To support and prod a struggling teenager to grow up and to function in a young adult way, the trick is to integrate an accurate clinical understanding into an algebra teacher’s interventions; to put the team-leader’s weight behind a push to get a student to accomplish academic assignments; and to marshal parental authority to sustain the program’s rules and expectations. The goal is to get all adults involved in all venues of a teenager’s life to support a common approach.

At the Academy we first integrate the various dimensions of a student’s life on a team. We put a small stable group of adults in charge. We mark the treatment leitmotif in a student’s clan, and team staff review a student’s progress across all dimensions of campus life in regular meetings attended by the team’s program, academic and clinical staff. We include parents, too, by discussing with them regularly all the relevant current events, successes, problems and plans. And the other students on the team participate in group discussions in which a student’s progress, successes, grades and problems get reviewed.

When this is done well, the result is synergy. A student feels understood in an affectionate, hopeful way wherever she is in her week. Criticism of her unsound decisions or childish behavior comes, in a friendly and respectful way, from all those who matter most in her daily life. In this way the “treatment” is not confined to a therapist’s office. The program is not kept separate from clinical discussion or classroom performance. A student’s academic performance is part of the clinical discussion and an aspect of program progress.