional strength. In correcting poor grades, don’t forget to praise a child for the grades that are good.

Troubled Teenager-Take Action Now

Raising a teenager can be difficult. You want to see your child grow to their full potential with a fulfilling and well balanced adult life. However, the teenage years are some of the hardest that children go through, and they can be just as hard for parents who are trying to manage and guide their teens. With so many influences out there, many of them negative, things can go wrong.

The Elk River Treatment Program takes troubled teens out of destructive situations and places them on a road to recovery that will help them transition in to adult life. How can you as a parent convince your child that therapeutic care is the best option for them?

The first thing that you need to prepare yourself for is resistance to your decision. Troubled teenagers will go out of their way to push their parents away. This is a defense mechanism and should not be misinterpreted, or taken to heart by parents. When you’ve made the decision as a parent to enroll your child in a treatment program, you need to be firm and stick by your decision. Persevere through whatever your teen has to throw at you in the way of excuses, promises of change, or emotional blackmail with the goal of escaping the situation.

You know you’re doing the right thing, but your teen doesn’t. Regardless of whether they are going to understand or accept your decision at this stage, you need to outline the reasons why treatment is the best option. Tell your teenager about how their behavior is making you feel, the effect it is having on your family as a whole, and how it is unacceptable to you as a parent. Explain the outcome that you expect from the program, detailing how you expect things to become better within family life. Most importantly, emphasize the fact that by putting their energies in to the program, they’re going to be able to improve their own situation.

Reinforce that the program is not intended as a punishment. The programs offered from The Pinnacle Schools/Elk River Treatment are intended to adjust antisocial and destructive behaviors in teens while focusing on education, group activities, and outdoor experiences. Your teen should not feel that they are being put in a ‘prison’ type situation. Outlining some of the activities that they can expect from the course might make your teen more receptive to participation, even if they don’t initially see the same value as you in seeing the course through.

Above all, teens need the right guidance through adolescence. Entering your teen in to a program like those offered by Pinnacle Schools is part of that guidance and is not an abandonment. Never allow yourself or your teen to feel like you are giving up on them. With the correct positioning and reasoning, your teen can be put in to a good mental space that will allow them to get the most from our program, setting them up for a successful future, ad leaving behind decisions and actions that could hurt them later in life.

Benefits of Animal Therapy with Troubled Teens

It’s been said that dogs are man’s best friend. It turns out their loving nature helps troubled teens adjust to changes in their lives by caring for a shelter dog. Quite a few older puppies and adult dogs brought to shelters do not have the social skills required by prospective adoptive families. The new teen trainer can see the improvement as he or she works with the animal, while counselors at the group home or disciplinary center notice the positive changes in the youths that have placed under their care.

An advantage of having time alone to work with the dog is that the teen can tell it anything without being judged. Unconditional love is a characteristic of most dogs and is particularly meaningful to rebellious older children with low esteem. Teaching the dog to respond to commands like sit and stay and keeping the dog healthy by exercising and playing fetch with him is fun. Caring for and cleaning up after the dog is work, but the dog expresses gratitude with a friendly wag of the tail or an excited, happy bark.

Troubled teens recovering from drug and alcohol abuse experience in residential centers typically are despondent. Feeding, brushing, and playing with visiting shelter dogs cause the teens’ spirits to lift, bringing happiness. The dogs show their appreciation by a lick on the hand or the insistence that more play would be welcome. Doggy and kid grins are a beautiful sight to the staff of each group.

The techniques a teen uses to train a dog or correct its behavior brings an awareness of how to make better decisions and follow an improved path in their own life. They praise the dog for doing well and work with the animal so it can achieve the tasks needed to reach their goal. The dog responds, delivering a sense of accomplishment.

In some areas shelter dogs are brought to libraries to sit with young teens with reading problems. Each child takes a dog to a section of the library and reads out loud to their temporary dog friend. The dog loves the individual attention and the sound of a voice pleasantly directed towards him or her. The teens discover that there is no pressure on whether they know how to pronounce a word or hesitate before moving on to the next word or sentence. Animal therapy continues to grow in the way it is used, consistently providing a positive influence on behavior of all participants.

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.