Though there would be an uproar in the public education system if it was announced that the instructional calendar was to be increased by 30 more days, there are a range of different academic settings that could potentially benefit from extended school years.
For example, therapeutic schools like Alpine Academy Utah reviews testing the waters with slightly lengthier school years, stating that the students can benefit from giving students prolonged time to acclimate to the healing setting they’re building.
Alpine Academy’s School Setting
Offbeat and nontraditional, Alpine Academy Utah is but one of the many therapeutic schools in the United States- but it stands out for its high success rate and the notable reverence for the therapists and counselors present on campus.
Therapeutic school settings differ greatly from traditional high schools. In these school settings, students who have trouble with emotional regulation, or those who suffer from mental health worries (anxiety, depression, etc.)- can have access to their academic necessities without worrying about being triggered or affected by a poor mental environment.
These schools are ideal for students who have academic or behavioral troubles in traditional institutions, as any issues that arise during the day are immediately intercepted and talked about- keeping the student from harboring those issues or allowing them to fester over time.
Allowing students the chance to learn in a psychologically safe environment directly affects their ability to retain information, thereby having a positive correlation with their academic performance. Alpine Academy showcases this with an average GPA of over 3.0, a notable juxtaposition from the GPAs students have upon enrollment.
Alpine Academy is also proud of its being a residential school model. They believe this to be most beneficial for the students as it doesn’t separate the academic setting from the home setting, emanating a true “family feel”.
Why Alpine Academy Is Lengthening Their School Year
When it comes to the real world, there are no “deadlines” when it comes to coming to peace with your mental health journey. Since the therapeutic school setting works hard to replicate as much of the real-world experience as possible, it’s proposed that lengthening the school year (even just by a month) can make a positive difference.
By lengthening the school year, there is less stress on the student to meet “hard deadlines”, which is a major stressor and trigger for kids in traditional school settings. That extra month can be spent catching up on work, learning at the appropriate rate, and learning to maneuver through life’s challenges at a timely pace.
The extension of the school year also ensures that everyone ends the year on the same page. Some students may require more time to deal with mental roadblocks and issues and having that extra month at the end of the year will allow the student body to catch up with one another so that no one is necessarily falling behind.
Another important aspect that therapeutic schools focus on is expelling anxiety, sadness, and other harsh emotions through forms of art, music, and physical activity. By releasing those stressors on productive, calming extracurriculars, the student can focus on academic material with ease.
Lengthening the school year allows ample time for the student body to focus on art, while also allotting the appropriate amount of time for them to effectively focus on and learn new academic material.