There is an unspoken philosophy at Bear Creek Academy. We believe that one of our primary goals is helping our students to build a more positive identity for themselves. That is a cornerstone for student success.
To meet that goal and foster student success in both academics and social development, we have built our program around the following principles:
Acceptance & Belonging
Our students come from diverse populations, with different levels of intelligence, emotional development, personal backgrounds, beliefs, and cultures. Bullying and rejection are confronted directly and students are encouraged to be themselves and respect the identities of others.
Innovation and Flexibility
One size does not fit all…one style of teaching, one way of interacting, one rule, one test does not fit all. Our highly qualified staff members are free to introduce and utilize many different techniques and tools in teaching and counseling.
Support and Instruction to Succeed
You can usually find the word “successful” written into most educational plans. At Bear Creek Academy there is an ongoing expectation and open dialogue among faculty about identifying and implementing what each student needs in terms of instruction, counseling, or motivation to reach goals.
Students need contact from people who care about them. Modern technology limits direct social interaction among teens. While seeming content, they are experiencing a form of “emotional undernourishment”. We like our students and we tell them that and spend time with them interested in their lives. Not everyone can be always “likeable” but within our compassionate team of staff, we will find value in that one small positive trait that can can be built upon. Rita Pierson says it best in her TED talk.
Discipline at school can be a delicate balance of accountability and learning from your mistakes. Teenagers know how to break the rules and often find satisfaction in being oppositional. Our students are held accountable for their behavior by things such as staying after school and a loss of privileges. We prefer in-school suspensions so that students receive counseling and do not fall behind academically. There are consequences for negative actions as well as rewards for appropriate behavior. Every morning, students are recognized with positive consequences, applicable rewards, incentives, and public praise.
Emphasis on Earning
Students are challenged to earn privileges in many forms, from paid school jobs to symbolic badges of growth in the Personal Empowerment Program.
Students exchange honest feedback with faculty daily. Students need to know the truth about themselves and how they are affecting others if they are to ever change for the better.
Service Learning and Volunteering
Our students learn about the enriching power of giving of themselves through volunteering. The Bear Creek Academy Conservation Corps has logged many hours since 2008 at Bear Creek Lake and High Bridge Trail state parks. Students have also volunteered at Cumberland Social Services, Ellis Acres in Buckingham, and other projects that benefit the community.
Small Structured Classes
Our students build confidence and security in knowing their way around our campus. Limits are clear and simple. Small classes enable faculty to deliver personalized one on one attention as needed.
Teachers Committed to Academic Progress
Since we began in 2008, we have established a proven track record of students passing SOLS, moving forward in earning high school credits, and making successful secondary and post-secondary transitions.
Counselors That Are Accessible
Students may receive counseling at any time during the school day. There is no time limit to sessions and therapeutic interventions occur at any time to ensure that students are properly supported.
A Fun Learning Experience
We know that our students have unhealthy patterns of behavior. We combat their tendencies to give up and lack of motivation by planning fun activities, outings, and incentives. Students participate in experiential adventures such as swinging from tree tops at the Sandy River Adventure Park.
Fun sparks the energy needed to neutralize the common doldrums of our students.
A team of passionate faculty are genuinely present for our students and concern themselves with the big picture of each student’s success. Faculty focus on solutions rather than deliberating and trapping themselves in problems.