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News & Views - Apr, 1999 Issue #57


By: Lon Woodbury 

Jan. 29, 1999 (Albuquerque, New Mexico) The first formal step in forming a wide based association of alternative schools and programs working with children with behavioral/emotional problems was taken this Friday with the organizational meeting of The National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs (NATSAP). The meeting in Albuquerque attracted about 100 professionals representing 43 schools and programs. Most of the attendees were there to find out what the proposed organization was all about. 

This meeting was the result of an earlier exploratory meeting held in Atlanta, Georgia, November 8, 1998 the day after the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA) conference in the same city. The Atlanta exploratory meeting had been called by John Reddan, who had written a paper outlining the size and scope of a possible association and asked for and received $5500 from Len Buccellato and Hidden Lake Academy in Dahlonega, Georgia to travel to ten programs in nine states and to host the meeting at the Atlanta Hilton. The Albuquerque meeting was opened by a presentation by John Reddan outlining the parameters of what is commonly perceived as a new developing industry working with children with behavioral/emotional problems and based on parent choice. Surveying 120 schools and programs he considered “in the loop,” representing a wide variety of approaches, Redden pointed out there has been a six-fold increase in the number of these schools and programs since 1970. These schools and programs currently are working with more than 7,000 students annually with 1/3 of a billion dollars in revenue. Noting that the six-fold increase shows this new industry is rising to meet the increased demand, he estimated there are “at least 200,000 adolescents in America right now who need our programs and can afford them.”

The next step in the meeting was to break into seven groups, each chaired by one of the original founders, to discuss and recommend what the highest priorities of the new association should be. When the results were collated, among the highest priorities were an annual conference, workshops, and setting industry-wide standards. 

The vote of the day was to elect three new board members to join the seven original founders. Reddan explained the original founders had terms of three years on the board, that the three to be elected at Albuquerque were for two-year terms, which would make a board with ten members for the time being. Others would be elected at future conferences, anticipating eventually a board with between 10 and 15 members with staggered terms. 

A brief floor discussion developed with several questions asked. One question was how this new association might relate to other organizations already developing in this new industry such as the National Association of Wilderness Camps (NATWC), and the Outdoor Behavioral HealthCare Industry Council (OBHIC). Reddan responded to the effect that this new association (NATSAP) anticipates covering a wider variety of approaches. 

After the floor discussion the ballots were distributed for election of the three new board members, which included brief biographies on all nominees. There were 15 nominees, nine presented by the nominating committee, and six who had contacted Reddan before the meeting and offered to serve on the Board. The three elected for the two-year terms were Gary Emmons of Brush Ranch School in New Mexico, Kimball DeLaMare of Island View RTC in Utah, and John Mercer of Mission Mountain School in Montana.

After announcing the results of the election, John Reddan closed the meeting with thanks to all the participants for their help in the organizational meeting. He promised to be sending out the minutes and a newsletter within two weeks, applications for membership, and timely reports from Board Committees being set up to develop a draft Mission Statement, suggested basic standards for schools and programs, and plans for the next conference. 

Michael Allgood, Cascade School, California, 3-year term
Tim Brace, Aspen Youth Services, California, 3-year term
Len Buccellato, Hidden Lake Academy, Georgia, 3-year term Bobbi Christensen, Crater Lake School, Oregon, 3-year term Kimbal DeLaMare, Island View, Utah, 2-year term
Gary Emmons, Brush Ranch School, New Mexico, 2-year term John Mercer, Mission Mountain School, 2-year term
Jan Moss, Spring Ridge Academy, Arizona, 3- year term
John Santa, Montana Academy, Montana, 3-year term
Rosemary Tippett, Three Springs, Alabama, 3-year term.

(An article by Catherine Buie-Jennings, Ex. Dir. of Stone Mountain School in North Carolina, titled NATSAP QUESTIONS can be found in the news section of Woodbury Reports Online, https://strugglingteens.com.)

Copyright © 1999, Woodbury Reports, Inc. (This article may be reproduced without prior approval if the copyright notice and proper publication and author attribution accompanies the copy.)

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