The team is the primary organizational group at the ranch. A new student joins a team, a group of up to ten (10) boys (or girls) plus the stable team staff: a weekday team-leader; a weekend team-leader; an academic advisor (teacher); the clinical supervisor, who leads the team staff and serves as therapist for all the students on the team; and a senior clinician, who regularly meets with students on the team, reviews their progress, and offers experienced advice to the clinical supervisor.
As in a family, the team becomes central to a student’s daily life. At the ranch students eat with their teams, do chores by team and meet four times per week to talk with their teams in group therapy. As students pass through the program, moving from one clan to the next, they remain with the same team all the way to graduation. Thus, on every team there will be arriving students (Earth clan), students in mid-progress (Moon and Sun clans) and some approaching the end of their tenure. As in family discussions, there will be more and less sophisticated voices. And the adults, who serve as surrogate parents, provide leadership and stable, close relationships, start to finish.
Moreover, by meeting each week, the team staff integrate various influential experiences that MA provides for students on the team. For they regularly discuss a student’s progress and problems, decide upon joint actions to be taken, and in concert revise the treatment plan. These discussions and decisions get communicated to other staff, beyond the team, at meetings of the teaching faculty, the program staff, the clinical staff, or the leadership.
The team becomes important to parents, too. It is the team’s therapist who joins in phone calls with daughters or sons each week, and the team’s teacher who helps parents and students choose among available courses and meets with visiting parents around a student’s academic work and planning. The team-leaders sort out logistical problems for parents and students, communicate with parents about each student’s progress and behavior, and negotiate pass agreements when parents visit.